Scripting News: Extrapolating.#

Atlantic: There's a Messaging App Worse Than Yo. #

I'm working on yet another product. This one is even more thrilling, imho, than the last two. That's why the posts are sparse here the last few days. #

This is a message to people who read Scripting News in a feed reader that doesn't fully support the RSS 2.0 format. #

RSS 2.0 allows for items without titles. And that's a good thing, because there are a lot of items out there that should be in feeds that aren't because feed readers don't handle them well.#

It's a throwback to the days when Google Reader dominated. They didn't pay attention to the spec, I guess, and as a result the RSS world couldn't grow to accommodate Twitter. In Twitter's defense, they tried to adapt, but it was too ugly. You'd see the tweet twice. Because Google Reader insisted that all items had to have titles. And tweets most definitely do not have titles. Eventually Twitter gave up and turned off the feeds. #

That's so unfortunate because it's actually very easy for a reader to support these items. #

You can do something good for RSS and help us make the feed world richer, if you ask the developer of your favorite reader to carefully adapt their product to handle items that don't have titles.#


Dave Winer#

Scripting News: I know what a blog is. #

Scripting News: The pressure on blogging.#

Two new releases: Fargo 1.62 and Happy Friends 0.42.#

NextWeb: Happy Friends Turns Twitter Into a Mailbox for Power Users.#

Jeffrey Kishner, a happy Fargo user can embed Happy Friends tweets in Fargo. Makes *me* happy! #

Today's background image is Thomas Hawk's American Bar.#

Nate Silver: Drafting Sophomores Is a Smart Strategy For NBA Teams.#

The story behind the color rebeccapurple is painful, a six-year-old girl died of cancer.#

Yesterday, I made the background color of my site that color, a small gesture of solidarity with her family. #

The color is on its way to become a web standard. It shows what we can do if we all accept a common mission and put all the usual arguments aside and decide to get something done. #

Scripting News: Note to press people re Happy Friends.#

Today's background image is rebeccapurple, a new web color.#

Joe Moreno: What's the Big Deal About Outliners?#

NYT: A More Nuanced Breakdown of the Supreme Court.#

If you expand the section below, This is a test, you'll see a sequence of tweets. How they got there is an interesting story, imho.#

I'm using the next version of Happy Friends, not released yet, that has an option to publish my outline in a standard format called OPML. I turned the option on, and you can see my outline here. #

Here's what I did in Fargo to get the tweets to show up on my blog.#

1. I chose Open by URL in the File menu, and entered the URL of the outline from Happy Friends. #

2. This means that whenever the outline updates, the updates will also show up in Fargo, because all outlines opened by URL automatically update when they change. This is part of the Fargo for Workgroups functionality, used in a creative way. #

3. I opened the outline and copied three items using Cmd-C. #

4. I switched into the tab for my noteblog (the outline you're reading now) and pasted the three items under This is a test. #

I did the same for one of Farhad's tweets. And I'll probably do a few more before calling it a night. #

6. The Fargo CMS knows what to do with tweets (new feature!) -- it calls Twitter and says Hey how do you render one of these things. They tell us, and we insert the result in the page. You should be able to put tweets anywhere reasonable and have them render this way.#

You can't make a tweet a menu item, for example, that would be too boisterous.#

There's a lot of APIs and format standards work going back over a decade that make this all work so smoothly. It may sound like a lot, but once it's set up, it's just copy/paste. #







YouTube: Happy Friends Demo.#

Happy Friends v0.41. A couple of new features, a couple of fixes. #

Scripting News: Slingshot, apparency and early adopter platforms. #

Today's background image is a scene from the Oklahoma land rush of 1889.#

NYT: Medium Hires Tech Writer Steven Levy.#

New product: Getting Started with Happy Friends.#

10-minute podcast about how Happy Friends came to be and what it is. #

Today's background image is a screen shot of the new product. #

It's that time again! I'm working feverishly to top-off the next product after Little Pork Chop. This one is also for Twitter. It's one of those ideas that you smack your head wondering how it took so long to realize it was a missing piece. #

It's all LeBron and Melo in the NBA River today. #

Economist: The colour purple.#

Vox: The Supreme Court doesn't understand software.#

NYT: Vice Has Many Media Giants Salivating.#

Today's background image is an aerial photo of Apple's new campus, under construction. A monument to Steve Jobs. I got it from a Facebook post by Scott Richie, who credits "Tak."#

