Today's background image is the first white rose of the season, from Libbey Koppinger.
January 1, 1998: Men Stay Silent.
In 1998 I wrote a series of pieces about gender, at the beginning of the year. I wrote about it from my point of view. I didn't try to write a news report, or represent any point of view other than my own.
I was 43 years old then. I was learning how to speak publicly, and learning in a very real way that other people put severe limits on what I could speak about. I realized these barriers had always been there, but they were becoming clearer because of the new role I was playing.
A few years before I had gone on a personal exploration of the parts of myself that were not supposed to exist, based on the culture I was raised in. I found vast territories to learn about. And I found when talking with friends, men and women, that many of them had the same dark areas. More men than women, but there were plenty of people in both genders who kept themselves confined to what was expected of them, rarely branching out into who they really are.
But men especially are supposed to be quiet. There are only a few feelings that are valid for men to have, even though we have them all. And over the intervening years, in many ways, especially in public discourse, it has gotten worse, not better.
The Internet, which I had hoped would be an instrument of freeing us from these limits, has acted in the opposite way -- it's only furthered the myth that men are strong and silent and flat. And that our anger is dangerous, and we don't have any other feelings.
Samantha Allen: Encouraging intimacy betw men might save lives.
What made me think about men and our silence was this piece by Samantha Allen. Her thesis, which has a lot of truth to it, is that men could be getting intimacy not just from a very small set of trophy women, but from everyone around us, including other men.
She also says one thing that's very wrong, that men are responsible for creating the "intimacy desert" she talks about. We all created it. Everyone. To say men put ourselves in this prison would be like saying women created eating disorders. And no one says that.
We're scared of male intimacy. So was the Santa Barbara killer. Those weren't the words coming out of his mouth, but it's still what he was saying. If he found a woman who wanted to be intimate with him, he wouldn't have known what to do with her.
Ms Allen is basically saying men should be like women. That's not going to happen and we shouldn't be trying to achieve that anyway, because we are not you. I don't see us cuddling with each other any time soon. But there are a lot of lonely men out there. Very few of us are dangerous to anyone but ourselves. You want to help? See our humanity, and stop treating us as if we are dangerous when we're not.
Women are just as bad at men as interpreting every exchange as sexual, by the way. I used to get a lot more smiles from women when I was young and skinny. Now that I have a gray beard and am pushing 60, a smile is often met with derision, sometimes verbal -- that I'm not qualified to smile at them. These are such innocent gestures, often a desperate seeking of a bit of kindness. I may be getting invisible (a complaint I often hear from women my age) but that doesn't mean my heart is dead.
Dragon V2: The SpaceX next generation space capsule.
He'd have to be crazy. Next year is an incredible buyer's market for free agents, this year, not so much. Melo could easily be the biggest star out there this year. If I were him, I'd go to Houston and team up with two other players that perfectly complement him. Maybe the Knicks could get something out of it. But this is his year to move, and the Knicks are going to suck next year too, no matter what Coach Jackson does.
It's a bad season for Melo to be sitting around idle, waiting for the Knicks plan to materialize and hoping that Dolan doesn't interfere. This is time he has to be getting his groove together with the guys he's going to win a championship with, two or three years from now. The best bet for him is to team up with James Harden and Dwight Howard.
Rex, this is exactly the kind of thing I want to work on -- making it so that you can easily publish in one place and have each place grab its own copy of what you've created and make it work, without lots of replication. What I'm writing here should be accessible to my blog readers. And everything I write on my blog should be available to people who follow me on Facebook. Without me, as a writer, having to do anything.
This appeared on Facebook, and here, thru the magic of copy/paste.
I love Emoji characters.
Support for them on the web seems spotty. And I'm not sure how to reference them when writing posts in Fargo.
Analogous to named web colors like lemonchiffon, gainsboro, cyan.
Bing! Emoji cheat-sheet. Widely supported by CMSes. Perfect!!
TMZ says it's not true that Ballmer has bought the Clippers.
LA Times: Steve Ballmer to buy Clippers for $2 billion.
Nieman: NYT is restructuring its Page 1 meetings to be more digital.
Farhad Manjoo: The Soylent Revolution Will Not Be Pleasurable.
A free idea for any publication. Use blog posts about your articles in the LTTE section. Encourages people to write about your stories.
Today's image is a delicious plate of oysters with all the trimmings!
Farhad says: "Soylent is the most joyless new tech to hit the world since we first laid eyes on MS-DOS."
I haven't laid eyes on Soylent, but I remember very well when MS-DOS was new, and there was plenty of joy to it. We were coming from a world of mainframes, the computers were far away, and owned by big companies, the government or universities. They weren't ours. And the Apple II was grossly underpowered for the kinds of applications we were trying to fit in it, when the PC came out in 1981.
The combination of all the computing power being ours to use as we pleased -- and the relative simplicity of MS-DOS, made it more than awesome. It was magical. The potential seemed unlimited. And in hindsight, what came from it was nothing less than a transformation of our culture and economy. So it's not fair to say MS-DOS had no joy. It had plenty.
My current favorite TV commercial is the new Dish commercial featuring a kangaroo with an Australian accent and a helpful but lazy and judgemental attitude. All communicated in a few simple phrases in a car with a mom and two misbehaving kids in the back seat.
The actress doing the voice of the kangaroo is Rebel Wilson. Here's an interview she did with Conan O'Brien. I love the whole thing, and I also loved the previous Hopper campaign with the Boston family.
Google self-reports on its racial and gender make-up.
No doubt there will be a lot of tweets expressing all kinds of feelings about this, but if it's anything like the other times issues like this have come up, not much will be said about what can be done about it, to change the way things work.
To the extent that there's a problem with Google itself, they are doing something, by owning up to it. This communicates internally that they want to change, and externally, extends an invitation to genders and races that are not well-represented, that Google is a good place for them to seek employment.
As a programmer, I'd like to see much more diversity in our ranks. I think this is morally the right thing to do, but more important -- it will make our software better. When only a very specific kind of person is developing tech products, they lack balance, they narrowly reflect the point of view of those people. We will do better when the people who make software are more diverse.
I don't hire people, so I can't do much to help people find jobs. But I am involved in a number of open source projects, and more are on the way, and welcome participation by people of all ages, genders and races. And I don't mean that in a lukewarm, politically correct way.
BTW, one thing I didn't see in the Google report is an indication of how old their workforce is. We still have some work to do, clearly!
Zach Seward talking about Glass.
The Flatiron School is a 12 week intensive program designed to turn you into a web developer.
This American Life, a great podcast and NPR show, distributes itself.
Or Oklahoma, if they can consistently play like the did last night. The important thing is a Miami defeat so the league can reconfigure itself around some story other than whether LeBron can three-peat or four-peat or whatever. That's too boring!
