In 2006, I ran into my old friend John Dvorak in the Apple Store in San Francisco. I asked him to explain secret of his trolling technique. He's built his whole career on trolling. 

To my surprise, he laid it out to me, exactly how it works. It's surprisingly simple.  And it's exactly what the Republican nominee for President is doing to monopolize the news channel, and cut off the air supply for other candidates and ideas.

If you want to understand the election of 2016, you must watch this video.

PS: See also, Don't feed the Trump.

I just read a thing in the WSJ that said that the one group that the Dems didn't appeal to at the DNC were whites who feel marginalized. These are the core Trump supporters. 

And they're right! I didn't even notice. 

This must have shown up in their spreadsheets. I can't imagine it was an oversight. 

And then I look inside myself and I can see why they couldn't create an all-white stage and with a message like "Democrats love white people." In 2016 it would still sound very strange. But in future years, probably not so much. 

But it's really needed if we want to avoid President Trump on November 8. We should get through this. 

Think about it. Can we grow the Democratic tent in a way that makes a few more white people feel like they're part of the future of America? 

If we can, we win.

How much do we want to win?

If we were living in a sci fi novel, we'd learn that Trump trolls on Twitter are aliens communicating telepathically from a distant planet.

Jason Fried wrote that he's never had a goal, and Jason Kottke writes that he's the same. 

I myself have had many goals, and even achieved some. 

I don't understand how you can not have a goal. 

You might say I am a goal-oriented person. Even goal-driven.  Sometimes to a fault. 

There are times when in retrospect it would have been better to give up and pursue a different goal. I've wasted a fair amount of time throwing good money after bad. 

I remember as a kid, saying to my father that I couldn't understand how anyone would choose to not be directed to do great things with their life. I was hoping he would tell me what he was trying to do. He said most people don't have goals. 

I don't understand people without goals, the same way Leo McGarry in The West Wing says he doesn't understand people who aren't alcoholics.

I don't understand people who have one drink. I don't understand people who leave half a glass of wine on the table. I don't understand people who say they've had enough. How can you have enough of feeling like this? How can you not want to feel like this longer? (He sighs.) My brain works differently.

Anyway, this comes at an interesting time for me, as I'm contemplating the possibility of going non-goal-oriented at least for a while. So maybe my goal now is to figure out how not to have a goal. 

It's hard to escape one's nature. ;-)

I haven't written about trolls much here on Scripting News , mostly because they have cost me so much, and I learned after a lot of experience that talking about them invites them in. And once they're in, they make you pay.

But now we have to study trolls, at least enough to help everyone understand how our political system is being dominated by one. And there is a simple fix, but it's hard to implement. 

The simple fix

It's so important a lesson, learned so many times by so many people, through so much pain, that it has been codified into a mantra, so we never forget. 

  1. Don't feed the troll.
  2. Don't feed the troll.
  3. Don't feed the troll.
  4. Don't feed the troll.
  5. Don't feed the troll.
  6. Etc.

Yet we keep feeding the troll. 


Probably because most people think the best of everyone, and if someone is saying something that's obviously wrong, we think they certainly want to be shown the right way to think. And trolls do everything to encourage us to believe they want to be shown the truth, but in fact they don't. They just want to troll you. They want your attention, your energy, and if possible they want you to draw more people to them.

Trump is a troll

The greatest troll of all time is Donald Trump.

I say that with some certainty even though trolling has probably existed as long as the human species. Never before have trolls had the awesome tool of the Internet to support their craft. 

The Internet is to trolling what airplanes are to global travel. 

Sure you could do it before, but now you can do it so much better. 

And the tools for trolling keep getting better. 

Mail lists were the ultimate sporting venue for trolls, because they gave everyone an equal voice. At any time a troll could halt the discussion and make everyone pay attention to him. Without moderation all mail lists become dominated by trolls, eventually. This is a fundamental rule of Internet discourse.

Twitter makes trolling a little more difficult because people have to follow you before they get your announcements. But if you can get people to RT you, then you'll get people to see your stuff even if they don't follow you. 

One way to get people to RT is to say something they strongly agree with. An even better way to get RTs is to say something outrageous, so people can express their rage. Trump uses the latter form, more effectively than anyone before him. 

However, immunity to outrage builds up over time. What pissed people off six months ago will barely show up as a blip today. Luckily for Trump as he rises in stature, from poll-leader, to presumptive nominee, to one of two possible Presidents, his tweets automatically get more outrageous, because now they have half the weight of the office of POTUS behind them. The idea of a potential President saying such and such adds a rage quotient that's hard to beat.

