Wednesday, May 1, 1996 by Dave Winer.
I've switched musical gears while I've been programming, scripting and web-building. Bluegrass! The CD is "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and lots of very grand old Opry folk. Banjos, mandolins, dobros, fiddles and auto harps. They aren't exactly humming and wailing. It's more like kvetching and complaining! But they do it so nice, with such a down home twang, it's easy to overlook all the whining that's going on.
I really like Maybelle Carter's "Keep on the Sunny Side". It's a religious song, I think, Christian and judgemental. But it's still a good idea! "Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side, keep on the sunny side of life." Ye-hi! It's slow deliberate song, you rock your head from side to side. Smile! Yeah, that's what the sunny side is about. There's an offbeat tone to Maybelle's voice. The banjo is rocking in the back.
My favorite song is Doc Watson's version of Jimmy Driftwood's Tennessee Stud. It's a love song! I sing the chorus where ever I go. Hmmm. "The Tennesee Stud was long and lean, the color of the sun and his eyes were green. He had the nerve. And he had the blood. (long pause) And there never was a horse like the Tennessee Stud." It's another slow rocker. Hum. They's good horses!
Ye-hi! It's happy music for happy people. If you like bluegrass you gotta be in a good mood. Sometimes you have to ignore the words. And just smile! Keep on the sunny side. It's coooool. Yeah. Hmmm. Ye-hi!
Welcome back to DaveNet! Sorry for the hiatus.
On May 5, I'll point you to a new website, a new logo, a new beginning. I'm having the best time. There's a can-do attitude in the community. Lots of good energy. Great websites. So what if the computer press thinks the Mac is a goner. We still have MacUser, MacWorld and MacWEEK. Yeah, they're all focused on Gil and company. Uh oh.
Hey -- Guy Kawasaki is in the Wall Street Journal. Upppfh! He says Apple is a cause. No Guy, Apple is a company. It's a great computer. But that's all. Apple is a mediocre company. It's made every mistake it possibly could, missed every wakeup call. There's no love for the company because it has no love for us. The community is worth fighting for. But I won't fight for Guy's job. Sorry man.
Apple could share the stage with its developers. How come their ads don't mention WebStar? Are they ashamed to admit that small developers saved their corporate butt? It's the truth.
Why do Apple's developer ads glorify Oracle, Lotus and Edmark, and leave out Netscape, BBEdit, Metrowerks, Symantec, Eudora, Fetch and WebStar?
When you hear Apple's Internet strategy next month, it seems likely that they'll leave out a bunch of key players, and give credit to a bunch of people that don't count. It's OK, if everyone remembers that. Do you use any Oracle software? I don't and I don't expect to.
Apple is a corporation and tends to see the outside world in terms of other corporations. They understand corporations that develop software, but they have little understanding of, or respect for, individuals that develop software. Same with users.
It's a problem because the Mac has always been the individual's platform. We're at odds with the platform vendor. They would understand my software if I got a job. But people like me never get jobs! Oooops. There's the problem.
Yes, they're trying. Heidi Roizen has a refreshing attitude. Thank you. I'll keep an open mind. Please listen Apple; and everyone else, please keep telling them that they miss the software that you use and really care about.
I spent years waiting for Macintosh System 7. So did many other developers. Finally in the spring of 1990, right around the time Windows 3.0 shipped, System 7 shipped. Never in history has such a fantastic marketing opportunity been presented! Microsoft was running ads that played right into Apple's hand. Kiss DOS goodbye forever. Graphic systems are where it's at.
Cooool, Apple could have said. Sounds right! Keep on the sunny side. As long as you're buying a new graphic computer, why not buy the best?
At that time Windows was a pale imitator. A graphic shell on DOS. A bit of a lie. A comparison chart would have favored Apple heavily. But Apple didn't do any comparison charts.
I said to Sculley in countless emails: "System 7 is shipping. Bang the drums!" Instead he says: Look over here! Object oriented operating systems! System 7 is old stuff. Think Pink!
Oy! None of our software works over there. It's a paradigm shift. A discontinuity. Years and years away.
Magic was getting ready to happen in System 7. You can see that in hindsight. It's finally become a mature operating system in 1996, widely supported by the major apps. Here's a short list of apps that support the integration APIs in System 7: Netscape Navigator, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Eudora, BBEdit, WebStar, Fetch, Anarchie, StuffIt, FileMaker, and the Finder.
The Mac OS delivered on its promise. It needed Apple's support in 1990. It didn't get it.
I don't trust Apple to get it. I'm concerned because the analysts and journalists appear to be looking to Apple to define the role that the Mac platform will play in the Internet.
The reality is that the Mac already has a big role in the Internet. Web content tools are the best on the Mac, I believe by an order of magnitude. The Mac OS delivered on its promise, and now so have the apps. This is a story MacWEEK could be working on. Nothing Apple says is going to change it. Apple may announce some interesting products, but for the most part, they're probably going to miss what's really going on.
So I'll fill in for them.
Journalists covering this story should look at System 7, not Copland.
Look at System 7 scripting, AppleScript and Frontier, not OpenDoc.
Look at the integration between Internet apps. It's mature delivered technology, in wide use.
Any accurate comparison of the platforms should take all this into account.
I spent the entire month of April deep in software development. If things go as I think they will, I'll spend May doing more development.
The battles of January between Sun, Microsoft and Netscape seem like distant memories. Delivery is less than the promise. Java still is not a fixture in the web world. Does anyone have a compelling Internet app (not an Intranet app) that's implemented in Java?
It could be that Java demands too much of the system, and may be too buggy to deliver excellent content. The lowtech, low-bandwidth features, tables and <blockquote>, are still what works and still what people use.
I like the CNN website, http://www.cnn.com/. Of all the news sources on the net, they do it the best, I think. A quick-loading low-bandwidth home page. A summary of top stories. All their archives are online so it's cool to point at them. No password, no fee. People say that the Wall Street Journal website is good too, but I find it hard to find the meat. And it requires a password. I don't like passwords! They break the flow.
The battles of February, between Washington and the net, seem like distant memories too. The smut keeps showing up, with passwords and fees that require the user to have a credit card. Kids don't have credit cards. I don't see why we need laws.
But the creative artistic sexuality on the net has disappeared. Thoughtful people weren't doing it for the money, just to share what they love and learn. They've gone away. It's totally predictable! The smut pays and the art goes. The east coast guys get their wish. If the law stays on the books, they get editorial control of this medium. Bad news for individuals.
I guess there are limits to how wildly a new technology can grow. It's OK, I can make web tools. You can't hurry love! We waited for System 7, we can wait for Congress too. Every two years we elect the House of Representatives. In four years we'll elect another president. The Internet will be the medium of politics. We'll use it effectively. Maybe not in 1996, but some day. You can be sure of this.
So, in April I was digging. May -- more digging. But when things heat up again, I'll be back. I like controversy!
Keep the pot boiling.
Dig we must!