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Dave Winer -

Scripting News - 2019-08-21T18:34:06Z

- 2019-08-21T18:13:10Z
I don't know maybe it's just me, but I think "proclaims himself the second coming of God" might be grounds for impeachment.

- 2019-08-21T18:10:32Z
Reading this story for me is what it must have felt like to be a dinosaur having its bones discovered by a curious archaeologist, before there was archeology.

- 2019-08-21T18:31:06Z
Last night I read on Twitter that Ethan Zuckerman had resigned as part of a developing scandal with the MIT Media Lab and the notorious child molester Jeffrey Epstein. My first reaction was this is a mistake. Wait until more is known about what happened. I think it would be more courageous to stay in his position, and help the organization deal with the crisis. And he is staying through the academic year, according to his post. So I guess he's there for another year? A lot will change in that year. It was a very dramatic few hours last night. Twitter feasts on those moments. But there are people's lives, education and careers involved. Slow down and figure out what happened.

- 2019-08-21T18:34:06Z
Background: Zuckerman is a former colleague at Berkman Center in the early 2000s. His work and mine were related to blogging as a civic act, both our projects were very successful. I also know Joi Ito from Silicon Valley and he was a frequent contributor at BloggerCon. I visited both of them at the Media Lab in 2016. I wrote up my thoughts from that visit (of course) in a blog post.

- 2019-08-21T17:15:13Z
An update to the software that runs Sometimes when you'd click on the Sign on button in the upper left corner of the home page you'd get taken to a bogus page. Then you'd try it again and it'd work. Well I think I've got it now so that it always takes you to the right place.

- 2019-08-21T15:03:06Z
Braintrust query: Is there a way in the Chrome debugger to set a breakpoint when the value of a global changes? myGlobals.val is initialized when the app starts, but when it's used it has a different value. I want to break at the line that changes its value.

- 2019-08-21T14:29:23Z
GEICO has an incredible spot running now. A group of office workers gather around a mobile phone playing a GEICO app with a virtual version of the gecko, on the backdrop of the actual desk. Then the real gecko shows up, waving his hand and saying in his British accent "Hey I'm real." The humans in the office laugh. "He thinks he's real." It's funny on three levels which makes it even funnier.

If Trump were a reality show - 2019-08-21T14:11:42Z

If Trump were an actual reality show instead of a fake one, a group of expat neo-Nazi Danes would form a government-in-exile (offices in Trump Tower in NYC) and would do a deal with the US to sell Greenland for very little money. Remember, they are the reality show version, so they need the exposure. Win-win. Their Instagram influencer channel goes crazy, orders for Danish jack boots goes viral.

Trump declares war on the fake (in reality TV world, but actual in real world) government of Denmark. US war ships blockade Copenhagen. There is a crisis in the UN Security Council (the reality TV version). Interesting confluence, at the exact same moment the real UN Security Council is meeting about how to re-exert its dominance. Meanwhile reality TV governments-in-exile form on Instagram for the UK, China, Russia and the Philippines. Ratings soar.

Trump announces his Christmas Special will take place at the Tivoli Gardens amusement park in Copenhagen.

- 2019-08-20T21:42:54Z
I've heard said that Reagan introduced the trickle-down theory of economics, but apparently that's wrong -- it was an issue in the election of 1896, which McKinley, the Repub, won.

- 2019-08-20T21:31:10Z
Why would anyone get excited about what Susan Sarandon thinks? Her candidate Bernie is lookin good, but will anyone at all be persuaded by Susan Sarandon? She's had an incredible career for sure, but there are lots of stars at her level. Let's find out what Geena Davis thinks, or Brad Pitt or Kevin Costner.

- 2019-08-20T21:30:05Z
Getting pretty close with the nightly-email version of Scripting News. Lots of moving interconnected parts.

- 2019-08-20T18:45:21Z
All there is to read about Quentin Taratino's new movie.

- 2019-08-20T15:01:04Z
Ted Howard found the problem with my NPM module that didn't work. Braintrust to the rescue!

Happy birthday Mom! - 2019-08-20T15:55:11Z

Facebook reminds me that today would be my mom's 87th birthday.

Happy birthday mom, where ever you are! I bought a house in the country. You would like it. Trump is still president. He hasn't blown up the world yet.

