RSS in RU
Mac OS X
| Sunday, October 15, 2000
Shawn Fanning: "Good morning, Senator Hatch. Thank you for inviting me for my first visit to Utah and my first appearance before a Congressional committee."
Bryan Bell: "I think I got the Weblogs design under control now. I worked hard to get it to fit in an 800 pixel wide screen." Thanks Bryan!
Now there's still pushback on the Weblogs.Com upgrade from people who use old versions of Netscape, which according to euroblogs (is that Netdyslexia?) can't handle nested tables without locking up the machine for a minute (why not switch browsers?) so I put together a very plain favorites page for Weblogs.Com users with old browsers. I know there's irony, I hate it when the NY Times upgrades their site (see below) but we must make our sites beautiful to be competitive in the race to get weblogs to the moon and beyond. We must do it. There's no going back.
Oy they changed the design of the NY Times website. My brief op-ed. This is a software issue. I learned how to use the old site. You're penalizing me for being an everyday user. This is how software users feel when you shuffle things around. It's when they start thinking about switching brands. (Fortunately for the Times, there's no chance of that, I'm hooked, a lifetime reader.)
Thanks to Rohit for the pointer to this Guardian article on AmIHotOrNot? I registered, so you can rate me too.
I got tired of seeing the old Pike button in various places in the Manila user interface. (Pike is the old name for Radio UserLand, we changed it because there was a scripting language named Pike.)
So I replaced it with the Radio UserLand dude, courtesy of Zeldman. Unfortunately a lot of code includes it with the old height so it gets all smooshed. No problem, we have a content management system, so the glitch shouldn't stick around all that long.
| Saturday, October 14, 2000
New sexy Manila feature: Home Page Template. Allows you to add features to the home page without adding them to every page on the site. Works with static sites. Not localized yet. Available on all UserLand-hosted Manila sites.
Brent got it done just in time for the Mariners-Yankees game. Now there's dedication, on a total baseball weekend.
Cards win 8-2 at Shea. Mets lead series 2-1. Signs of philosophic malaise in NY, as the library lions at the Public Library (5th Ave & 42nd St) each don caps of one of the NY baseball teams. Not a good sign. Hint to NY residents: If the Mets and Yankees win their series, get earthquake insurance.
New weblog for Frontier United Kingdom Users.
Duncan Smeed: "Good luck with FUKU."
Pictures of real-world Cobalt Qubes.
Robert Young, Chairman of Red Hat: "The software industry that Microsoft has been the role model for is built on the premise that customers are not to be trusted with the technology that they are building their organizations on."
My opinion: The software industry that Microsoft has been the role model for is dead, if it ever existed.
Rate me on BlogHop: (Green is best, red is worst.)
You can add your site to BlogHop on this page.
OPML for all
Oliver Travers wrote an OPML document for my ghost writing project that might in some way be part of O'Reilly's book on P2P. If you have Radio UserLand, choose Open URL from the File menu to read it as an outline.
BTW, to people who think OPML is weird, we do weird things at UserLand, and then they become mainstream.
A few months ago a reporter asked if Scripting News was the first weblog. In a way it was, but really Tim Berners-Lee had the first one. That's how central weblogs are. What we're doing, and Blogger, and now Zope, is upgrading the tools for the core purpose of the Web, which is to inform people in a timely basis.
After meeting Doug Engelbart, I know that I didn't have the first outliner either. Then I realize I was building on the work of two great men, one of the previous generation (Englebart) and one of mine (TBL). And Philippe Kahn, Dan Bricklin, Mitch Kapor, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Bill Atkinson, Andy Hertzfeld and Steve Capps. Oh boy I could keep going. We're an industry, we're growing up, we're not kids anymore, many of our accomplishments are behind us, but many more are still ahead (I hope).
So when I say "Go go go" to Blogger, I mean it. The big picture is to create a Web for the people. Distribution, great writing, technology and style make the difference, those are things the big media companies have that we don't, yet. When they do a deal with Conde Nast, a seed is planted. A lot of smart people write for Conde Nast. Blogger is good software. When they see the power, in their hands, not controlled by a big media company, they might get the idea that they don't need the big media company.
