I'm still putting the pieces back from the disk crash that happened earlier in May. The rainbow cursor mess. 

The other day I wanted to do some work with Electron. 

There's an Electron version of the 1999.io app. 

I wanted to have another look at that, and another project I'm working on that's also Electron-based.

So I needed to reinstall Electron. So I did. And nothing worked.

Now the question is, did I do something weird when I last installed Electron that I'm now forgetting. I looked back over my notes. Nothing obvious.

So I waited for a fresh start, and sat down with a nice glass of iced coffee, and set about figuring out what was wrong.

I'll save all the blind alleys and wrong guesses.

Two things changed. 

  1. I call crashReporter at the beginning of my main routine. I do it because all the example code does it. Amazingly this was causing the first crash. Apparently this (now?) requires a companyName value be set somewhere. I read somewhere that you could just take it out, so I did, and now my apps got a lot further.
  2. One of them opens a dialog. It was failing. On investigation I found the call to find the remote module was failing. I found another way to do it, and that worked but then it failed on the call to the dialog module. 

Now, instead of this:

var remote = require ("remote");

var dialog = remote.require ("dialog"); 

You now say:

var remote = require ("electron").remote;

var dialog = remote.dialog; 

Apparently I had an older version of Electron and there was a breaking change in an intervening version. I hate it when that happens. Look away for awhile and your app breaks in mysterious ways. Oy.

Anyway now it's documented. ;-)

I want to offer Scripting News via email.

I'd like to use an existing service if possible. 

It should read my RSS feed periodically, and when a new item shows up, mail it to subscribers. With whatever options people like. 

I would use MailChimp but they require that my physical address be attached to every email. I can't imagine this is really a legal requirement as they say it is on their site.

If you have any ideas, either respond to the Facebook version of this post or send me a tweet with a pointer. Thanks! :-)

Hmmm, I just had an idea. I wonder if this could work via Twitter DMs? They are now unlimited in length.  

PS: It would be extra cool if the service understood the Instant Articles feed elements to make the resulting email look even better. 

I'm glad that Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay and tech billionaire has stepped up on Gawker's side. It's both opportunistic and correct. He's siding with the users. I wonder if anyone else in the Valley considered doing that?   

In most industries and politics, the smart money tries to get aligned with the users, or at least appear to. Look at Slack's recent marketing. They talk about the amazing projects smart people do with Slack. Now think of what Thiel's funding of the Gawker lawsuit says -- "We really don't care what you know, as long as we don't get hurt." Assuming that Gawker has really hurt Thiel. If they did, why didn't he sue on his own behalf?

You'll know that tech has gained some maturity and has a vision when they compete to get on the side of tech users. As long as it's adversarial, their business built on a hollow foundation.   

When the Mac came out Apple did something new for personal computers, they published a human interface guidelines document, a thick book, written in easy to understand English, but it was also technical. It was a guide for developers showing how to make Macintosh software that was as usable as possible for everyone. And while it made it more difficult for developers at first, over time it made it easier, because many of the design questions were answered. It was good for business too, because people could use more software if there was a consistency to its design. 

Dear friends,

I wrote a post boasting about the smooth new Story Page rendering in 1999.io, and wouldn't you know it, when I published the link that's when the page broke. Famous last words. Never be too boastful. 

God'll get you for that Walter. ;-)

Here's the link and the page now is working properly.

http://scripting.com/2016/05/27/1285.html

Dave

PS: Thanks to tlepasse for helping me debug the problem. ;-)

I made a bunch of improvements to the way 1999.io generates story pages. The net result is that pages should now load more smoothly.

Here's an example of a story page. 

Working in this area is complicated because, while the pages look simple, they are actually all these things at the same time:

  • Static
  • Dynamic
  • Editable
  • Live

Each of those features has conflicting needs and are there for different reasons.

We need pages to be static because some people read pages without JavaScript turned on, it makes it easier for search engines to index the pages, and eventually dynamic servers disappear and we want the pages to be useful as long as possible, even if the server running the CMS goes away.

