Scripting News: Why outliners?#

Today's background image is Rex Hammock's early morning Nashville pic, which he posted on Facebook, and I'm using with permission. #

NYT: An Early Skyscraper Becomes a Hotel With a View.#

New Yorker: Witnesses to Oklahoma's Botched Execution.#

Things are changing in the United States now, and we're leading the world in some ways, with gay marriage and legal marijuana. But one direction the world is trying to lead us is away from capital punishment. Drug companies, not wanting to be associated with the killing, for good business reasons, won't supply the states. So they are killing in ever-more-desperate ways. The stories coming from last night's botched execution in Oklahoma are tragic. #

It would be good to move beyond symbolic organizing, to political acts with real consequences. Like eliminating capital punishment in the United States. #

The world is sending us a clear message. It's time to stop this practice.#

A small release: Fargo 1.57.#

AP: Pro Sports Owners Disciplined by Their Leagues.#

Today's background image is cake at Le Pain Quotidien in NYC.#

Mozilla announces a new version of Firefox.#

Federal Judge Strikes Down Wisconsin Law Requiring Photo ID at Polls.#

Feedient Puts Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram Feeds in One Place.#

Guardian: The world's best skywalks, in pictures.#

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Welcome to the Finger-Wagging Olympics.#

The best people are the ones who have a personal struggle. Adversity does deepen you and help you appreciate the good things you have. The pain straightens you out even though it hurts. All of my best friends have big struggles. I wish it didn't have to be that way, but it seems that's the way it works.#

What Sterling said was absolutely awful. #

As I listened to it, I thought This guy has to go. #

Then I read the history of how MLB dealt with Marge Schott, an owner with similar views. They left her in place as owner, but barred her from any activity relating to the sport. Over and over until she tired of it, and sold her share of the team. I think it's a good story and one worth considering.#

I'm not sure if it worked, but I'm pretty sure that what the NBA does, later today (actually in just a few minutes) will be pretty much equivalent. And I'm not sure that it's the wrong thing to do. #

Eliminating one owner won't get rid of the ideas he expressed. They're out there. But instead of just attacking symbols, let's grow and start making things change. And what change looks like is people working with other people, ignoring the ideas expressed by racists. Working together against the people who don't want us to.#

On Twitter there are many people who feel they have the best understanding of all the injustice in the world. I don't pretend to be any smarter or wiser than anyone else. I feel I can learn from anyone. And I really mean that. If I catch myself acting otherwise I have a good talk with myself!#

But just as I know I don't have a patent on the truth, I'm sure you don't either. I've written before that we're all barking farting chihuahuas who pretend we matter in ways we obviously don't. Finding meaning in your life is hard. But your life isn't more meaningful than mine, nor are your ideas. #

So if you're waiting for me to bow down to you, whoever you are, you're going to be waiting a very long time. #

This has been a constant theme here on Scripting News. The answer is and always has been we don't speak because the penalty for speaking is so high.#

Men have lousy PR. We let other people tell our story. So when the main positive quality for manhood is strength, and when the ideal man is the strong and silent man, then saying nothing is a positive thing, right? Take your medicine. Be a man. Man up. Don't be a baby. Whatever.#

Truth is inside a man's body is a person, one that's not that much different from the other kinds of people. But if you tell a person over and over for their whole life that most of what they are is wrong (because we aren't as one-dimensional as we're supposed to be), and that silence is the right approach, well that's a prescription for disaster. And because our bodies are bigger that's not a disaster that's shared quietly. When the only valid emotion is anger, then that's how the emotions will come out. And there's lots to be angry about. #

Anyway -- I thought this piece about why men don't speak up on behalf of women's status in organizations, written by a male psychologist, was so interesting. Reading it, all I could think about is how he's going to get it. Now why is that the normal thing -- a man expresses an opinion and the punishment is swift and sure. #

The question he asks is if we don't have any vested interest in equality, and I'd argue with that, we can't justify speaking. We're told to shut up, and that's what we do. #

Change isn't going to come until everyone has permission to say what they see. And at first it's going to be painful and awkward because we have so little practice doing it.#

Today's ride -- 7.08 miles, approx 50 minutes. Something went wrong with the software and it thinks I was stopped for 17 minutes (not so). #

Today's background image is a runner on the West Side of Manhattan.#

NYT: Despite Twitter Backlash, NYPD Plans to Expand Social Media Efforts.#

Maybe it'll work, but NY cops deserve the reputation they have for being touchy, irritable, mean, and better to stay away from if at all possible. #

It might work because it's setting the expectation from the top that they care about what the people of NYC think of them. I grew up here, and haven't seen much change in this area. Cops are hard people. Maybe they have to be. Or maybe there's a way this will work. Worth a try. #

The NBA says they stand for something, but that's marketing. They really stand for ROI for owners, advertisers, players. Whatever they do with the racism of one or more owners (at least some of the owners must have known about Sterling), they won't take any serious chances with the money. #

