Basically the UK is ripping up all its trade relationships.

Sounds daring perhaps, but an economy can't run w/o trade.

This came up in a thread on Facebook, once again being told that if you don't own guns and study the hell out of them, you can't have an opinion about which guns should be legal or not legal. 

If it's hard to define what is and isn't a good gun, just outlaw all of them. We've put up with this superior attitude from these murderer-lovers too long. Make them try to explain what they should be allowed to own. 

There's nothing sacred about the 2nd Amendment. It's an amendment -- that means we could do another amendment to undo it. People who love guns and think it's a sacred right, should think again. It's not.

I once had a public argument with the celebrated award-winning journalist Lowell Bergman about whether judges would blog their own trials if journalism failed to cover them. Bergman disagreed. He mocked me. Said I was stupid. I thought hah I will have the last laugh, assuming I live long enough to see the day. It seems I have. 

So this event, where the Speaker of the House turned off the C-SPAN cameras and a Rep took out his iPhone and transmitted the video via Twitter, which was then picked up by C-SPAN, illustrates exactly what I was saying.

When information wants to get from the source to the people who want the info, even if "real" journalists don't pick it up (for whatever reason), the people will find a way. Bergman wanted to believe he and his fellow journalists were indispensable. He wanted me to bow down and agree. He laughed at my foolishness. I knew I was right, however. 

In 1979, I called the Encyclopedia Brittanica because I thought their product could be computerized. They followed up by sending a salesman, trying to sell me a set of books. He was persistent. I kept trying to explain that my interest was in working with them to create an electronic product. I even did a demo of what a computerized Brittanica would look like. I didn't buy the books and they never really heard my idea.

This keeps happening.

Comcast fired me as a customer because I was using too much bandwidth, but I was developing software that could make use of all that bandwidth. At the same time they paid hundreds of millions for a software company whose products they never used. They couldn't even send someone to talk with me about my usage of the net to find out what I was up to. I wasn't a complete unknown, and the technology I was developing ended up being pretty valuable.

Today it's the Washington Post.  I like what they've done with their news flow. The stories are vastly more interesting these days. But I'm not going to pay to read it, today at least. And if I do pay at some point in the future, I'm going to feel sick about it. I already feel sick about it.

They have a paywall. I don't know what its limits are. But when I click on a link after say the 10th of the month, I get a form saying I must pay to read. So I don't read the article, and it doesn't pass through my linkblogging system. Not a big deal, but it is worth a blog post after a number of months putting up with the frustration.

It feels the same as the experience with the Encyclopedia Britannica in the late 70s. 

I guess the point is this. 

The great idea that helps you grow might not come from a consultant or an off-site or through high-price acquisitions. It's one of the reasons silos aren't great for idea flow. Companies are not set up to receive good ideas from places they aren't expecting them. That's why businesses that bet on having low walls, permeable walls, or no walls keeping out the ideas might do better than those who think the walls create value. 

I hope Bezos helps the Washington Post be creative with this. There probably are better ways to make money from news than restricting the flow of links to stories to people who pay to read them.  However, I have to say Amazon itself isn't very good at having ideas permeate their corporate wall. Luckily they have a number of good ideas internally, and must be doing something right there. But they could do a lot better with AWS. But that's a topic for another day. ;-)

Just listened to an interview with the NRA chief Wayne LaPierre on Face The Nation. Trump was on before him, talking about how you shouldn't be politically correct, all the while refusing to say anything specific about what he would do to combat the terrorism he says is so rampant. In other words Trump has become politically correct, perfectly so. A real slippery politician. LaPierre says we're about to be overwhelmed by ISIS. Problem is a lot of people listening to him believe that kind of bullshit. 

Another popular bullshit line asks why should we bother passing laws -- since the "bad guys" don't bother with laws anyway. This sounds really savvy until you start to dig in. By that logic we shouldn't outlaw murder either, because murderers don't follow the law, right? But if it weren't illegal, then we wouldn't be able to put someone in jail for murdering someone. Right? And if we make owning automatic weapons illegal, we don't have to wait until we catch you killing 49 people in a night club on a Saturday night. We can arrest you as soon as we see that you have in your possession a gun whose only use is to mow down dozens of people. This would of course prevent some number of murders by automatic weapon. 

Basically yes, we should outlaw things like owning guns that can only be used for mass murder. And yes, if we did so, it likely would result in fewer deaths. It certainly would not result in more! How's that for a little common sense, non-politically correct talk.

LaPierre is the worst kind of person. I wish we could outlaw being that kind of person, but this is America and that's a line we won't cross. Though of course his candidate Trump doesn't live by that rule. 

My father, Leon Winer, said "Every day is Father's Day," because he loved ThinkTank so much.