Rambling, when I was a writer for Wired a well-intentioned person said "Dave everyone needs an editor." It didn't take me more than two minutes to realize this wasn't true. I don't need an editor. My words stand alone. They mean nothing at all, except here's a human being speaking directly to you, person to person, no middlemen. That's a revolutionary thing. It's what the founders of the US envisioned, over 200 years later. It's so precious. So if people prefer Blogger, I support that. I of course am human, and I like my software to be appreciated too, and I know it is. So that's happy. Excellent.
Anyway, we're weird, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I always hesitate to predict success (there are so many naysayers), but someday I believe that if you're serious about writing for the Web and using the Web and providing services for people who use the Web, you'll be supporting OPML, or something very much like it. We already do.
Mountain: Mississippi Queen. "Went down around Dick's place, around Louisiana way, where lived the Cajun Lady, aboard the Mississippi Queen. You know she was a dancer. She moved better on wine."
New discussion group UI
The new discussion group interface got a major new feature yesterday. Now there are two views, a category view and a chronologic view. You can try it out on the Radio discussion group. Jake wrote a doc explaining the new features. After testing, feedback and refinement, we're going to upgrade all UserLand-hosted Manila sites, and then provide it as an upgrade to all Frontier users.
I'd love to take today off and go for a massage and a hike, but it ain't gonna happen. Two things on the plate. Number one, I have to finish my article for WorldLink, it's going to be on integrity on the Web. A perfect place for that story, because the WEF has to deal with all flavors of Web writers, and we can do better at getting opinion clearly expressed and set some standards for disclosure of conflicts and background info on the people who are writing. There should be a simple way to find out Who Said That. The Web doesn't have the limits of print in that area. I'm especially interested in know who's paying the analysts to say what they say about the vendors who pay them.
The Radio cloud
The second project is to work on the release of the cloud that runs behind Radio UserLand. Since there's so much new interest in Zope in our land (this is good!) I hope that we can get a cloud running behind Radio that works in Zope, and like XML-RPC, in every other major scripting environment. The cloud is thin and simple, and the docs will be fun, I hope.
We're also going to release the source so Frontier and Radio can act as clouds. The goal is to create an open source foundation for P2P, to cut through the hype, and give the geeks a way of taking control of the technology, which is how Murphy intended it to be, as far as I know.
Ray and me
Before I get to work, some people may have missed my comments after the two-way demo with Ray Ozzie on Thursday. Here's what I said.
"Ray has a philosophy, a good one, and nice software. They run a Manila weblog internally, and he's been reading Scripting News since 1997. I will certainly write about their software when it's announced, it could be very big, maybe as big as Netscape 1.0. It's different from what I expected, but I understood it immediately."
I'd add this after having 24 hours to think about it. UserLand will support Groove. It'll be easy. There are a lot of places where Frontier, Manila and Radio can connect into Groove.
| Friday, October 13, 2000
A new hamster-like dance.
Today's Zeldman's Glamorous Life is about his mother. A beautiful human piece of writing. I love Zeldman because he's generous, takes risks, and pushes boundaries. I also love my mother. She is healthy, alert, and reads this page. Hi mom!
A new Manila feature is in the pipe, coming soon -- a special template for the home page of a site. A much-requested feature, now we totally need it for Weblogs.Com, which has a rich home page, which is complicating other pages on the site. This is the kind of feature that many sites may not need, but if you need it, you know it.
We're also prepping the next rev of the Manila discussion group. In addition to having a topic view, it will also have a chronologic view. We're doing templates for all the elements of the discussion group so that designers can get in there and make it beautiful.
Tristan Louis has suggestions for RSS 0.92.
Jake has a list of new channels registered on My.UserLand.
Snoopin around looking for P2P-related domain names.
Radio UserLand: Manila Editorial Outlines. "A new command, Open Manila Site, opens a Manila site as a document."
Mail starting 10/13/00. Death penalty, SOAP and schemas, public ghost writers, Real Networks.
Tim O'Reilly: "I stood up in the meeting yesterday and asked for the sense of the group whether this proposal was going in the wrong direction, and was met with thunderous applause."
ZDNet: "This is a little rougher than I thought it would be," said Intel's Bob Knighten.