Meanwhile a news event happened in Santa Barbara, certain catnip for Fox, CNN and MSNBC, I'm sure they're "covering" it 24-by-7. But no matter, I don't watch that stuff anymore. I managed to cut off the whole time-waste, to find it completely re-assembled on Twitter, only worse. Regular people become spokesmodels only they're even more boring and offensive than the professional idiots on TV.
Doc Searls: Digging a new River for the NY Times.
Today's background image is from Sunday's Mad Men.
EFF re court ruling: "It is unfair to sue thousands of people at once, in a court far from home, based on an allegation that they joined a BitTorrent swarm."
Hot Tub Cinema in Williamsburg.
It's also totally not in tune with the times. With climate change, we should be trying to conserve resources not be profligate with them.
The right way to approach this is to have two permanent installations, like the United Nations, and rather than build a new venue each time, just re-use the one we have.
PS: Because of climate change, it might be hard to find a permanent place to have the winter Olympics.
Sometimes in movies or TV shows, the music or the actors' reactions make claims that the story can't support. A dramatic build for something boring or stupid. At the end of this wonderful scene, Don has to sit down, he's so in awe. And so are we. The music resumes, the credits roll. Wow.
This Washington Post piece explains that the Supreme Court said Florida couldn't execute a retarded inmate, but they don't say why.
But I don't get why the special treatment just because someone is intellectually limited? Is it because it's not possible for them to participate in their own defense, making it more likely that we'll kill an innocent person?
That is, by the way, why I am opposed to the death penalty. Even one innocent person executed by the state is so reprehensible as to make the penalty impossible to implement, aside from the lunacy of the whole act.
I saw this picture on Facebook.
Vanity Fair: “If you want to know what God thinks of money, look at the people he gives it to.”
Jim Rohn: "If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much."
NYDN profile of Lance Stephenson, a product of NYC playground basketball.
Om Malik: Why is Mike Hudack so mad at media?
A friend is giving a commencement speech and asked (generally, of lots of her friends) if there were any things you wish you had done when you were younger, that might serve as good advice for people in their early 20s, graduating from college.
2. If you can afford it, see a therapist for at least a few years. The earlier the better, because memories of your childhood are still fresh. The reason to do it is to find out who you are beneath the stories people tell about you, and the stories you tell yourself. No matter how "normal" you feel, you brought issues with you from childhood, lots of em!
3. Have tons of safe sex. When you're young your body is built for it. It's the best free legal drug you can do, ever -- and you get to share it with people you like (I hope). Like massage, it's a skill, which if you develop, will serve you your whole life.
Farhad Manjoo: Amazon's Tactics Confirm Its Critics' Worst Suspicions.
Donald Sterling reportedly hands control of LA Clippers to wife.
Seth's Blog: Conventions and expectations.
Kinsley asked a question that some people don't want to hear. But if ever you needed proof that the question needs to be asked, it's here in this Gawker piece about the debate between WikiLeaks and Greenwald about whether a specific piece of information should be leaked. The name of a country.
A few people when they read this on my site assumed I was saying that Greenwald shouldn't be the person, but if you read my piece a bit more carefully you'll see I didn't say that, nor did I imply it. Just that it's worth thinking about. Maybe someday there will be a person deciding those questions who you are not comfortable with. There are already people who don't like that Greenwald is the arbiter. Okay you like Greenwald, how do you feel about Julian Assange?
And here's the real question -- use your imagination. Is there anyone you can think of who you would not want to be deciding that. That's all. I'm not providing an answer. I know people like things tied up neatly, so they can call you a Republican asshole or a liberal wimp or a person who's clueless about new stuff, or whatever. You know that's all a bedtime story. Nothing is that neat or simple. Sorry.
Greenwald, for all his flaws, still might be a good person to decide these things. All I know is that the ideal person would be forthcoming when asked how he arrived at his decision, and not have his first impulse be to smear the question-asker. That makes me uncomfortable.
Interesting rant by Facebook director of product Mike Hudack.
And a response by Matt Yglesias at Vox.
I disagree. It's the news industry's fault. They were given a lot of time to compete with Twitter and Facebook for being the Internet front page for news, and they all punted. They actually promoted Twitter and Facebook as the place to sign up to get their latest. That was a huge mistake.
When Twitter started owning the news cycle, that's what they call in business a "competitive threat." You can choose to respond or not respond. But if you don't respond, you pretty much always lose. It's like getting sued and not showing up in court.
There are lots of business school case studies about whole industries that failed to respond to a competitive threat. The railroad industry had no response to the airline industry. The US postal service didn't respond to email. The music industry and iTunes. And the news industry didn't respond to Twitter.
How to tell if something is competitive: If you could use their product instead of yours, it's competitive. In this case Twitter was competing with the antiquated concept of a news front page. Instead they gave users the stream underneath the front page. News doesn't actually have a daily pulse, that's a constraint imposed on it by the print medium, that had to deliver news on paper, using delivery trucks driven by people. They could only deliver a periodic snapshot of the river. But with Internet connectivity becoming almost ubiquitous, the stream itself has taken the place of the snapshot. It's really a simple change. It could be programmed in days. Why they don't do it already -- I just don't understand. But then the rail companies didn't understand that airlines were more or less doing the same thing they were.
Unbelievably, there's still time, because Facebook hasn't really arrived in news, and Twitter is just sitting there, as paralyzed, apparently, as the news industry. We hear from Facebook either competitive noises, or genuine frustration. Maybe a bit of both. One thing is for sure the tech industry has competitive juice. And they will own the front page of the news industry unless the news industry itself starts showing a little industry.
Update: Cross-posted on Facebook, because the thread originated there.
Michael Kinsley reviews No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald.
People get so sanctimonious about Kinsley being corrupt or stupid or clueless, but don't they see he has a point? The government does have secrets that must remain private. The launch codes for the missiles, for example. The passwords that allow you to upload viruses to Air Force One. Someone has to decide. Do I feel better that Glenn Greenwald seems to be that person? No! He's a jackass. I mean seriously. This guy stonewalls straight questions in ways that would make Dick Cheney blush. If this is what it's come to, that we're dependent on the judgement of a guy like that, yes it does deserve a piece in the NYT. Maybe people should find out who Greenwald is before they get so huffy.
Jon Glick calls it platishing. A mashup of platform and publishing.
Jason Pontin says it's okay if you like what Forbes did. (I don't.)
Conde Nast is changing Traveler to become a platform.
I've been urging news organizations to do this since 2000.