I'm often surprised when pushback comes.#

Earlier today I pointed to a piece on the Guardian site about people winging it, and how that's the normal way things work. A Facebook thread ensued that had lots of valid pushback.#

This is the conclusion I reached...#

In software, not only does the set of scenarios I've never seen before shrink over time, I also incorporate what I've learned into my tools so I don't even have to do the repetitive things the Nth time I do them. So the thesis about winging it doesn't incorporate things like that.#

But they're talking about something imho more profound. You may think there's someone in charge of the world who knows what she or he is doing, but there isn't.#

They're winging it, and so are we, collectively. #

Scripting News: If you say racist things.#

SideComments.js is a toolkit to add Medium-style comments to a site.#

It's been twelve years since I smoked my last cigarette. I've become such a non-smoker that I miss the anniversary, June 14, on a regular basis. I remember exactly where I was when I became a non-smoker. It wasn't easy to quit, I used to dream about dancing with 6-foot tall cigarettes. But I did it. #

With all the surveillance of our surveillance state, it's so entrenched it seems, the only solution is to make everything legal.#

Today's background image is an ad for Marlboro Lights, the brand I was addicted to for several decades, and came pretty close to killing me.#

Earlier: A thesaurus web service?#

Wordnik appears to have the API I'm looking for. Word lovers rejoice, something really cool should be possible with this. :kiss:#

Thanks to John Emerson for the link.#

Today's background image is Ygritte from Game of Thrones.#

Biz Stone on the early days of Twitter.#

Blake Hunsicker: How I designed deepreader.#

NYT: In ‘Internet’s Own Boy’ and Beyond, Hackers on Screen.#

A picture named four.gif#

Reality can be so complex that equally valid observations from differing perspectives can appear to be contradictory.#

Scripting News: Fixing comments? That's not the problem.#

Scripting News: Thinking out loud about Frontier.#

Something I didn't realize until today: editorial people at a big news org generate a link-stream that has value. Just the sites they visit.#

How-to: Fargo Self-Hosted Publishing. (Written by a Fargo user!) #

Video of Anne Wright's SOTN14 talk#

Flipboard: Optimizing Your RSS Feed For Flipboard.#

NYT: Mozilla to Develop Comments Platform With NYT and Washington Post.#

Stephen Covey: "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply." #

Quartz: And now a word from the people invading your privacy. #

Today's background image is Thomas Hawk's "Trava-Leers Motel."#

DG Meyers: The Mercy of Sickness before Death.#



I was raised to believe women are saints. I've spent a lifetime unlearning that awful piece of propaganda. And here's the myth being passed on to the next generation of boys and girls. #

Truth is that people of all genders come in all kinds. Everyone can be mean at times and powerless at others. I've seen two girls gang up on a boy and reduce him to tears. I felt, as did every other adult in the room, that the boy should man-up, take it like a man, be strong. He was just a little kid! Luckily none of us acted on that bullshit, and we asked the girls to be nicer to the poor boy. #

Ask any women, in private, if all women are saints and you'll get stories! They know that they compete with a bunch of kids in adult bodies who don't play fair. Now, maybe it's time to let the boys in on that little secret too.#

Scripting News: My take on Slingshot. #

Translation of Wired/Italy interview.#

RSS feed for my Facebook notifications. Subscribed.#

Tweetstorms and outlines are really close cousins.#

Today will be the first truly hot day this year in NYC.#

I am davew on Slingshot.#

A picture named womansplaining.gif#

An example of something some women find funny, that they probably wouldn't if it were a man in the picture.#


Little Pork Chop v0.49 gets total tweet count.#

River4 v0.88 -- includes in lists.#

Scripting News: Life without a smartphone. #

Today's background image is from the demo of NakedJen's bliss bag. #

Grantland: The Mystery of Max Money.#

NYT: Knicks Are Changing, With or Without Carmelo Anthony.#

VentureBeat: Italy is no startup paradise.#

NYT: Facebook Releases Slingshot for Self-Destructing Selfies.#

Guardian: YouTube to block indie labels who don't sign up to new music service.#

Lifehacker: How Can I Avoid Being Overwhelmed With News?#

BBC: Ai Weiwei sparks 'leg gun' photo craze.#

Reading the archive of my blog from March 2003, at the start of the war in Iraq. Now that it appears to be reaching a very Vietnam-like conclusion, it's worth looking back. Was it obvious then that we had no business trying to take over another country, so far away, for such vague reasons? Yes, it was. Will we do it yet again, not learning from our mistakes? Well, yes, I think we will. #