So we have the awkward situation where during the DNC, as the Democrats are putting on an incredible show, Trump is still commanding more attention than all the Democratic speakers combined. Because he said something more outrageous than you could ever imagine him possibly saying (which shows our imaginations still have to evolve).

On day two, he says he was just being sarcastic. Now we can debate whether or not that's possible. On day three, who knows what he says, but it'll be good. Etc etc. As long as we feed him, he keeps escalating the outrage, and we keep carrying his message, crowding out any other ideas. It's like a media filibuster. No one gets to say anything unless it's about what the troll just said.

Key point -- the only people who care about your condemnation are people who are already totally stoked with outrage about the troll. The people who love him love the fact that he tweaks you. Even people who hate him are fascinated by your rage. It's like stopping to look at a terrible car accident. Or a beheading by a terrorist. It's hard to avert your eyes. And eventually you become immune to it, and need a bigger thrill to draw the attention. 

In sailing, it doesn't matter which way the wind is blowing, you can always adjust your sails to move in the direction you want to go. Same with trolls. As long as they're controlling you it doesn't matter if you like them or not. The only thing that makes a troll happy is attention. They probably prefer it if you hate them.

How to win with a troll

Try a mental exercise. Take a deep breath to calm whatever residual rage you feel about the troll. Now imagine what would happen if instead of erupting in rage over his comments about Russian spying, we had simply said Oh there's Trump doing his thing. It's not news. (It's not, it's like a dog biting a man, the most predictable thing ever.) 

Now imagine if he never got any self-generated press ever again? That would be the end of Trump. You can report on polls. You can report on FBI investigations of him. Or his trial with Trump U. Or that HRC calls for him not to get security briefings, all that's fair. But you can't report any Trump-generated news. If it came from him, it's trolling. If it's news about him that he didn't control, it's fair game. 

You stopped feeding the troll. And science has proven over and over if you do that, the troll will go away.

I got into a fairly heated discussion this morning with a cartoonist for the New Yorker, who thought at first that it was his right to call out Trump. Otherwise he would continue to make messes with impunity. I understand. He's acting as if Trump were a normal person and not a troll. If he didn't crave the attention so, and not give a damn if you know he's a bastard, your condemnation would register, and would cause him to tone it down. But in his case, since he is a troll, he just amps it up. Delighting his fans, and most important -- crowding out any other ideas and messages that need to get out. And in the past that has meant he wins. And it might mean it for the future as well (I don't think it actually will, but I do worry).

The way to send Trump back to his tower after the election is to do the hard thing. When you feel the impulse to condemn him, instead go to the window, open it, and yell I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore. Then close the window, delete the tweet and continue with your life. 

figured something out -- at least some media types are so new to the net they don't think in terms of trolls and feeding them. that may be the simplest approach to quieting down trump. educate the press. it would be worth some effort to try to spell this out.

Look in the right margin of this post. See the Hillary 2016 badge? It's not terrible but I know their art department can do better. But it's the only image I could find that would work well in the right margin of a blog post.

When I write about the next President of the United States, I want to put a little campaign glitter in the right margin. It should look good when scaled down to 125 pixels. It should have a transparent background, or easily have one added. Rectangular is okay, but more creative shapes work better, in my experience. 

If you want to see how I use them, go to my blog home page, and scan down the page. 

Please make one of your deliverables for every campaign, for that matter for every product, a sticker that's designed to look good in the right margin of a blog post. 

Thanks! :-)

No matter how outrageous what the DJ says, if you pass it on, you are working for his election. So when someone says "Did you see what that asshole DJ Trump just said?", you say WHO?

PS: Or in New Orleans, Who Dat?

This has been a great convention, and tonight we saw the full scope of what the Democrats hope to accomplish. They're not just looking to win with the voters Obama won with in 2008 and 2012, they are actively seeking support from Republicans and independents.

They have a strong argument, that I'm sure will change a lot of minds, after the crazy and largely (imho of course) un-American RNC. 

Republicans are decent people. They're Americans like we are. As Obama said there are differences between Democrats and Republicans, but what Trump offers is not what most Americans believe in. It's up to the Democrats to make that clear, to cut through the fog, and tonight they did that brilliantly. 

Obama will pour everything into Hillary's campaign, not because he's scared, he's not -- nor should he be -- he wants to fix the problem that plagued his administration, a Republican Congress that wouldn't come to the table and work with him. And with Trump, I think the Repubs would actually be relieved and very humbled and what's left of them in Congress after this debacle will probably want to work with President Hillary.