That's what he looked like at 65. 

Happy Father's Day Dad, where ever you are! ;-)

I'm trying to think but nothing happens!

Evan Williams says that the web is about money now, not creativity. He says this follows the pattern of previous technologies. At first there's a wonderful burst of creativity and then it's locked down by a few big companies. The fun is over. Now it's about money.

I guess that's what you see from his perspective. And from Facebook, Apple and Google, and maybe Oracle and Salesforce, and a few others. 

But there are technologies that went a different way. My favorite example is Manhattan's relationship to Central ParkThe apartment buildings around the park are the money, and the creativity is in the park. The buildings are exclusive, the most expensive real estate in the world. The park is open to anyone, rich or poor, from anywhere in the world. The park is the engine of renewal. It's where the new stuff comes from. The buildings are where the money is parked. 

In the interview Williams did with the Atlantic, in NYC, they looked into the park from a nearby hotel. That's one valid perspective of course. Or you could go for a walk and see what's happening inside the park.

You can see a great concert at Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall, but there's great music in the park too. It's different. But it's good music. And the price is right. ;-)

And btw, Amazon is making the opposite bet from Evan's. They offer cheap servers for everyone. I think that's the right bet. But that's my point of view. 

Twitter, when they put limits on the use of the API, decided to be an apartment building. A great one for sure. And it makes a lot of money. But there are severe limits on the creativity that comes out of the building. They might have made even more money if they chose to be the Central Park of the web. 

This is a picture of a Cat's Cradle. 

It's an arrangement of string that makes something real out of something virtual. It's a complex arrangement. It makes my mind hurt, a little. It requires physical dexterity and practice. It's hard to explain in words.

When people say that programming is "coding" it sounds (to me) like turning language into Morse Code. Translate something literate into something transmittable. 

It's really the software machines we create that do the coding. I teach a computer how to encode your writing so that other people can read it on their computers. So I'm creating a machine that does the coding. 

This may be a misunderstanding between us and our users. They don't see the role that human beings play in creating the tools that do the coding. I get this from users all the time, going back to when I was starting programming. The fact that people don't understand doesn't make it any easier however! :-)

There's a debate going on in the US about what is and isn't terrorism.

Some think what happened in Orlando was terrorism, also in San Bernardino, but not in Charleston, last year at this time.

I read in a NYT piece with survivor stories from Orlando, really horrifying stuff. They mentioned that the Orlando shooter had been studying the Charleston church shooting. It's all part of the same thread. If one is terror, it's all terror. They're learning from each other. Passing on best practices. (The Charleston shooter is still alive. I wonder what he thinks about Orlando.)

The fact that the Orlando shooter was checking Facebook to see if his posts, from inside the night club, during the attack, were going viral. A sick feeling. It's the same impulse we all have, a desire to be noticed in social media. 

Then a story about how a Chicago gang murder was broadcast live on Facebook. It wasn't planned that way, but it happened. How long before the next Orlando or the one after that is shown live on Facebook from the insider's perspective, as part of the programming, for the next guy to study, and for all of us to feel ever more helpless. Terror for the masses filtered by Facebook's algorithm. 

I read another story, this one I don't remember where, that asked why are people buying AR-15's, why is it the most popular product at gun stores. Why? They think we're being invaded by ISIS. Although people say they don't trust news media, they actually believe what they tell them. They fill in the blanks, because that's how human minds work. This is what they talk about with their friends. (You see these people sometimes on Facebook, I always thought they were outliers, but they are not. Over 40 percent of Americans will vote for Trump. Now go listen to what Trump says.)

I heard this first in an interview with a man who assaulted a protestor at a Trump rally. He said with a straight almost innocent look that the guy he attacked was from ISIS. They've been taught that people who disagree and who have dark skin are from ISIS. This, for many people, is a fact, not in dispute. They want to own assault weapons because they believe they will have to defend their homes soon. One in every room for every member of the family.

America is jammed to the gills with guns. People are getting ready to use them. What comes next? I guess they use them.

I'm listening to a panel discussion reunion with the writers, producers and actors of The West Wing. It came as a special episode of the West Wing Weekly podcast, which continues to be more than excellent.

I recently watched a whole bunch of West Wings, and stopped with S5 E17, which has what is imho the best line in any West Wing episode. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court says to his clerk, "Jed Bartlet from New Hampshire had an idea!" It wasn't sarcastic, because he really did have a great idea. And the Chief Justice said it with a New England accent of some sort. It's fun because there are a lot of Supreme Court justices in the show and none of them like Bartlet. We think he's brilliant but they think he's a hack. So finally he gets some respect (thought it really is Josh's idea). This is one of the most optimistic episodes. And it's very nicely acted by the cast and a few special guests. 