Read this excellent Mike Arrington rant from 2012. A few minutes after I read it, something dawned on me. You know that idea if you can't find the product then you're the product? That's optimistic. You're not the product. Your writing, your photographs, your relationships, that's the product. You're as important as yeast in the beer-making process. Completely fungible. One yeast is as good as the next. What the tech industry is thriving on is your output. The stuff that you think is so valuable, your vacation pictures, pictures of your cat, your kid's graduation, to them that's the gold.
“Kilgore Trout once wrote a short story which was a dialogue between two pieces of yeast. They were discussing the possible purposes of life as they ate sugar and suffocated in their own excrement. Because of their limited intelligence, they never came close to guessing that they were making champagne.”
So there's a whole spectrum of platishes possible. At one extreme, the Sulzbergers have a great one that's served them for a long time. The writers are glorified, they're the best at what they do. Smartest. Best connected. Well-paid. It's exclusive. Medium is closer to the writer-as-yeast model. Inclusive. Anyone can post. Yet still it has the aura of quality.
I really believe in continuity in software, and if people have learned how to do something one way, it's best if future versions do it the same way. In this case, the reason is entirely historic. If outliners were new today, we'd probably do all the keyboard-based reorganizing commands with the arrow keys, as Joseph suggests.
Here's the history. The first version of my outliner that was visual, i.e. not built around a command-line user interface, was on the early Apple II. It only had two arrow keys, left and right. We needed to provide for four directions, move to previous sibling, next sibling, out one level, and in one level. So the arrow keys were out. Therefore U, D, R and L.
We did support the full set of arrow keys in the IBM PC version. And then Apple played more mischief with keyboards on the first Mac, which we developed for. It had no cursor keys at all! An oversight (ahem) that was fixed with the Mac Plus in 1986.
The best part is where Katy Perry does this really sexy thing with her shoulders and eyes. It's hard to describe, it's very hot. But the whole commercial is very attractive and interesting.
A #throwbackthursday picture, me, on the left with the freaked-out look, mom, Eve Winer and newborn brother, Peter Winer sometime in late 1958 or early 1959. Caption: First-born child not altogether pleased with no longer being an only child.
Michael Lopp: I Think in Outlines.
Probably the nicest most generous post ever written about me.
Guy Kawasaki: If I Were 22.
Kottke: HBO shows on Amazon Prime today.
Fantastic website documenting a single episode of The West Wing.
Lance Stephenson fined $5,000 for flopping.
Great interview with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
Mathew Ingram ran a piece saying Twitter is censoring.
Dan Gillmor says if it's not a government doing it, it's not censorship.
1. When a service becomes a standard form of communication that can't be substituted with some other form of communication, when they deprive someone of the ability to use it, I think that is censorship. Rules of business apply differently for companies with monopolies. So do legal and linguistic concepts.
2. In this case, Twitter is acting on behalf of governments. So even if you don't buy that Twitter is doing it, a government is forcing Twitter to do it (the alternative is to black out the whole country). So it's an act of censorship, even within Dan's definition.
Note: I wrote this in response to a user's question on a mail list.
In the case of Fargo as a website editing tool, the path of least resistance is a chronology -- otherwise known as a blog.
I recommend using it that way for a bit, poke around under the hood (use the suitcase icon in the left margin) -- and you'll pretty quickly see how it works.
Trying to learn how it works from the docs is not a great idea.
The conventional belief is that the new tech companies have wisdom that's informed by the future, and the 20th century versions of those companies are stuck in the mud, destined to be replaced by the newcomers. But every company gets stuck. People want to keep their jobs. You have to make your bosses look good. That means not rocking the boat. Try all you want to make a different kind of organization, that's what you're stuck with. Every captain of industry has hit this wall. Some sooner than others.
The lesson is this -- and it's a hard one. Look for people who you think are abrasive and piss off everyone in your management structure, but whom most people agree, have an understanding of what you do. And then find a way to incorporate that person's thinking in what you do. Accept the organizational angst as better than the drifting that happens otherwise.
Fargo blog: Fargo 1.59.
March: The "noteblog" format.
Updated the Fargo templates repo with the new stream template.
Metropolitan Museum of Art releases 400K images into the public domain.
It can be rough road for readers on the Scripting frontier. We're still diggin, but sometimes there's a good idea among the not-great ones. And sometimes a good idea is rough in its first incarnation. So you hack away at the edges. Flip a default. Add a version number, try not to break too much.
Anyway, there's a new version of this site here now. It's quieter and easier to read. And I think will help set the bar for the new noteblogging sites that are starting to pop up. And it'll be easier to make one with Fargo.
There are all sizes of "content," and we need tools that allow things to start small and grow, yet still remain approachable. That's the challenge of having both news and explainers. To have the story make sense to a newcomer, yet still provide the detail that someone who's seriously interested needs. That's why outlining works so well, and why it will be integrated into all forms of online communication. It also works incredibly well in a mobile context.
Font Awesome: Stacking Text and Icons.
April 7: How to display title-less feed items.
Frédéric Filloux: Time to Rethink the Newspaper. Seriously.
Spoiler-filled recap of last night's Mad Men.
If you want the attention of reporters, you really either have to work for someone with a lot of money, or be someone with a lot of money. If that were to change somehow, I think the world would change. Not sure if it would be better or worse, but it would be different.
In 2005 when she was Managing Editor, and I was a fellow at Berkman Center, there was a roundtable conference, about 50 people, at the Kennedy School, about the convergence of blogging and journalism. The purpose of the conference was to put bloggers and pros in the same room and have them get to know each other.
My impression: We all talked over each others' heads. Abramson engaged with me at one point, with everyone watching, and asked if I knew how much the Times spent on their Baghdad bureau. I didn't know. She said it was $2 million per year. I didn't say anything. I wasn't surprised. I had run a couple of companies, and I know how much employees cost, and office space, and could imagine that expenses for people working in such a dangerous place would be high. I was actually surprised they could do anything at all for $2 million per year.
I decided not to get into an argument, because the distance was too far. But if I had this is what I would have said. We have hundreds of people on the ground in Iraq, and in every other war zone, all of them sharing their personal experiences. Most of them a lot more newsworthy (imho) than what your excellent correspondents are reporting, because everything they witness is in the context of an American far from home in a dangerous strange place. A valid perspective for sure, but far from the only one.
At the meeting, I felt that we bloggers generally respected what the pros do, and certainly never questioned their right to exist (I don't, I want more news not less). They responded to us as if everything we did or said was a challenge to their existence. We felt unappreciated. We wanted to work with them, but the doors were closed. That was my experience with Jill Abramson. Someone who was very sure of herself, and impressive in that, but not a good listener. The barriers were way too high. The curiosity, in my experience of her, not accessible.