Scripting News: How to create open standards. #

Today's background image is a shadow of a selfie.#

2007: The unedited voice of a person.#

Deadspin: The Extended Donald Sterling Tape.#

I just listened to the tape of Donald Sterling talking with his girlfriend. So many thing wrong, but the main thing is this -- the NBA has to separate him from the NBA. There's no way for him to continue to be an owner. Maybe it means the playoffs have to stop until he sells the team. #

Scripting News: NakedJen's new blog.#

Today's background image is De Roberti's Pasticceria on 1st Ave.#

La Vanguardia: En defensa del miedo. I'm mentioned in this piece, not sure what it means (it's in Spanish).#

Elmer Masters: Dave Winer’s Outliner, Fargo.#

TechDirt: Russia Orders Bloggers To 'Register'; Outlaws Anonymous Blogging, Continues Clampdown On Social Media.#

AP: Netflix becomes a cable channel.#

NPR: Injured Sherpa On Why He'll Never Climb Mount Everest Again. #

Atlantic: Everest Climbers Head Home.#

NYT: Up Close on Baseball’s Borders.#

Scripting News: NakedJen and word-wrap.#

Fargo Publisher 0.95 adds the ability to define pages in JavaScript. #

How Heartbleed transformed HTTPS security into absurdist theater.#

NYT: Harvey, Asked to Delete Post, Leaves Twitter.#

Quartz: Why your dinky little startup is worth billions of dollars.#

BBC: Czech deer still avoid Iron Curtain.#

I love Node.js, but it's a lot of work to put together a script to run as a service in Node. I kept wondering if it could be made easier. I found a little time in early April to give it a try, and it worked really well. Today I released the result as Fargo Publisher 0.95.#

Basically, there's a new scripts sub-folder of the data folder, which is part of the Amazon S3 hierarchy that Publisher runs from. Any file in that folder that ends with ".js" can be called through the server app. If the script is in count.js and the server is running at, you'd access it through this URL: You can try it, click the link. Reload the page. Every time you load it, the count should increment.#

A picture named script.gif#

globals is a global object that you can hang persistent values on. They persist for the life of the server, when it's rebooted it's reset. You can think of it as a scratchpad. #

This is a very simple system. That's about all there is to it. #

Scripting News: Google Glass smells bad.#

Jon Krakauer: Sherpas, Death, and Anger on Everest. #

Nick Bilton: "This past week, I bought 4,000 new followers on Twitter for the price of a cup of coffee."#

Post: Knicks fire coach Mike Woodson, rest of staff.#

Guardian: Everest Sherpas divided over call to halt climbs.#

Today's background image is a boat on the Hudson.#

Today's ride: 48 minutes, 6.91 miles.#

Scripting News: Bare-bones Heroku do.#

Fargo 1.56: Use Fargo to edit more than one WordPress site.#

Today's background image is Bob Marley. #

Powdered alcohol.#

Why Carmelo Anthony Should Leave the Knicks.#

One of Wikimedia's largest donors accused in paid editing scandal.#

NYT: Adrianne Wadewitz, 37, Wikipedia Editor, Dies After Rock Climbing Fall.#

News organizations can and should take an active interest in the development of the communities they serve. Interest doesn't just mean "reporting on" -- when they see an opportunity for new development that isn't already happening, why not point it out? Help direct attention where it's needed.#

Here's a fantastic example. We get a pitch for a new streetcar line along the waterfront in Brooklyn and Queens, connecting Ikea in Red Hook with a great swimming pool at the end of the Triboro Bridge in Astoria. And along the way connecting lots of diverse neighborhoods, all in various stages of rebirth. It's an idea very much in tune with the times. And presented so that you also get a visual tour of the neighborhoods. It's appealing, interesting, and exciting! I love this kind of journalsim #

Today's background image is Mount Everest.#

NYT: White House Hosts ‘Next Generation’ Young and Rich.#

Netcraft: Chrome users oblivious to Heartbleed revocation tsunami.#

I like everything about this word.#

It's nice to spell, and nice to say. #

It must be good, because we do so much of it.#

Only smart people use it! #

It's kind of hidden in his usually impersonal blog, PressThink, but there's a great story buried in there, about the family he grew up in. Well worth reading, esp because it explains the mindset of a natural-born blogger. We're the people who witness insanity, and wish to advise people on how not to be that way. It's a pointless job, and Jay explains why, but I won't spoil it. #

Scripting News: WordPress-to-OPML source.#

Tom Negrino reviews OmniOutliner 4 Pro for MacWorld.#

Neil Tyson on the barriers he faced as a young black kid on his way to becoming an astrophysicist#

A music-less version of the video for Pharrell Williams’ hit song Happy.#

Phil Jackson praises Mike Woodson.#

Inc: The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship.#

Montana GOP candidate shoots at government drone in ad.#

Walmart destroying MoneyGram and Western Union with new money transfer service.#

Guardian: The Truman Show, the 1998 film about a man who unwittingly has his entire life filmed for a TV show, could itself become a TV series.#

NYU Local: Meta television gives writers, producers and showrunners something completely new to work with.#

