R E S P E C T
Monday, January 9, 1995 by Dave Winer.
I'm back from the Expo. It wasn't exactly like a trip to Maui, but I had a wonderful time, learned a lot. It was a net experience for me, totally. Next year I think the whole show will be a networking show, assuming Apple doesn't screw it up! [Which seems like a real possibility. I wish they'd drop the "Open Transport" name, focus all their energy on improving the performance of MacTCP, fix the bugs, and kick back and let us developers try out a bunch of new ideas.]
The Expo was like a trip down memory lane for me. Personally, I came a long way in 1994, much of it accomplished by distancing myself from MacWorld. Coming back after a year helped me see how totally negative that world is and how bad it was for me.
Here's what I found out -- over there at MacWorld -- people don't respect each other!
Remember, I'm the guy that loves Aretha.
Here's a typical conversation with Dave at MacWorld. Hi Dave, how's Frontier doing? Just great. I'm having a blast. Scripting Eudora and AnArchie. Doing my DaveNet thing. Just got my website up. Love where it's going.
What about AppleScript?
I'm very tired of answering this question. I just want to have fun with my Macintosh and feel like I'm appreciated and respected by my fellow Macintosh developers, script writers and users. Apple could help me here, but they refuse.
So here's my answer: I don't use AppleScript. If you want to know about AppleScript, ask Mike Spindler. Has he written any great scripts recently? How does he like scripting without a debugger? Does he wish AppleScript had some built-in verbs? A browsable, editable persistent storage system? A powerful script editor? A script scheduler? More sample scripts?
If you want to use AppleScript, god bless you. I am using Frontier and that's that! If anyone thinks they can do better with AppleScript or HyperCard or AOCE or whatever, go for it. But your scripts will have to compete against mine. I go with the best tool. You like AppleScript? See you in the marketplace!
Sock it to me!
A great tradeshow phenomenon -- the entourage! The first entourage I ever personally experienced was Adam Osborne's at Comdex in (probably) 1982.
MacWorld is a mature show, so it has entourages too. Sometimes entourages meet and merge. Sometimes they just breeze by each other. Passing Laurent Ribardiere's entourage was a real trip. All those French girls! Oooh la la!
Adam Engst's entourage was very bright and lively. Ready for business.
Then there was John Gillmore's group. I used to hang out with John in the early 80s when I was an author at Personal Software and he was running a San Francisco BBS. John went on to be one of the founders of Sun Microsystems, and is now doing Cygnus Support. Our paths are intersecting again. I asked for help in adapting my software to work with existing net protocols, and he said yes. John is a great guy! Looking forward to working with you John (he's also one of the new DaveNet subscribers).
Chuck Shotton, the author of MacHTTP had a nice entourage party on Thursday night. That party was packed with networking leaders, and lots of wannabe-leaders (myself included -- in the latter category). I like Chuck's energy, we talked about my plans for a server and he got very agitated when I said I was planning on using a Sun for the server. I must admit, I'd prefer to use a Mac, but who's going to respect userland.com if it runs on a Mac? This is deliberately worded to extract an evangelistic essay from Chuck. I think you'd all be interested in what he has to say.
I got my website up a little over a week ago. It's all done with scripts. All the HTML code is written by the compiler I wrote. I just deal with folders and text files. It's easy.
Thru this project, I've been learning a lot about HTML and web browsers over the last few weeks. Here's what I've learned...
HTML is a crock, but it's the best crock we got. I wish it were QuickDraw.
A lot of the webwriters are waffling on using the Netscape enhancements, and as a result, some of the browser developers are sniffing at these enhancements, and are proceeding down their own incompatible paths. Everybody, get a life! Netscape has added a few interesting new features. Seems like about two weeks of programming, max. This standard has a long way to go, this is the wrong point for the road to fork. Anyone who doesn't implement the Netscape enhancements is going to be left by the wayside, in my opinion. This round goes to Netscape. Everybody else get behind the new standard. [Personally I am using the Netscape enhancements on my website and in my scripts. If you use my stuff, your readers will have to have a Netscape-compatible browser.]
On the other hand, Netscape isn't a great leader. To be the leader in this category, you have to be totally open to other people building on your stuff. I want to build on the web, and I'd be happy to use Netscape as my platform. But, if they won't open the damned thing up, I have no choice but to compete with them. I spoke briefly with the author of their Macintosh client, and didn't get any warm fuzzies that they had any plans to open it up.
I guess we can forgive truly big companies with huge bases of standard software for having a fear-driven paranoid reaction to being truly open. But a tiny startup with no revenue? And a very thin 2-week lead over their competitors? And a cranky app that is really hard to drive from a script? No way the market will forgive that. They need an attitude adjustment at Netscape Inc. Act like leaders. Be open. It's too early to close up. You'll just create competitors.
"What you are doing through the content and the technology of DaveNet is helping the convergence of Unix/open systems and the PC and Mac communities. I love it. I have strived for this for about three years in most everything I do professionally. The world can move forward once the lightbulb that went off for you goes off in more industry leaders' heads!" Sally, firstname.lastname@example.org, coordinates networking architecture and standards at Stanford.
Yes ma'am! The lightbulb did go off for me.
I definitely want my friends from the PC business to come play on the net.
Email is very cool, but it's not leading edge anymore. If you want to stay ahead, you've got to be browsing -- not just reading.
To all the computer industry execs on this list -- here's a challenge -- by this time next week, get a a web browser installed on your computer, then spend 15 minutes a day exploring and learning. You won't be disappointed, I'd stake my reputation on this. And it's easy to get over the hurdle. Get Eudora, Netscape and whatever you need to get TCP coming to your Macintosh or Windows desktop.
Next step: everyone gets their own personal website. I want to help you do this.
PS: Sorry for the delay in the release of this essay. It's been stormy in California. Power was out most of the day on Saturday so I went to the movies instead of writing.
PPS: Ed Vielmetti, email@example.com, one of the original Internet guys, is doing an essaynet thing kind of like DaveNet. It's cool! And I must admit that his style is influencing me. I'm enjoying Ed's stuff. You might too.
PPPS: My friend Bernie Dekoven at firstname.lastname@example.org is also doing an essaynet on fun & computers. Bernie has appeared in this space before (he's the Santa Elf, former life-wise). Bernie is a game designer, conference facilitator and a fun guy. Try taking a 1-hour walk with Bernie some day! Or send him an email and ask to be on his list.
PPPPS: On Jan 2, Intelgate was the lead story in the SF Examiner business section, with lots of quotes from our own Scott Turner, email@example.com. The full text of that article is availble as a to this essay at the DaveNet website. The piece was written by Tom Abate, firstname.lastname@example.org.
PPPPPS: Global Village has a new product that, at first, looked very sexy. It a router in a beautiful package. It connects your local net to the Internet, thru an 800-number connection to Global Village's net. But it's one-way. You can't set up a website thru this service. And it's unbelievably expensive -- $9 an hour -- totally diseconomic, and not even remotely competitive. But some people will probably go for it because they're confused about the net and would like an easy solution. Amen! My recommendation -- have all your questions answered before buying into this scheme. I think one of the joys of the Internet is getting your own website on the air. Global Village can't help you here. If that's what you want to do, keep looking.
PPPPPPS: As always, if you aren't interested in this kind of stuff, send me email and I'll happily delete your name from the list. And it's OK to forward it or repost it anywhere you like. The list is expanding -- I'm always happy to add new names. Send email to email@example.com.