Don't wonder if Hillary can top it off in the closing speech of the convention. She can and will.

For background see: After the nightmare in Cleveland

I missed Panetta's speech, just heard about it.

We live in dangerous times, controlled by people whose confidence comes from ignorance.

Twitter has much-needed technology.

It’s a waste to tether it to only one user interface, one application.

It shouldn’t be hard to pivot to being totally platform given how depressed the stock is. It’s the only way we (the users) are going to have Twitter going forward, is if current management gets out of the way and lets a market develop.

The other alternative is to nationalize Twitter. Suck them into the Internet. Have the country buy the shareholders out at a reasonable price and add their technology to the base technology of the Commons.

It would have the same effect as the pivot, the technology of Twitter would become open. could act as a clearinghouse. Charge an annual fee for an ID, just as you pay money to use a national park. 

That would be the Central Park theory of software evolution.

Net-net: If Twitter were to fail it would leave a huge hole in the Internet. Kind of like what happened when we lost Napster. I argued then that we needed to keep Napster, otherwise there would be many years of chaos in Internet music. If only...

Disclosure: I own a small amount of Twitter stock.

I tried once again to get Facebook to add styling, links, titles and podcasts to timeline posts, and once again they said no.

I told my friend inside Facebook this reminds me of the time Apple wouldn't give us working sample code for AppleTalk apps. So we had to wait until the web before we could write easy reliable networked apps. It was a shame because we wasted a good part of a decade waiting for the web. Years we could have put into making great software that networked. And we wouldn't have given up the graphic user interface advances that Apple had made. While I loved the web for its easy networking, I understood that it was a major major step backward in user interface. We're still trying to make up for the selfish mistake Apple made almost thirty years ago. That's how costly these closed-architecture outages can be.

That wasn't the first or last time a major tech company shut the door for a type of application that was waiting to be born. Now Facebook has gotten in bed with the big pubs, with their crazy business models, that get us people like DJ Trump as a candidate for President. 

I want to bring blogging to Facebook. I think it's the only way we can get back on track, by giving the sources great tools to communicate with people who are thirsty for ideas and information. But we can't do it without linking, styles, titles and links to rich media, accessible through an RSS-like API. We can't boot up a culture of free thinking inside a silo without these basic features of the web. We need to be able to get our ideas into this space so they can engage with the people here and connect with ideas, people and software that live outside of Facebook.

Facebook has these features internally, for their own use. They just have to turn them on for users. It's eerily similar to the way Apple approached the power of networking in the 80s. Keep the power for themselves, only accessible to people they hire, subject to their management structure. I guess it never occurred to them to give it to users and developers? Or they're scared of what they might do with it? It's really hard to parse. 

Until this is fixed we will have to wait for the equivalent of the web to show up and route around Facebook's outage. I have no doubt that day will come, and when it does it will give me no satisfaction, because as with Apple we're wasting years, and we really don't have that kind of time to waste. 

Bill Clinton's speech was a story. That's what he does. Lovely speech. Corny is fine when it comes to love. They are married, after all.

A convention is a TV show. Hill and Bill are the two main characters. The show runner's goal for this episode is this: Humanize Hill.




At the end of last night's coverage of the DNC on MSNBC, they interviewed a young woman who was a Bernie supporter and asked if his speech had convinced her to support Hillary. She said no. It's up to Hillary now to say something to convince her that she deserved her support. 

I got so angry with this woman. Where has she been for the last eight months? You mean you never listened to Hillary during all the debates? How much more convincing could you need? And how selfish to think that we need to spend more time fighting with Democrats to support the Democratic Party candidate when a madman like DJ Trump is the only alternative? I can't believe what I'm hearing. 

Bernie said something in his speech that is worth calling out. He said he still has differences with Hillary. And he said that's the way the American political system works, and it's a good thing it works that way. He's so right! In a country as diverse and divided as we are, no one gets everything they want all the time, unless they've destroyed the system. There are checks and balances. We must compromise or we can't go forward. So you celebrate victories, and plan for the next fight. 

Revolutions aren't won or lost in a single election for a single office. 

On the other hand, Bernie must take responsibility for this mess. He was playing a dangerous game with the emotions of his supporters in the final weeks of the campaign, after it was over, by leading them to believe that they still had a chance. By saying over and over that the system is rigged, he left a strong impression that the nomination had been stolen. At times he came very close to saying that. He talked about the unfair role of superdelegates, but anyone who was paying attention (as he surely was) knew that they were not a deciding factor in this nomination. If he had won more pledged delegates than HRC he would have had a point, but he didn't. He didn't win more popular votes either. I'd like to think no one lost, but the fact is he did, and he knew it, but he led his followers to believe it was otherwise.