Stories are editable with a single click, because that's how we like our blogging systems. The big innovation in the year 1999 was Edit This Page. In the 2016 version of blogging, it's even easier. Just click on the text you want to edit, and if you have permission, you just go ahead and edit. No menus, dialogs, nothing to remember other than click, edit, save. It's pretty much as simple as it can possibly be.

Pages are live because sometimes we edit after we publish and we want readers to have the latest version, whether or not they reload the page. 

I wanted to brag a little, of course, but also want to let readers know to watch out for problems with display of stories and let me know if there are any. Thanks! 

I know what Hillary should do. I'm going to tell you now.

  1. First, there's no way she can compete with DJ Trump for news cycles. He's going to win them all. Nothing HRC can do about this, so don't even try.
  2. If enough US voters don't figure out Trump, and don't get tired of him, then he might get elected President. But those are two big ifs. He might run out of slanderous things to say, and the press might get tired of running them. Or not. We don't know what'll happen.
  3. The best approach imho is to do what all candidates must do. Tell a story about how great it'll be when you're President. Good story-telling gets people to feel like they're part of your team. It would be really something if that continued past the campaign, but for now that's extra credit. We have to prevent President Hitler from getting elected. 
  4. Mohammed Ali used this strategy. He called it Rope-A-Dope. Here's an interview he did with Howard Cosell where he explains how it works. Hang out in the corner, against the ropes, put up your guard. Tease the opponent. Make him swing at air. Over and over. Round after round. Until you're pretty sure he's out of energy. Then push him over.
  5. Don't try to be what you aren't. It won't work. Put yourself in situations that are comfortable. Let others fight with Trump. You tell us stories about what it'll be like when we have a real President taking care of things, vs a reality TV star with dreams of grandeur. 

And we have to hope it works. That's all we have. ;-)

It's very bad news in a bad news year to hear that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel is bankrolling a set of lawsuits that likely will put one of the most despised and offensive publications, Gawker, out of business. 

It's bad news because when people use money to control the press, that means the press, already in awe of people with huge money, will suppress the impulse to look into who they are and why they do what they do. It's only because of a small remaining irreverence for wealth that pubs are carrying the story of Thiel's new anti-speech venture. 

But it's worse because it's the rich of Silicon Valley, which is more and more controlling our means of communication. At a time when the press is just starting to look at how they control discourse, to show so openly that they have so little respect for differing opinion, esp from an early investor in Facebook, that could have a whole new level of chilling effects on news about the inbred and highly sheltered tech industry.

It's precisely because Gawker is so offensive that they deserve protection. I hate what they did with Valleywag. I was a target of theirs, with stories they either completely made up or twisted to lead readers to incorrect conclusions. I saw them ridicule and try to destroy people for their humanity. Nothing scandalous about what they did. They just embarrassed people for being human. I was happy the first time Valleywag went under. And the second time. But I, like everyone who was targeted by them, endured it, and in the end it didn't make a difference. 

The point of the First Amendment is that it protects the most offensive speech. If there weren't any offensive speech we wouldn't need protection. And some thin-skinned billionaires find anything but fawning praise to be offensive. 

Let's hope this inspires what independence is left in tech news to use this revelation as a call to look even deeper at the shallow and brittle personalities of Thiel and other tech billionaires who use lawyers to silence criticism. 

These guys are doing it wrong. 

First, I don't want their comments on my blog. I don't know them. I don't like that they didn't give me a heads-up their service was coming. And I don't like their attitude.

By being adversarial out of the gate, unless something radically changes, I won't promote their service. I won't incorporate what people say in their comments in my posts. I won't read what they write. I'm very good at not looking at places I don't want to look at. It's an acquired skill over many years of being flamed by communities of trolls. 

Slice it however you want to do it. Be welcoming to trolls and hostile to site-creators, and you'll get lots of trolls and you'll be actively ignored by the people who take the risk of putting their ideas online. The other way might get you some intellect, some thinking and courage. You might help discourse. This way you're just another annoyance I have to avert my attention from. 

Yes I know I've called attention to you by writing a post. Just this once. 

I started to write a post about how the blogosphere needs a reboot. 