Scripting News: WordPress to OPML, working!#

Scripting News: How the cloud should work.#

Fargo 1.54. There's one new feature in this release, the ability to download an entire WordPress site into a Fargo outline.#

Wired: New Exoplanet Could Be Earth’s Cousin.#

Appeals court says blogs are not only media, they’re an important source of news and commentary.#

Today's background image is a view from Broadway LIRR station in Flushing.#

Oy. The Nets are in the playoffs. Everyone who cares about basketball in NYC knows it. And we're all Knicks fans. I have never met a Nets fan. That said, I'm sure most NY basketball fans were planning on rooting for the Nets, as the hometown team that made the playoffs this year. Then they ran this ad:#

A picture named dumbDumbDumb.gif#

Now really, guys, let's not overplay it. There are lots of tickets available for the Nets playoff games. I go to Nets games when the Knicks are out of town. I was thinking of possibly maybe going to a Nets playoff game. But if they think they're going to score points with Knicks fans by trashing them. Well they don't understand their home market.#

A much better approach. "We know you don't care about us. But we're going to play our hearts out in the post-season, knowing full well you'd much rather be watching the Knicks. We hope to win you over. Not this year, not next, but maybe in a few years, we'll have earned your loyalty. A little of it. In the meantime we know we're barely on the radar. We had a good year. We have a long way to go and we know it. Love, The Nets."#

Now if by some miracle they were to actually win something in the post-season, then a little gloating might be in order. A little. Not too much. Keep it polite. #

Van Gundy: Nets sandbagged to avoid drawing Bulls.#

Scripting News: The press isn't getting Heartbleed.#

NYT interview with Mark Zuckerberg. #

Media are the things in the middle.#

Meet the guy who added $2 billion to Twitter's valuation yesterday. #

Seagate’s LaCie Admits to Yearlong Breach of Customer Card Data.#

The thing that impresses me most about Secret is the authoring experience. What Medium pioneered, they've taken to the next level.#

Today's background image is a Banksy.#

Given the amount of investment money flowing to companies like Dropbox, you could start a company with the goal of hiring enough engineers to create a target to be bought by one of them. Programmers, it seems, are the tulips of this bubble. Create a cushy environment, and make one of the benefits a payout when the company is bought. Obviously you want to hire programmers who are good at taking the tests the big companies have for new hires. And it pays to develop their skills using the technology of the company that you want to be bought by.#

Scripting News: Old-time laptops.#

Scripting News: Ted Nelson on an iPhone.#

Game of Thrones Sets New Torrent Swarm Record.#

Tavern on the Green reopens April 24.#

Secret: The acquihire offers Dropbox is making are insane.#

I'm working on a utility in JavaScript that converts an entire WordPress blog to OPML so you can use Fargo as a blog editor. It's more than an export for WordPress, because Fargo can edit the documents and save them back to WordPress,#

It's kind of nice to be able to edit a whole website in an outline. Soon you'll be able to do that for WordPress, and not just new sites, also for existing ones. Like this. #

As part of the development process, I converted the old Rebooting the News site to OPML. You can open the file in Fargo, by copying the URL to the clipboard, then switch into Fargo, choose Open By Url from the File menu and paste the URL. Of course you can't edit it, it's not your blog, but if it were you would be able to. #

Making progress! #

Along the way today I used a picture I had been holding on to. I thought it was interesting that you can now read Ted Nelson's seminal Dream Machines and Computer Lib on an iPhone. Carl Sagan said: "We are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self-awareness." On a smaller, humbler, human scale, the iPhone is an imperfect representation of the visions documented in Nelson's books. That it can present the work that led to itself is amazing evidence of how much we've gotten done in our generation. It's all there and it fits in the palm of your hand! #

The full Sagan quote#

We are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to selfawareness. We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars; organized assemblages of ten billion billion billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms; tracing the long journey by which, here at least, consciousness arose. Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring. #


Daddy does love brunch!#

Today's ride: 45 minutes, 6.79 miles. #

This week's Cosmos explained how plants produce clean energy. #

Today's background image is Gloria Foster as the Oracle in The Matrix.#

Gizmodo: A Pyramid Built To Track the End of the World.#

From now on when anything weird or dangerous happens you'll wonder if you're experiencing a Heartbleed hack.#

2001 Internet World interview re SOAP and XML-RPC.#

Gothamist: Prospect Park Bike Lane Doesn't Impede Traffic.#

Lifehacker: Stop Telling Yourself You're Too Busy.#

Talk and listen instead of arguing. #

Great piece and here's a wonderful insight: "There is no greater mistake than the hasty conclusion that opinions are worthless because they are badly argued." Even people who communicate well, fall apart when they're scared. So when it gets intense, you have to try to listen even better than you normally would. Which is tough, because you're scared too (when arguing).#

On Twitter, Rob Tweed mentions an interview I did with InternetWorld in 2001 about SOAP and XML-RPC.#

It's interesting timing because I'm working on a project that uses XML-RPC in node.js. So I'm actively coding in the framework we designed in 1998, and also get to read about what I was thinking at the time. It's preserved on Haven't worked at this level in a decade or more. #