Seeya soon. ❤️ ❤️

Love, your son, David

- 2019-08-19T16:54:45Z
JavaScript drives program writers to outliners, because outliners are adept with dealing with nested callbacks, as opposed to the way most (all?) other languages do program flow through a flat list. In a normal language, the runtime proceeds from statement 1 to 2 and so on. I guess most JS programmers don't know about outliners, or devtools developers don't or whatever -- so instead of letting the "problem" be solved by editors, the language designers try to hack the language to make it better fit the editors we already use, but it just creates a hierarchic chaos that's meant not to look hierarchic. It's a total mess. So now JS is evolving to be Perl whose motto is "There's more than one way to do it." It's far better for the ecosystem if there was only one way to do everything, but something as fundamental as program flow, I doubt if even Perl has more than one way to do that. So Brendan Eich is not an outliner person, and neither are the people who work on the design of the language. You pretty much have to program JS in an outliner (as I do) to see this, imho. But before they hack the language again, see if the problem isn't the dev tools, not the language. Nothing wrong with callback hell imho if you have the right editor.

- 2019-08-19T17:04:36Z
BTW, here's a demo I did of an outliner in a scripting context.

- 2019-08-19T17:17:14Z
How about a working group chartered to find the elegant and simple language hiding in the mess that JavaScript has become? It's there, I can feel it. First you'd have to get rid of the runtime assumption that functions return before they're finished. It should be possible for a function to explicitly fork off a new process, but it shouldn't do it just because the function made an I/O call. In practice 99.9999 percent of those simply want to wait for the I/O to be done. In all my years programming before JS, I never wanted a language to do flow the way JS does. That in itself is important data, imho. I've implemented a lot of different kinds of software.

- 2019-08-19T13:49:28Z
I think private Facebook groups are filling in the gaps more than most professional news people are aware.

- 2019-08-19T13:08:18Z
As a commercial software developer I had heard about InfoWorld's review guidelines, written in 1994, but had not seen them until yesterday when Harry McCracken, a former member of their review board, posted an excerpt to Twitter. I asked if I could have a copy of the full manual so I could get them into the archive of my blog, and he kindly provided them. If anyone wants to reboot software reviews this would be a good place to start. In any case it's good to have this archived for future reference.

- 2019-08-18T15:34:41Z
I read this VC appraisal of Dropbox vs Slack, which service was going to be the foundation for groupware in the enterprise world. I was unaware of this perspective and it was enlightening. I have studied both. Slack has the API, Dropbox went it alone. I think if Dropbox had fully embraced the idea that it was a developer's platform, there were a few small doors they had to open, they would have become the storage for networked apps. Same with Amazon S3. Each had the opportunity to bridge into the others' space, but neither has. I think the assumption at Dropbox was they knew everyone who was capable of making great groupware apps. That was their mistake. It's still not too late, they are dominant and totally baked in. They should be killing instead they are flailing. One of the biggest wasted opportunities I've seen in my career.

- 2019-08-18T14:16:17Z
I'm getting ready for my next binge -- Big Little Lies season 2. I'm looking over the review summaries on Metacritic, and see they're all based on the first three episodes only. This was the same problem with software reviews, back when they did reviews of software (too bad they stopped). They would review the software based on a day's worth of use, if that much. But we design software so that it gets better the more you use it. We balance the tradeoffs. Of course we want the product to be easy to learn, but we also want it to be something you use all the time. It's as ridiculous to judge a serial show based on a third of a season. If I make it through the whole season, which seems likely based on the first season, I'll review the whole thing here on my blog. And I still have to relaunch bingeworthy so we accumulate judgements of Scripting News readers on these shows. I have an idea how to do it. 💥

- 2019-08-17T16:23:21Z
I don't know if anyone else finds NPM to be unreliable, as I do, over many years. Here's a scenario. I have to make a minor change to a package. So I increment the version in package.json, and npm publish it. Then in the app that's using it, I do an npm update. The update happens. But the app doesn't get the latest version. Something is cached somewhere, because if I look in the node_modules folder, the new version is there. I've resorted to using a lib folder and keeping a copy of the package updated there. But of course I'm reinventing npm in scripts by doing this. Sometimes NPM works as I understand it should, but every so often it goes crazy like this.

- 2019-08-17T16:29:32Z
The NYT needs a real public editor, a member of the public who is not a journalist, and has unfettered access to the op-ed page, and can provide perspective for other readers and for the writers and editors.

- 2019-08-17T15:59:42Z
I groan when passwords are required to have at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase, a number and/or a special character. I know as a matter of math that these requirements doesn't make passwords better. Does it help people who type asdf as their password come up with more random strings? Also I hate sites that make me create a new password every so often. I can manage that myself. I suppose maybe they're saying hey we were hacked recently and are requiring everyone to change their passwords instead of making a public statement.

- 2019-08-15T20:42:33Z
The problem isn't Trump, it's the news system that got him elected.

- 2019-08-15T14:33:48Z
Help I am so addicted to What Up With That?

- 2019-08-15T13:48:16Z
Anything that gets us to hate each other based on race, age, gender is a wedge, and it's designed to keep us from unifying, which allows the assholes to keep control.