As evidence, I said the political system also needs one.

As does news. 

As does Facebook and Twitter. (Yes they do, even though their owners may not realize it.)

As does the way we treat our planet.

Then I started looking around.

And realized that everything needs a reboot.

And not the kind of crude America First approach that some Americans seem to favor. Problem with that is that everyone wants to be first. 

And they really mean White America First. I can't get behind that. 

As someone who is approaching senior citizenship (ouch, that was hard to write) I want more respect for people with gray hair. 

Everyone wants more respect.

Everyone. But no one wants to give it. 

I think maybe that's the reboot we need. We need a society that's run by and for adults, with love and consideration for those who will be adults. And people who need love more than most. Which is pretty much everyone. 

Paywalls fragment independent news at a time when they need to be coalescing to compete with Facebook.

In June 2007, my friend Robert Scoble called me from the Apple store in Palo Alto. He was in line with his son Patrick to be among the first to get a new iPhone. He said if I got there with the cash, he would get me one. 

I had planned on holding out as long as I could. I was pissed that the iPhone didn't run Mac software. I had hoped to put my scripting system on the phone and develop all kinds of mobile apps that ran on the device.  

I'm a sucker for new Apple hardware, so I took a deep breath, went to the bank, got the money and drove down to Palo Alto. Here's my first review

I was a Blackberry user. I thought I'd still be a Blackberry user after getting the iPhone. I really liked my Blackberry. But once I got my iPhone I never used the Blackberry again. Literally. Never used it again. 

This weekend there was much ado about a Marco Arment post about how if Apple doesn't get its AI act together soon, they might be the new Blackberry. 

Today I still use the iPhone. I hate it. It's the most unreliable piece of crap ever. I must use iTunes to get stuff onto the phone, and that's even worse.

What I'd like to add to the discussion is this -- Apple could be replaced, for me, by a phone that was somewhat elegant, hardware-wise, and had software that was as easy and reliable as it should be, nine years after the iPhone was first introduced. You expect a certain amount of bugginess at the outset, but over time the glitches should be out and the product should become part of the background, the focus being on what you use the product for. The iPhone resists that. Every time they come out with a new version of iTunes or iOS, it all breaks, and I have to find a new set of workarounds. 

So the iPhone is far more vulnerable than Marco says. Give me a device that's reasonably nice and Just Works, and I'm outta here. 

PS: I still am an Apple shareholder. Haven't sold a share. Wondering if that was the correct thing to do! 

PPS: Android really isn't any better than iPhone. True, there's no iTunes. To copy stuff on the phone you just drag and drop, in the Finder. Rational. But otherwise it's a hot mess of changing UI. There are some other nice touches though that indicate it might someday be great, like the way you get news on the devices. But can you find it? It's a challenge. 

Ask yourself this question about any Presidential candidate.

If they aren't re-elected after a first term, will they actually leave office?

For all the Presidents in my lifetime, I have no doubt that they all would have left office voluntarily if they weren't re-elected. Many of them did. 

Nixon even left office voluntarily when it became clear that Congress would convict him and remove him from office, before his term was up.

Had Clinton been convicted in his impeachment trial, I don't doubt he would have left.

Had George W. Bush not been re-elected, even though he was a perfectly awful president, I don't doubt he would have retired.

Trump? No, I don't think he would leave voluntarily. 

No point asking him this, or any other question, btw, because he never answers truthfully. Which btw, is something the press should take into account. Why bother asking him any questions. Seriously, why do you bother. You're giving him an air of legitimacy that he doesn't deserve. The man can't answer anything truthfully.

I added this postscript to the Facebook version of the latest post

I have the feeling Facebook is blowing us off re linking and style in posts here. Really fucked up. This is a time when we need to communicate more than ever. This isn't a conservative vs liberal issue. It's about the proper flow of information and ideas, and using all the tools we have. To take linking out of the vocabulary of web writers would be like taking punctuation out of the language. Meaning is lost. Greed is okay kind of but not when it interferes with our future.

