Dave Winer - Scripting.com
Scripting News - 2021-05-06T19:11:57Z
Next week I'm going to be on Guy Kawasaki's Remarkable People podcast. In preparation I listened to the latest episode. I'm not surprised that he's an attentive and thoughtful interviewer. I knew Guy when he was chief evangelist at Apple in the early days of the Mac. I was a software developer. He always treated me with respect. He worked for developers as much as he worked for Apple. I remember watching him talk with a developer who was kind of lost, and I was blown away how Guy treated him like a customer. I wonder if Steve Jobs knew how much care he put into his work. He was also one of the most passionate users of my early outliners. I wanted him to know that podcasting was developed the same way the early Mac products we worked on were. A core idea, an audio blog post. Trial and error. See what works. When something does work, do more of it, until four years after we started it, it took off. That so many years later, Guy is loving podcasting, that is so gratifying to me, that someone who connected to my earliest successes in tech, is flourishing with one of my more recent successes. That's how I came to get on his calendar to be interviewed next week. I'd like to talk with him as a developer and a user, I want to learn from his point of view how the product (podcasting) has helped him create. I'm sure we'll talk about why I keep doing this, iterating over new software ideas, over so many decades. That, right there is it. I do it so I can have conversations with smart people who use it, like my longtime friend Guy.
One more thing. I think Guy would really get a kick out of Bruce Sterling's talk in Copenhagen, in 2009. Everything Guy and Dr Milkman said in his latest show has happened in my own life. Big changes in your life are good times to head off in new directions. I've done it a fair number of times myself. That's what Sterling, a famous science fiction author, was talking about. How to use those big turns in your life, to have a more interesting life.
Forget about ending the filibuster, it can stay. Instead, expel the congresspersons who backed and continue to back the insurrection. Let’s fight their civil war now, while the military is controlled by the rule of law. Later, it'll be a fairly one-sided affair. Think about it this way. We're getting a breather, a break between storms. Isn't it nice. Would you be willing to fight for this? Well if so, if you don't want to live in an authoritarian country, now's the time to fight. The situation is the most favorable it probably ever will be. We keep missing these windows. And every step it gets harder to put the genie back in the bottle.
At one point I thought I'd have a chat app adjacent to Scripting News, so I wrote a little bot that cross-posted everything I write here, over there. Just for fun I took a look at the chatbot, it's still running, and has every post I've written for the last year, including images. It's kind of nice when something you wrote that you never look at just scales up fine. I've written so much software like this over the years. I guess I must like to write software? 🚀
The fan art feeds from Twitter are now available as a web app, at artshow.scripting.com. I think that's about all the work I'm going to do on this project for now. The GitHub repo will update periodically with more images. I've shared the source for the Node app that gathers the images and data about the images, and the web app that displays the art in a web browser. There's a public JSON file, part of the repo, that is a list of all the images, so you can create your own apps if you like. There is a howto doc. Thanks to the fans who curate these wonderful art feeds. I love it, and am glad to be able to do a small part to make the art more useful. If you have questions or comments, please open an issue on the repo.
34-minute podcast that's all over the map. But it's been a while, so there's lots to catch up on, esp with Scroll, and Repubs trying to overthrow the US government, how when you "invent" something, you have nothing but an intuition that what you're doing might be useful, certainly no clue how it will ultimately be used, the 50 best songs of 1971, and lots lots more.
Congress should follow Facebook's lead and expel members who supported the January 6 insurrection.
Why Facebook must continue to ban Trump. Mitigating damage. If there were a sniper shooting up Times Square, it would be wrong for a bullet-supplier deliver more ammo to him. You might argue bullets are too dangerous to sell to anyone, but with Trump there's no excuse.