When I talk about basketball players or politicians on the web, I try to remember they are real people, but only up to a point. Because they are brands, and are marketed that way, it makes sense to objectify them.#

George W Bush, as President, was an amalgamation of the ideas of the Republican Party of the 1990s and 2000s. LeBron James only says things publicly that are consistent with the brands he represents. When they say he's an astute business person, this is what that means. If I said something negative that objectified them, I try to be careful not to address it to them personally. #

(Sometimes I fail, I'm human too. And I also have been blocked by people, so I take my medicine.)#

This didn't used to be a problem before social media. There was no way to address a message to the President of the United States or a famous sports star, or actor, in such a way that there was a possibility that they'd see it. Or certainly not on a level playing field like Twitter, where people can converse as equals. #

I have attained enough celebrity on the net that people objectify me, and make personal statements about me, ones they would never make directly to a real person. But that's the problem. They do make them directly. Which makes it difficult for me to be personally present on the net. This is a way in which common decency has not yet caught up with the use of the net.#

I'm sure that's why Twitter implemented the new Mute command. And that's why people use it.#

It's necessary to say this once publicly, so I can point to it later. If you want to make a personal comment about me, publicly, especially a negative one, leave out the at-sign. It really is that simple. Otherwise, you'll get muted. I don't even think about it. A personal comment is followed by a Mute. It's an unfortunate result of not understanding that there is a real person at the end of the handle. And no I don't want to "toughen up" that way. I like being a person. #

PS: I wrote about this in 2011, before there was a Mute command. #

Little Pork Chop 0.48 does #hashtags.#

More Than 250 New Emoji, including a middle finger, coming soon.#

Social Media Slant: Tweet w/o worrying about the 140-character limit.#

An interview I did with Wired Italia last week. A Google translation of the piece, it's quite good. I wish American tech press would be willing to discuss such things. #

Perhaps you have to leave the country to talk plainly about tech, without the bubble-inspired spin.#

Reminder to self: 1. Get more sun. 2. Wear dark shirts. #

Hopefully there will be a human translation of this story soon. It's worth doing (I can't, I don't speak Italian). I also did an interview with the Vanity Fair (of Italy).#

I love this picture of Kawhi Leonard of the Spurs, because it shows the past and the present in clear relief, or at least the past and present of the moment. #

Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Ray Allen of the Miami Heat look on as the prodigy dunks, and they can do nothing to stop him. Because unlike the Heat, the Spurs are a complete team, including a bench, and a philosophy, modesty, focus and a sense of now. #

And Danny Green, last year's Spurs star of the playoffs, who set the record for most three-pointers, stands back as Kawhi shines.#

This year's Heat lacked drive. They didn't seem to feel a need to repeat, so they didn't. #

Now the NBA can reorganize around many teams, not just LeBron and his two colleagues. #

And the East falls clearly behind the West, in every way.#

This will be one of the most interesting off-seasons ever. But for now, we celebrate the virtuosity and energy of Kawhi. It's his day. Good work! And thanks.#

Greetings from Mestre, where I'm staying overnight on my way back to NYC. I fly home tomorrow from Milano.#

I talked a bit about Secret in the last session at SOTN14. I tried to explain what it is, and failed terribly. But I wrote a blog post about it in April that might be of some help. #

Today: "A distributed feed system is important to the health of RSS."#

Yesterday: "Every new generation in technology is an insurrection."#

Anne Wright gave a wonderful presentation at SOTN14, one that I think a few of my friends will find illuminating.#

Anne's blog: Human System Debugging.#

Dave Seidel is running River4 on Nodejitsu. #

Today's background image is the stage at SOTN, its couch, and the big screen behind the panel of speakers. The couch was missing its legs at this time, but the bug was later fixed. #

A portrait of my friend Paolo, one of the organizers of the SOTN conference where I spoke yesterday.#

A picture named paolo.jpg#

Fast Company: Why The U.S. Is Starting To Blow Up Old Dams.#

Recode: Winners and Losers in the Twitter Management Soap Opera.#

My talk is over, Paolo is happy, I can relax now. #

I'm speaking in a few minutes at the State of the Net conference. #

They're playing James Brown -- I Got You. #

Everyone's being very nice to me. Buongiorno! #

PC Mag: Will Twitter's Death Blow Be Delivered by a Pork Chop?#

I am in Milan Central train station waiting for a train to Venice, and then on to Trieste. #

My T-Mobile iPhone does not work here at all. No data access, no ability to make a call, even though it registers a 3G signal. #