It's more than a feeling. We've been beating this drum for two years. Facebook isn't killing the blogosphere or the web, but they are crippling the people from organizing using the web. We really need all our tools. That Facebook withholds the ability to link from web writing, well that's really hurting the flow of ideas at a time when we need it to be functioning on all cylinders. 

Another fascinating moment on MSNBC last night.

Rachel Maddow, talking about Bill Weld, the Libertarian candidate for vice-president, who likens Trump's deportation plan to Kristallnacht, at the start of the German Holocaust. 

That wasn't surprising. I think and write about that a lot. We are going down a path that is well-understood. What was the point of studying history if it didn't inform us about the meaning of our own collective actions. 

What was surprising is what Maddow said. I don't have the exact wording, so I'll paraphrase.

"A lot of people think that, even talk privately about it, but publicly? That's new." 

Whoa! This is the story of the rest of the election. Has been for a while. I'd say the moment when it became this serious was when Trump denied knowing anything about David Duke or the KKK, or what the term white supremacist means. Watch the video. This is the moment, imho, when any sane reasonably educated adult knew exactly where we are headed. 

"When people show you who they are, believe them." -- Maya Angelou.

Everything in this election is about this choice. Nothing else comes close. 

So, when Bernie Sanders talks about corporate ownership of the electoral process, the right response is, why the fuck isn't he talking about the rise of fascism in the US?

When Hillary says Trump isn't qualified to be President shouldn't the follow-up be about the morality of even considering a man like Trump to be President. Even if he were qualified how can we consider a man of his morality as the commander-in-chief, as protector of the Constitution.

And when Repubs line up behind him, and as they go ahead with their nominating process, even though they are educated people and understand what they're nominating, shouldn't someone be publicly saying that this may be the single most significant thing any of them do in their entire lives. 

Shouldn't there be a Wikipedia page where the names of all Trump endorsers are listed? These are matters of public record. These people should feel that in the future there will be no chance of spinning their way out of responsibility. (The Atlantic is maintaining a cheat sheet of Repubs who are supporting Trump and those who are not.)

Maybe Hillary should choose Weld as her running mate? Someone here has to have the guts to tell the truth. So far he's pretty much alone in that. That's a pretty good qualification, imho.

A lot of things become clearer if we decide to talk the truth, and not pretend this is a normal election. No matter how hard you try, you can't make Donald Trump into Mitt Romney. And that's exactly what the Republican Party, in its dying Weimar gasps, is trying to do. 

Project into the future, assume Trump wins, and we endure whatever he has in mind for us. Historians of the mid-21st century ask if people knew what they were getting into, and they conclude that we did, but no one talked about it publicly.

What story does that remind you of? 

Many years ago, I flew from San Jose to Los Angeles for one day. Parked my car at the airport. On return I saw that I had left the keys on top of the car. A nice car. All day the keys were there. No one took the car.

Bernie supporters who aren't ridiculously utterly stupid will vote for HRC in the fall. 

I remember the same thing going on about HRC's supporters and the 2008 vote. I went to the DNC that year. There were some diehard HRC protestors. Literally four of them. They camped out on the main commercial street in Denver, on one specific corner, and tried to have an argument with anyone who would argue with them. 

By the end of the convention that was about it. They all voted for Obama, because they weren't fucking idiots.

If you still say you're voting for Trump, read this. And tell me without making me laugh too much that any Bernie supporter will actually pull the lever for Trump. If you do I will laugh at your silliness, and your belief in my gullibility. I am gullible, but not ridiculously so.

She's right. American never was great. Not in the way that people who support Donald Trump think it was. What they liked about America was to other Americans oppression, enslavement, death, genocide, ethnic cleansing. 

What Trump really means is that he wants to make America white again. As it was before we had our first African-American president. It's a racist dog whistle. I should have seen it coming, we all should. For all the joy and relief in getting over the race barrier in 2008, for other Americans that was defeat. Seeing a President as someone who had power over you, and for that person to be black must have been too much of a stretch for some. 

But the truth is the President doesn't actually have power over you. The President has symbolic power. We've seen how little actual power comes with the Presidency, after seeing the effect of Republican obstruction for the last six years.

