As Good As It Gets
Wednesday, January 28, 1998 by Dave Winer.
A quick DaveNet, a trip report on Palm Springs, some news about the Frontier 5 release, and an email exchange with Bill Joy of Sun Microsystems about Java.
I had a great time. Lots of meetings, and web energy is back in the developer community thanks to Netscape's decision to release the source to Navigator. Developers are paying attention. The next few steps they make will be crucial. More on that later.
I took three walks in Palm Springs. It's a fairly poor town. I was surprised. The growth in the area has been in the Arizona-like towns of Indian Wells and Palm Desert. They're rich towns, Palm Springs got left behind, and that gives the place a great deal of charm, I think.
I stayed at the Racquet Club and rented a big car, a Mercury Marquis. The days were warm, but not quite hot. When the sun was out it was blazing and strong, and the air was clear, and very dry. I liked my walks, I felt like I was in an exotic place. Such big mountains. Such easy air to breathe.
On Sunday night I went to the movies with a friend. The movie was 'As Good as it Gets' starring Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson. It's a guy's chick movie! The first one I've ever seen. Luckily I went to see it with a woman, so the discussion afterward gave me a chance to talk about the movie from a male perspective, to say what I wanted women to see in this story.
Most chick movies end with the guy being a jerk and the woman being good, and either putting up with it (happy ending) or giving up (not happy). In this one, the man has something to say, does the usual thing (shuts up) and the woman still gives him grief. At one point Nicholson says "This is exhausting!" (I agree) and Hunt comes closer and hassles him. Oh geez.
In the end she sort of accepts his right to have a point of view. The neat thing about it is that the movie leaves us unsettled about the woman and leaves us loving the man! I like that, an unusual story, one that makes me feel optimistic about the future, if women (and men) get the message that it's great for us to simply be ourselves with our friends and lovers.
I've read a bunch of reviews of the movie, and no one seems to get this. Hunt is a great actor! She played the role usually reserved for the male lead in a love story. And Nicholson was stunning as an extremely opinionated man who we learn to love.
I did a presentation and demo at the Microsoft show, as planned.
It was far from the best demo I ever did. Oh well. The product performed flawlessly and I think people came away understanding what it does. So that makes it a success. I usually do much better. But... onward!
The slide show looks best if you can zoom your browser full screen.
We've decided to push the Frontier 5.0 shipdate back to Friday, January 30. We believe the software we have now is solid, and that it will be the actual shipping 5.0. However, we made some last-minute changes, and feel it's prudent to wait a couple of days to determine if we've broken anything essential in the last few builds.
When I got home from Palm Springs an interesting email from Sun founder Bill Joy was waiting; apparently in response to Good News for Java? An exchange followed.
Conclusions? I didn't say Sun should free Java. But the fact that it is not free determines a lot about where Java can go. It's clear that Sun is serious about Write Once Run Anywhere. That imposes restrictions on what the licensees can do. We'll see if the market rewards them for this strategy or not.