It was ugly. And it was obvious it wouldn't end well. He should have been more of an adult, more of a leader of the whole party not just his troops. It was time to merge the efforts, long before arriving in Philadelphia. The anger and disruptions in the hall last night were a result of Bernie not being straight with his supporters. 

I kept wondering why he was doing that. I concluded he must have had campaign debts to pay off, and if he admitted defeat the last remaining contributions would stop. So he had to make it appear as if there was still a chance to win. He never explained, so guesses are all we had to go by.

Hopefully tonight's speakers will be speaking to a convention of unified Democrats. When Bill Clinton speaks, he should be helping us understand who his wife is, from his point of view. He is a fantastic speaker, especially in this environment, and he must be allowed full use of his abilities. 

People in the room should either listen respectfully and enthusiastically, or they should be out in the street marching as protestors. This election is too important for their disruptions. We need a chance to get this organized. People who stand in the way aren't doing their cause any good and they're playing a very dangerous stupid no-win game with all our futures.

I have to say now I am united. I listen to Bernie and I hear a person I support. When I see him I will shake his hand, and call him brother. I want his success. Finally, we're on the same side. All is forgiven and we go forward, together.

The Dems killed.

Michelle Obama's speech was a work of art. Everything about it.

And Sanders was a masterpiece of politics.

3 more days.

File this under clouds with silver linings.

If you support Hillary Clinton, as I do, you're becoming familiar with all the disadvantages women have when they compete with men.

I saw it in the debates with Bernie Sanders. He would talk over her, wave his hands at her, and it was clear she couldn't object. There were so many things we would never tolerate from a woman that are seen as commanding or signs of strength in men.

And it's happening again in the competition with Trump.

He's pouring a waste dump full of garbage into the political commons this year, while Hillary has dropped a few bits of litter here and there. Trump has said he doesn't plan to uphold the First Amendment. He might use a nuclear weapon in Europe. He wants to withdraw from our international commitments. He has declared war on Mexico. 

Hillary used a mail server to send and receive classified documents. An exec at the DNC suggested doing something evil to Sanders (the idea didn't go anywhere).

But it's second nature I guess to examine every nook and cranny of Hillary's humanity, repeatedly, while letting Trump slide. Everyone makes mistakes, we might say about him. But this is a job where even one mistake can lose us human civilization. 

With such extreme differences, the thing we're learning, if we come out the other end with an intact culture, is that we need to consciously treat women as equals in every way. There's no doubt the woman in this election is the only one who we can trust to do the job. Yet for reasons that are mysterious to me, we could go the other way.

We now have a howto for running 1999-server on Docker.

This is great because Docker has become the standard for "container" services.

Thanks to Don Park for getting this started, and showing me how Docker works. Having a patient, friendly expert around to help makes all the difference on projects like this.

If you have questions, post a message on the 1999-server mail list.

A radical idea to start the week -- nationalize Twitter, give the shareholders a decent exit, open it up to competition. 

Our whole political system flows thru Twitter, and the limits of Twitter have become limits of our politics. 

The company is struggling to find a business model that has nothing to do with its central role in our political life. 

Let it become the backbone, with lots of user experiences, a central station of the interactive Internet, a clearing house, and the next-level-up name service.

We need to shake things up. If we wait for the company to do it, it'll never happen. 

I went to two DNCs, in 2004 and 2008.

Both times I heard what the cable news networks were reporting, scandals and controversies, but didn't see any of it on the floor. 

I think some people perform for the cameras, and say things that'll get them more coverage. I saw almost no dissent either time, though the media were making the most of divisions.

I try to remember that as I see them trying to make it sound like the Dems are in trouble. It probably isn't very real.

If we built a wall between Russia and the US, would it go thru Donald Trump?

Thanks to Joan Walsh, I read this piece by Thomas Dewar on Facebook, and felt strongly this point of view should be more widely circulated. He said it's okay to cross-post, so here goes. DW

My favorite two Democrats are Elizabeth Warren and Russ Feingold. I'm not a DNC-cheerleading company man who waves the blue pompoms at anything with a (D) next to it, and have said plenty of critical things about the Clintons, their ethical shortcuts and their transactional approach to politics.

What distinguishes Warren and Feingold isn't simply where they are on the progressive spectrum, but their rare integrity, honesty, intelligence, and competence at the job. And Tim Kaine possesses the latter four qualities in spades.