Our challenge is to learn how to live with each other. Blacks, imho, have been amazingly peaceful given all the provocation. That's smart, of course. But amazing nonetheless. And white racists -- we have to make sure you don't get to run our country. Because then it wouldn't be America any more. The good things about America would be gone. 

Also yesterday Carlick asked me to come up with an idea for Google's machine learning algorithms. I was unprepared, and forgot that I already had a ready-made application.

Here's the idea.

I've spent many years writing on this blog. I know there are just a few themes. I repeat them over and over in different contexts. All serial writers do this. Think about Jonathan Chait at New York, Matt Taibbi at Esquire, Paul Krugman at the NYT.

So how about a learning algorithm that turns my writing into a rough draft of a coherent book. Something for me, working with a great human editor, to turn into something people can take to the beach. 

This would be worth a lot, esp if we can reboot blogging. It would give us away to turn people's ongoing stories into more usable forms of writing.

I've had a busy few days. Looking forward today to a bike ride, catching up on some development projects, thinking and ideating.

One take-away from the meetings: I want to find out more about the people who read my blog. It's very quiet over on my end of this "conversation." Some very interesting people are thinking about what I'm writing, and coming up with ideas of their own. And since so few people blog these days, the ideas don't flow back well.

When I posted that thought on Twitter, Fred Wilson, who has one of the most prolific comment sections on any blog, ever -- says his commenters keep him feeling the connection. It clearly works for him, we're different people, different temperaments, and different blog history. When I use his style of comments on my blog I get a different result.

I've found that when I have comments, I don't get very many, and a lot of them are spammy. What I want is to hear from people who don't speak publicly that much, just a few of their best ideas. 

Yesterday at lunch with Dave Carlick, who I worked with at Living Videotext in the 80s, we talked about regcards. When we shipped a new product, we'd get back bundles of regcards in the mail every day. When they came in, I'd close the door on my office, and spend hours reading the comments and thinking about them. There were phone numbers on the cards, and sometimes I'd call people and ask followup questions. I kept reading them because I learned so much from them, they gave me narratives to go with my product designs. The stories could now include what it was like to use the product, with no inside knowledge of how it was made. 

I want the web equivalent of a regcard. A way for readers to, when they have a free moment, tell me and only me who they are. Not a broadcast to the world. Just one person to another. As far as I know this doesn't exist today. The closest thing is the guestbook page. 

Anyway I feel like I just came back from an exciting conference. I forgot how energizing they can be. Not the speeches and the time spent in the audience scribbling and checking email. The hallway and lobby conversations that give you ideas. That's the gold. 

PS: I really wanted to find an image of one of the Living Videotext regcards, but I'm afraid they're all gone. Too bad. We put some amount of work in evolving them, to ask better questions that would get people to say more. And the cards themselves would have been interesting to read, 30 years later. I have to rely on my very imperfect memory here.

You could complain about how Facebook destroyed something or you could be part of creating the next thing. And learn from past mistakes. But...

Sometimes big companies park their fat asses on things they don't care about and stop them from growing. That's not destroying -- but it does hold back progress. Consider what Google did to RSS with Reader as an example. Not only couldn't we evolve RSS, but we had to stop using features of RSS they didn't support.

And then of course they killed Reader. Leaving RSS as a burnt out wasteland. Not destroyed, but hurting -- kind of like a chemical waste dump. (Never offered to help with the cleanup, or to help put things back to where they were.)

Facebook has its fat ass parked on top of blogging. And it isn't passing through the very most basic feature of the web -- linking. And like Google, they say it's a matter of limited resources that keeps them from supporting this feature. Well we didn't have that problem until they came along. 

So this is a problem. It doesn't fit the model of destruction leading to creativity. We have to try to co-exist, knowing that if we succeed they will probably interfere with the success. Creates a horrible disincentive. I know this because I live it.

One of my favorite users on Facebook is Humans of New York

Every day he tells stories of random people in New York.

Sometimes he focuses on certain parts of the city, and he's also traveled to different countries and applied the same method.