Anyway, if you love the West Wing, you must listen to this episode. It's got some incredible insight into the show. And if you're involved in a podcast of a TV show, have a listen, they're setting a pretty high bar for how to do this relatively new art. It's a story-telling medium.

Update: I wrote that about 3/4 the way through the episode. Sometimes these shows get too self-congratulatory. They did go a bit over the top. It must feel nice to heap the praise on but it doesn't make for good listening.

This is what TV will become.

Twitter is getting short videos, with a single idea, less than a minute to watch. I just watched two of them in the last few minutes.

This is TV unbundled. Next step is to bring them back together into curated rivers. 

I have to admit Trump is doing something clever.

He's going to meet with Wayne LaPierre to suggest that he get behind an weapon ban for people on terrorist watch lists. 

It's cute because the NRA endorsed him. They pretty much have to listen.

It's irreverent. It's the tail wagging the dog. And it's probably going to work.

You know they said Nixon could go to China because he was a Republican. 

Everyone expects a Democrat to be for gun control.

But a Republican getting behind it is really subversive. Even if it is DJ Trump. And even if it doesn't go nearly far enough.

Another reason to like it is that while it won't likely get Trump any Democratic votes it sure is going to piss off a lot of Republicans, and expose them for the unthinking heartless NRA puppets that they are. I'm getting my popcorn out.

Here's the howto for installing the server on Ubuntu.

It would be great if someone created an equivalent howto for running the server with Docker.

I've tried a couple of times, unsuccessfully, to wade through the process.

This would be a great process to fork off. 

I had an idea watching last night's Finals game, Golden State vs Cleveland. At the end of the third quarter, the Warriors were playing Hack-a-Shaq with Tristan Thompson, the Cleveland big man who is a bad foul shooter.

There's a lot of hand-wringing over the practice, it destroys the flow of the game, but it's legal, and when one team puts a guy on the court who can't shoot free throws, the door is open.

Anyway, the NBA hasn't come up with a rule that would effectively stop it. During the game, feeling the frustration, I wondered why they don't flip it around. After a certain number of fouls committed on a player, the team being fouled can choose a different free throw shooter for the guy being Shaq'd. 

That would provide a limit on repeated fouling of the bad free-throw shooter. Make the limit 6, the same number of fouls that cause a player to foul out of a game. 

Why do we only talk about gun violence in the immediate aftermath of a mass killing? If we want to change the laws in the US we have to develop a longer attention span. 

We had a fantastic opportunity to talk about meaningful ways to change the laws in the faceoff between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. It's fairly obvious that at least at one point in his political career Sanders was backed by the NRA. His excuse that he represented a rural state while true was nonsense. He was running for President, of all the states, including states where people die from gun violence every day. Clinton didn't want to push it, but that doesn't mean voters couldn't have made it an issue. We totally could have.

We make the mistake of falling for candidates as if they were sports teams, and not insisting that they represent our interests. We think voting for a person is like rooting for the Warriors or Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. Politics is good sport, for sure -- but the political decisions we make, or don't make, can result in 50 people dead on a Saturday night in an Orlando night club. The bullets are real, as is the blood.

We will never create the change so many say they want until we can sustain the feeling and carry it through to Election Day. 

The most effective thing we could do is to organize to end the careers of reps who are funded by the NRA. Make it impossible, at least in some states, for them to take their money. We don't need to win everywhere, just in enough places to pass the laws we need to at least slow the process by which potential mass murderers get weapons of mass murder.

 There are ways to do this, it's a relatively easy thing to do, it just requires a sustained commitment. 

If you want to diminish the power of the NRA, there's really only one way you and I can do it, by organizing to replace NRA-owned reps with ones that aren't.

The best time to organize is just before a major election, which of course is right now. 

I'm thinking primarily of Congressional races. There's a pretty clear widely understood choice in the Presidential election this year.

This is not about "taking your guns away" -- unless you want to kill dozens of people rapidly. If that's what you want, then I think most people would agree that it's a good thing to take your gun away. 

To make a difference, look at people who are running for Congress in your area, and see which ones are approved by the NRA and which aren't. 

Work against the ones the NRA likes, and support the ones the NRA opposes. That means:

  1. Give them money.
  2. Go to rallies.
  3. Make phone calls.
  4. Knock on doors.
  5. Tell your friends.
  6. Be creative!

Now is a highly leveraged time to be politically active. In normal times it's hard to get anything to change, but now is a time when change can happen.

Don't let the politicians define what change means. Define it for yourself and then put it into action.

In today's earlier post I suggest that other Silicon Valley CEOs and VCs could back Gawker in defense of Thiel's legal attack, by buying it out of bankruptcy.