Forbes: "Should the Patent Office decide in OpenTV's favor, Amazon could be forced to either pay licensing fees for one-click shopping or abandon it altogether. Ironically, that's the same position Amazon has been trying to put Barnesandnoble.com into for the past year."
According to Evan Williams, Pyra has a deal with Conde Nast, not sure what the deal is, but congratulations to Pyra, good work. They're growing so fast, and adding new features, that's cool because weblogs are important. Go go go!
Stop in at WhatDidYouHaveForLunch.
Sun releases the source code for their office suite.
Clueless email sigs that contain non-disclosure agreements are not OK with me. I don't accept NDAs from strangers. I think they add these at the server. Ridiculous practice. Sometimes they appear on messages on public mail lists. Lawyers. Grrrr.
Congrats to Garret Vreeland on his new site.
Mets won last night. It got squirrely at the end. Philosophical slippage? Stay focused guys. The Mets return to Shea with a 2-0 lead in the series with St Louis.
| Thursday, October 12, 2000
Pointers of the day
The Mets game isn't on TV here, but you can watch the play-by-play in text on CNN.
Salon: SDMI Cracked.
Reuters: Ben Rosen leaving Compaq.
XML fans who use Manila are really going to like this. We're starting a project with SoftQuad to get XMetal working with Manila, alongside Radio UserLand, through XML-RPC. I had a great phone talk with Michael Fergusson, their Director of Advanced Technology, and they've already started working on it. Cooool!
Do you dare interact with the Interface of Mystery?
Jacob Levy, who is no stranger to Scripting News, is working on an open source project called e4graph.
Chris Locke: Build a better buggy whip. "Iíll come aboard if youíre planning a major emphasis on HTML. This Web thing is going to be really big." He looked at me sorta funny and admitted that, yes, heíd heard of HTML. "But it isnít ISO-compliant, is it?" he asked.
MacWEEK's QuickLinks is quickly becoming one of the best weblogs. I read it every time it updates.
Even the Weblogs.Com DG looks good in the new design.
We ordered two new servers yesterday, adding 2 gigahertz to the UserLand cloud. They'll arrive in a couple of weeks.
Tipster is getting interesting.
I got a thoughtful email this morning from Ray. We're meeting later today, I'll get a briefing on their new software. Ray wanted to be sure that I could accept an embargo, and of course I said yes. So I may gush with enthusiasm as others have, I guess that's OK, but you won't be able to find out what their product is on Scripting News or any other UserLand service, until they announce it.
However, at this point, I can comment without fear of violating a trust. I hope there's a way for us to embrace Ray's work and keep true to our users and our mission. Groove is going to be a big product, whatever it is, I can hear that from the comments I've heard from other people who have been disclosed, people who I respect.
Ray and I are both veterans. He's a rich man, and has a long track record in the software industry. Unlike many people who cashed out quickly, Ray stayed with his product for years. I assume he's taken a similar long-term view on this work.
We want to more than co-exist, we want to leverage their work, and vice versa. I think we can change the rules in the software business, so much lip service has been paid to partnerships. I only want to work with other technologists on real cooperative terms, ones of empowerment, not disability.
I don't see signs of trouble, quite the opposite. But if I do, that will wait until they announce their product.
Postscript: We talked for three hours, exchanged demos. Here's what I can say. Ray has a philosophy, a good one, and nice software. They run a Manila weblog internally, and he's been reading Scripting News since 1997. I will certainly write about their software when it's announced, it could be very big, maybe as big as Netscape 1.0. It's different from what I expected, but I understood it immediately.
O'Reilly, Kool-Aid, Real and Me (And you?)
At the same time, O'Reilly has offered to let me write a chapter in an upcoming book about P2P, a book with chapters written by lots of other people I respect, including Ray.
This is too good an opportunity to pass up, even though I have regurgitated the P2P Kool-Aid, what the heck, so much of our stuff is P2Pish, I can write about that, right?
That's the good news, and thanks to O'Reilly, it's a sign that the freeze may be thawing. Now, it's 30 pages and due at the end of the month. Oh geez, I need a ghost-writer. That's a lot of copy.
