Scripting News: My manifesto for web writing.
This thought was buried in a comment on Facebook.
Also it's powerless to ask another developer to do something out of the kindness of their hearts for users. Mostly they don't work that way. They want to make something big happen. If they undermine it now, they feel it won't get big.
I know what it's like because I've been there, and I have friends who have been there. That's almost certainly why Google-Plus didn't have an API, for example. It's also why a service like Facebook can have such an open API. They've already gained traction. It's not something they have to worry about.
The best people to ask for an API are users, who unfortunately don't understand the issues in those terms. The experience it as the awkwardness of a new user interface, and an inability to share with people who aren't on their network. It's as if you couldn't call someone on T-Mobile if they happen to use Verizon.
Scripting News: Cuban cottages in Jamaica.
I'm in Boulder today, and happened to meet the developers of ello.co. A total chance thing. I asked them to support RSS of course. They seemed really smart, and understood the issues. I'll help them if I can, because it would help blow out the other silos if they did it. If that happened we'd see the web re-emerge in new ways.
Scripting News: 20-year milestone coming soon.
Scripting News: When do you have enough money?
Jeffrey Kishner: Running River4 Locally with Dropbox.
Interesting thread going on under a post by Andrew Baron about ello.
Andrew thinks Ello is going in the "right direction." I think not. It's VC-funded, no feeds, no API, it's buggy, it's more like Twitter in 2006 without the API. There's no appeal in that, at least not for me. I suppose it could catch on. Lots of things catch on.
Ultimately the killer idea would be for Facebook to federate. Let me put my content on my server, to be part of whatever networks I want it to be part of, and at the same time also be on Facebook. That combination imho would create an infinite number of competitors to Facebook. Funny thing is I think they're actually doing this. Why? Where do you think the kickass new ideas for networking will come from? From a service operating at Facebook's scale or from something new that gets a chance to iterate, to start small, and get to some new place. If you know how technology develops, you know that only the latter approach has a chance of working. I've been waiting for a platform vendor to get to the stage Facebook is at now, and realize that they'll do better if they plant the seeds for successors of their current product, and make sure they have a good seat from which to observe. Then keep the checkbook out, and make investments and acquisitions, and help distribute the products that achieve critical mass (in this day, distribution means operating huge data centers).
Update: Cross-posted on Facebook.
River4 blog: Bare bones River4 howto.
River4 blog: River4 and the local filesystem.
The net effect of making River4 work with the local filesystem is that it's simpler to set up. Originally I made it work with S3 because we were deploying on Heroku, and since it runs in the Amazon cloud, it made S3 an economical choice (and Heroku apps don't have a persistent filesystem). But now we want to branch out, and setting up the S3 connection was tripping up a lot of people who set up their own rivers outside of Heroku. Now it should be easier. And we'll make easier still.
We know that it can get very easy, because the first Radio had the aggregator running on the end-user's machine, in the background. The users were running a web server on their desktop, though not many knew that. Proving that it can be made so easy that it just melts into invisibility.
One more thing, River4 is designed to plug into the new RiverBrowser software. All this stuff I'm working on that may seem so diverse and possibly random is part of a grand scheme to get more content flowing over the net with open formats and protocols, without being locked into any silos. The trick is to make it easy. We're getting there.
This post appeared originally on Facebook.
If they were open, then I would be interested. Because that means I could use my tools with it. At least with Facebook, there's a lot of openness, I'm writing this using my software, and if I weren't I could easily get it out (though honestly I haven't tested that yet). Here's a screen shot.
This is the same problem I have with people pouring love into Medium. I don't care if they pay you to write there, then it's just like Vox or Huffington Post or Quartz, Buzzfeed or any of a thousand other sites that employ writers. But if you do it thinking this is some cool way to publish, it's the most uncool way! Really seriously wrong that people do this thinking they might be doing themselves some good. It's the bad bargain tech companies always try to make with users. And users still fall for it.
Scripting News: Now there's an image in my river!
Scripting News: The NYT has a pulse! (Sort of).
Radio3: What to do if you lose your posts.
From the last episode of The Roosevelts, a friend explains that when Eleanor Roosevelt was touring, when she'd meet someone who wanted to tell her how she had helped them, she didn't show interest, she just rushed on to the next thing. Why? She didn't have time for that. She's busy doing stuff.
I feel the same way when people say they respect me for work I did ten or twenty years ago. I only care about that to the extent that it means it might be a little easier for me to do the next thing I want to do. Ironically, it works exactly the opposite way. The more people feel your accomplishments are in the past, the less they let you do now. (My philosophy is to do it anyway.)