I may have to try to find a SIM for the phone here. #

Shares of Apple stock open at $92.69 as 7-for-1 split takes effect.#

NYT: LeBron James’s Detractors Can’t Live With the Results.#

NYT: 3-Pointer No Longer Domain of Small Players in NBA.#

In v0.47 you can set the time interval betw tweets in a sequence.#

There's a new preference. Click on the Gear, then the Timing panel. #

The default time interval is 1 second. #

Change it to 5 seconds and give it a try.#

I don't think so. I think it'll stimulate more thinking about ways Twitter could be upgraded, and made more useful, interesting, and have more possibilities for the future.#

Tweetstorms are just one way people have come up with to circumvent the 140-character limit.#

There is the twit-longer approach.#

There is also the write-a-blog-post-and-link-to-it approach. #

There is also the cram-it-all-in-somehow approach and hope someone figures out what you mean, and of course they never do, resulting in tweet-flames coming back, and after a while you give up trying to communicate ideas that don't easily fit in 140 characters. And: That's not a good solution!#

Twitter has become a primary means of communication for lots of people, including people who have ideas that are worth hearing, and people who could benefit from hearing ideas that they are not now hearing.#

There's a logjam of stagnation. #

Couldn't a compromise be worked out?#

Let me write a longer tweet and only display the first 140 characters? Then put a little wedge next to it, and allow the reader to expand to read the rest? #

Like this! #

I really don't see the harm in it, and as a software designer, I look for ways to give everyone what they want and in this case I think it's easy to do. And you know what I would be very surprised if the engineering team at Twitter hasn't already provided for the day that the 140-character limit is no more. Tweets are already sprawling megaplexes of metadata. The only part of a tweet that's still small is the most important part. Why? That's one of the mysteries of the universe. #

We live in a time of same-sex marriage and legal marijuana. Maybe the 140-character limit is next?#

I think Little Pork Chop, which has been publicly available for only 3 days, has already stimulated lots of discourse and thinking about possibilities. I don't think too many Twitter users were doing that last week. Now we're getting creative. It's a long time since we looked at Twitter and saw possibilities. That's, imho, seriously fucked up. #

Perhaps it's a surprise that the Twitter API is still capable of supporting innovation. It must be that way for a reason. People who say Twitter was always meant to be one way, and not to evolve, imho, overlook that it had an API from the beginning. Twitter never actually said they don't want innovation from developers, though their actions kind of did. But people can change their minds. In that way Little Pork Chop is a question for the people running Twitter. May we try interesting ideas out? Will your product change to accommodate them, as it used to?#

BTW, there's one simple feature they could add (well I don't really know if it's simple, but it seems it would be). Allow an app, through the API, to say "this tweet shouldn't display in the timeline." I would modify LPC to set that bit on messages 2 through N in a sequence. Then you'd click on the first message and see all of it. Tweetstorms wouldn't be any more or less annoying than other 140-character-limited messages. #

Summary: Here's a screen shot of 0.46 on my iPhone 5s.#

It works: Evidence.#

The rest is TL;DR. :kiss:#

Last night I had a friend over, and was reminded that a lot of people use phones as their primary way to access the web. So it was embarrassing to see what Little Pork Chop looked like on an iPhone. #

I had to fix it. So I stayed up late and got it working.#

I had been trying out a lot of approaches, and finally nailed it with a combination of CSS and JavaScript. I have an object called the "tellTalePart" that contains nothing, but is visible on phones, and not visible on other systems. So at startup I check to see if it's visible. If so, I know I'm running on a phone.#

Then I created an alternate set of objects laid out so they work well on a vertically-oriented phone. I set it up so the algorithms use these objects instead of the others. And I hide the objects that are meant for desktop and tablets.#

On the desktop systems, I hide the phone objects.#

It all seems to work!#

TechCrunch: Now Anyone Can Tweet Up A Storm With Dave Winer’s ‘Little Pork Chop’.#

Little Pork Chop v0.45. Important especially for people who post to a private Twitter feed.#

Screen shot of Little Pork Chop v0.45.#

Feature request: Would be great if Twitter supported Emoji cheat sheet syntax. It would make emoji work via the Twitter API.#

Today's background image is the Domino Sugar Refinery in Brooklyn#

Today's ride. I haven't been posting my daily rides because basically they've all been the same. Until yesterday when I did a loop around the park, with its hills. And today, when I was going out, I did it again. I need to re-condition every year it seems, and each year it takes longer to get back to where I was. This is known as "aging."#