I have so many ideas. I'd like to write about the humanity of P2P, how it's about people, community, empowerment, breaking down barriers to people working together. If we want it to be, it could be the next layer of the Internet, less formal and easier than writing for the Web. If I work for one company and you work for another, how do we connect our work even though our companies have all kinds of firewalls, technical, administrative, legal, political, emotional, economic.
Here's an example. A few weeks ago a person from Real Networks signed on the Radio UserLand mail list. I saw the registration float by and made a point with my team that now the competition is using our software, but that won't change anything we say, but we should all be aware of it.
Well this morning, the Real guy, Brian Lenihan, posted a message on our discussion group introducing himself and explaining how much he likes our software. "Today, we make the MS Word of audio players. I find myself longing for simpler times. RU has rekindled the excitement for me. If the RealJukebox was slimmed down, bug free, and had an embedded scripting language such as Python, I would be delirious. Failing that, RU is my medium of choice."
Now there's a door opening, and it's a lot more than just two companies exploring compatibility. It's a new system made possible by the Internet. There's the spirit of P2P, it's People working with People. Brian is a person, so am I. We work for different companies, but there's no reason we can't appreciate each others' work, points of view, and do things to enhance each others' products. That will be the true revolution of the Internet, if it can happen.
So it occurred to me that the People could be my ghost-writer on this project and produce a very interesting chapter for the O'Reilly book. What do you think?
Please, no shortcuts
Uplister is sending email to Radio UserLand people with offers to get them to use their software. This is not a very solid philosophy. It's easy to send an email, it's hard work to build community.
A better approach would be to work out a way for Radio UserLand people to get a benefit from using both our products. I think everyone would appreciate that. Standards, compatibility and respect for users, and for each other.
FYI, we approached Uplister privately as soon as they came out and offered to work with them on compatible formats. They said yes, through one of their advisors, a longtime friend from Apple. We didn't hear anything more, until last night when I started getting emails from users saying that Uplister was approaching them directly.
Dear users, please understand that when you ask us to be open, we want to do it, but we also know that there are leeches looking for shortcuts, not particularly wanting to work with you or us. Business is war, to many.
Postscript: The Uplister people sent an apology to the people they spammed. I also spoke on the phone with an exec there, and we began a dialog on compatibility. Good outcome.
| Wednesday, October 11, 2000
P2P P2P -- We got P2P!
DaveNet: P2P -- The Afterlife.
An observable number of people thought I was talking about Tom Wolfe's Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. I wasn't but it makes sense in a way.
Advogato on P2P. "The distributed feel of the Web comes from the fact that the client aggregates all the Web servers in the world under a consistent interface with reasonable navigation between different servers. Why not a more distributed network, as envisioned by many hypertext visionaries?"
6/11/00: "One day the trend may be trend-free. That will be an interesting day, as we all struggle to prove that our software is 100 percent pure and free of all trends."
Reuters: INoize offers Napster Alternative. "[INoize is] different from other peer-to-peer networks because it allows sharing of streamed music only in a patent-pending encrypted framework as opposed to file copying."
Papa Doc continues to set new standards for excellence in webloggin. "So it's more and more apparent that in the new world we're building ó let's call it peer-with-peer, or PWP, to drop the preposition 2/two/to ó our primary sources are each other." Right on right on.
I missed most of tonight's Mets-Cards playoff game because I watched the debate between Gore and Bush.
I also missed the vice-presidential debate that everyone raved about last week, I had dinner with Doug Engelbart instead.
Tonight's debate was excellent. Bush spoke confidently about foreign policy, and echoed many of my beliefs. The US gets into trouble when we get arrogant. It's better to listen and participate. We're the Microsoft of world politics.
Gore was restrained, and I appreciate that, as a voter, and as a person who has trouble keeping quiet myself. From this I got that Gore wants to be President, more than he needs to be heard on every single point.
Gore mentioned Quayle, which I found in poor taste, Bush did not mention Clinton, which would have been fair. Gore cornered Bush on Texas' poor record on health insurance for children.
Bush also brought the death penalty into the discussion, shocking that an apparently intelligent person thinks killing people is a solution.
A lot of discussion about global warming. To me it seems there's nothing we can do about it. Bush pretty much said that.