When I met the man, the first thing that struck me was his utter humility, and the complete absence of the "do you know who I am?!" airs that are ubiquitous in this town. He couldn't care less what it says on his business card, and actually uses his offices to help people who don't have many advocates in the corridors of power.

You don't use your Harvard Law degree to help people of color facing housing discrimination, and poor people in Honduras, if you're the Corporate Lucifer cartoon peddled by the Bernie-Or-Busters who don't have a clue about the man.

Do I trust the recent, alleged conversion to an anti-TPP position by Clinton and Kaine? Nope! And neither should you. They're saying the right things about it now, but I fear after the election they'll change a couple of commas and try to weasel this thing past us. It's why I'm glad there's an ascendant progressive Senate caucus of Warren, Sanders, Feingold (bank it), Sherrod Brown, Jeff Merkley et al. It will be incumbent upon us to contact our legislators when the time comes and keep the pressure on.

But that's how the fuck politics works. You elect people who are mostly great but need an occasional boot in the ass. The perfect, fully formed candidate who does everything we want on every issue, never needs any prodding from us, and can actually get elected doesn't exist. Even Feingold and Warren have occasionally caught flak from the left over things like Ashcroft's AG confirmation or support for Israel.

For that matter, Tim Kaine has shown far more courage and consistency in taking on the NRA--which is headquartered in his own state--than Bernie Sanders has in Vermont. That didn't keep me from voting for Bernie in the primaries, but let's get a fucking grip. Virginia is the home of the NRA, Big Tobacco, and the Falwell-Robertson religious right, and Kaine has taken on all three, every time, without batting an eye.

The stuff about reproductive rights? Ask yourself why advocates call ourselves "pro-choice" instead of "pro-abortion" (a right-wing tag we object to), and you have your answer. I guarantee you Cecile Richards has done more to defend women's health than you and I put together, so if she says the dude scores a 100% with Planned Parenthood and gives him a ringing endorsement, it's a tad obnoxious to suggest she doesn't know what she's talking about.

You have every right to use your vote as you see fit. But please don't use disingenuous, bullshit arguments to justify something you were going to do anyway. If you think the self-aggrandizing opportunist that is Jill Stein does anything but pop her head up once every four years to shake down the gullible for a vanity "campaign," you certainly have the right to help her elect Donald Trump.

But know this: Tim Kaine does more in a day here on Capitol Hill to help the people you claim to care about than Jill Stein has in her entire fucking "career."

What people don't get about Trump is that he's made his case to Republicans and independents and Bernie supporters. That's what the convention was for. That's it. We were worried it would be dark and ugly, and it was. And we're all still here. 

The man can sneer, but can he field an army? Really, seriously even the delegates are having second thoughts now that they're back home in their own reality. Conventions are a bubble. Reality feels very different.

And for the rest of us it was a TV show. I'm looking forward to watching Bojack Horseman. And a bunch of HBO stuff. And of course the DNC next week. I expect some great emotional politics coming out of there. Trump threw a fat pitch. Based on what we saw at today's rally the Dems know how to hit that pitch, and no one is going to help Trump get over that. Not the Republican Party, not the TV shows. He can rant and rave, but you know -- that was last season's hit. He needs a new thing.

Back in the late 90s we had a publishing system called ManilaThis was around the time Google was starting, and they weren't yet indexing blogs. We needed to have search working for our sites, so we wrote a search engine that ran inside Manila. It worked the way "real" search engines do. It crawled the pages and created an index. So it didn't have to do any actual searching when you queried it. 

Eventually we came to depend on Google, but now in 2016 Google is not very good at finding stuff in my archives. And it seems to be getting worse. Phrases I used many times over the years come up with zero hits. I know how to use Google, it became part of my publishing system. I still use it for lots of stuff, but it's getting ineffective at searching my blog.

So all this leads me to the question -- has anyone made a simple easy to set up search engine for Node? It should crawl sites over HTTP. It should have a ranking algorithm, so it returns more relevant hits first. Launch the app in Forever and use a browser-based interface to tell it what to crawl. Access the search engine through the web, of course.  

If it doesn't exist, we should create it. We need to have an existence independent of Google. Strategy taxes on our web, not good. 

Update: Simple-search.

Tim Kaine's intro speech was fantastic.

If you get a chance to watch it, do.

But one thing's for sure, the DNC is going to be incredible.

The Dems are prepared.

And of course Trump threw a huge fat pitch

Last week's RNC was a horror show.