So much has been written about why what Thiel did will have a chilling effect on the struggling world of journalism. It effects bloggers too.

Putting the pieces back together later might be impossible. And free expression is something SV depends on, more than it may know.

Look where I'm writing this now, to give you an idea. (This is a cross-post of something I wrote on Facebook.)

So far I am able to use Facebook to criticize Facebook, but who knows whether they demote it via the algorithm. I imagine they might have some levers behind the scenes.

The more FB and others stand by and do nothing as Gawker is destroyed, the less faith I have in their neutrality.

I'm thinking of a few liberal tech CEOs and VCs who I would like to see step up here. Not going to put their names in this post. But I wanted to put the idea out there.

So Gawker is going away.

Peter Thiel wins. The first round.

But I don't think this will be a pure win for Silicon Valley.

It goes to the quality of their product. 

Who would trust Silicon Valley to run the world's social network? That's a trick question. Right now we all do. So the attitude of the owners of Silicon Valley toward free expression matters very much. 

Social networks are about people sharing ideas and information, right? And the people who own the social networks will sue people, bankrupt them, for sharing ideas and information they don't like. No one said that Peter Thiel was not gay, right? No one said that was not Hulk Hogan in the video? In other words it wasn't about the truth, because Gawker had the truth on their side. This is all about the power of money. What it can buy you and what it can't.

But these social networks aren't used for serious stuff, right? 

You haven't been paying attention. Even if Twitter, for example, is something of a joke now, with its 140-char limit, it's mostly grunts and snorts, put-downs and shutups, look at what kind of President the Republicans are about to nominate. The Twitter President. The President of Grunts and Snorts. It's serious and a joke at the same time!

I'm sure at Facebook they think of their users as sad poor people who don't have anything interesting to do. After all they don't live in Silicon Valley! They don't hang out with us! They are poor and are truly nobody. If they got mad at us what difference would it make? It's not as if they have anywhere to go. We have them, as if we care.

Any billionaire in Silicon Valley could have backed Gawker's defense. They must have thought it was good that Gawker would finally go away. I understand the relief. I have been the target of Gawker crap. But it will ultimately be a very expensive and unsatisfying relief. And it won't last long.

Perhaps in the future you will have to be a billionaire to own a Gawker. Hey luckily one is for sale. If a billionaire thought Thiel was wrong, they could buy Gawker out of bankruptcy and restart it. With one objective -- to out Peter Thiel not as a gay man, but rather as a fascist-loving enemy of the people. Now that would be something worth watching! :-)

This is just Round One. Who knows what comes next. But I can imagine a future where the pain of Peter is just beginning. 

PS: Gawker/Thiel in a nutshell. Should it be possible for billionaires to insist on obedience from everyone else? If not, what are the limits?

Two podcasts one good one not.

The good one is an All Songs Considered interview with Paul McCartney. They wanted to know how he writes songs. He tells us. Stories about being Paul McCartney writing songs. It's intelligent, modest, interesting, curious, and he's someone we know, so we care about his story. 

And The Americans podcast continues to be unusable. So sad because it's such an excellent TV show. I'd like to know what the writers and actors of the show think about the story and the characters. Instead they tend to drift into their own personal idiosyncrasies without stories, and we don't know them so I pretty much always skip out about five or ten minutes into it, wishing they'd get serious and talk about the work they're doing right now that is so well-done and interesting. 

Simple equation. We know the characters they play, not the actors. So let's talk about the spy family and the FBI guy who lives across the street. The actors? We only know them as people who play the parts.

The art of podcasting is pure story-telling. If we know you then your personal anecdotes are interesting. If not, no problem, just tell stories about things we care about.. To the extent that you do, your podcast is worth listening to.

Well, it seems is about finished. 

What that means is that it appears to be stable, it can be used for what it was designed to do. There are docs for getting people started, and a home page that links to it all. Here's the reviewer's guide page. It says what makes different from other blogging software like WordPress, Ghost, Tumblr, Blogger, Medium, Drupal, etc. picks up the thread from the blogging software I started in the 90s, culminating with Radio UserLand in 2002. Lots of good ideas there that weren't picked up by the competitors. goes way beyond Radio, with a more powerful Edit This Page feature, liveblogging, and easy backups and mobility. The UI is better -- easier to learn and use, and more flexible, inspired by Facebook and Twitter, and the immediacy of JavaScript in the browser. pushes the state of the art in blogging. And yes, blogging software matters, despite what some people say. Software is cyclic, one year mobile is big, next year it's chatbots. Silos are the norm for a while, then radically open platforms. One thing you can be sure of is that next year it'll be something else.

