Scripting News


The confusing new domain name system

ICANN feels the need to create a lot more namespaces, which is imho a bad move. For example, in the new scheme, Google will own the .blog namespace. So if I wanted to protect my investment in Scripting News, which is a blog, I would have to buy

That link won't go anywhere today, but I wanted to illustrate what it means to have the name. It means that when you link to it on the web, the browser will open it, as if it were one of the current TLDs.

Interesting that Google's browser, which I use, understands that when I go to I really want to go to It suggests that.

I rest my case.

As I understand it, I will be entitled to do this, during a period at the beginning of the life of the .blog TLD. In doing so I will be paying money to Google to fund their effort to become the authority what is and isn't a blog, a company that hasn't been entirely friendly to blogging. A bit like selling the henhouse to the fox. This process will be repeated for every new TLD. A huge windfall for ICANN and the owners of the new TLDs.

Of course I'm not going to pay anyone for this, so there may be lots of new scripting domains out on the web. Some new equilibrium will follow. Either people will learn that all these new TLDs are ghost towns, or there will be lots of new scripting sites. No matter what there will be confusion. Maybe a lot. For what? What will we get in return? I can see what ICANN gets, money. And the big companies that buy TLDs get to control huge swaths of the future Internet for what amounts to less than pocket change for them.

A better solution would be to get rid of the idea of TLDs altogether. Let anyone register any word. People who own .com domains would automatically become the owner of the word without the .com. I own a fair number of .org domains which will go away under that scheme.

The best solution is to leave it alone. It's a bit confusing for sure, but it's a confusion that the Internet grew up with. It's background noise. But the kind of dissonance the new TLDs are guaranteed to introduce, suggest that shortly after their introduction they will have to be retracted. Might as well never go there. Kill the program before it creates a huge mess. That would be my best advice.

 10/28/2013; 12:11:31 PM.

Fan clip art

To all readers who work in marketing and public relations. Tomorrow is opening day of the NBA. I'm looking for a beautiful image of LeBron James, the captain of the NBA champion Miami Heat. It should be on a white background, and be an action shot, something like this image of Michael Jordan. Suitable for putting in the right margin of a new post. I wouldn't mind if there was a requirement that the image link to a page on

In general, let's have great clip art that bloggers can use to give you free advertising, just because we like your product! Or we don't, who cares. As long as we use it correctly and point where you want us to, it's good for you. Whatever your product. Soda, cars, deodorant, shampoo. Socks! Chef Boy-ar-dee. The more mundane the better.

I've been asking for this for a decade, just as I was asking for companies to upload videos of their commercials so we can talk about them (that, thankfully, has happened). This is the same kind of idea. I want to promote your product. You should make that easy. It should be automatic, one of the deliverables for every marketing campaign.

 10/28/2013; 10:30:45 AM.

What's missing in our social networks?

With Twitter getting ready to go public, it seems pretty likely they'll end up in a feature race with Facebook, competing for the same users, and ultimately the same advertising dollars.

Meanwhile, as we all settle in on these networks, we're also settling -- missing features that would have been developed long ago if we were using open and competitive platforms. At some point the dam will break and there will be a flood of new ideas, or possibly a platform for trying out new social networking ideas.


1. For example, last night I was hanging out waiting for the World Series to start, and saw my friend Chuck posting on Facebook. I've been wanting to chat with him on Skype. So I sent him an email, and I launched the Skype app. I figured since he was already online, obviously just putzing around, he'd have time. I said the Skype would be "quick."

But a half hour later he hadn't responded. Now I'm wanting to do something else, so I'd like to retract the offer. But just then an IM comes saying. I heard the bells ring, but I couldn't figure out which of my networks was pinging me. On the possibility that it was Chuck, I launched Skype and he rang me and we had our conversation. An hour later I found the message in one of my tabs that was displaying GMail.

He was watching the football game. It hadn't crossed my mind, although I do what he's been doing when I'm watching a baseball or basketball game (I don't go in for football for some reason, unless it's the post-season and then usually just for the SuperBowl). In slow periods, during commercials, I play some Angry Birds or hassle Facebook or Twitter. I read my river. We have lots of ways of determining status, but none of them said "I'm Chuck and I'm putzing around while I'm watching a football game." I'm sure he wouldn't have minded me having that information. Had I known he was watching a game I would have known he isn't available to Skype.

2. Another use-case. I'm getting to know someone new and I can tell she's going to be a good friend. So after our meeting a couple of weeks ago, the question is -- how are we going to communicate. I see her on Facebook. But that isn't my preferred way to communicate, for a variety of reasons. Only after a few days of negotiating, in a total fog, we decide to use email. It seems that could have happened much more quickly.

3. I've been reading about a friend from long-ago who has two cats and a dog and is a prodigious gardener. Where does he live? What's his setup? Is it on top of a mountain, or in a valley? What does he plant? I know he goes fishing (from reading his Facebook posts) -- where?

4. I get a Twitter DM from a person I don't know saying he's going to be in NY next week and would like to buy me coffee. I'd like to tell Twitter not to accept such messages on my behalf unless they explain why they want to meet with me. I don't want to turn down a meeting with someone who has a purpose that interests me. But if I have no idea, then I'm a little frustrated -- it might be good, but I'm not going to respond. Also it would be nice to tell the person not to bother using Twitter for this, because it's not my preferred way to communicate. I find the 140-character limit too confining.

5. On the other hand, I'd like to be able to put a limit on the number of characters people can use in Disqus comments on my site. I don't want people using it as a blogging platform. I want to encourage them to start their own blogs, or use them if they're lying dormant. Comments are for quick short bits of information or perspective. As the word "comment" suggests.

6. In 1979, as I was driving into San Francisco from the north over the Golden Gate Bridge, I had a thought that I must know 20 people within line-of-sight from where I am right now, but I have no way of finding them. I left a marker for myself, that someday I'd have software that would tell me who is here and give me a way to contact them. This was one of my ways of saying I lived in "information impoverished" times. Do we now have that feature? Do they all have to be on Facebook and/or Foursquare for it to work? We certainly have the technical means for having that feature. But do we actually have it, or have silos interfered?

7. I think what's really needed is an easy to configure network system that has all the features of all the networks, and allows the user to set limits that suit them. Maybe even a form capability so right at the top they could ask you to state their objective, what action they would like me to perform, and for that 140 characters would definitely suffice.

 10/28/2013; 9:50:46 AM.

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