Why it feels good to stop judging other people - 2019-08-15T20:13:38Z

On Facebook my friend Scott Knaster, who I've known since early Mac days, wrote a comment about judging things and people. "A few years ago I decided to be really careful about using the word hate when I speak or write. E.g. I don't hate liver, or the Dodgers. It's a little thing, somewhat silly, but I like doing it."

This is why it's easy to be friends with Scott. ⭐️

My reply, also on Facebook: "It's good Scott because you hear yourself say these things and deep down inside it creates dissonance. You're human. Judgement of others is way way above your pay grade. It's god's job, whatever that means, certainly not a mortal's job.

"I really began to understand this when people in my family started dying. Opinionated and judgemental people. Okay what of their judgement now? Who the fuck cares. And all that angst. They could have saved themselves the pain. Because what they thought re good or bad meant not a thing in the end. Which means to me that it didn't mean a thing when they were alive either."

PS: There are some topics where judgement is fun. Such as the baseball teams we love and our hate for their enemies. You can see that in Scott's comment about the Dodgers (he's a diehard Giants fan). I would forgive him for hating the Dodgers, because it's basically self-mockery. And I hate do the Yankees. But when you break it down, what is it exactly that I hate? The Bronx? Certainly not. The stadium? Well it is an inferior stadium, no one can argue otherwise. But hate? I'm a barking farting chihuahua, looking for a little love and understanding in my short life on planet Earth. My hate wouldn't mean very much. But when it comes to baseball and the Yankees, it's mine. It migh† be all I have, so I try to hold on to it.

- 2019-08-14T15:58:12Z
My grandfather warned me about this. I didn't believe him at the time, when I was a child. He used words I thought were old-fashioned, but now we use them all the time. I represent him the best I can in the world he predicted so well.

- 2019-08-14T14:01:50Z
Apparently the question of an Edit button came up in Twitter corporate presser yesterday. They said it isn't a high priority. I've often wondered about this. Facebook lets you edit everything you write, and it hasn't seemed to affect the community in any way I can perceive. I use it all the time. Maybe the question is a technical one for Twitter. Perhaps they built their internal server network around the assumption that content can't be modified. Then it might cost a lot of money they don't have to rebuild their server setup. If this were the case I could see why they wouldn't want to disucss it publicly given how little most reporters and users are aware of how the tech works behind the curtain.

- 2019-08-14T11:55:50Z
Good morning sports fans!

- 2019-08-14T12:46:46Z
2016: "There's truth and journalism truth."

- 2019-08-14T13:58:03Z
I saw Quentin Taratino's latest (no spoilers). If you love his movies as I do, you can see how an artist can play with our perceptions of the past, and how important it is to see directly what happened.

Should the web be - 2019-08-14T13:25:03Z

I've been on a private email thread among tech experts discussing how to preserve the Linux Journal site. It's mostly general ideas because none of us has the power to move the domain or the content.

The site is still accessible through the original URLs, but there's a big question about whether it will remain there much longer. Here's the background via Doc Searls.

There's a consensus that porting the sit to is the answer. Jon Udell, a highly respected developer says on Twitter that redirecting to, as Doug Kaye does, is the "gold standard" for preserving sites.

I've always resisted this, instead preferring that we take steps to make the web itself more permanent. An analogy. Recently I visited the Vanderbilt Mansion on the Hudson River. I didn't visit an snapshot of it in 1940 when it was given to the government by the Vanderbilt family. There was value to me that it was in the original location, with the same view of the river and the mountains off in the distance. That it wasn't air conditioned. That the same roads that went there when the Vanderbilts were in residence still go there today. It was the same place the elite played on Saturday nights in spring and fall during the Gilded Age.

I feel the same about the web. But people seem to feel that an snapshot and redirected URLs is the best we can do. Maybe we should change our idea of what the web is. Maybe is the permanent version of the web. And then of course the next question is why not just publish originally to I'm sure they've thought of this at the Internet Archive.

Kurt Vonnegut's remembrance of Joseph Heller in The New Yorker - 2019-08-14T17:40:16Z

True story, Word of Honor:

Joseph Heller, an important and funny writer now dead, and I were at a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island.

I said, “Joe, how does it make you feel to know that our host only yesterday may have made more money than your novel Catch-22 has earned in its entire history?”

And Joe said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”

And I said, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”

And Joe said, “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”

Not bad! Rest in peace!

- 2019-08-11T16:26:44Z
The are having a great August.

- 2019-08-11T16:23:53Z
Best political cartoon I've seen in a while.

- 2019-08-11T16:21:40Z
I try to have an expansive view of the talent of my friends.