Fashion fluctuates quickly but development of software lines extend over decades. Blogging can trace its beginnings to word processing, desktop publishing, presentation software and outlining software, and then through browser-based apps, to social networks. I firmly believe people running their own servers will be a big deal in the years to come, as the Minecraft generation comes of age, and at the same time the cloud will continue to grow with hosted apps. It's all going to be big. And people will always need writing tools, and that's what is -- the best writing tool I could imagine and implement in 2016. 

It was time for an update. Long overdue. 

I would love to work with the people at WordPress, Drupal and all the other blogging vendors but especially with open source developers to build more interop between our environments. Toward that end I've invested in making the RSS that generates absolutely state of the art. I made it clean, and made it work with all the major RSS consumers and added new features in partnership with River5 (I know the developer personally).

I am building on WebSockets. Very reliable high performance technology, the kind of stuff you can implement once and then forget it. It just works.

Anyway if you want to know what is about, check out the feature list

Create a test site. Or set up your own server. 

Let's have fun!

Still diggin!


Something people don't seem to get about Trump right now. 

He's still running in the primary. The longer he keeps doing this, the harder it will be for him to run a general election campaign.

Here's a 10-minute podcast that explains

Net-net: Stop worrying about Trump. He's self-destructing right now.

I wrote a utility that generates the monthly archive pages for all the early months that were missing. 

Here are links to the archive pages, so now hopefully they'll show up in the search engines. 

And from now-on they will be generated automatically. 

We are in the middle of a political revolution, but it's not the one Bernie Sanders called for. 

Instead our political system has re-formed around the limits of Twitter and cable news. 

It didn't start with Twitter. And it won't end with Twitter.

Of course Trump rose to the top, he's the master of the mindless soundbite, and that's what Twitter excels at. 

Now journalism has figured out Trump, they just repeat the question, over and over, and he responds with the same meaningless words. Let's see what comes after this. But this is new behavior. Politics never worked like this before.

Hopefully historians of politics and journalism are keeping careful notes of the transformation that's happening now. 

I still get better news from my rivers than I do from either Facebook or Twitter. My technology is nowhere near as complex as theirs, because my only goal is to provide links to lots of interesting news stories. 

There's no business model attached to my rivers, that's where all the weight and complexity comes from in the algorithms of the social nets. They need to make money off the flow. I don't. I just want more better news. 

I have MLB, NBA, Guardian, Washington Post and podcasting single-page rivers. I also have a multi-tab page that combines most of these, along with my own personal river, with the feeds I personally want to follow, that don't fit in the other categories.

The newest single-page river is one focused on political news.

There's also a river panel on my blog's home page.

These are just some of the ways rivers can be used to build community.

I share my rivers with anyone who wants to read them, and quite a few people do. It's not going to generate the flow of a big platform, yet -- but it certainly could. And unlike the others, I have been updating the software openly under the MIT License, which is the most liberal. 

We know how to deploy river software. I keep beating the drum on this, expecting that one day the news industry will figure out that there's nothing hard about reading systems for news, without the tech industry business model.

In other words, there's an opportunity for the news industry to disrupt the tech industry. Not something the tech industry is going to be all that interested in you knowing about of course. So you don't see innovations in river technology on Techmeme.

Just knock on my door, news industry, any time, you'll find a friendly software developer here anxious to help you be successful. 

There's a slogan Vote With Your Feet that's kind of elegant. Saying something isn't as powerful as doing it. If you want to effect change, move. It's another version of Be The Change You Seek, a shortened version of Mahatma Gandhi's slogan. Influencing others to do what you want isn't as important as doing it yourself. 

A simple corollary -- if you see something that reflects your values, don't just Like it, RT it. 

Help the idea build circulation. Be generous with your influence. Add weight to ideas that are important. I try to remember to do that myself. If you see me RT something of yours it's because I thought the idea was important and I wanted more people to see it. 

Even if you just have 25 followers, it's important.

It's how we change the culture of the Web of Ideas from "Me First!" to "Working together to make the world better." 

It works even when we collaborate inside silos. And we can help the silo owners see that there's a bigger world that they can enable, by opening their systems to bring more people in. That building higher walls is a good way to make sure everyone leaves, eventually. 

I read earlier today that it would be a bad outcome if all the web required a Facebook or SnapChat login. Maybe so. Maybe that's a wakeup call for Twitter, that they could ally themselves with the open web, and always choose to do what the open web asks them to do. Once upon a time the big companies of the open web loved the open web. Maybe that can happen again. I think the first company that does so will rule the world. In a gentle way of course, because they will always know they can be replaced. 