(The Mets won, 6-2; the Yankees beat the Mariners, 7-1.)
I'm having a great time working with Bryan Bell on the redesign of our sites. Weblogs.Com is stable now, doesn't seem to be crashing anyone, please send mail if this is not true.
Today Bryan finished the first rev of the redesign of the DaveNet site and is working on Scripting News now.
Where will we go next? Not sure, we're playing it by ear.
The secret to success: Bryan knows Manila inside-out. And he has a UserLand-compatible attitude.
More great mail.
Cobalt announces the Qube 3. (Luke discusses it.)
New sample script reads all the XML files in the Netscape 6 folder into a table structure in Radio UserLand or Frontier.
Jorn Barger on Jakob Nielsen.
Dan Gillmor's weblog is growing in readership at an enormous rate. It's been #2 on the most read sites for the last week.
Someday not having a personal website will be like not having a personal business card.
Salon, Alan, Kate, Steve and me
Salon is running excerpts from Alan Deutschman's upcoming book about Steve Jobs.
"'Hi, this is Steve Jobs. I'd like to get together and chat with you.' Steve's voice sounded cheerful. What did he want? Was this some management theory of his, calling random midlevel employees and picking their brains for a while? Or was he pissed off by the DaveNet column?"
Poor Kate Adams, she was interviewed for the book, and Kate is a very honest and direct person, and a great writer, and get this, she's working at Apple again.
If Steve reads this, Kate is no longer a source for me, and we're working on a Mac OS X version of our software, which should come at an interesting time for Apple.
Upside: Religious themes dominate 'Second Coming'.
PS: After much surfing, I found the story Kate wrote that made it into Alan's book. Note that her name doesn't appear in it, so I couldn't find it by searching for her name. Doh!
A new UI
OK, first the bad news. The user interface for the Manila DG has always sucked. (Our focus was on the CMS.)
Now the good news. It's on its way to not sucking as much.
Jake has been working behind the scenes on a new topic-based interface, more like other Web-based discussion groups.
It's deployed on the Radio UserLand site, as an experiment and to get feedback.
After we test it a bit, we'll roll it out to all UserLand-hosted Manila sites.
| Tuesday, October 10, 2000
DaveNet: P2P We Hardly Knew Ye.
SF Chronicle: "Cisco Systems, the second-most valuable company in America, paid no federal income taxes for its latest fiscal year thanks to a little-known corporate tax break on employee stock options."
Searching for We Hardly Knew Ye on Google yields some interesting results. It's a loving way to say goodbye.
David Coursey got it right about Java in May 1997.
Of course wehardlyknewye.com is not taken.
What is Kool-Aid?
NY Daily News: "One time New Yorker, Robert Bierman, 40, roots for Mets at San Francisco stadium yesterday. His son Alex, 5, is for some other transplanted New Yorkers -- his home team Giants." Note the NY point of view. Very arrogant. Makes me homesick!
Brent Simmons posts some tips for Radio UserLand people who edit Manila sites. We're going to move more in this direction.
Survey: Yesterday we released a redesign of Weblogs.Com. We'd like to know if it works in your browser.
Luke Tymowski: "The new Weblogs.Com site looks good in IE5, Mozilla, w3m, and Lynx. Itís identical in IE5 and Mozilla, which it should be."
NY Times: Why the Cardinals Could Be Trouble. Sorry dude, having a clear-channel radio station and being the southern-most and western-most team for a few years means nothing. However there is an interesting subtext in the piece, the idea that Mets fans might prefer a subway series. I find the idea dangerous. I'd prefer not to risk it. Bring on the Mariners.
But the Cardinals might have a philsophy after all. "I'm from Missouri," is a great one-liner. Do you know what it means?
Brent also teases us. Which site is the one you hate the most? You have to tell us! Or at least run a survey.
Brent has his irritant, I have my own.
Great stuff on Doc's weblog. He says he'd probably put some money in Lynne's tipjar. But what if there are 8,000 sites that have tipjars. How much would you put in which ones?
Hypothetically, if I point to a piece on Lynne's site, and as a result she gets a tip, should I get a piece of that?