The same thing happened to her uncle, President Theodore Roosevelt. He left office at 50, desperately wanted to stay involved, but couldn't find a way to do it. This is the guy who built the Panama Canal. When the US finally got into WWI, he tried to enlist, but the president wouldn't let him. Instead he sent his four sons off to fight in the war, while he stayed home. To him this must have been torture. He died at 60, I assume because there was nothing for him to do.
ER said the same thing, as long as there were still things to do, as long as her life had a purpose, she wanted to keep living. As soon as their stopped being a purpose, she wanted to die, and she did.
My stuff is coming together in ways I only dreamed about in the past. I have no time to think about what happened in the past, except insofar as it makes me wiser about things I do now and in the future, and that it makes people more open to the idea that I might be doing something of significance.
Scripting News: The lost art of software testing.
Today's background image was taken at the climate march in NYC.
I got to march the last few blocks with this great marching drum band. It's the only way to go!
Scripting News: New iPhone observations.
Scripting News: Facebook is not for news, yet.
Scripting News: It wouldn't kill Twitter to do text.
Today's background image is a photo taken with the new iPhone 6.
Flickr: Hudson River as summer fades.
Scripting News: Why we give it up for Apple.
Video: Riding south on the Hudson path.
Yesterday I finally got so fed up with breakage in the clipboard and debugger in Chrome that I went public with that frustration. I guess it was possible that it was "just me," but it was confirmed by other users. These crucial features, one for programmers, and the other for everyone, are broken. Sometimes you can clear the problem by restarting the browser. Other times, even that won't do.
There apparently is a workaround for the debugger problem.
Remember when Chrome launched? We were told it was an inherently more reliable design because each tab was in its own thread, so you could have one thread go down and it wouldn't take the browser with it (an infuriating feature of Safari on iOS, btw, it's the crashiest browser I've ever used).
As with many products, they devoted the resources to make it work when they wanted to take the market. Their best programmers, with lots of focus -- in this case, Firefox, I guess. They win, and then we, the users, deal with the same old breakage, and no one home to fix it. (Firefox was no better, their disregard for stability was the reason I split.)
Computer users tend to think crashes are their fault, they're doing something wrong, so they live with broken tools. It would be great if the people at Google had enough pride to keep their browser functioning anyway. I can't imagine they accept that features like the clipboard and debugger are broken. Are they broken in the versions they use?
Also it has been suggested that I switch to Canary, the "bleeding-edge" (Google's term) version of Chrome. That seems like very bad advice. If the "stable" version is this badly broken, why would you expect users of a browser named after a dead bird, one that died in an experiment, to fare any better.
One more thing: The horde of reporters is around for the launch, with universal praise for the new king of the hill. They're almost never around to report the messes that are left behind after a product achieves market dominance.
You gotta love the ingenuity of this keyboard for the new iOS. You type words, and out the other end come Emojis. A product totally in tune with the time. It's grunting and snorting with style. First we got reduced to 140 chars. With Apple Watch it's gone the next step -- a heart beat. By definition, everyone who's alive can express themselves that way. No need for words or punctuation. Soon there will be a watch for your cat. They have heartbeats too. Now Twitter seems opulently verbose. What's next? The real breakthrough will come when we have a device that the dead can use to express themselves.
Scripting News: What should TAG Heuer do?
Scripting News: One way I keep the trolls at bay.
So for example when I asked about places to donate a car, a post that got me a lot of good advice, I can quickly get back to it by choosing it from the History menu.
If I were a musician that competed with U2, I would be pissed that Apple just gave them $100 million and a historic distribution deal. After all, in an instant, U2 is the most distributed music of all time. More than the Beatles, Beethoven, anyone. And was it based on some kind of merit? Is Tim Cook really a judge of what's the best music? Doesn't U2 already have billions of dollars? Couldn't they find a better use for the money?
For a company that makes products that are supposedly about personal creativity, they seem to focus on elite creativity a bit too much. I suspect in their minds, the people who run Apple, and the people who run U2, our function is to admire them, and accept our own mediocrity. This is one reason I find it so galling that the press takes it up the ass so thoroughly for Apple. I would like there to be categories of products with competition. There must be something good about Android watches. But so far the message is the sold-out one. Apple Apple Apple. It's all about Apple. Why should anyone else bother to compete? You lost before you started.
The NBA has 30 teams. Any one of them can win the championship in any season. If there was only one team that could win, I doubt if there would be much interest in basketball. For some reason tech has always been like this. There was IBM, then Microsoft, now it's Apple. We'll do better when we can accept our technology from a wide variety of sources, including god forbid, ordinary people who just happen to have a lot of talent.