Two Crazy Days
Thursday, July 10, 1997 by Dave Winer.
A few wrap-ups on the news and opinions flowing thru DaveNet yesterday.
A respectful challenge comes from Ryan Tate. He says:
"If you truly had 'early knowledge' and not just early rumors, don't you think other developers would have wanted a heads-up? I mean, what's DaveNet all about? What's Scripting News all about? You had the news and you sat on it. Why should anyone turn to scripting.com when you just do day-after spinmeistering?
"I recognize that it is your call to say or not say whatever you want. but as a loyal DaveNet reader for the last two years, I feel more than a little let down. Community is about the right mix of openness and discretion, it is my view that in this case your community could have used a lot more openness."
Mr. Tate has a personal website at:
Yesterday and the day before were overwhelming. Everything happened so quickly. It was hard to keep up with events as they were happening. In balance I'm satisfied with the result. But I think it makes sense to tell how it happened.
On Tuesday I spoke with a not-for-attribution source that confirmed the rumor that Amelio had resigned. I called a friend at the San Jose Mercury-News, Jodi Mardesich, and filled her in. I did not say who my source was. I asked for advice.
We decided to team up. I called my friends. The Mercury reporters called their sources. If they had gotten confirmation I would have reported Amelio's resignation as a fact. But we didn't get confirmation. That's where we were on Wednesday morning.
I had been working on The Sure Road to Bankruptcy for about a month. It didn't depend on Amelio's resignation. I had not run the piece before because Apple was quieting down as a news story. I have regrets about this as I indicated in the lead to Wednesday's piece.
We weren't sure when or if the announcement would come from Apple, so when I was finished with the opinion piece I released it. I would have stood behind yesterday's piece either way, whether or not the story proved true, whether or not it broke this week or next, or never. As it turned out my piece shipped about two hours before the announcement came from Apple.
Mr. Tate and others questioned my decision to hold the news story, but the Mercury had the same information I did, and they didn't run the story until the Apple press release ran.
Hey I'm glad I called Jodi, it was a great collaboration. I learned a lot from the experience; I'd do it again, anytime. And next time a news story breaks this quickly, I hope we do even better.
This was the first time a major story broke on the web that I had a "just in time" search engine to help me follow other writer's work. I wrote about this in Microsoft's Money, 7/2/97, and in previous pieces.
I used Excite's NewsTracker to follow the Amelio story. The NewsTracker folks say they index the sites four times a day, but it appears to happen more slowly. By mid-morning today, the new stories were appearing in their database. I wish their database could catch the stories more quickly.
Even so, it's a uniquely valuable service for people who want to follow stories as they appear on the web. Here's an absolutely unsolicited testimonial. Any competitive reporter, editor or analyst covering a breaking story is totally missing out if they're not using Newstracker.
I've been consistent over the years in asking Apple to focus on fixing bugs in the Mac OS. When they explain why Rhapsody is needed, they talk about protecting the operating system from crashing apps. Perhaps a simpler approach would work better for most Mac users?
Talking with a reporter friend this morning who is a Mac user, I realized that many people who use Macs don't know about MacsBug, a common programmer's tool that can make application crashes much less painful and help you save data before restarting the system.
Also, I recently learned how to make my system boot more quickly, with a simple reconfiguration of (get this) my web browser. It turns out that the larger your browser cache, the longer your machine takes to start up.
Both these problems could be solved more elegantly and expensively, but fixes are readily available and many Mac users don't know about them. Details are at:
There may be more news over the weekend, but we won't have it at Scripting News. I'm taking a class over the weekend, so on Monday we'll resume the normal (nutty!) schedule. We're expecting some new software releases next week. Stay tuned and...
Have a grrreat weekend!