One way to loosen the ties is to share your beliefs and if someone else expresses it well, share that expression. Maybe they won't reciprocate, but maybe you'll benefit anyway, by having greater circulation for ideas that matter. 

And ultimately the open web will make a difference, as it did before, when we learned that people return to places that send them away. You just have to trust the universe. It may sound dorky but it's one of the lessons of technology. Might be the biggest lesson.

Back in 1994 when I started blogging, the conventional wisdom was there was no new Mac software. Everyone who said it knew it wasn't true, but for some reason they said it anyway. It appeared in countless news stories, and seemed to be on its way to becoming self-fulfilling.

The problem was solved by creating blogging, then RSS, so we could create new reality-based conventional wisdom. It worked spectacularly well. 

The tech industry didn't like reality, their eventual response to RSS was to say it was dead. It has since survived a lot of attempts to kill it. Google concentrated it and then stuck the whole thing in a bag and dumped it into a river. But that wasn't enough to kill it. The pulse is still beating.

But smart people still say RSS is dead. 

Words have precise meanings. It's imprecise to say something inanimate that was never alive is now dead. What data do you have? Is there any other possible interpretation? How anecdotal is it. If hundreds of thousands of people use something every day, what's your justification for saying it's dead? Any chance of finding a different less dramatic and more accurate way to say what you're trying to convey?

Thing is unless you're a monopolist, and there aren't many of them, it isn't in your interest to make open formats and protocols diminish. You get more choice and innovation if they thrive. You may impress some people with your bold thinking, but they are the wrong people to want to impress. If you don't want to fight for the open web, at least don't fight against it. 

Thanks for listening.

Hey Jack -- I know you've got a lot on your plate with Twitter, but the blogosphere could use some help and Twitter is in a great place to do it, and it could be a pretty big win-win.

Right now Facebook is completely dominating us. There's no good outlet for blog posts that integrates well with FB because they don't allow linking in their timeline posts.

If you look through Facebook, you won't find many outbound links, they do all kinds of things to discourage it.

So they're turning the web into a Facebook thing. Because that's where we have to post to get engagement. But we can't use the rest of the web. And that's the problem.

Twitter of course today isn't much help because of the 140-char limit.

Maybe you could help by simply adding an HTML type, and doing a scan on the text entering the system to make sure only certain features are being used, like:

  1. Linking.
  2. Simple styling (bold, italic, headings).
  3. Enclosures (for podcasting).
  4. Titles.

With that we could reboot the blogosphere, provide lots of new content flows, route around Facebook's dominance, and also btw provide a strong incentive for FB to add these features too.

What's good is that it establishes Twitter as a leader. Wouldn't hurt.

And I'd be willing to bet you have this technology ready to roll. ;-)


PS: I think I have to turn this into a blog post, but I really did write this as an email to you.

PPS: I am a Twitter shareholder. I bought a bunch of stock at $33. I'm ready to roll the dice. I bet anyone holding $TWTR now is ready too. 

Back in the 80s, news orgs developed a process of reviewing software products. It got pretty formal. They had reviewers who specialized, some reviewed databases, some did word processing programs, others did outliners and presentation software, which is what my company produced. 

The review process fed back into how we developed products. Since we knew what the reviewers were looking for, we could make sure our products covered all the bases. And we also clearly understood what made our product different and better than the competition. We highlighted those differences in the reviewer's guide. 

They were usually 10 to 20 pages, printed, with illustrations. Written in non-hyped, clear and simple prose. Bullet items. Creating the guide was a product marketing function. Part of the PR for the product, but also part of the development process. As I'd work on a product with a team, I'd always be thinking about what we'd say in the reviewer's guide.

Also it served as a checklist for sales people. These are the things you should highlight in your demos with resellers and at user conferences. As the CEO, I needed a script for talking with reporters. This isn't the kind of stuff you want to do by the seat of the pants. It also formed a checklist for the press release announcing the product and the packaging. The reviewer's guide is part of the process of coming up with a great demo of the product. 

Even though we don't have reviewers anymore, I still do reviewer's guides for my important product releases. So I've been working on the reviewer's guide for And asking some of the early users of the product and also friends who haven't yet used the product to have a look and tell me what they think. 

I recorded a ten minute podcast to explain what the concept means. I wanted to share that with everyone. Maybe at some point we will start reviewing products again, and when that happens, it will help to have a template for what a reviewer's guide is.

PS: We're using GitHub to talk about the RG.

Hillary Clinton said all the things I was thinking as I watched Trump's interviews and speeches. Probably the things many others were thinking too. 

I said all that I could, so did many others, but she's the only one who can say it officially and who can say it all. We're lucky that he's only won the primary, because then there would be no one who could tell the truth about Trump, the full truth, slowly and carefully, with poise, confidence, even humor -- but she delivered it dead-pan serious. As serious as a heart attack. Because, as she says, this is reality, not reality TV.