Inc: Bananas, My Brand, and Me. "This brand thing is weird," she says. "I'm still getting used to it."
| Monday, October 09, 2000
New design on Weblogs.Com. Already some problem reports.
Thomas Jensen and Chris Langreiter have XML-RPC for REBOL. Both are linked into the XML-RPC home page.
John Lim: Web Services with PHP using XML-RPC.
When I see a quote file I always check to see if I'm there. If I am, it gives me a pretty direct clue into the pov of the person who did the quoting.
Lynne Siprelle: The Tip Jar.
Jon Udell: From Messaging to Syndication.
Sheila: "Dave's evil twin is a Mariner's fan." Keep dreaming!
Information Week: "Just imagine advertising which said something like, 'In the future, we intend to remain the best, but we'll ensure your right to choose.'"
Why I Like XML: "I like XML because I like choice, not just for me, but for people who use my software."
BusinessWeek: When Software Wreaks Havoc.
Scientific American: Speech without Accountability.
Microsoft: Why Great Technologies Don't Make Great Products.
NY Times: Niche Radio Finds Its Footing on the Internet.
Sean Floyd: Random Fortunes in Manila.
BookNotes quotes Alice Walker. "No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow."
Frontier/Mac OS X update. Brent and Tim are working on it. We're getting close, we think. We're going to do a private beta with five or so Frontier experts to shake out the bugs. We think Mac OS X will be a great platform for running large Manila installations. The first beta could be ready sometime this week.
One reason to vote for Nader, even though he "can't win." If he gets five percent of the vote, in 2004, the Green Party will get money from the US Government.
I'm just about finished with the first OPML web app, which I talked about briefly yesterday. For every Weblogs.Com member with favorites, there is a static OPML file that links to the favorites file of each of the favorites that have favorites. Does it sound recursive? Of course, everything in OPML is recursive (that's one of the reasons outlines are interesting). I also have a nodetype for Radio UserLand that allows you to walk the network in a single window. When I have it all tied together I'll post a screen shot. It's easy to use, even though it probably sounds like it isn't.
More Doug Engelbart wisdom. Over and over he says we have to create a system for evolving our own system. That's why he calls his business the Boostrap Institute. Again, I have the same philosophy, though I didn't recognize it at first. I always believe the process is what I'm doing, not the software. Sometimes the process leaves bits of code and data out, so they can be added later, when it's clear how it should work. And sometimes a bit of code and data are just there to support experimentation, and later much more happens around the interfaces that are bootstrapped.
XML-Hack: W3C publishes XML 1.0 second edition.
ConsentCache is running a weblog covering privacy issues.
According to Luke today is Thanksgiving in Canada. Wow, that was quick. Pretty soon it'll be the New Year, and then what? Y2K++?
Survey: Has it snowed where you live yet?
According to the Curmudgeon, teams with three or more ex-Cubs cannot win the World Series. That's the Cub philosophy. The Gritty-but-Cheerful Losers of the National League. He says this is bad news for the Mets who have four ex-Cubs. Well, the Mets could lose of course. I don't think it's likely, but you never know with post-season play.
Survey: Which team will win the World Series?
Mail Starting 10/9/00. Nick Sweeney asks "Is the spirit of a team different from its philosophy?" Yes, of course. The spirit is what's below the surface of the emotions and physical presence. The spirit is the observer of all that. A philosophy involves the intellect, it's the conscious form of the spirit. A team's philosophy explains why you came to the game. What is it that you wish to explore with your team and the other fans?
The Mets are an unusual team in that we had a philosophy from Day One. Casey Stengel made sure of that. The Mets philosophy is that we don't have to win to be true to our philosophy. If not this year, it'll happen soon enough. Also part of the Mets philosophy is years of drifting in and out of love. But there always seems to be a Mookie or Benny just around the corner, to capture our hearts and pull it out in extra innings, regardless of how many ex-Cubs are on the team.
The Mets are not just like every other team. An essential element of the Mets Effect is the losing. So many fans walk out when their team loses. These are not fans, and teams with such people calling themselves fans cannot pretend to have any philosophic depth.
Last update: Sunday, October 15, 2000 at 7:54 AM Pacific.
I am using Frontier 7.0b26 to manage this website.