I've been hearing about people coming back from WWDC as if it were a Summer of Love kind of thing. I can't imagine what Apple said or did that they love so much. Brent says he's going to spend the rest of his career working in their new programming language. Could it really be that good?#

I have so much trouble believing a platform vendor, no matter how well-intentioned, could really be good for developers. There's always going to be a built-in conflict between what independent developers do and how that influences and/or interferes with what the in-house employee developers do. #

Maybe I'm jaded. But I remember very well sitting in the audience at WWDC, countless times, hearing the person on stage completely rip up my development work and throw it away. I could never see myself going back. While Brent is snuggling up with Apple and a delicious warm cup of cocoa, I enjoy a campfire on the open range, hunting rabbits for dinner. #

Tweetstorms are a user-driven feature.#

Lots of new stuff: Little Pork Chop 0.42.#

Screen shot of Little Pork Chop, taken on rollout night. #

Pito Salas: When Twitter becomes a blogging platform.#

Today's background image is Buster Keaton, wearing a pork pie hat.#

Not sure exactly when this started happening, or the scope of the problem, but I am unable to use the command keys Cmd-X, C and V to access the clipboard in Chrome on my Mac. It's not limited to my software. I can't paste into GMail. #

I am able to cut, copy and paste with the right-click menu. So this appears to be a problem with keystroke handling?#

If you have any insight to offer, please post a comment. You can access the comment window through the Links menu at the top of the page.#

A new product: The easiest way to tweet a storm!#

CJR: The New York Times can't abandon print—yet.#

Knight: Using outliners to enable open science documentation.#

How the NYT covered D-Day on this day in 1944.#

NPR: The Confounding, Enigmatic Ode To Billie Joe.#

I know it's crazy but I have another product to release. Possibly later today or tomorrow. This one is for Twitter users, not (just) for systems geeks. And get this: it's not an outliner. #

I'm really happy with the response to Little Pork Chop so far. The number one FAQ is, as I expected it would be, "I like 140, why are you screwing with that?" Well we know that Twitter was made with this limit, and it may be the best of all possible ways to do it, but it's not the only possible way. How else will we learn what's possible unless we try? There's too much "should" in software thinking these days, imho. I like it when we try new ideas out, and see what happens. This is a tool. We have no idea how people will use it. Maybe there's a great art to this and we just don't know about it. Or maybe we'll discover a very good reason why tweets should be different than they are today. Maybe the new thing won't happen on Twitter. Who knows what will happen. But we'll learn, I hope! #

What do you think would happen if a bunch of people posted to Twitter in "tweetstorms" as @pmarca does? Do you think Twitter would fall apart as a social medium? Or perhaps Twitter would change the way the system works, and permit users to post messages that are longer than 140 characters? Is this a case where users design a new feature, as used to happen in the early days? Many of the features we've come to love and depend on were designed by users and developers. I do recognize the irony that I am asking the question in a tweetstream, rather than a blog post! #

Read this: The emperor’s new clothes were built with Node.js.#

Everything he says is absolutely right. It's a travesty that JavaScript puts the burden on writing code that the system should have built-in, underneath the language.#

If it had been properly designed, one programmer would deal with the mess of concurrent threading, and everyone else (including the original programmer) would get to ride on a cushy higher layer. It's bad design that you have to worry about concurrency all the time in Node.js apps. But it is what it is. Once you learn to deal with it, it's actually kind of fun. #

I learned something important doing River4, that what people say about Node.js being single-threaded, isn't true. Because of all the hype about it's single-thread architecture, I expected to hit a brick wall doing River4, when it came time to do N feed reads, I was sure I'd only be able to do 1. Not so! You can do as many as you like. You can even change the maximum number of open sockets. It's a great environment for doing something like River4.#

Now, it took ten times as long to write River4 as it did River3, that's because Frontier is a much more supportive environment for these kinds of apps. It handles all the messy threading issues in the kernel, exactly as you want to. You want to fork a thread, just do it. We copied the programming interface from C, circa 1974. This is not new stuff. #

But Node.js was done as a bootstrap by a few brave programmers, and it works. The magic of Node isn't the environment, or the language, it's the consensus. It's not NPM, it's all the shit you can get in NPM. It's a structure for solved problems that you need when writing server software.#

It's also a culture that appears to place high value on stability. I can't say for sure, I'll let you know in a couple of years, Murphy-willing, when I'll know how many times the various apps I've been developing have broken due to gratuitous changes in the platform. The kinds of things Apple does on a regular basis to see if you're paying attention. It's why Mac software breaks, and Unix software tends not to break. (I may be naive about this.)#