Her speech lets us relax. Up until that point, I honestly didn't think she, or anyone else had what it took to stand up to Trump. My feeling was we'd have to let the campaign run its course and hope the voters knew how to avoid disaster. Now there's less to worry about, because she's willing to embrace the madness and call it what it is. And remind us that we're better. 

This comes at a time when the press, that Trump has been so good at exploiting, has figured out how to challenge him, and make him look like the incoherent poser that he really is. 

We're not alone in our realization. That's what we get.

And after all the crying by Sanders and his supporters about The Establishment, that's exactly what we need to take hold here. I don't think they get that the United States is a thing, with a history and a presence in the world. That our standard of living, such as it is, would be a lot worse if we weren't the dominant force on the planet. If our dollar weren't the reserve currency of the world. At one point in the campaign, Trump even said he might default. What kind of insanity is that?

A personal note. Last year I turned 60. The even-decade birthdays are a big deal. There was 20, 30, 40, 50 and now 60. Each has its own meaning. As one reaches 60, if you've had a life of accomplishment, you feel confident in your understanding of the world and more importantly who you are. It's time to cut losses on ideas that didn't pan out. And focus on the things that work.

It's true for countries too. What Clinton said on Thursday was just right. The US is a strong country, and we have a lot of things right, but we must cut our losses on things that aren't working out. She reminded us why she is the only person who ran for President in 2016 who is able to do the job. That's exactly what I needed to hear. 

Trump is a nightmare that's almost over. He doesn't have a second act. His schtick is good for a TV reality show, perhaps even a sitcom. But being President is serious business. There was a vacuum to fill, and HRC filled it perfectly. What a relief.

An experiment in using GitHub for discourse around a blog.

I set up a repository for Scripting News. From time to time I may ask questions there, to try to pull together information and pointers for topics that may be of mutual interest. Maybe even upload sample code for building tools that hook up to this blog? Who knows...

Today I ask a couple of questions about liveblogging software. 

If you have any pointers or ideas, please post a note there, or where ever you see me on the internets.

PS: A second question re example code for the GitHub API.

This is based on tea-leave reading since we don't have much visibility into what's discussed at Facebook board meetings. 

Question: Were the other FB board members appalled by his active role in trying to drive Gawker out of business, do they support it, or are their views conflicted? 

We can be sure they were not appalled, because he's still on the board, and they won't ask him to step down. At best they were conflicted, and it seems likely they support him.

One big topic at FB board meetings is certainly their progress at getting unblocked in China. We know they really want to be let back in. Their stated mission is to network all of humanity. A substantial part of humanity lives in China. Imagine what the negotiations between China and Facebook must be like.

We know that Chinese citizens don't have anything like our First Amendment. Their right to speak is non-existent. So Facebook would have to help the Chinese government keep people on-topic on Facebook if they have any hope of being unblocked.

So if they're ready to help in China, and they must be, why would they have a problem with Thiel acting in a role similar to the Chinese government here in the US? For all we know he's acting as a proxy for the Facebook board. 

If Facebook develops speech-curtailing features for China, why not make them available to governments all around the world? And perhaps China doesn't limit their demands on speech to just Chinese citizens? Why wouldn't they want assurances that Facebook could control the speech of people all over the world?

Snowden showed us how much collaboration there is between the US govt and big tech companies. I don't think there was ever any promise made that this would stop, or that we have all the information, or that they aren't collaborating in ways we don't know about. 

We got some data yesterday when Facebook's COO refused to comment on Thiel's role in the Gawker/Hulk Hogan trial. We now have a slightly better understanding of who Facebook really is, beneath the hype.

When the web was booting up, in 1996, a law was passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton, called the Communication Decency Act. It was eventually overturned by Federal courts because it was unconstitutional, obviously so -- it basically said the First Amendment doesn't apply to the web. 

All of that was an amazing abandonment by our elected government. A new medium that was already being used for publishing. Blogging was well along on its bootstrap. No First Amendment.  

But that wasn't the biggest betrayal. We waited for print publishers to come to the defense of the web, but they never did. They never said that this was an atrocity against free speech. I would never forget that betrayal of their stated principles simply because the words were being transmitted electronically instead of being printed on paper.

Today's statement by Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, that Peter Thiel would remain on the Facebook board, was another moment like that. 

Facebook could have and imho should have said something like this.