What's really cool is to see the support was already there in node.js, and it works really well. That's excellent. People working together over large blocks of time. Probably not because it's good or idealistic, rather because it's useful and fits into what we're doing. #

It totally validates what I was saying in the interview. #

A picture of a slice of cheese cake.#

August 2012: We could make history.#

Doc Searls to Mozilla: Come back home.#

Statue Of A Homeless Jesus Startles A Wealthy Community.#

Pando: Pierre Omidyar’s quarter billion dollar journalism project seems to have stopped publishing.#

Condoleezza Rice is the background image for today's Scripting News.#

I'm an adult and responsible for my own torture. #

I signed up for the EmpireJS conference in May here in NYC. At the time there were no speakers announced. They promised to announce one every day until the roster filled out. And of course, no surprise really -- they're all very young. I'm sure they know a lot about JavaScript, but surely there are some more experienced older people who also know about this great language? I'm not volunteering to speak, this is not a pitch to invite me to present. But now I have a better idea how women and non-whites feel going to tech conferences. I wonder how people will react to me, with my gray beard, and knowledge of things other than JavaScript! #

Now I have two examples of young tech entrepreneurs who are experiencing serious age disconnectedness. #

First there was Zuck, who hired an 85-year-old architect to design Facebook's new campus. Would he consider giving such responsibility to an 85-year-old software engineer? How about a 45-year-old one? Zuck is smart but very young, and one of the things you learn with age is about age itself. It's totally impossible for a 29-year-old, genius or not, to have any idea what his or her capabilities will be as he or she grows older. #

I don't usually like to flaunt what I've learned in life, but on this issue, it's required. I was very scared of aging when I was 29. The fear grew as I turned 40. By 50 I was numb to it. Now as I approach 60 the only thing I fear are the disabilities that come with age. Age itself isn't a problem. #

Then Drew Houston hires Condoleezza Rice as a board member. I didn't object although others did. They didn't have a problem with her age (59), it was her politics they didn't like. But if you will rely on such an obsolete person to be part of the governance of your company, why not as part of its leadership? #

The disconnect: If Frank Gehry can be creative and break new ground at 85, which he certainly is doing, why the fuck can't I, according to the young people who now run our industry? Can't you find some competitive advantage from using the unique abilities that come with experience? Why didn't Dropbox hire a 25-year-old version of Ms Rice for their board? In the answer is a big aha moment, if you answer truthfully.#

BTW, this motto is one of the reasons I don't bother offering an opinion about who a company chooses as a board member. It's powerless to threaten to stop using a product. It's also presumptuous. I don't think any company really cares whether one or two people stop using their product. Of course they do care if a substantial portion of their users do, but you are powerless to cause that. So if you really care, just do it.#

I said on Twitter last night that Heartbleed is bigger than Watergate or the war in Iraq. I got a little pushback on that. Of course the numbers don't match up yet, but long before there were hundreds of thousands dead in Iraq, we were on an inexorable path to that. Iraq is a relatively small and contained geography, and the war started before the explosion of networking. Today, the scope of the net, things we use it for, reach into every corner of civilization. Even a slight collapse at the core of the net could disrupt things, and not in the nice way that creates 20-something billionaires. #

Look, sooner or later there will be a meltdown of the net. We were headed for that long before Heartbleed. I never said what I believed because I didn't want to be the first to say it. But we have been building more complex systems and more life-sustaining dependencies on a fragile and insecure system. The ability to do harm increases with every new dependency. When the network equivalent of Katrina happens, it will be felt everywhere. #

Imho the owners of tech are soon going to wish they didn't own it. So far it's been a very profitable thing. It's been changing for a long time, but till now the changes haven't been visible. It's hard to understand, but when we all feel it, we won't need analogies to explain it. #

Special Podcast: What the Fuck!#

Scripting News: Interapplication communication in JavaScript.#

If you're interested in how the tech game is played, you must read this piece by Ryan Tate in Wired about how Facebook is evolving. Lots of food for thought.#

Second ride of the year. 30 minutes. 4.86 miles. Serious butt hurt, but it feels great to be moving again. #

Today's background image is the Hudson River, glowing in the warm spring sunlight.#

Knicks’ plan: Re-sign Melo, bottom out, ink big free agent in 2015.#

NYT: How Badly Did the Knicks Lose This Season? Let Us Count the Ways.#

Facebook is run by someone who is comfortable with the way the pieces fit together in software, where Twitter can't manage what seems a fairly simple corner-turn. Twitter needs to evolve a new higher-level product, where the current Twitter is the machine room, the newsroom, the table in the conference room off to the side of the newsroom. They have the news system of the future, all they have to do it experiment with a variety of different styles of presentation. They would have gotten there a lot sooner with less risk if they had left the developer community alone, but they could still do it if they had a flexible, gutsy sort of Zuck or Gates at the helm. That was the power of Gates, he didn't mind shipping a shitty product, and then completely changing the way it worked based on what they learned in the market. Twitter needs to do some of that. Zuck, with a lot more to lose, seems willing to roll the dice. This seems like a replay of Microsoft versus Lotus in the early 90s. Anyway, I'm rambling (no 140-character limit here). Go read Ryan's piece. It's really worth it. #

