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.