Having written so much about paywalls and subscriptions, it was a big deal for me that yesterday Twitter announced that they had acquired Scroll, a company that was founded to fix those problems, if only enough news publishers agreed. That's the chicken that's waiting for the egg, etc. It's possible that Twitter can make the difference, the same way the NYT made the difference for RSS in 2002. That's what gives life to a standard. An entity so central to an economy, like NYT was to news in 2002, getting behind an independently developed format or protocol. With RSS it was an instant hit. It would be better imho if the NYT had bought Scroll and put its subscription function behind it. Would have also made sense for the Washington Post to do it, esp with Bezos as the owner. No question Amazon would know how to monetize this so as to eliminate the stifling ideas of paywalls and subscriptions. But Twitter is what we got. There was a post from them yesterday that spelled out the vision. I wish them, and us, lots of luck, because the current economic system for news is untenable. Maybe Twitter can make the difference.
Fifty years ago today: Four Dead in Ohio.
One year ago today: "People seem to feel it's over, they see the weather changing, winter is finally over, summer is here, we must have survived, time to go out and play. That's evolution for you. Of course the virus is still out there hunting us."
I wonder if people who feel that wearing a mask or getting vaccinated is giving up too much freedom, realize that you have absolutely zero freedom if you are hospitalized with Covid. You can't get up from bed, can't go home, can't even take a piss on your own.
I question the idea that 1/2 of our legislative government can be trying to overthrow it. I think there has to be a radical response to this. Pretending it's possible is imho impossible.
Two controversial questions - 2021-05-04T13:19:14Z
I wrote a couple of potentially controversial tweets yesterday and earlier today. I'm happy to say everyone responded respectfully, and at least tried to respond to the questions I asked.
The first was about political discussions at work. The issue was raised by the recent controversy at the Basecamp company, which had suspended political discussions on the company's internal message boards. Later it came out that they were getting criticism for an internal list they kept of customers with "funny" names. I wrote about this on April 28.
Here's what I wrote in a twitter thread earlier today.
- It’s a privilege to spend the day discussing politics instead of doing the job you were hired to do. At least some jobs could not work that way. Could a bus driver? An assembly line worker. A teacher. A tech support worker. A cashier at Starbucks. A cop. Emergency room doctor.
- Suppose you worked at a company handling customer service calls. It’s a grind. All those angry people you deal with. But it’s a job. One of your colleagues spends much of their time on an internal discussion board commenting on the people they work with.
- They start talking about you! You looked at someone funny in the lunchroom. You might be a white supremacist. Do you keep answering support calls, or join the discussion. You’re worried you might lose your job. Someone saw you reading a suspicious magazine.
If you can't tell, as a former founder of two companies, I think people should keep political discussions at work to an absolute minimum. It should be possible for people with different political views to work together. This, to me, is one of the central features of freedom. You are free to believe what you believe and so am I. But we can and must still respect each other, and the highest form of respect in my opinion is to create something with each other. Personal blogs are good places to express political opinions, so is Twitter. But not work.
The other thread was about the use of the forbidden n-word to apply to white people.
- Dave Chappelle uses the n-word to speak about individual white people.
- What is it supposed to mean?
- Suppose Dave says a white person is his n-word.
- Is that white person then permitted to reciprocate?
- If so, how?
- And please no abuse. Thanks. ;-)
The best response imho came from Tanya Weiman.
- Go the Larry David route and say My Caucasian!
I like that a lot, but only if you feel affection toward the person. I don't feel that way about Chappelle. I think he's using it as an act of hostility, knowing there's no way for a white person to respond in kind. But thanks to Larry David, if you have the chutzpah to talk back, we have a good response!
Karri Carlson asked me to listen to comments by Ta-Nahisi Coates, which I did, specifically pointing at 3:23 in the video. I understand that blacks use the n-word as a term of endearment for each other and it's not something white people are entitled to an opinion about, according to Coates. Whatever he says, we can have opinions about whatever we want, as he has negative opinions about white people, and expresses them. At 3:23 he makes a generalization which I found offensive. I don't think I own everything. Further I don't want to use the n-word, and further, please don't use that word to refer to me. Thanks.