In Nick Bilton's NYT column today, Marc Andreessen says it's time to grow beyond 140. Amen. As I've said many times here, it was a good idea and necessary to boot up Twitter, in the beginning -- but the limit has outlived its usefulness. For a million reasons, it's time to grow.
First increase the limit, optionally -- so every user can stay with the limit if they like. They have a choice whether or not to see greater-than-140 messages, or have them truncated, or wtf go ahead and raise the limit. Eventually every one who's paying attention will do it.
And also, very important, open the limit to external apps, so Twitter can re-capture some of the potential they lost when they shut down the devs. Let a thousand content-type flowers bloom and let Twitter carry them all.
In a Facebook thread, news pro turned academic John Robinson observes that the Jill (Abramson) vs Art (Sulzberger) story hasn't made it to national level yet. To which I responded...
John they haven't decided what the story is there. It's a problem. People need to be able to "debate" something, and by debate I mean express their view of the world as being unjust to people such as themselves (and the person we're talking about if they are like them, or the people who are oppressing them if not). The world is a perpetual moral play, in which the audience gets to throw virtual vegetables and fruit of their outrage at their target of choice, from the comfort of their desk or with the latest innovation, a mobile device! Gives them something to do between Tinder meetups.
Podcast about front pages.
This is where the newsroom is headed, imho: Hypercamp.
Doc Searls: Let’s pull news out of its hole.
The owner of a French newspaper wants to turn it into a media hub, with TV station, start-up incubator, cultural center and cafe. The reporters are unhappy! But it's a great idea. Bring the people into the newsroom. Break down the walls. It's painful to learn you're no longer elite. But that's reality with news reporting in 2014. The NY Times report is skeptical. But look who's writing it.
How are we going to get stories where regular people can have good ideas, and communicate them to other people. Forget about the big corporations. They have plenty of ways to get the same story out through cloistered newsrooms. I'll hear about what they do, not worried about that.
Also, this is how we get from the current library-like newsroom to what I think of as the ideal, hypercamp. Or as close to ideal as I can imagine until the real thing boots up.
All around us these days a new kind of blogging is booting up, created by Twitter's 140-character limit. If you have something to say and it doesn't fit, put it in a GIF and link to that from the tweet. Twitter will show everyone the image, without them having to go anywhere.
PS: A future James Burke is going to have a great time with this.
TechCrunch: The Once And Future Web Platform.
The background image for its time and place. Fits right in there.
The feature was added on March 25.
The ISPs and entertainment companies want to restrict the flow of the Internet for their own purposes. It would make some sense, if they had developed the Internet, but they didn't. It was paid for by US taxpayers. It was a good investment, as long as it doesn't get foreclosed on. Funny thing is I don't remember when we took out a mortgage on the Internet from these guys?
If the ISPs and entertainment companies want to control the flow of something, they should invent it first, and then invest in it to make it work, and pay for the dead-ends and failures, and then if they can make it work, let's talk about restricting its flow for their profits.
The companies spending the most money to kill net neutrality.
Snapshot of my Twitter desktop taken at a random time.
Proposition: The New York Times home page needs a re-think.
Here's an OPML file with all the NYT feeds I could find, in Oct 2012.
Here's what I'm using now, designed years ago. Surely you can do better!
Share a pointer to your work with this hashtag: #nytfeedfun.
I thought this cartoon would be of interest.
BTW, this feature is already in my Fargo-based noteblogging software.
I offer it in the spirit of only steal from the best.
A challenge to NYT people. Read your own news flow through my river for a few days. It'll give you ideas.
NYMag: Why Sulzberger Fired Abramson.
They are an organization in disarray and what they're doing doesn't work long-term, and they've known this most of their careers, and that makes it tough for people to get along, because everyone has different ideas about what should be done about it. Also different ideas about what's sacred and not. An organization like Y sanctity matters more than in many other organizations.
It's the same reason most organizations and families are dysfunctional. We're all playing a losing game. None of us knows what it means, or what the rules are. Or even the goal! So we're perpetually confused. All of us, all the time. For brief periods we can put our heads down and focus on something small that makes sense, so we play with that until something comes along that wakes us up and we have to deal with the confusion.
Washington Post has a great piece about why why Steve Kerr made the smart move. Here's why. You're a rookie coach, and you get a chance to coach a young highly talented wonderful team like the Warriors, or -- you get to step into a huge stinking pile of shit with a guy presiding over it who doesn't even know it's a stinking pile of shit (Dolan, not Jackson), and it's a no-brainer.
I have a friend in Calif who thinks Mark Jackson would make the perfect coach for the Knicks. Maybe so. He has franchise memory. Pride in the blue and orange. But is Mark Jackson a Triangle Offense guy? Maybe Coach (Phil) Jackson will have to coach after all?
March 2006: "I'm so tired of people talking about how their mother wouldn't understand something. I've been hearing this for 20 years, and it's sexist and ageist, and wrong and unfair, and how about let's get rid of this offensive idea. I'd never say that about my mother, who has a PhD, and is pretty smart. I certainly wouldn't want to encourage her helplessness! At one point I leaned over to Tara Hunt and expressed this sentiment. Then I realized that she's a mom, and said so. I wonder how many mothers were in the room and how they feel about always being held up as the paragon of cluelessness."
A Facebook photo album of the early NYC blogosphere.
Today's ride: 6 miles, 33 minutes.
Well they got me to root for the Nets, just a little. But it would have been embarrassing if the Nets had somehow won the series. Then what? The Wizards vs the Nets for the Eastern Division of the NBA, or the title of the D League? Maybe after this the two ex-Celtics will go back to Boston or somewhere else they're wanted, if they can find such a place, maybe then we can take another look at the Nets.
It's really exciting that Dropbox announced a new Webhooks feature.
You could now write an app that had no code running on the desktop or in the browser that performed a drag-and-drop function on a folder in Dropbox. For example drop a text file with Markdown in it, and it's rendered in HTML by a centralized app, and published to the web.
The idea of outlines-in-websites is starting to get some interest, after many years of development. What it took was people with an open mind, a will to experiment, to innovate -- in other words the team at Quartz. The result got people saying things like this: "Finally a digital journalism innovation which is actually that."
The innovation is this: The Quartz editors are using outline structure to write their blog and we're using it to read. They took the first step. I want others to do the same so we can put our heads together and do more. There's lots of room to grow here.
Fargo does, but so do most other outliners. We're not by any means alone in this category. It's been around for a long time, going all the way back to the Mother of All Demos. I shipped my first commercial outliner, ThinkTank, in 1983. Since then everything I've done, blogging, podcasting, programming -- all of it, has been built with and around outlining. The blogosphere was originally conceived and implemented as a structure of outlines. So even though what we'll do will be new, the ideas are not. But they are potent.
