Tuesday, November 19, 1996 by Dave Winer.
Lots of interesting stuff and new directions this morning.
We have two seasons here in northern California. Summer, when it never rains and the days are hot and dry and the nights are cool and lovely. And rainy season, when it's warm during the day, and it rains all the time.
This is my fourth winter in the woods. And even though a full T1 will be coming to my house soon, I'm so hi-tech, there's nothing to be done about power outages. And it seems there's nothing to be done about leaky roofs! I live in an old house. The part I work in has a flat roof and a skylight. Every year we do maintenence, hire roofers, fix the holes, only to find that new leaks sprout. What can I do? Not much. I love the woods, the creek, the live oak trees, the great birds, my garden. A leaky roof seems a small price to pay.
Power outages are even more out of my hands. They seem to bunch up at the beginning of the rainy season. During the first few windy storms power outages are a certainty. Trees sway wildly, summer growth that isn't sustainable breaks. It's just a matter of time before one of the branches hits a power line, and boom! out goes the power, and with it my servers.
It happened on Sunday. I was working on a new web application. Tweaking up the HTML. Writing email to people I'm working with, when in an instant, the power goes out. The screens go blank. The fans whirrr down. It gets quiet. I sit there for a moment, stunned. Now I understand why we call these things platforms. The online world is so high. When it disappears, in an instant, I'm left feeling part of the elements.
My first act is one of rebellion. I create a fire in the fireplace. I can't stand the idea that I'm just part of nature. I have to win.
Reading a book by candlelight, heated by fire, listening to the wind and rain instead of Peter Gabriel, I feel disconnected. A few hours later I go for a walk in the rain. I come home, the power is on.
So, if you're trying to get thru to my server at www.scripting.com and can't for a few hours or even a couple of days, you can be sure we're having stormy weather in California. Feel a part of nature when this happens. Share that with me, and know that it's a struggle for me too!
Soon it will be the middle of the rainy season and the power outages will be behind us. I could move the servers to an office? Not this year. Maybe next? We'll see.
The power situation here is nothing and it's everything. Listening to Peter Gabriel sadly sing I love to be loved; it's the same thing. I want power but sometimes it goes away. Your life, mine too, is about holding on and letting go. Back and forth. Over and over. That's where we create our heat, our passion, it's where joy and freedom come from. It's painful. We say hello, we say goodbye, we do it again and again until we die.
That's life! Frank Sinatra sings. You're ridin' high in April, shot down in May.
Sinatra. What a man. What great music!
Peter Gabriel too. :-)
I got a lot of response to my query about smileys. Many of them are on the DaveNet mail site.
The simplest answer is that they mean Smile as you read this.
Another interesting perspective: Please don't hit me!
I've started to use them, sparingly, in my emails. They're not bad things, now that I have an idea of what they mean.
A hearty welcome to the new Electric Minds website.
Started by well-known online opionier, Howard Rheingold, Electric Minds raised $2 million from venture capitalists, built a powerful web server and content system, licensed software from The Well, and started a new online community.
Like many well-capitalized startups in the Bay Area, Electric Minds is an experiment, in this case, to see if a growing business can be built around the pure energy of the minds of the people who use the Internet. Rheingold is a natural leader, a man with a big heart and a big mind, and he has lots of friends. I have no doubt that he can make great flow happen on his web server.
Maggy Donea, who I wrote about in To Be or Not to Be, 11/5/96, is thinking about joining Electric Minds. A great picture of Maggy is on her website. Want to see what Web Energy looks like? She's one click away.
A brief mention of outliners and Windows in The Arrogance of the Mac 11/10/96, sparked a bunch of email asking "When?" It seems that some people want a tight fast outliner for Windows. Apparently the suites from Microsoft, Lotus and Corel don't include outliners. I'm surprised by this. People don't enjoy the outliner in Microsoft Word. They ask for something different.
On the way to porting our scripting software to Windows, we must produce an outliner because Frontier is built around one. Now I'm thinking of releasing the outliner as a separate product. What do you think? Can we make money in this market? Last time I marketed an outliner, I was told by the industry that it wasn't a category -- that it would be swallowed up by word processors. I don't want to go thru that again!
Please send email if you feel strongly, one way or the other.
Yesterday the nominations for MacUser's Eddy awards were published.
We made the cut with Frontier 4.1 -- it's a finalist for Best New Development Tool for 1996. I love getting awards... It's the best thing. It takes the burden off of me as a software promoter. You don't have to believe me, check out what they said about us. It lightens the load. And it just plain feeeeeels good. ;->
Our fellow nominees are excellent market-leading products. BBEdit from Bare Bones Software is the best general-purpose HTML editing product, the default web tool in the Macintosh world. Many people who use Frontier for web development started with and still use BBEdit. We've made our products work beautifully together. This is the kind of collaboration I've been dreaming about. A respectful back and forth of ideas and code and trust. The result is harmony and co-existence. It's a nice way to play in the software world!
And Metrowerks CodeWarrior 10 is such a powerhouse. Without CodeWarrior there would be no RISC version of Frontier, and the performance advantage our software enjoys over the competition wouldn't be there. We use both BBEdit and CodeWarrior here at UserLand. They are in no small measure part of the reason *our* product was nominated.
I often disagree with Don Crabb, the columnist for MacWEEK. He always tries to solve the Mac community's problems by encouraging Apple to take control of more and more stuff. I think Crabb misses the big picture, that when the platform vendor takes control of a market, the market dies.
Crabb has a strong opinion. He evokes my anger. Then I'm surprised when he writes an insightful piece about Frontier and what it does. It's been hard to get the message out that Frontier is a website development system. People understand that Dave is on the web (you do, don't you?) but people miss the point that my software is here too.
So, thanks to Don Crabb, he got the scoop.
We're getting a new service ready, it's not ready to announce yet. As part of the bootstrapping process, we want to get in touch with organizations that have job openings for web developers, Java programmers, HTML programmers, people who write and maintain CGI scripts. Webmasters.
Important: it doesn't matter what tools or computer platforms are required for the job. This service is not platform-specific or tool-specific. If your shop uses FrontPage or PageMill, PERL or Visual Basic, Apache or WebSTAR, Unix, Linux, Mac OS or Windows NT, it doesn't matter.
So, if you have one or more current openings for web developers, please send me private email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll respond with details. Thanks!
PS: LOL means Laughing Out Loud.
PPS: ROTFL means Rolling On The Floor, Laughing.
PPPS: The Peter Gabriel song I refer to in this piece is Love to be Loved off the US CD. It's a beautiful song.