It just struck me that we should have a HONY for the middle of the United States. The world would love to hear their stories, I imagine. We don't know what to make of the Trump phenomenon. Maybe by putting a human face on it, through story-telling and photography, we could get a better sense of who the other Americans are. 

I'm very far away from them in many ways. But I understand that we have to listen and hear what the individuals are saying, as people, not through a spokesperson who we don't like or trust. (An understatement.)

Let's figure out how to do this!

Plugins in 1999.io are basically single-page apps that have access to the server, and can do things on behalf of the logged-in user.

Through lots of factoring over many months, the code is extremely high level.

The template editor demo'd here has all the same abilities that the 1999.io app has. They run through the same JavaScript API.

We use Twitter for identity and the local server file system to store JSON files.

Very lightweight and low-tech but also quite powerful.

It's all coming together nicely.

BTW, you can try the template editor yourself, exactly as in this video. Go to my.1999.io and log in. Create a short hello world post, and do what I did in the video. It should work. ;-)

I was going to write a piece about how the role of journalism had changed because of Trump. The reason we have Trump is the mistaken idea that there are rules about what the press can and can't say. Those rules have stood in the way of the truth getting out to the people who need to hear it. 

Reporters have a clear responsibility to what's true and important. So we need to have information that helps us understand what it would be like to have Trump as commander in chief, because that's one of the jobs he wants. 

American journalism has a proper conflict of interest in that it must further the interest of America continuing to be America. That means the Constitution evolves, but does it slowly and with a lot of consideration. It means that there's a wide variety of conflicting philosophies that coexist. It means that individual rights are protected even if the majority doesn't agree. 

Analogously, the San Jose Mercury-News, a news org based in San Jose, CA where I used to live, doesn't have to be objective about San Jose. They are in favor of it. And American journalists are okay if they favor America. We want them to have that conflict of interest.

It isn't up to Hillary Clinton to provide the reason we might or might not want Trump. That's the job of the press. It's one that they haven't taken seriously enough in the recent past. There's been a lot of false equivalence, leading to terrible things almost happening. Like defaulting on the country's debt. We, as a country, didn't fully appreciate the consequences of that, as it was about to happen. And that was a failure of the press. Luckily it did not happen because the Repubs weren't that insane. But it was only a matter of time before the insanity fully blossomed to the point that even the Repubs are scared of it. That's where we are now.

On last night's Chris Hayes show, not only did Hayes fully embrace his conflict of interest, in favor of protecting the US from the insanity of the Trump candidacy, but a guest, Bob Garfield from On The Media, said what I was planning to say -- it's time for the media to stop with the false equivalence. We are all threatened by the lunacy of the Trump candidacy, including the press. We all have to act to make sure the country survives this. This is not a failure of both parties or of the American system. It's a failure of American journalism. They don't like to look at themselves, or take blame for their mistakes, and that's okay as long as they stop making the mistake.

There's still at least one other big problem. None of these people listen to non-reporters or non-politicos. None of them will read this post or care that a software developer has strong, perhaps insightful and passionately held positions based on love of country. Only a few voices are heard and their thinking suffers from inbreeding and in many cases lack of experience.  They are the reason we are in this mess, not Trump and not the Repubs. 

So I conclude we need to reboot blogging. I am finding that message is getting through, not to reporters but to other people who care. And I'm going to keep pounding my fist on the table and banging the drum until we are all heard, until we all hear each other. That's the real fix for this bug, long-term. 

Bottom-line: If the voters know what they're really getting, i.e. press tells real story, and the voters want him, then so be it.

Software is easy to debug if you treat it like anything else. 

If you have what you think is a bad light bulb, but when you put a new bulb in the socket it doesn't work, you'd conclude the problem was in the socket, not the bulb. (Although it doesn't hurt to try a third bulb from a different pack if possible. Sometimes two bulbs are broken.)

Debugging a problem in software is usually just a series of those kinds of tests. 

My position on Trump, if the voters know what they're really getting, i.e. press tells real story, and the voters want him, then so be it.

I don't know how you propose a new emoji, so I'm going to try doing it from a blog post.