There is also a really good connection with WordPress, although expanding and collapsing does not go across this link. OPML is an open format. You can see what we do by looking at the files we store in your Dropbox folder. Drag them into a text editor and look around. Nothing is hidden from you. This is one of my strongest values as a developer. It's like a doctor's oath of "First do no harm." Or attorney-client privilege. In software the rule is you get your data. a
Docs: What is Little Outliner?
Fargo blog: Little Outliner 1.40.
Short ride: 23 minutes, 4.13 miles.
The commissioner of the NBA had to say something yesterday about the interview Donald Sterling gave to CNN, and it didn't fit into 140 characters. So they posted an image of the statement on Instagram and distributed links to that.
I feel like a foodie living in a world where everything has to be able to be served by McDonalds in order for people to eat it (which isn't far from the truth of course). I have a kitchen where I cook the nicest meals, and they can cost $0, as normal longer-than-140-character text does, but no one will see it because it has to fit through a 140-character pipe that isn't really 140-characters if you can translate your words to JPG, which is very inefficient and inflexble way to ship text.
I just have to say this as a technical guy, there's no reason they can't broaden the pipe to include longer bits of text. I can only imagine the reason is management paralysis at Twitter. No one who has an idea how to do it is empowered to do it. Something like that.
Yesterday Ars Technica had a story saying that YouTube's RSS feed service was broken. There apparently has been no announcement from Google. My first reaction was this has to be a bug. Of course it would be helpful, if the change is intentional and permanent, that Google make a simple announcement to that effect.
Vimeo still supports per-user feeds. For example, here's my page on Vimeo. And down the left edge are links to my feeds. In this screen shot, the arrow points to a feed of my subscriptions. I think you can see it. Here's the feed itself. I had been using YouTube for my videos, because it seemed to be the standard place to host videos. But if this change from YouTube is real, services like Vimeo will quickly become the standards.
Also, if Facebook wanted to make inroads here, they could offer RSS of videos I upload there. I can't imagine they'd lose a lot of users if they did, and doing so would probably create some new developers, and products that mainly work with Facebook. This is what Google appears to be walking away from.
Fargo docs: Setting up a Fargo noteblog.
Today's ride: 37 minutes, 6.22 miles.
BTW, Quartz is running their own Fargo Publisher installation.
If you want to read about Fargo, have a look here.
Here's a tutorial that shows how the outliner works.
It requires Dropbox. That's where your outlines are stored.
And if you want to use it, it's free -- and you can set up a blog just like Zach did.
It's so subtle you might miss it, if you weren't a regular reader of Scripting News (this blog).
But there's an odd one at the end of the list. A pound sign, or hash mark, it has a number of names. It's a permalink to the item you're reading. When you want to point someone to an individual bit on the site, click the link, copy it from the browser's address bar, and send it.
Fargo: Setting page title on deep links.
Rex Hammock: Why the Creator of Mothers Day Wanted to Abolish It.
Brent Simmons: What Happened at NewsGator. "The RSS company."
A new Scripting News snarky slogan -- "So, it has come to this."
Yesterday I commented on a NYT internal plan for its digital future because it said nothing about bringing users into the masthead. That, imho, has been the challenge for the news industry since the web became the primary way for people to get news.
The new technology broadens the pipes to infinite size compared to what they were in the print era, yet the news organizations are all still structured as if the pipes hadn't changed much in size or shape.
Why hasn't tech broken out of this? Possibly because they're just as scared of the future that does not include a controllable insider press, or what Jay Rosen calls the Church of the Savvy. The church rules in tech news just as it rules in politics.
Would a political leader today really want reform of the press around the realities of the Internet? Would an installed tech leader? I guess it depends on how gutsy one is, and ambitious, and willing to break with the past.
I was talking with a few VCs in the months before NewsGator got funded, about starting a company around RSS. Little did I know that while we were talking they were putting this new company together, around a guy who had written an Outlook plug-in that turned feeds into mailboxes.
First I heard of NewsGator was in their press release. To me, it was a pretty empty feeling, to have put all this effort into RSS thinking there would be commercial opportunities, to be ready to start developing a real engineering team around the ideas, instead of the seat-of-the-pants approach you have to take when it's your own time and money.
I guess there's some satisfaction that in the end it didn't work for them. I always wondered what the VCs were thinking. They had a chance to work with the guy who was driving adoption, who had the relationships with the publishers, and had a roadmap already worked out. Instead they went with a nice guy who thought RSS was email.
Cameron Hocking: Fargo in Education. In Australia.
Michael Roth: Young Minds in Critical Condition.
NY Daily News profile of Steve Kerr, prospective NY Knicks coach.
The NYT published an internal memo, reviewed by Mathew Ingram at GigaOm. I read the memo. Couldn't find anything substantial in it. But the memo could have been very short. This is what they need to do.
Start right now. As Reagan appealed to Gorbachev -- tear down this wall! Not talking about the paywall, the editorial wall.
In all the discussion about Apple's acquisition of Beats, people say Steve Jobs said people wanted copies of the music they listen to, not to have it streamed. I know what he means, but if he were alive today I think he'd see it differently.
I'm the same age he would be. In the world we grew up in, we had copies of the music. First on vinyl, then cassettes, then CD. We felt there was value in every album, if not every song. The music I loved back then I still love today, but I already have copies of all that stuff. Anything I really care about that is.
The new stuff is great, but it's also quickly exhausted, so who cares about having a copy of it. Good example is the excellent Pharrell tune Come Get It Bae. When it first came out I couldn't get enough of it. I listened until I couldn't stand it any more. Then something terrible happened, it became the theme song of the TNT coverage of the NBA playoffs. And the tune playing behind a very frequent Red Bull commercial. Even worse, each of the versions was a bastard remix to take out the things they didn't want for whatever their purpose was. As if no one had heard a song that everyone was listening to.
Now, you think I want a copy of that song? Hahaaa. No I do not. But I'm glad to have copies of all the old Prince classics. And the Doobie Brothers. I just saw mention of them on Facebook, and had a listen to Black Water. What an excellent song. I don't care if the kids like it. Now get off my lawn!
Another example, a user was concerned that Fargo would be affected by all the crazy stuff with the Java API because of Oracle's lawsuit with Google over Java.
PS: This sniffy page on the Java website is a little out of date.
BuzzFeed: Meet The Man Who Invented The Browser Tab.
Today's ride: 47 minutes, 7 miles.
Today's background image is a photo of a flower bed in Central Park.
All of a sudden we need a rich query facility, that allows one to only look for domains that are under a certain price, and under a certain length -- and available, now, not sunrise or landrush or whatever. I don't have time for all that michegas.