284 retweets. That's some kind of record (for me at least).#

The NSA has exploited Heartbleed bug for years, Bloomberg reports.#

Pando: Truth lets teens send anonymous SMS to each other.#

Drew Houston on Rice's appointment to the Dropbox board.#

Pando: Why Dropbox won’t drop Condoleezza Rice from its board.#

Joe Moreno: $5,000 Security Breach.#

Can you believe it's already April 11? Tax day is next week. A couple of weeks later I have a birthday. Not a big one, but getting close. But I'm still here. Knock wood. Praise Murphy. #

First ride of the year!#

It would be so easy to pop open a window, let you write a few paragraphs, and then post a link to your tweet stream. With the new profile layout, they could even provide a list of your most recent posts. I've been wondering about this for a while. Esp now that people are basically writing blog posts in their tweet stream (e.g. Marc Andreessen, but there are others). #

It's hard to imagine something worse happening. #

And I think we're late responding to it. If this were a single system so compromised, the right technique would be to go offline and not come back until all connection points were patched or verified to not need patching. #

It's risky that we all keep using the net.#

My longtime friend Jodi Mardesich has a new job reporting for ReadWrite. #

Years ago, I used to work with a lot of reporters, largely on background, because I enjoyed being part of the news process. When I worked with Jodi, she was at the SJ Merc. Early days of the web. I had some excellent sources, and I gave her one really great story. #

My source was Woz. Apple was getting ready to fire their CEO, and replace him with Steve Jobs. Woz wanted me to get the story out leak the story. I chose Jodi as the conduit because I knew she'd tell the story well, and could be trusted to protect her sources. We've been friends a long time. Happy to welcome her back.#

I also played a small role in getting ReadWrite started. When Richard MacManus started the site, it was a Radio blog, among the first. I always feel pride at having helped them when they were getting started. #

Since I am a regular in Central Park, I see a skyline that many people don't, the one at the southern end of the park. #

It's interesting because it's rapidly developing. #

I wrote a blog post after a snowstorm in January that showed the shadow effect of the first new building to pop up.#

You can see the next huge building to go up, popping up over the GM building. It's at Park Ave and 56th St. It's going to be the tallest residential building in North America at almost 1400 feet. Super-luxury apartments. Check out the site, esp the page where you can sample the view from various levels. The one from 1271 feet is absolutely stunning.#

Scripting News: Dropbox tone-deaf? Hardly.#

Scripting News: Secret may be the next thing.#

Annotator is an open-source JavaScript library to easily add annotation functionality to any web page.#

Suggestion for browser makers. Warn users if they're on a site that's running a vulnerable version of OpenSSL.#

Today's background image, spring is approaching. #

How to have an out of body experience.#

NYT: A 'Code Death' for Dying Patients.#

Last night's blog post: Heartbleed is serious.#

E-filing of Canadian taxes shut down because of Heartbleed bug.#

Bruce Schneier re Heartbleed: "On the scale of 1 to 10, this is an 11."#

Tumblr: Urgent security update.#

Wonder why heartbleed isn't trending on Twitter?#

ZDNet: Heartbleed security patches coming fast. #

Scripting News: Question for Mac devs re Heartbleed.#

Heroku responded to Heartbleed. #

Security advisory from Amazon. Received via email at 5:47AM Eastern.#

Exemplary report from Twilio. This is the kind of disclosure we need from every company with an Internet presence.#

Software is built in layers. First programmers get something simple working, test it, then build on top of it. More testing, then more building. Build, test, build, test, over and over. This process has been going on for a long time. #

The "stack" that we use today was started in the late 1960s. We're still running software, deep in the heart of the computers we use, that was written forty years ago. #

The deeper in the stack you go, the more systems are affected, and the harder it is to fix any problems you come across. #

OpenSSL is not the deepest technology we have, but it's close. It's built into a lot of things we use all the time. The most serious problems, the hardest ones to address, will be the places where it's built-in where updates are either hard or impossible. But first we have to locate and patch all the easy places. That process began just yesterday, we hope! We don't know much about what the companies that run our services are doing. #

The worst case scenario, the one we all have to plan for, is that the management of affected companies aren't responding to the problem. This will certainly happen in some cases. If it happens at a bank, the results could be very bad. #

That's why the best thing you can do is to let the companies know that a quick competent response is necessary. This is a time when we find out which vendors are prepared for the world we live in today, or whether they have to catch up, in real-time, while their systems are vulnerable.#

Most news reports say you should change passwords on all your Internet accounts. This is not good advice, and it might even be bad advice. It certainly doesn't help if a service is vulnerable. It's like changing the lock on a door that's open. Only it's worse -- because the key to the new lock is inside the door, unprotected, available for a hacker to take. There is no physical world analogy that explains how serious this problem is. #