Free speech is essential Facebook's success. We were offended and frightened by the precedent set by our board member and friend Peter Thiel. We've told him that he can no longer be on Facebook's board, representing the interests of the shareholders and the users of our network, because it would say that we support control of other people's speech by rich and powerful public figures. We've always understood that this was possible, but we can't appear to in any way support this power actually being used to silence critics, especially by someone who has a fiduciary responsibility to our company. We chose to end the relationship. Thiel has resigned as a member of Facebook's board, effective immediately.

Instead, like the print publications in 1996, silence. Impossible to understand. Their business does depend on free speech. Clearly they don't understand this.  Ultimately a platform that doesn't fight for freedom can't expect to carry it.

I just realized very few people use the different forms of Like on Facebook.

And when they do it's almost always Love. :heart:

I just clicked on Anger for a post, and immediately wanted to withdraw it, because I was concerned I'd be judged. :anger:

No one wants to ever admit to being angry! :-)

I had to put the smily there so you'd know I wasn't angry about that. :cat:

Hahaha. I wanted to say that again so you were sure.

In the early years of this blog I wrote a lot about the personal struggles of people who had attained financial independence only to find out that it revealed that money was not what was standing in the way of happiness. That's contrary to the message of our society, which is this:

  • Until you're rich, you're miserable.
  • Once you're rich, it's all great!

I was fascinated with this topic, because a few years earlier, when the company I founded went public, I had achieved this independence, and found that I wasn't happy. I felt like I had done all that had been asked of me, and I was promised happiness, and I had been cheated, and wanted to understand why.

Before I hit the mother lode, I was just another gold digger, struggling to make payroll, even though my company had offices on Easy Street (not a joke) in Mountain View. I was actually having as much fun as you could have, but didn't know it at the time.

One evening, I was walking around the neighborhood of the office when I met a friend of a friend, let's call him Joe (not his real name) and stopped to chat. I had heard that he was very rich, and asked why he lived in such a modest middle-class neighborhood when he could afford an estate in Los Altos Hills or Portola Valley. He said he preferred to live a modest life, to live within his ability to use his wealth, and just kept the money as a cushion in case something went bad, someone in his family got sick, or some other emergency. 

I thought then this was puzzling, I didn't get it, but now, with the benefit of almost 30 years of hindsight, I realize he was totally right. One of the biggest mistakes rich people make is to try to live larger than a single human being can. A mathematical impossibility. You can buy a big house, but you can only sleep in one bedroom at a time. You can own twenty fantastic cars, airplanes and yachts, but you can only be in one at a time. You can own an NBA team and a MLB team, and you get to sit in the nicest seat in the house at games, but you still can only sit in one seat. In other words, your humanity doesn't increase just because your wealth did. You don't get bigger. 

And it's even worse than it appears -- the struggle to live more than one life will fail, and it will make you feel like a failure, just as you felt before you made the money! So being rich does not mean success if your goal is to achieve immortal super-human-ness.

You can see that horrific struggle in Peter Thiel's actions and statements. He says he's going to live forever, and so will today's college grads. And I assume in the back of his mind he's also going to solve the problem of just getting one body to use. He will persevere and find a way to sleep in his San Francisco mansion and his New York penthouse at the same time. But here's the problem -- even if he achieves these goals, and of course he won't -- he still won't be happy. 

I can say this with some certainty because I've been down the road he's on, and I got off. And I just watched. Watched as the super-rich of my generation got old and their arteries hardened. They got used to talking to servants, and having their asses kissed at all times, and never having to listen to anyone tell them they're full of shit. I'm a few years older than Thiel, and if he had seen what I have seen, he wouldn't be so happy about living forever. 

I think we all need a struggle, I think that's where our creativity comes from. We need something that feels unattainable, but actually is not. But the struggle to rise above our humanity, that's not going to happen for any of us. And the desire to have it robs your very human life of any value. 

Joe had it right. Live a gentle human-size life. Go for a walk in your middle-class neighborhood and run into a friend of a friend and share what you see, and influence their life for the better. That's the kind of thing a human can do. And it is, imho, where happiness comes from. 

I stumbled across an antidote for 2016 election blues. I'm slowly working my way through the first season of The West WingIt happened by accident. I started listening to the West Wing podcast, and that got me interested in watching the show again. 

It's surprising how much of the story still applies, even though political technology has moved a lot since 1999 when it first aired. And many of the things they debate were long-ago settled. You can see that a lot of progress has taken place, and presumably it's all that progress that's causing so much trouble now. 

Sure, it's a fantasy version of what happens in the White House, but since we're already being forced to consider another actor's version, why not look at one that is overly functional and lovably fun, instead of nightmarish. The trance invoked by TWW is like a good trip down memory lane. 

Man we had our shit together back then.

It's good medicine! 

© 1994-2016 Dave Winer
Last update: Sunday, June 26th, 2016; 2:03 AM.