Yesterday I did a 1/2 hour interview with a reporter from NPR. The result is scheduled to air on Monday morning. First, it's very unusual for me to be on NPR. I've only been on a couple of times. I love doing radio though. It's why I like podcasting so much.
The topic was unusual, outlining! And specifically, using outliners to both write and read web content. Just like you're reading this post, if you're reading it on my site.
I got to say things that I never get to say publicly, but really want to. How we're chipping away at the edges trying to figure out how to present structured information to users in small spaces. The one-off approaches are good for simple unstructured information. A scroll of pictures, for example, works really well. But try navigating a blog structure without using an outline. Not very good. That's why I think the existing blogging software has gotten stuck.
I realized early in my career that computers organize information in hierarchies. Everywhere you look, there they are. So why not invest in a core tool that edits and browses hierarchies really well. That's the idea behind outlining. It really works. There are many people who don't believe it, smart people, but I think most of them haven't tried it. That's the thing about new ideas, they rarely make sense until you use them. That's why adoption takes so long. Not because the ideas are elusive, rather it takes a long time to get people to look. If the idea is any good it snaps into your mind right away.
Now I'd be surprised if most of that comes through in the edited version of the interview. But for some people it will. NPR is a good place to tell this story, because their listeners tend to be the kind of people who are open to new ideas. The NY Times is good too, that's why when the first review of ThinkTank appeared there in 1983, it launched my little company to success. These little bits of press can be really important.
I have a system I created a long time ago that flows pictures out of Flickr into an archive on Amazon S3. So I have two ways of storing the pictures I care about. This is important to me, because otherwise the pictures are locked in a silo.
I use Flickr for a couple of reasons: 1. They have a good UI for uploading pictures. 2. I started using it long before there were other options, so it already has my archive. If I were to start using another service, my archive would be split.
But the other day I got an email from Flickr saying their API would switch to requiring HTTPS. This will kill the app that does the archiving because it's running in a system that does not easily support HTTPS. I can't really do anything about that. I could rewrite the code in another environment that supports HTTPS more easily, but as long as I'm rewriting it, I'll just rewrite for another photo management system.
Why? Because even though I feel a certain loyalty to Flickr, and I pay them $50 a year for the service, and presumably the links into Flickr will break when I stop paying them, I don't like what they're doing with the service. And other services are free and have APIs, so there's that. But mostly I don't like being forced to change a system that works effortlessly for me, because I made a substantial investment a number of years ago in making it effortless. Throwing out that work is expensive for me. And I'm sure the deprecating is just beginning. So goodbye. I'm sure they won't miss me either, so this isn't an attempt at negotiation.
While on the topic, what sense does it make to put RSS feeds behind a secure interface? These are public things. And it has the same disadvantage. It cuts the feeds off from people who could use the news. A good example is Dropbox's news feed. I should subscribe to it because I have a product that builds on Dropbox. I'm sure I miss important stuff because I'm not subscribed. But again, the environment my scripts run in don't easily support HTTPS. I could invest the time in retrofitting HTTPS into the system, or porting it elsewhere, but I'm lazy, I guess. Or too busy to do optional make-work.
I read a post by a longtime friend Reese Jones that I found confusing, but I think the gist of it was this: The climate changes all the time, and in the past the changes were n0t caused by humans. The climate is cyclical. An asteroid hitting the planet or a large volcano can trigger the kind of change we're seeing now.
Of course I believe that's true. I've read the recent book by Elizabeth Kolbert on the six great extinctions. The book is all about natural events that caused huge catastrophic change in the climate.
Further, someone who gets cancer can't know whether it was environmental factors that caused it, or human behavior, but it doesn't matter. You change your behavior to increase the likelihood of a better outcome. As we are with human-caused climate change. We're not doing nearly enough, we must do more. I don't there's any rational argument that says otherwise.
Mac Rumors: Apple in Talks to Acquire Beats for $3.2 B.
Quartz: Amazon granted patent for photos on a white background.
Today's background image is a picture of Knicks players Jeremy Lin and Carmelo Anthony.
The idea was pretty simple. I wanted to be able to edit my stories in Fargo, but publish them in Medium. We hadn't yet developed the CMS for Fargo, and I was trying to see if we could just use Medium for that purpose. They never answered, so I guess the answer was no.
Now I'm using Facebook much more than I used Medium, and had a similar idea. I'd still like to be able to use my editor to write my stories, but it would be easier for the people who follow me on Facebook if they could read the stories there.
It would be a great thing because it would allow new forms of content to develop alongside Facebook. Writers would be able to avoid tough choices. I think the innovation that would result from this would blow everyone away, because it's been so long since we've had that kind of opportunity. Big writing platforms like Facebook and Twitter have been sopping up most of the writing, because they deliver the most readership. But they aren't exactly innovating in writing or reading structures.
But I think we can have our cake and eat it too. And today most of the growth would accrue to Facebook anyway, they're in the best position to deliver readers to writers. But like every other tech company, they need a steady flow of new ideas, and that's not so easy to come by. That's what I think the result would be.
PS: As a demo, I posted the full text of today's Jeremy Lin piece to Facebook. Of course the synchronization link doesn't exist (yet!) so any updates will not appear on the Facebook side. But with a little technical glue, easy stuff really, the updates would flow.
I loved the story of Jeremy Lin so much that it renewed my interest in the NBA. Until Linsanity, I had only been watching the NBA finals, occasionally going to a game at the Garden when I visited New York, mostly for the nostalgia rather than with any interest for the sport or the teams. I had been a Knicks fan in the glory years in the late 60s and early 70s. My grandfather worked near the Garden and had season tickets. Going to Knicks games was something we did together, so it was pretty special.
Lin renewed my interest because of the story. Smart Harvard kid from Palo Alto, both places I have a connections with. I loved the idea of someone breaking the pattern and achieving success despite not coming up the normal way. Lin hadn't been anyone's pick for Rookie of the Year, or a featured college player. He wasn't drafted out of college by any NBA team. He was barely holding on, about to get rejected when he caught fire. It was the kind of story they used to make movies about.
The racism Lin's success spawned was greater and more widespread than anything Donald Sterling said. It's so much more dangerous, because as has been pointed out by NBA commentators, the NBA is largely a black league. In that dimension the NBA is a model of people working together across racial barriers. But this was not so for Asians as was made very clear by the open and largely unpunished racism that Lin evoked, and the quiet and more subtle kind that's hard to prove.
What was especially sweet about Lin was how he drew people of Asian background to the Knicks during the Linsanity period. There are a lot of Asians in NYC. My old neighborhood in Queens is now one of the largest Chinese communities outside of Asia. Today's Asian kids, people of Jeremy Lin's generation, accomplish so much in all areas, and now in athletics too. Their pride was wonderful to see. Again, the stuff of schmaltzy hard-to-believe movies.