What you can do to help is to ask the companies whose services you use what their status is re Heartbleed. Have they discovered vulnerabilities, and if so have they been patched? Do they have any recommendations for users? Are they taking this seriously?#

I have asked the companies whose services I depend on for updates. You can and should do the same. #

For example, I asked the CTO of AWS, a service I use, "where would we look for news of Amazon's status re Heartbleed?" As a customer, you are totally entitled to know this. #

I'd especially recommend checking with your online bank, and the company that makes your desktop or mobile operating system. Have we heard anything from Apple or Microsoft about their systems, for example.#

Every company should have a web page like this one from Twilio, explaining in clear terms, what they discovered when they did an audit of their systems, and systems they rely on (because vulnerabilities can be inherited from others), and what they've done or are doing to fix any problems. This is a time for companies to be communicative with their customers and users. You are totally within your rights, and are acting responsibly if you ask respectfully what is their plan for responding to Heartbleed. #

Duh. Log on and see if there are updates available, and if so, install them. #

And pray they aren't "updates" from the People's Republic of China or the NSA. #

J&R Electronics, down by City Hall in NY, is closed. An apartment building will go up in its place.#

Daily News: J&R shutting down New York City electronics store.#

Jamaica: Ganja growers association officially launched.#

Scripting News: Heartbleed is serious.#

Scripting News: Ideas for Google Glass. #

Scripting News: What's the cost of failure?#

Today's background image -- 59th St from inside Central Park.#

I have a suggestion for new news hubs on how to increase your flow, and overcome at least some of the barriers to entry erected by your more-established competitors.#

1. Identify people on the web who are influential linkers. #

2. For each, recommend a set of feeds they should follow.#

3. Make the approach carefully, as you would with a PR campaign. #

The reason is one that's often overlooked. While RSS isn't "mainstream," the people who push links through the main stream do use RSS to keep up to date. I am one of them. I have feeds for all your competitors. It's good for you if I add your feeds to my flow. I can't link to your great stuff if I don't know about it. #

I know this is selfish. I want you to do my work for me. But they're your links, your stories, and you have a hill to climb, and I'm happy to help if you meet me half-way. #



Scripting News: How to do new things.#

Scripting News: How to display title-less feed items.#

GitHub: fargoTemplates v0.45.#

Chris Dixon: The decline of the mobile web. #

Poynter: Omidyar’s First Look Media looking to find its focus, target an audience.#

The Ultimate Guide to Solving iOS Battery Drain.#

Quartz: The markets look like they’re bracing for a gut punch.#

Today's background image is a Banksy. #

A new news site, Vox, is rolling out now, apparently claiming to have great new technology. Okay, it's hype, everyone hypes their new stuff, I do it too. But what's not okay is the NYT repeating the claim without substantiating it. This goes back to a piece I wrote late last year about how I wished the Times would respect technology as much as it does fashion, movies, food, travel, the other kinds of creativity that it covers and reviews. #

It's hard to imagine the Times covering the opening of a restaurant, saying they have superior food, without offering examples. Or giving a movie a Critics Pick, without explaining what makes it so great. It's time for tech get a chance to grow up, and until the press starts examining vendors' claims, instead of just repeating them, why shouldn't a vendor exaggerate? There's virtually no chance of them getting called on it. #

On the other hand, Vox is no ordinary product. It presents itself not only as a breakthrough in tech, it's also trying to break new ground in journalism, through an art called explainers. Which suggests the best solution is an explainer that offers justification for the claim that their CMS is far in advance of what else is available now.#

Disclaimer: Fargo, my latest product, is a content system for web sites. I'm kind of an expert on this, and I think our software could easily do what Vox is doing. Not just for their employees, but for everyone. But I might be missing what's great about Vox. #

Update: Jay Rosen provides links to background on Vox's software.#

Good morning sports fans!#

I'm working my way through Girls, and loving it. It's changing the way I look at NYC. #

However, I'm not expecting to like Silicon Valley for the same reason Elon Musk doesn't. I've lived that lifestyle, and I doubt seriously whether TV writers will have any idea what's going on. Watching people write code is very different from making music or acting. Fingers move, you take a drink, maybe pace a little. In the old days I'd play drums while waiting for a build (they happen too fast now for you to have that kind of time). Otherwise it's like watching paint dry. Doesn't mean it's not exciting, it is -- but it would be hard to convey that on TV. Hey it might be like writing a series about TV writers. #

HBO's iPad app makes you re-enter your cable operator's username/password for every show you watch. Netflix remembers your login forever. #

Today's background image, a bride in Central Park, a sure sign that spring is either here, or coming soon. #

You say things you would never say if it was "just you."#

The general press has been covering the Mozilla story the last few days, but none of them, imho have explained why this is a crucial time for Mozilla. Interestingly, if it were a sports story they probably would be able to. For example..#

When a basketball team is rebuilding, you can read about it all over sports commentary. The strategy shows up in everything they do, when they write about the Celtics, 76ers, for example, two teams that are definitely doing it, and it's in the undercurrent of what they report on the Knicks, who probably should be rebuilding. The Chicago Bulls thought they were rebuilding, but they have a spunky center who felt otherwise, and the team is in contention for something, not a championship, but likely a deep run into the playoffs.#