I would like to nominate the Apple Computer dogcow, named Clarus, for commemoration for perpetuity as an emoji.

It would be like retiring a number of a basketball or baseball player.

It's a classic. Instantly recognizable to a certain generation of developer. A memory of glory days when barriers were being broken in software usability every year. Not that progress isn't being made these days, but it seems so much s l o w e r. 

And if there's room for one more, I'd like to see the icon of Steve Jobs in the Steve Sez dialogs also be preserved as a universally recognized emoji.

PS: Did you know that Clarus was named by people at Apple to mock the software spinoff named Claris, that was started by none other than Bill Campbell, the much-revered Silicon Valley coach who recently passed away. 

On May 8, I wrote a blog post about upstreaming in Node.js.

I heard on the Facebook thread that there is a package that does an excellent job of handling notification of file updates. This is an area that the built-in routines in Node fall short.

I decided to create my own utility, it's a Node app that watches a folder, and uploads any new or changed files to a location on Amazon S3. You can configure how often it runs.

It does it with a recursive scan of the folder structure. It looks at every file's mod date and compares it with the last date. Very simple approach.

Of course even a very simple approach can be mind-numbingly complex in JavaScript. It's all async. To get it to really work I had to introduce a file queue, and even at that there are still times when it stops scanning.

In other words, I will have to take another look at this, but right now I'm moving on. It's worth a blog post because I've posted the code, with setup instructions on GitHub. I'll be watching the Issues section of the repo so if you discover problems please report there. Thanks.

The press must treat Trump like a real candidate.

Use all the metrics, regardless of whether you feel his supporters will care. That's not even an interesting question, because until you report it, you can't know.

Over time the novelty of Trump will wear off. And people will be left with the reality of a loner, with no experience, trying to run a ridiculously huge and dangerous organization.

You have to give the electorate a chance to experience Trump as he is, with sobriety, and evaluate him not as a TV show, but as an administrator, leader, and military commander.

Trump is in every way a real candidate, and if elected will be a real President. Your job is to make the people feel that. If they still want to go with Trump, so be it. 

The day Trump leaves the stage in disgrace, and sooner or later that's going to happen, will be like the day Nixon resigned.


Something interesting happened yesterday in the US Presidential campaign. We had a day when the press beat Donald Trump.

All of a sudden he didn't have talking points. His denials sounded like the lies they are. His rep on Chris Hayes could only say that the charges were old and that journalists couldn't say someone is lying. (!)

To be clear, if you are lying and the journalist knows it, they must say you're lying. The problem has been that journalists have not been saying it. You could see the panic. Oh no. Now what.

Well of course Slippery Donald is going try to slip out of this. Possibly with violence at a rally. Or stories about  Bill Clinton's penis. Whatever it is, given that it's Trump, it will be demeaning, unsavory and highly un-Presidential.

The goal has to be to make this guy so miserable that he gets the clear picture of what it'll be like to be President. Permanently wipe the grin off his face. Some people are cool enough to handle it, like Obama and HRC. But Trump runs hot, he puts his ego out there, the chip on his shoulder is yuuuuuge. He's totally not built for the job. Soon, hopefully even he will realize that. 

But we'll see how stiff the spine of the press is, and whether their bosses will let them bring down Trump, which should be very very easy for them, if they choose to do it.

What I learned in the aftermath of my Rainbow-Cursor-From-Hell experience with my iMac.

  1. When we solve these catastrophes with our computers we never end up knowing what the problem was. Just that resetting something or starting over from some level worked around the problem.
  2. I knew that if I absolutely couldn't fix the problem I could always buy a new computer. Or use the laptop in the other room. So this is nothing like the old days, when a failing computer meant I was off the air until it got fixed. Most of our computers back then were one-off in some way. The parts were not quickly replaced, and there was no overnight shipping from Amazon or an Apple Store down the street. I was lucky, being in Silicon Valley, that there were options there, but it involved a drive, and often a wait of a few days. 
  3. In the Rainbow-Cursor case, it was pretty clear after fixing the problem that the internal drive was slowly breaking. More and more disk accesses were failing, so while things would eventually happen, it just got slower and slower. 
  4. We can make self-driving cars, but somehow we can't have a failing disk drive send us an email saying "Your computer is about to fail for this reason, we just saved you three days of frustration. Thanks for choosing Apple."
  5. In 2001, the evil computer Hal was able to tell Dave exactly when certain parts would fail, although in some cases he was lying. I guess we should be thankful our computers today don't have strong feelings about us personally. 