So Eric Jiang is right, it is an emperor without clothes, but it is an emperor, and that's something. All software is shitty, it's all the worst possible solution to the problem it solves, but that's the point, it's a solution. It works. So you shut up and eat your vegetables, and get on with it. And hope it's good for 10 or 20 years. #

Today's background image is a by Doug Kaye, a longtime friend and pioneering podcaster and gifted photographer. #

It's the Klamath River where it meets the Pacific Ocean. #

I love to showcase great imagery on Scripting News, now that I have the background image capability. #

Thanks to Doug for letting me use his beautiful photo! #

A reader pointed out on Twitter that the short codes for Emojis are included, unreduced, in my RSS feed. So when you're looking at an item from my blog in a feed reader, you see the code, not the image.#

This was deliberate. When I saw the Emoji Cheat Sheet, and how broadly its syntax was being supported by content management systems, I immediately saw an opportunity for the CMS built into Fargo.#

But why not go a step further, and integrate this language into feed readers as well? That's why I left the codes unreduced in the feed. I think the icons should travel over the wire in an encoded fashion, as semantic entities instead of visual entities. It's up to the software that's displaying it to decide what it should look like. This seems to be the philosophy of the web. Wait until the last minute possible to turn semantic into visual.#

It also might help bootstrap a conversation in the RSS community. Does an idea have to have an installed base before we'll try it out? That's why I did River4. It's my statement that if you want to move forward, someone has to go first. That means inevitably supporting features that don't have an installed base. (Seems kind of obvious?) River4 is where I'll implement ideas I want to try out in Fargo, but need support on the consuming side to make them work. #

Think of it this way -- if Fargo is male, River4 is female. And new standards are the babies. #

So here's the Emoji Cheat Sheet, offering the perfect way to raise the question. It has an installed base, just not in RSS-generating software. I went first with Fargo's feeds. Not much of an installed base. Eventually I'll put the feature in my river displayer. That's how bootstraps work.#

If you want to be part of a growing sub-industry, and you see yourself as a leader, you have to take steps that are not supported by an installed base. #

If you want to be a leader, imho, you have to take leadership from others. That's the way it works, in my experience. It's the person who goes second that has all the power. I didn't invent the Emoji Cheat Sheet, but am showing a small amount of leadership by accepting it as-is, without change, in furtherance of a standard.#

Now, it could be this is a bad idea! If so, that's why I want to begin a conversation. :telephone:#

Yesterday I announced and released River4, the next in my series of River-of-News feed engines.#

Here's an example of a site that uses the output of the River4 engine.#

GitHub repository for River4. #

Throwback Thursday: My.UserLand in 2000.#

33 people are watching River4 on GitHub. It'll be interesting to see what this looks like in a month or two.#

Fargo 1.61 is a bug-fix release. :beetle:#

Pando: Secret is far less secret than you think.#

Today's background image is a map of the NYC subway.#

NYT review: ‘Orange Is the New Black’ Season 2.#

River4 blog: Welcome to River4. A new product.#

The NYT wants us to pay for their columnists. This would have been a perfect opportunity to open up the NYT to bloggers with expertise. We'd pay you for the editorial judgement you use to craft a story from disparate points of view. The current crew of columnists, perhaps with the exception of Krugman, are not worth it. And Krugman has become stale, a bit of a broken record. This is the part of the Times most in need of re-doing. They have exactly the wrong model for this day and age. Elite is out, intelligent and diverse is in (at least for the Times).#

Fargo blog: Fargo 1.60. #

JS Nice: Statistical renaming, Type inference and Deobfuscation.#

Martin Nisenholtz: HBS, the NYT and the Star System.#

I was down in the Village today walking down MacDougal St, when I realized I was exactly where Frank Lanza shot the picture I used as a background image on Sunday. So I had to take a picture, in color, in daytime, with my iPhone 5s. That's today's background image.#

Over the last week a couple of pieces have come out about Medium's business model, and it's significantly changed my thinking about the company and its product.#

First, the content management system is not the central piece to the company. That's mostly what I had been looking at. Actually it's a business and it's hoping to do what Huffington Post did, with nicer-looking content, and probably hope to arrive at a different financial equation than HP's.#

I tried writing "for" Huffington Post a number of years ago. My hope was that I'd get more readers for pieces I saw as more mainstream, more like the stuff on Huffington Post. But all the pieces originated from my blog, so I got a chance to compare the results between the two places. And in every example but one, my blog got me more of what I wanted than Huffington Post did.#