Mozilla, like the Knicks, should be rebuilding because this is no longer a game of big men on the inside, but rather its a smaller more agile athletic game, with computers that now fit in pockets and mount on your arm and head, and who knows where else. Mozilla, through their Firefox browser, has been dealt out of that game. And if they saw it coming, they certainly didn't react in time. Mozilla never has been very nimble. Which has actually been part of its charm. #

So who will be the Phil Jackson of Firefox, and what will he or she do with the options they have. These are much more interesting questions than the politics that are understandable to the savvy reporters, but they require an understanding of what Mozilla does, and how it fits in with the other teams in tech, both historically and in the future. #

Tech isn't really any harder than basketball to cover, you just have to get how the game works. #

I'd like to propose a new Twitter convention. #

"unsub" in reply to a directed tweet means: "thanks, i got your point." Its purpose is to tell a spammer to stop, without encouraging more spam. It's also a subtle way of saying you're being a dick, from my point of view, ymmv. #

Design flaw: Twitter only recognizes one kind of spam. Someone making a point over and over is also spamming you. Filling up your Replies tab with stuff that's either repetitive and sometimes even personal and offensive. (Those are easier to block right-off.)#

If you get an unsub -- it's also saying the very next thing to happen if you don't stop is you get blocked. #

Scripting News: My Prop 8 blog post from 2008.#

Scripting News: What if litmus tests become common?#

Today's background image is Jay Rosen speaking in Austin.#

Steve Jobs: "Tie all of our products together, so we further lock customers into our ecosystem."#

NYT: For Knicks, Mediocrity No Bar to Postseason.#

Flickr: The brides are back in Central Park.#

Jay Rosen did something interesting today, he gave a presentation that was organized and presented in Fargo, not as a presentation but as a noteblog.#

I have to admit I cringed when I saw it, because I am sure we can do much better. But Jay knew what he was doing, when I talked with him, he talked like an outliner maven. #

This has given me a lot of ideas, no conclusions yet.#

BTW, here's the video of the talk, vintage Jay -- great stuff. #

Later he said: "Asking 'what belongs under what?' turns out to be a very useful question for organizing your thoughts." #

Yesterday I wrote about how to get Emoji characters to work in Fargo, both when editing and in the rendered content. I was using Chrome. I learned later that it works in Safari. #

Here's a screen shot. #

I think last night was the end of the season for the Knicks, and it was so fitting that it ended the way it did. It had been close the whole 4th quarter, and with less than 24 secs left, the Knicks had the ball, down by 1, the Wizards with a foul to give. Melo was having the worst game of the season, but everyone else, esp JR Smith, were connecting. Melo, playing injured, should have sat and let Smith, Schumpert, Stat, Hardaway, Chandler, Felton do their thing. Instead, they did what they always do, and it's so easy to defend, even when Melo is hot -- they gave the ball to Melo and he just held it, fumbled, never passed, no movement, until the very last moment when he gave it to Smith and he took a wild shot, and missed. With good coaching they would have won. Put an arm around Melo and say this is the game when you let the team cover for you. Win or lose. I hope, I'm sure, that's what Phil Jackson is thinking today. This is no way to structure a basketball team. Every game depends on one player. It isn't reality, the Knicks have deep talent. They just need to be allowed to play. #

Farhad Manjoo asks on Twitter: "What if you had a choice between working for a CEO who shared your politics on an important issue and one who didn't?"#

Short answer: I wouldn't want to know the politics of the CEO is, and I wouldn't share my politics with the CEO if I was required to. And given recent events, I'd think carefully before doing that in the future.#

1. Otherwise it's hard for me to relate because I haven't had that many jobs. Those I've had I didn't know the politics of anyone above me in the organization. #

2. I've done more deals in my career than been hired for jobs, and in one deal, when I sold to Verisign, I was aware that their management's politics were radically different from mine. It was remarkable how well we got along, and what absolutely great business partners they were. We went out socially, became friends. I did most of the joking about the differences, they took it in stride, I imagine because more people in tech are like me than them. It was really an eye-opener.#

3. I have friends in tech who have radically different politics from me. It's a matter of pride to say we have intellectually and personally satisfying relationships without agreeing on major things. As we like to believe in the US, everyone should have an opinion, and how ridiculous it would be to think everyone has the same opinion as me. How sad, because we could never learn from each other.#

3a. I did a deal with Microsoft in the middle of the browser wars of the 1990s. You can go back and read the archive of my blog, I was very critical of Microsoft at the time. Yet they embraced working with me, and vice versa, and the result was some incredible technology. Here's the odd thing, more than a few people at Microsoft privately agreed with my criticism. That's how this works, and why it works when it does. We mix things up, learn from each other, and evolve. #

4. I've hired a fair number of people over the years as contractors and team members. How would you feel if, when interviewing, I asked a prospect's opinions on various issues, and only hired people who had an approved-of position by the tech crowd on Twitter. I'm not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure that's actually illegal in California. It's certainly, to me, un-American, and should be illegal. #