We should settle down and put some of our effort into finishing the development of technology so many of us depend on for our work and creativity. 

In 1996 I wrote a review of the then-new Pointcast, calling it CNN on Your Desktop. I thought it was a miracle. I was a contributing editor for HotWired, the first website of Wired Magazine, and at the time was a pretty influential place to write. 

Later when I went to an InternetWorld trade show, on the show floor, much to my surprise, was a huge two-story banner, above the Pointcast booth, with a quote from my review, and my name under it. It said:

The most compelling app I've ever seen for a personal computer.

Apparently I had written the most glowing review of the product, and it had appeared in Wired, and it contained a solid pull quote, and all that added up to a two-story banner.

The point of this vignette is that I understand the rush that editorial people feel when their judgement makes or breaks something. When your attention is sought by entrepreneurs and PR people. You don't make very much money for this work, but at times you can have huge influence.

That is what has been slipping away from professional journalists year after year, and now it's almost gone. Publications that used to have large influence like Time and Newsweek are now shadows of their former selves. BusinessWeek is gone, swallowed up into the Bloomberg machine. Even the Internet-embracing TechCrunch feels like it's going through the motions.

Facebook is hiring journalists, and like it or not, they're doing the same job for a tech company that they were doing for publishing companies. The resulting product is no more or less conflicted or valid. It's the same product, at a much larger scale.

In 1996 I got the rush, but I wasn't seeking it, I wasn't even expecting it. And I knew immediately that it wasn't mine, and it wouldn't last. If I had written that only as a blog post, they might have included it in a quote sheet, but they never would have put it in a banner. That belonged to Wired. My name was just going along for the ride. That was the one and only time a quote of mine got that kind of play.

But I think there's an even bigger rush available to journalists who stick with it. Electronic distribution of news now, 20 years after Pointcast, isn't that much more developed. It has a long way to go. We need social networks of news makers, and imho neither Facebook or Twitter has done that yet. And that's just the next step. I think there are many after that. 

Imagine you were a lover of movies in 1932. Sound had just been introduced. Movies were great. You could feel the potential. But there was still so much more to do! Gone With The Wind and Wizard of Oz wouldn't come until 1939. And there was The Godfather, and Spielberg and Scorcese, Meryl Streep and Al Pacino. Leonardo and Jennifer. 

What's over then? The 20th century system of news, with powerful gatekeepers whose names are displayed above trade show booths in 2-story type. That's gone forever. But what comes next will give you bigger rushes than any of that. I know because in other contexts I've been privileged to participate in those kinds of developments. And I yearn for more to come. 

If you love news I believe strongly there's never been a better time to be alive. 

In this piece our longtime blogging friend Hoder says Mark Zuckerberg is a hypocrite and the open web is "destroyed." 

I don't have an opinion about the first part, but I know the web is not destroyed. On that Hoder is just plain wrong. 

Here's what I do think.

We could really use Hoder's voice in the blogosphere.

He could set up a WordPress blog, or a Tumblr blog. Whatever he likes.

He would find that a lot of his influence would return, and more important, instead of giving up as he has done here, he would be helping the open web.

He doesn't know that it's over. Like a lot of journalists, he clearly for some reason would like to believe it is. They are wrong. We do not know that. I'm using the open web right now to write this, and thousands of people will read it, again through the open web. That's pretty good for something that's supposedly "destroyed." 

Of course Facebook should add links to Facebook posts. That would help as much as getting an excellent blogger like Hoder back in the flow.

Come on guys let's get to work! ;-)

© 1994-2016 Dave Winer
Last update: Sunday, May 29th, 2016; 11:46 PM.