So when we fix the problems with the Clippers, maybe we can also have a look at the Knicks. Their owner, James Dolan, is very much still there, and unchallenged about what happened in that period. Why isn't Lin still on the Knicks? I would love to hear more about that, both as a Knicks fan, and as a human being.
The Clippers problem for the NBA gets more interesting.
She wants to keep owning the team. What can the NBA do about this, and why should do they do anything. She's not her husband.
Hipster Domain Finder. #1 cool site!
Al Jazeera: Emails reveal close Google relationship with NSA.
It's time for a new acronym: CTFL, derived from RTFM. So many times people make ignorant comments forgetting there's a fucking 140-char limit on Twitter. The link is there for a reason. If you're puzzled by what the message says, Click The Fucking Link. Thank you.
NYU Local: NYU Prof Says NYU Local Makes Students Look Bad.
As a former Visiting Scholar at the Arthur Carter Journalism Institute at NYU, I love NYU Local. My area of study was and is blogging. We were looking for examples of sites that cover the local community. This site and EV Grieve stood out as the best, in my opinion.
I love the feeling of the blog posts at the Old Reader website.
These guys love RSS, and their ego is involved, and that's a good thing. I wish all vendors of RSS-related products had this feeling. But most of them are either quiet, or feel they are the New Google Reader, that is, the 800-pound gorilla that dominates the market. Or at least they respond that way when asked to work with others.
RSS has a new mission, to not only be a "feed reader" but to be the backbone of the news system of the future. Twitter took on that role for a number of years, and hasn't done much with it. There was nothing RSS could do as long as Google dominated. But that era is over, has been for almost a year.
Now we have a way of modeling the essay-style site that Google Reader insisted on (and is implemented by WordPress and Tumblr and others), and the linkblog format that Twitter has popularized (which is a descendant of the original blog format, and del.icio.us, and other link management sites), and the hybrid feed that has both, like the new Scripting News feed.
If you're a developer of feed-reading tools, start to think about what you can do with the new linkblog format. If you want some ideas, have a look at my rivers, they're in the Rivers menu at the top of every page on my blog. Then have a look at Twitter. And then get creative!
If you see your name on my blog, you'll know I'm listening. But first you have to say something.
Fargo blog: I did some work on my noteblog.
Matt Mullenweg: New Funding for Automattic. $160 million.
Laktek: Really Simple Color Picker in jQuery.
The Old Reader: What Not Dying Looks Like.
Sometimes my random slogan generator comes up with a good one.
Another really great random slogan combo.
Businessweek: Russia Moves Toward China-Style Internet Censorship.
Today's ride: 42 minutes, 7.15 miles.
The driver's license for the Internet idea sounds terrible at first, until I remembered they already have it. In New York State, it's your actual driver's license. I used it to get my ObamaCare. If you think about it, it would be good if you had one ID that got you onto the IRS website, or your health insurance, or driver's license, or even to vote. We're going to need that, in fact we already do. I don't think it's any more controversial than having a Google or Facebook ID. At least the government is somewhat accountable to us. The companies are only accountable to their shareholders (and the government of course).
I wish he had been around to help when we were getting his idea off the ground. He could have helped us with his inventiveness, to try to figure out how to get people to do it. He also could have helped us figure out how to make it happen without any single company owning it, so that users would be free to listen to podcasts whenever and however they wanted.
I wish the EFF, who is defending podcasters against this lunacy would argue reality instead of the way they're approaching it. The reality is that podcasting couldn't exist until blogging and RSS already existed. So it couldn't have happened before 2001, when Adam and I were hanging out in his suite at a Manhattan hotel and eating pastrami at the Carnegie Deli.
See, I was actually there when podcasting was born. This is one of the rare times when you can find the moment when the idea sprang into existence. It was a result of some weird chemistry between Adam and myself. He had a nutty idea that everyone was wrong about how media on the Internet would work. I thought he was an airhead, a hairdo, not too bright. It was only when I got the Aha! to it, that I saw how it could work, and how incredibly simple an idea it was. He had to explain it about eight times before I got it.
The guy who claims he owns podcasting did none of the hard creative work and evangelism it took to make this thing happen. That he wants to reap all the financial rewards is unbelievably greedy and unfair. It also is ignorant that technology is developed, not invented. Esp something built out of such simple building blocks -- MP3, HTTP, XML, blogs and RSS. That and a few hundred brilliant people who saw the idea early and ran with it, and mostly got $0 for their work (myself included).
NakedJen: This and That.
Fred Wilson: The Valuation Trap.
Climber Noguchi to give 10 million yen to families of Sherpa guides.
New Twitter feature. When someone favorites or RTs an item of yours a message pops up in the lower right corner of the screen.
An example of a reader that does it wrong. Why does the user have to know about an "Unknown Title." It's not there. It's not a big deal. If you think of it as a failure (it's not) then fail softly, quietly. But it's not a bug. The RSS 2.0 format allows this, because it's a good practice. Some posts don't have titles. So if an item doesn't have a title that doesn't make it "unknown" -- it's just not there. The bug is in the reader. It's time to fix this bug.
Today's background image is Beno Udrih, formerly and briefly of the NY Knicks, who played very well for the Memphis Grizzlies in the playoffs.
I love the freedom of being whoever I want and to be someone new every day. That is very cool, and Secret makes it easy. (It's always been possible, there are lots of fake people on Twitter, but mostly they're just rude and trying to be funny and failing.)
I also love the format. A box with some words in the middle and a picture background. I did a secret yesterday without any need for secrecy that I think is both funny and ironic and slightly disrespectful. It was about Martha Stewart and a really long hot dog. And the look on her face. And the sheer size of the thing!
I was really happy Beno Udrih played so well for Memphis in the playoffs. He was one of two players the Knicks let go, but this more or less proves (at least to me) that it was a failure of management. The Knicks had no leadership this year, where last year they benefitted from lots of it. Someone should give Metta World Peace another try too. Maybe on the new Knicks.
Today's Scripting News has a mix of titled and title-less items. The format is nicely modular for me, it's more fluid, more fun -- more like a world with no 140-character limits. That is, a world before Twitter. I used to play in this world, and now I remember why I love it so much. Just one more thing -- I need to get Disqus working better in here. Right now there's a place to comment for each day. Choose Open Comments Window in the Links menu at the top of each page.
California drought: Sierra snowpack is barely there.
Esquire: 15 Forgotten Movies You Should Watch.
Lifehacker: The Best Time of Day to Do Just About Anything.
Mick Jagger sings a Dylan song for late girlfriend at private memorial.
Now the main feed for Scripting News is the feed for the noteblog. Any stories from the essay site will appear as links in this feed.