Yesterday I wrote about the fan art accounts on Twitter, and what they've made possible. I now have my app running and downloading images from the initial 26 accounts. I've uploaded the first batch of images to a GitHub repository. I plan to update them as long as there's interest in this project. I've also included the source code, with instructions, in case you want to run it yourself. I'm sure there will be problems that need fixing, if you spot anything, post an issue in the repo for the app. I love this, it started as a warm-up project, but quickly got a life of its own.
Really big things don't get imagined, imho, they just show up. I did not understand the web at first, I was reading about it, scratching my head, until boom, I saw it happening.
This is the kind of ad I hoped the Lincoln Project would run. They can still occupy Trump's brain, rent-free, and it's still worth doing.
I wrote yesterday on Twitter that journalism does not cover the 2.8 billion people who use Facebook. Imagine a country with that many people with no journalism. A blind spot, imho. A potentially costly one for all of us, our journalism should be facing in that direction more, imho. Taylor Lorenz, NYT reporter who covers Facebook and Instagram and other online media (I think it's all commercial services, no open platforms) responded with classic reporter reasoning, the same line I've been hearing since I took an interest in journalism in the mid-90s. After a few back and forths, I sent a DM saying I'd be happy to continue in a voice chat, was surprised when she sent back her number. I called and we talked for about an hour. It was a fast and interesting conversation with a talented and observant young (from my pov of course) person. She got her start as a Tumblr blogger believe it or not. She might be the only person in the world actually covering those 2.8 billion people. We talked about the NYT today, I talked a bit about tech reporting at the Times in the past, told stories of the old days in the Valley, it was refreshing. Memorable. I'm going to read her more carefully now. BTW, I dropped Markoff's name a couple of times, later I wondered if she knew who he is (NYT star tech reporter as the web was starting up). I realize we are deep into the next generations of tech journalism, now. Also imho TL should have a podcast, I said a couple of times. A book first, then a podcast. I think she'd be great. 💥
I had another conversation a few days ago, on Twitter Spaces, with Clemens Vasters who works on standards at Microsoft. It was like the conversation with Taylor Lorenz, above. There was a brief period when I was involved with the standards groups, but mostly it turns out, it was to either transfer the power to evolve the formats and protocols without my further involvement with SOAP, or to fail to convince them to go with RSS. Instead they tried to overtake RSS with another format, it failed, as I tried to tell them it would. Many years later, I hear there's a kind of reverence for RSS, its strength is amazing to them. But why should it be any less resilient than say HTML? Both are proof that the market creates these things, not the big tech companies. Honesly most of what they do in my experience is destructive to standards. Anyway if we're into interop now, maybe there's something more to be done here. I have three formats I am caring for -- OPML, XML-RPC and of course RSS.
I've had Olive Kitteridge on my re-watch list for a couple of years, finally got to it, and it was as good as I remembered. It's the kind of story HBO excels at, they have a deep library of shows like this, many of which I've never seen. Unfortunately HBO's owners decided that this unique library doesn't deserve to stand alone. They used its name to host a cheap Netflix clone called HBO Max, and filled it with crap, among which the HBO gems are buried. Sorry I know some people like superhero movies, I used to, but there's a glut and they're all the same, I can't watch any of them. I just want a simple interface for the HBO library. I guess the message is that HBO had no future, so let's just use what goodwill remains to throw a Hail Mary pass at Netflix. Meanwhile Apple seems to be aiming for the position HBO used to own.,
But. The NYT has the TV-watching UI that I've wanted all along. A set of lists of the top 50 movies and shows on each of the major streaming services, with a paragraph about each summarizing what the NYT reviewer said, with a link to both the review and the show. That's all I ever needed. An example
I love that there are so many fan art accounts on Twitter. Basically someone takes responsibility for a famous artist, and uploads scans of their paintings and drawings to Twitter. Seems to be catching on. My Node app reads those accounts periodically and downloads the images into a local folder, which I then point my Mac screen saver at. I have it running on a Mac Mini hooked up to my 65 inch screen in the living room. The result? Art show! I love this stuff. I'm going to hook the app up to a GitHub repo, so people can sync to that. We have such a wealth of art, and huge numbers of screens and good networks. Why not use them this way? The art is sooo beautful. Makes me happy.