It was certainly depressing to see all those Republican elite, Americans every one of them, signing on to third world politics. I don't want to repeat all that they said, but as a good American who has voted Republican more than Democratic, they had nothing to offer me. I would vote for anyone if the other choice is Trump. So Hillary has my vote. 

Next week a lot of Republicans will watch the DNC, esp good Americans who can't stand for what the Repubs are offering this year. And that's why the choice of Tim Kaine was so smart.

It's not him personally that's so impressive, but the Clinton/Kaine product. Because not only will the team appeal to Democrats, it's designed to make sense to Republicans too. 

And that's how you can understand it, if you're having trouble.

There's an opportunity to do more than win an election in 2016, although the Dems surely have to do that. There's an opportunity to create a governing party. One that might last past the mid-terms in the first Clinton/Kaine term. A chance to run the country intelligently for once, after the lunatic years of Bush and the deadlock years of McConnell. Not in the aftermath of a huge financial meltdown. And not for only two years.

There's a chance for the equivalent of Nixon's Southern Strategy, but not geographically, demographically. A chance for a lot of weary Republicans to decide that the Democratic Party is a better baseline for American government than the split government we've been trying to make work.

Smart Democratic strategists are thinking in terms of the state houses, governorships, gerrymandering, the courts, both houses of Congress. Governing. 

So when you see them on stage, imagine you are a Republican who just saw the nightmare in Cleveland, and imagine how good Clinton/Kaine must look.

As a user of Twitter, I appreciate that there are lines you can't cross and stay on Twitter. Leslie Jones is a great comedian, and actress, and more remarkable because of her vulnerability. She's an easy target for predators on Twitter, and I like that Twitter is keeping it safe for her to participate. 

On the other hand..

It highlights why we need an open alternative to Twitter.

Back in the beginning of the web, we observed its power was that it was the platform without a platform vendor. That's a defining characteristic. 

  • If there's a platform vendor, it's not the Internet.
  • If there is no platform vendor, it is.

So we need an Internet version of Twitter.

An individual with proper backing can do a Twitter, however it takes at least a small group of designers, architects and developers to create the Internet version of Twitter.

I would very much like to be part of such an effort. 

I want it to be friendly to Twitter, because as a user and a shareholder, and a developer who uses their platform, I want to see it thrive. But I also strongly believe we need the open system, the Central Park to Twitter's condo buildings on Fifth Ave and Central Park West.

If you agree, write a blog post on your vision for the Internet's Twitter, and send me a link. I look forward to reading it. 

Update: John Biesnecker says use XMPP. I've always wanted a simplified API for XMPP. Send a message, get a message. 

I didn't think last night after watching the Trump acceptance speech that there would be a post-convention bump for Trump in the polls. 

I thought it was a miserable speech. I kept thinking how people who know him say he has no attention span or curiosity. And there was a point in the speech where you could feel that he lost it. He had gone in pumped up. His coaches told him to take a long big breath between each sentence or phrase. You could hear him do it. 

It sounded like panic.

It felt to me as if a Little League player showed up at a World Series game. They gave him the ball and said "You pitch." 

There was no passion, no enthusiasm or presence or even a sense that he understood the words he was saying. He was reading off a teleprompter. Yes, he was better than he usually is, obviously he spent a lot of time practicing this speech. He was disciplined, for Trump, didn't veer off very often, when he did, I hoped, out loud "This is it" -- now he's going to show us True Unhinged Crooked Donald, but he got himself back on course. He either wants the job now, or he doesn't want to go crazy in front of all these people.

Ivanka's speech was masterful. She'll be back, win or lose in the fall. The Jon Voight commercial was beautifully produced, but was such an incomplete profile of a person. It felt like the newsreels in Zelig or Citizen Kane. Look here's Trump building the NY skyline (what bullshit) -- here's Trump with cute animals and with NYPD on 9/11. 

There's that moment at conventions where old friends stand up for the candidate and tell you about his or her heart. Mitt Romney, who felt stiff and awkward had lots of people to speak for him. As did Obama, and the Bushes. Presidents are gregarious people who touch a lot of people's lives. Not DJ Trump. It was remarkable how few people would speak for him, and when they did it was pretty arm's length stuff. You have to wonder, does he have any friends who will speak for him?

I want Trump to fail and fail big. Get this fascist thing out of the American system. We didn't see that last night. But he threw a really fat slow pitch down the middle. The Democrats know what they're doing and they're motivated. They know how to do conventions. I've been to two of the last three DNC's. I drove from Denver back to Berkeley after the 2008 convention. I stopped by the side of the road to hear John McCain introduce Sarah Palin and thought she must be a pretty amazing person. She gave a good speech. But after that, on the long drive across Utah and Nevada, I listened to the speeches from the DNC. They were gorgeous and poetic and make my eyes well up just to think about how beautiful they were. They have great writers, and they can deliver a great story. And they're going to pull out all the stops, because they totally get how impossibly bad it would be to elect the government that would come with Trump.