5. Young people who have lots of choices in where to work, in tech, can afford to care about the politics of their employers. People my age (58) feel very differently about this. Frankly, I'd love to have a great job where I was part of the new technology that people are using today. I want in the game Farhad, and I'm on the sidelines, and hate that. I struggle to get people to listen to me. They don't believe people my age can't have anything useful to say. So yes, I would probably happily take a great job working for someone who had political ideas that I don't support. I'd be happy to be involved and making a contribution, and making the kind of money the kids make these days. (As an aside, Facebook, run by a 20-something, hired the great architect Frank Gehry, to build their new campus. Gehry is 85. I doubt if Zuckerberg has much respect for people my age who work in software.)#

6. Now a question back at you. Have any of your employers, Slate, the WSJ or the NYT, asked your political opinions before hiring you? Did you ask them theirs? I'm pretty sure you would have walked out of the interview if they had. Now why should reporters have independence, and developers and CEOs not be afforded the same consideration? Our jobs require integrity, as much as a reporter does. When you make our employment conditional on hiding our politics, which is the inevitable outcome of this, you make it impossible for a person of principle to participate. Did anyone consider that Eich resigned rather than discuss his politics because he thinks it's none of anyone's business? That's what I would have done, in his position.#

The change we're seeing now isn't about morals or politics, or the power of a market, it's the development of a new more far-reaching media, and we're bringing the bad habits of the old media with us.#

Politicians used to be somewhat empowered to solve problems, but the pundits, what Jay Rosen calls the Church of the Savvy have put a stop to that, calling sensible stuff nonsense and vice versa. #

In the future, everyone will be a politician, and subject to the same kind of scrutiny as today's politicians. The transformation is in progress, so there are constantly new kinds of people being judged against the "values" of the savvy. Today it's CEOs of small tech powerhouses. Tomorrow it will be everyone. You.#

We thought everyone being media would be an unqualified good thing. But it's not good or bad, just bigger and more far-reaching. #

Fargo blog: Fargo 1.53.#

I wrote a blog post when Prop 8 passed. #

The Atlantic: The forced resignation of Brendan Eich will have a chilling effect on political discourse.#

NYT: "The campaign against Mr. Eich was unseemly and disturbing."#

Completely Surreal Photos Of America's Abandoned Malls.#

Susan Kare: The Woman Behind Apple's First Icons.#

The same philosophy behind Dropbox can declutter your life.#

ReadWrite: With Mozilla In Disarray, The Open Web Needs A Hero.#

17 Pun Dog Puns That Will Instantly Brighten Your Day.#

When J.R. Smith is hot, the Knicks are hot too.#

Today's background image is a composite of all the planes taking off in one day at LAX.#

I love Emojis. #

I'm on the Mac. Choose Special Characters from the Edit menu in the browser. A browser shows up with several categories. Screen shot. I can enter a character, but it displays as a square box both in Fargo and in the rendering. #

The characters in the browser are too small for my huge screen. Wish they were as big as they are on my phone or tablet. But it's great to have them here. Now we need them to work! Any help much appreciated. #

If you have an idea, choose Open comments window in the Links menu at the top of the page.#

Scripting News: Politics necessarily creates divisions.#

Eich's contribution has been immense, but a relatively quiet one. It's not just his loss, it's our loss too that he's now side-lined. If this were basketball, Eich is easily a future hall-of-famer.#

Andrew Sullivan: "If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out."#

Mozilla: Brendan Eich Steps Down as Mozilla CEO.#

Brendan Eich: The Next Mission.#

Eich is also the creator of JavaScript, a major app environment. Litmus test for open source developers? Only politically correct code?#

Today's background image is Oakland, from the air.#

Phil Jackson has no interest in coaching the Knicks.#

BTW, here's an interesting screen shot of a 2011 mockup of a River of News reader with a Twitter-like What's Happening? box at the top. Shows how simple it would be, from a UX point of view, to build a personal Twitter out of RSS. #

Also in the screen shot is a river that gracefully handles items with titles and ones without. The user doesn't notice the difference, it's all news. That's the only way that makes sense. Repeating "Untitled item" or somesuch is just annoying the user for no reason, kind of like those unnecessary unread count things -- reminding you that you are delinquent in your feed reading, or that your feeds are somehow inadequate. Software should be accommodating, not judgemental. Who cares what a machine thinks, we have enough trouble worrying about other people. #

Next on my to-do -- an explainer for feed reader developers on how to display title-less RSS items. It's easy, but not all do it well. This is preparing for the change coming in my feed.#

I also want to make a separate server that tells Fargo users when outlines have changed, for the Fargo in Workgroups feature. Most of the hits to my FargoPub server are just checking if outlines changes. It feels like this should be a separate thing, that it would (or could) be more efficient. #

© 1994-2014 Dave Winer.
Last update: Sat, Sep 20, 2014 at 5:42 PM.
Ask not what the Internet can do for you.