When I did finally have a blowout piece on HP, they did things to harvest the flow, by putting prominent links on my pieces to their employees' stories on the same subject, without reciprocating. So as you'd expect, in hindsight, my job was to attract readers for their stories. I wasn't playing a game of chance where I had any way of winning. They apologized for not linking to me, which is fine, but if you take that apology to the bank they won't cash it. ;-(#

Now Medium has a lot of money, and no revenue, so any money they pay authors is an experiment, to see what works. It may be that nothing in this model works. I think what they're doing may be somewhat noble, but I also believe they're good business people, and I suspect that in the end the upside for writers will be much as it was with HP. Either you get a job working for them, and I don't imagine the pay is that great, or you're part of their machine for generating flow. Without a whole lot in-between.#

In any case, my idea of who they are what they're doing has developed a lot in the last few days. #

I've been listening Carole King's Tapestry album this year far more than I listened to it when it first came out. Maybe I needed to live a lot more to really appreciate the beauty of Carole King's music. #

Calling a developer a coder is like a tourist calling San Francisco Frisco. #

It's one sure way to tell they're a tourist. #

I'm annoyed by the use of this term because it seems to go over our head. It seems there's nothing we're involved in. Not the leadership of our own industry, or even helping develop new talent. It's the sign of an immature industry, I guess. The war between the money people and the people who create the art. Eventually we'll take it over, but maybe not for a few generations.#

I once had a VC tell me, many years ago, that they just had me around because he didn't have enough time to "code" the thing himself. I asked if he was a developer. He said he had taken a couple of compsci classes in college. Even then I had learned so much by actually shipping software. Anything that only a few people do well is hard to do. That's a lesson that's available to anyone no matter what your job title.#

I joked on Twitter that if VCs and reporters want to call us coders, maybe we should call them accountants or keypressers. This got me a sharp response from Fred Wilson saying I could call him anything. I'm not going to do that, of course -- it would be childish. But I also think it's wrong, when people ask you to use a better word to describe what they do, to ignore them. #

I like the term "developer" because it better captures what we do. And we also want to make distinctions between what various team members do. In baseball you have pitchers, catchers, infielders and outfielders. And various categories within each (starter and reliever, and even short reliever and long reliever). Calling all developers coders is akin to calling all baseball players pitchers. (Or more analogously, ball boys.)#

I do lots of things other than code. I do a lot of thinking. I am often an anti-coder, taking steps backwards and doing something again, using what I learned the first time. I'm also a user, not only of my own software, but other people's as well. This is where I get my ideas. I'm a producer, in that I keep lists of things that need to be done, and spend time reviewing the lists and reorganizing them. I am a sales person, because I want people to support my work, and I'm a politician, because I support other people's work hoping they'll reciprocate. None of these activities fall under the idea of "coder." #

Right now I'm writing a long post with Fargo because I just broke something and want to be sure that when I fixed it, the resulting software still works for its intended purpose: writing long rants that are published on the web. :kiss:#

I guess we'd like to be involved, not just as people who type in your ideas into a computer, and of course we are. No one can design software in a boardroom, any more than they can play a game of baseball from there. But in our business, the money people think they're everything. And the reporters believe it, so they get their strokes. And we are mere coders. :crying_cat_face:#

PS: A lot of this came from a Facebook thread. We really have to do something about unifying these writing systems. #

I :kiss: Emoji! #

Another way :thumbsup: of saying "I like something."#

Good morning :sunny: sports :football: :baseball: :snowboarder: fans!#

The next release of Fargo will have Emoji support. :smile_cat:#

You'll enter an Emoji character :coffee: with the syntax on the Emoji cheat-sheet site.#

You'll :kiss: it.#

Scripting News: What is a River of News aggregator?#

Michael Wolff on the future of The Guardian.#

2012: News isn’t just a product, it’s a community.#

​Lifehacker: Are Cheap Android Phones Worth It?#

Wired: Where to Watch Apple's WWDC Keynote. #

As I said yesterday, I'm working on an RSS engine in node.js. #

More information coming soon, Murphy-willing. #

One of the things I've seen is that people are being sloppy with their enclosure elements.#

"image" is not a valid type. It has to be a MIME type like image/gif or image/png.#

And length must be specified and correct. Omitting it or setting it to zero is wrong. It's really easy to make a HEAD request to get that information and put it in your feed.#

WordPress seems to be lax about the type attribute. So fixing this in one place will fix a lot of feeds, making them valid, all in one update. #