The Repubs have great writers too. Good at whipping up the emotion. I don't think Trump is Batman, as has been said elsewhere, I think he's The Joker. We need James Taylor, Carole King and Chuck D, Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, Jon Stewart and Uncle Sam. We need hope, love, humor, humanity, to come out, and provide the contrast. We're Americans and we're full of honor, hope, empathy, ambition.

It's a serious election but we're up to winning, so let's get out there and win. 

There's a big fat pitch coming over the plate... 

PS: I gave another $100 to Hillary last night after Ivanka's speech. I find it helps me feel better. You should try it too, if you're so inclined.. 

Early yesterday evening I pushed a picture to Twitter of two people, one black and one a cop, holding signs that respect each other.

Respect in the sense that each listened to and accepted the other's point of view. I know from listening to cops that they feel they live with danger every day in their jobs, and aren't appreciated for the risks they take. And that blacks are at risk of being killed by cops, and live in fear, and want people to hear them, and help them.

I wrote "Problem solved" on the picture. 

Not a good title because it could be misinterpreted to mean there is no more work to do. I don't believe that. 

What it actually meant is that this problem is solved, the one illustrated in the picture. 

In no way did I mean to say that the problem was solved or all problems are solved. 

It's not going to be that easy.


The first step on the road to equality, fairness, and support for those who live with extraordinary risks, is listening to and acceptance of other points of view. This picture is the answer to people who when they hear Black Lives Matter, come back with something inane that indicates they aren't listening. Not even going to repeat what they say.

There are many cops who take their jobs seriously and feel as strongly about black lives mattering as the people who rally around the slogan. Some because they are themselves black, and some because they have a strong sense of mission and right and wrong. The road to understanding and to solving the problem is recognizing them for their support. If you can't do that imho, then you're going for something other than acceptance and to make America safer for black people.

Thanks for listening.

I liked what Ted Cruz did last night at the RNC.

I had been turning the convention off and back on all evening, too grossed out by people who pretend that Crooked Donald Trump is fit to be President. I imagined on Election Day, with a Trump victory these people all feeling a huge hangover caused by Buyer's Remorse

The Joker caught the car. What's next?

So Crooked Ted Cruz gets up, gives a hellacious disgusting Ted Cruz speech. Then it turns. He talks about his father coming to the US with nothing, from Cuba, and I thought this is a sign. Remember in the last days of the campaign Trump was saying that Father Cruz was part of the JFK assassination. Maybe payback is coming. And it sure as hell did. Good for you Ted.

This morning the analysts are trying to figure out if this is good or bad for Cruz. They make it so complicated, when it isn't. Of course it's good for him, because he did something honorable and good for our country. 

Trump as President is a loss for everyone including Republicans. Either way win or lose, Cruz wins. At least he did something good for America when he had the chance. Who thought he had it in him. It took guts to do what he did. 

To people who say he's the only Repub to stand up for America, please. There are many. People I have trouble praising, but they deserve it. Notably John Kasich and Mitt Romney, who stuck their necks out earlier and more consistently than Cruz, who may well be self-serving. He's going to run in 2020 whether or not Trump is President. His speech last night was a classic declaration of a candidacy. A speech people will talk about as long as they talk about conventions (which is forever, they are historic events). The quieter protests, from Crooked Kasich and Crooked Romney and the Crooked Bush family, those are footnotes. Cruz grabbed the spotlight. Good for him, and good for America.

PS: Earlier in the evening an astronaut was supposed to endorse Crooked Donald, but didn't. So Ted's non-endorsement was not a first at this convention. 

PPS: As long as Repubs use the title "Crooked" for Hillary Clinton I'm going to use the title for Republicans. I encourage you to do it too. It's fun! And it might just possibly get someone's attention in RepubLand. They should grow the fuck up and stop playing stupid 5th grade games with people's reps. 

Crooked Donald Trump.

Crooked Melania Trump.

Crooked Mike Pence.

for (var i = 0; i < republicans.length; i++) {

console.log ("Crooked " + republicans [i].name + ".");


I'm using "Crooked" as if it were their title.

This might be fun!

I'm trying to think but nothing happens!

The Repubs ought to be ashamed of themselves.