The main difference is the new feed has title-less items. Ones that work like tweets. They're short, may contain links, but don't have titles.
The change was announced well in advance of its deployment. This feed fully conforms to the RSS 2.0 spec. So feed readers, if they claim to support RSS, should have no trouble providing a good user experience for feeds of this type.
Part of the reason for doing this is that I write both kinds of posts, short ones and long ones. That goes back all the way to the early days of Scripting News, and to the beginning of RSS. Eventually, I conformed to the limits of Google Reader because it was so dominant. But that, ironically, made me dependent on Twitter for posting links. I decided that since Google Reader no longer exists, it would be silly to be constrained by its limits. And I want my links and essays to be in the same place. They will still appear on Twitter, but they will emanate from the blog.
There may be some breakage. But the changes required by feed readers are so small that if they want to be compatible it should just be a few hours work, if that. And this was announced far in advance, with lots of technical details. So it could be that most of them already work. Fingers crossed!
If there are any problems please let me know.
Last night's basketball was amazing. It was also terrible, because I was pulling for the Rockets, I love that team. It looked like they had won yesterday's game. But the Blazers got the ball with .9 seconds left, just enough time to catch the ball and shoot.
The ball came in. As it was being passed the announcer said "A three wins the game" -- I hadn't had time to realize that, and as he was saying it, Damian Lillard, the hot Portland point guard, aims, shoots and the ball, it arcs, floats, the place goes silent, and swooooosh it goes right in the bucket. But there was enough time between the shot and the basket to think "He'll probably miss," only to realize less than a second later that it was all over. The Rockets go home and Portland moves on. Oh how I wished it had gone the other way!
It was an amazing moment for the sheer drama, and personality of it. The Blazers have great fans, and young Lillard is a real character and basketball star. But a Houston win would have made it amazing for another reason. It would have meant on Sunday there would be three game 7's, as there are three game 7's today. Each game 7 has a winner and a loser, like every game, but with the difference that there is no tomorrow for the team that loses. It's all or nothing, win or go home.
No matter what, it's been the most incredible postseason. Sometimes end of season games are boring, but not this year. There haven't been any big upsets yet. Dallas, Memphis, Atlanta -- these teams, if they win, will knock out one of the leading contenders for this year's title -- San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Indiana. The other two games are closer matches: the Clippers vs the Warriors and the Raptors vs the Nets. It will be stunning if one of the losers is one of the league leaders. Something we'll enjoy seeing, for sure -- with the hope that maybe one of the remaining teams will go on to beat the favorite to win the title, Miami.
As I wrote yesterday, it's a total burnout, in some sense I can't wait till it's over, because the pressure is so great. But it's the reason this is sport is imho the best one out there. It all comes down to the clutch, do you have it or do you choke. The teams that are left at this point have a lot of, as Walt Frazier would say, tenacity. We'll be talking about these games for years to come. And the games tonight and tomorrow are where it all comes to a head.
It's a flight I've been on quite a few times. I know and love the feeling. You've just flown overnight, and didn't get a whole lot of sleep, but the sun is rising, it's a fresh new day. The world you're in now is waking up, as your mind is saying it's finally time for you to go to sleep.
It's a long-standing Scripting News tradition that I write big pieces on January 1 and in early May. They often represent months or even years of thinking. This is one of those pieces. Not too long, but a loop back to an early theme of this blog when I wrote about respect on a regular basis. I was trying to figure out what it means. I did eventually figure it out.
Respect is very related to integrity. Respect is when you listen to who the person really is, not who you think they are, what their age, gender or race says they should be (to you of course, these things mean different things to different people). It also means you listen to who they are today, not who they were in the past.
This idea of respect is rooted in the idea of "paying your respects." When you pay respect, you visit the person, in person, not via text message, or email, or a phone call. Paying respect means face-to-face, now, not in the past. Thinking about someone is paying respect to yourself not the person. Being with that person, listening to them, really listening, that's what respect is about.
When you look at a child do you see a person or someone who will someday become a person. The child wants you to recognize that he or she is today a person, worthy of respect. Listen to me, the child might say, not because you have to, but because you love me, because you respect me. Try to forget you changed my diapers and adopt my view of the world, the world in which I am a person who matters.
This year's NBA playoffs are just getting started and I'm already burned out. They're so exciting! Tomorrow there are going to be three game 7's. Three. And believe it or not I care about the outcome in every one of them. And I'm afraid the team I want to win will not win.
There were a couple of contests I didn't care about. Miami vs Charlotte, because Charlotte had no chance and I hate Miami (only because they're so dominant, I like underdogs, and they are the opposite of an underdog). The other one I don't care about is Brooklyn vs Toronto. That's weird isn't it, because I live in NYC, and I'm a long-suffering Mets fan (despite what I say, as soon as basketball is over I'll probably start watching the Mets regularly). I didn't know if I'd be into the Brooklyn Nets or not, but I just can't get excited about a team that's led by the former leaders of the most despised team in NY, the Boston Celtics.
I think the owners of NBA teams must not understand their own sport. I certainly feel that way about James Dolan, the owner of the Knicks, and I'm glad he hired Phil Jackson to run the team. I was calling for his ouster before that, I wanted to call Michael Bloomberg out of retirement to run the Knicks. A few years under his oligarchy could have been just the thing. Dolan was all about splash, about winning now at all costs, no matter how much the future Knicks might suffer.
The owner of the Nets, a Russian guy whose name I never remember, a true oligarch, thought the way to fans' hearts was to put together a team that had a shot at the title. Well, it didn't work, did it? Most of the people in Barclay's for a Nets playoff game are actually Knicks fans! Hey we like basketball, and there's a playoffs in town. But do you think that buys our love? Hey no fucking way! This is New York. We love our losers. Let's spend a few years in the cellar, and then we can join you in celebrating a victory. Buying some old Celtic retreads, that makes us hate you not love you.
So tonight might be it for the 2014 Nets. Let's see how they handle losing. You don't get our love and admiration by being good at basketball. And when you do get it, if you ever do -- it probably won't have anything to do with who you are, because even bad teams are pretty disconnected from fans. But you have to be patient.
1. The Mets, a team that's been around since 1962, always playing in the same area -- Flushing, is number two in Queens. They don't even own the loyalty of their own home borough. So that doesn't bode well for the Nets.
2. If the Nets were really smart they would have traded for Jeremy Lin instead of Pierce and Garnett. That would have shown real chutzpah, and that's something New Yorkers respect. He's not good enough for the Knicks, but the NY fans love him? That's our guy, the Nets might say. Instead they went for a couple of old tires with a few more miles left on their tread. Fandom is about love, not winning. Esp in NY, and esp in Brooklyn.