Today's background image is a lovely collection of vegetables.#

Shut up and eat your vegetables is a slogan stolen from my old friend Chuck Shotton. It was the slogan of his website or his email signature, or perhaps just Chuck's slogan about life. There is a fair amount of shutting up and eating your vegetables in modern life.#

Another use-case for vegetables is the wonderful Frank Zappa song, Call Any Vegetable. #

I love to play with background images here on Scripting News but sometimes for some people they are too much. So you can turn them on or off using the commands in the Links menu at the top of every page. #

I just changed the default today, from off to on. So you may be seeing images here for the first time. Or they may have disappeared for a couple of weeks, only to re-appear now. #

Sorry for the rock and roll, this is a new feature, and a new art. Still figuring out how it works from a human standpoint.#

Still diggin! #

First a disclaimer: I'm a JavaScript newbie, but I am not a newbie to dynamic-typed languages. I designed and implemented one.#

Until yesterday I didn't have an example of a situation where JavaScript's === operator was required. I still will only use it in specific cases where it's absolutely needed. But yesterday I came across a situation where it was needed, so I thought I should document it.#

The RSS enclosure element has three required attributes: url, length and type. But some feed developers fake it by putting in zero for the length. It's actually a violation of the spec, it says the values must be correct, but we'd rather not reject enclosures for this reason alone. This American Life is an example of a feed that punts on trying to put the correct value in the enclosure length attribute. #

My new code, which is fairly strict about following the spec, has a test that looks like this:#

if (enclosure.length == undefined) //please read the spec#

I think perhaps you can see where this is going?#

In the This American Life feed it was rejecting the enclosure, because zero coerces to the built-in value undefined. I think that's the mistake. undefined should not coerce to anything. A test against undefined should be clear enough without using ===. But JavaScript does do the coercion, so you have to use === in this case.#

August 2013: "If you never said anything that anyone objected to you could never say anything."#

TechCrunch: Secret Launches In China With A ‘Secret’ Partner, Adds Language Preferences As It Blows Up In Russia.#

Eleanor Roosevelt: "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people."#

The new World Trade Center looks like an extended middle finger. #

Today's background image of MacDougal St in NYC was taken by Frank Lanza, a freelance photographer in Cleveland. #

This picture was posted on Twitter by Steve Silberman. #

Since adapting Fargo to do photos as background images, I've been seeking out interesting work to showcase here. This photo certainly qualifies! #

We need this piece to make the Internet work, imho. #

A few months ago I asked this question, and got torched for it, which is bad, because it was a straight question, something I was wondering for a long time, and something we should imho be trying to understand. Rather than shutting down discussion, we should be encouraging it.#

One of my detractors, Nitasha Tiku, a writer for Valleywag, has an op-ed piece in the NY Times today offering ways to make programming more interesting to girls. It's a good piece, you should read it. What's odd is that before one can write such a piece, someone must have asked the question I asked. I suppose she must be getting flamed too? (Hah, not likely.)#

You could look at it this way. Suppose you ran a company and someone asked publicly why your company isn't selling more product. You could take offense at the question, and encourage people to shame that person for daring to ask it. Or you could say, hey it seems like this person is trying to figure out how we could sell more product. Let's see if we can help figure this out!#

Or if you were a programmer (since we are talking about programming), you could get angry at someone pointing out a long-standing and glaring bug that every user sees. Or you could ask for more information in the hope that just possibly this person might have an idea how to trap the bug and fix it. #

Shutting down discussion is the worst thing you can do if your cause really is to achieve more gender balance in software development. Which makes me wonder if that's the actual goal of the people who express such strong negative opinions.#


Apple says I should surprise my Dad with an iPad. #

My Dad sure would be surprised, because my Dad is dead. #

I remember in the first couple of years these spam mails around Father's Day would really piss me off. Spam is one thing, but spam that assumes I have a living father is another altogether.#

With these companies doing such a great job of Big Data, you'd think they could get a clue about this one. I no longer send emails to my father. When I blog about him it's in the past tense, always. #

Come on this is a bug, you all can fix it. It's time.#

I don't know a single programmer or developer who likes the term "coder." It's generally used by people who don't do development. It suggests that you can divide up development into coding and thinking. That's why I don't like it. I develop software. Part of that is writing code. But I am not a coder, any more than a writer is merely a presser of keys on a keyboard. #

© 1994-2014 Dave Winer.
Last update: Sat, Sep 20, 2014 at 5:42 PM.
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