It's one thing to nominate a grade school bully from a racist family with a potty mouth and an emotional age in the single digits. That's pretty bad, but to call for the other party's candidate to be jailed, that's over the top. To let those words come out of your mouth, even as an anonymous person in a crowd, you all have crossed a line that will be hard to come back from. You said those words Mr and Ms Republican Elite. You have to own them. You have to live with yourself. It's time for you to wake up and get a grip.

That was your chance to make a statement, with your feet. When the chants start, get out of your seat and get out of the room. Let them see your back. There are lines you won't cross. They want you to march in a fascist parade, and you said "Let's go!" 

What's next? Sending Jews to the gas chamber? Would you chant that too?

Someone needs to kick these people in the ass and remind them that they're Americans. Respecting the other guy is a central part of self respect. You all hopefully will wake up one day from this bad dream and realize you have behaved very badly. Behavior you would never in a million years tolerate from your children.

Wake the fuck up Republicans. 

What usually does it is being objectified -- spoken to as if I don't exist.

Muting has become an option on Twitter, but sometimes it doesn't work.

The take-away is this -- everyone is a person. Don't "speechify" at people.

If you have something to say to the world, say it to the world. If you put my name on it, then I have to read it whether or not I follow you. If it's sufficiently annoying, I use the tools I have to shut off the channel.

This is how I keep from getting mired in online "wars," which from my point of view are people wanting to get closer than is comfortable. Often in an abusive way. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about whether or not to use the tools, I just use them. 

Obviously Melania Trump was lying when she said she wrote her own speech. The speech she delivered, quite well, was obviously professionally written. It was written by someone who doesn't like Trump very much and wanted to embarrass him.  (The embedded Rickroll was a very good clue.)

What it said, cutting through all the bullshit, is that the Republicans are lying about President Obama. He a competent President, running a competent administration, fairly, and he's not a Muslim and he's not "leading from behind" nor is he destroying the military or the health care system. 

It's the worst possible news for the white supremacist Republican Party. A black woman, the President's wife, spoke words at a DNC that were so good that they stood up and cheered when a white woman from Slovenia who married the candidate said them on stage at the RNC eight years later.

So which is it? Are the Republicans inspired in admiration of Obama, or do they deride him as an inferior black man elected by weak liberals who don't love their country and secretly want to destroy it? 

If the Repubs had some truth on their side they might answer that question. But they're so corrupt, so dishonest, such easy liars and cheats, and are so far from the truth, so mired in their own incompetence that such questions simply don't have answers. 

Obviously some Republicans have a sense of honor, but you have to wonder how much of it will be left after the humiliation of the Trump candidacy.

PS: I would like to meet the speech writer and shake his or her hand. 

Here's proof that the 140-char limit is crippling Twitter.

In 2014 I wrote a blog post about why "coding" is the wrong word for what we do. This was at the beginning of a huge marketing campaign by the government and tech companies to teach "coding" to lots of young people. I said please, let's have them understand at the outset that there's romance where they're headed. A chance to be a maestro, or a creative star. A maker of history. Not a person who codes other people's ideas. Feh. If that's all it were, I probably would still have made it my profession, career, creative outlet, because I love the puzzles and the arrangement of the ideas so they flow more efficiently inside the computer. But there I go off on a flight of fancy, because a coder just codes up other people's ideas. 

I'm sure the execs at the big companies who write the checks hope that developers are so containable, manageable, docile. I've met many of them, and they seem to think that I shouldn't have ideas. Just do that thing we wanted you to do.

Mitch Kapor, a colleague of mine in the early days said we were like Morris the Cat to the VCs and managers. Morris says something, the execs say "nice kitty," give him some cat food and continue with the meeting

Anyway, back to my story.

When I wrote that post two years ago, nothing came back. Because even then no one clicks links. No. One. Clicks. Links. I didn't make that up, I don't wish it would be that way. It just is that way.

So then I had the idea to take a screen shot of a copy of that post, written in a plain text editor in a monospace font to make it look computerish, like an IETF draft or something. Maybe it would look ancient or wise? :-)

It worked. Damn it worked. It's got velocity. People are RTing. It's still nowhere near as famous as the puff pieces about new coders wearing cute hats "hanging" with President (also with a nice hat) being photographically interesting in a TV sitcom way. "Coders" may look like that, but I promise you developers do not. Please. 

Just want to say that Twitter has bottled lightning. The day  it can carry short stories, vignettes, gracefully without screen shots, really exciting things will happen. 

© 1994-2016 Dave Winer
Last update: Saturday, July 30th, 2016; 4:15 PM.