Glympse is great but.. - 2019-08-11T16:35:30Z

I have a friend driving from DC to visit me in the country. Per my request he's got Glympse running on his iPhone so I can track his location as he drives. This yields the usual feature requests and a new one.

  • I should be able to yell something at my friend via Glympse that he hears. It should be like I'm in the passenger seat.
  • I should also be able to play things on his radio.
  • And for $25 I should be able to commission a drone that follows him overhead.

- 2019-08-10T19:30:06Z
Poll: Twitter should report number of people who have blocked each account along with the number of people who follow. Agree?

- 2019-08-10T19:58:33Z
BTW, one of the side-effects of getting the email working with AWS is that works again.

How I got AWS to send my email - 2019-08-10T15:21:18Z

AWS is a gift. Somehow one of the big tech companies decided that the PC era was worth continuing, and instead of locking up all the useful stuff inside their corporate wall, they went into business providing those tools to any developer who wants to use them.

They aren't the only ones, Digital Ocean is very good too, but AWS does more. Another difference is that Digital Ocean's docs are the best, and AWS's doc are in some ways the worst.

First, I have to say AWS docs appear to have all the information about their services. So I can't say their docs are the worst in all ways, they aren't. The problem is the way the docs are written and organized makes it too hard for a newcomer, or someone who only wants to use the most basic functions, slightly beyond Hello World, to find the information they need. First you have to understand everything about the toolkit, and it's presented in a disjointed fashion where the docs assume you already know everything, which makes it virtually impossible for you to get the data you want. Every time I master another AWS toolkit it seems I write one of these pieces to commemorate the experience and hope somehow to encourage Amazon to make it easier for me next time. 💥

Anyway, last year I finally got their email-sending functionality to work. The only problem was that every email I sent via their service arrived in Gmail with a huge warning that it could be from a hacker (I knew it wasn't, it came from me). It wasn't until a couple of days ago that I learned what was happening and what I had to do to prevent it.

First what was happening: I was sending an email from through Gmail said we got the mail, but noticed you didn't send it through Therefore the the big colorful warning.

What I had to do to prevent it: Send the email from another domain and convince Amazon that I was authorized to use that domain.

This is the place to note that nowhere in the Amazon docs do they say it this clearly. They try to tell you what to do on this page with lots of links that center around a protocol called SPF. It turns out that SPF simply requires you to create a TXT record on the domain with a string that says what mail servers are allowed to use it to send mail, and that would be enough to convince AWS that you're cool. It makes sense, it connects the domain with a mail server. The person who set up the TXT record obviously is a god of that domain. But when I set this up per their instructions AWS still called the sender address invalid.

Then it turns out that I have to use a command line tool to give me a special domain name, and an encrypted value. This contradicts the earlier docs. And I had no idea how to get the command line tool to do this (it seems this would have been a good place for their docs to tell you or link to a place that tells you, but they don't).

It was at this point that I put the project down for a bit, went on Twitter, checked email, went for a walk, did something to cleanse the mental palate, came back to the problem and found docs that provided yet another option for convincing AWS that I was authorized to use an email address.

There is an interactive way to do it through the control panel for SES. This method worked, and in a familiar way. You tell it what email address you want to use and it sends a message to that address with a link. When you click the link AWS authenticates the address. Everyone who uses the web in 2019 knows how to do this. Why didn't their docs say up front, hey there's a very very very easy way to do this.

So now I can send email through SES and the receiver won't get a warning because I'm playing by the 2019 rules for email sending and using AWS to send the email. I'm a happy camper except for the fact that all this michegas took two days to sort out.

Final note: When we were working on SOAP many years ago, we were dealing with a similar problem. Our colleagues at large tech companies were adding an alphabet soup of protocols on top of it, and just when you thought you understood what they were doing they added another few, and you were back where you started. I got fed up with this because I just wanted to deploy applications and didn't care about all this extra stuff, so Jake Savin and I wrote what we called A Busy Developer's Guide to SOAP. It defined a subset of SOAP that we had verified that works, and provided examples for developers of SOAP implementations to test with to be sure they worked with this subset. We published it, and then logged off the mail lists and got to work writing our blogging and RSS software. It worked. We got what we wanted and the big companies got to add all kinds of extra stuff. It seems to me that AWS is in a similar place. Developers like me who want to build apps, and systems people who want to cover all the bases.

- 2019-08-09T20:12:13Z
We need political stories like this to believe in.

- 2019-08-09T19:17:40Z
I got an email from a long-time reader saying the thing that shocked him about my early web writing was that I told the truth. I wasn't trying to sell you anything. I just wrote what occurred to me. He was a mainframe programmer. I've thought about that, and I'd love to understand how one can be a programmer and not always be searching for the truth. Unlike just about any other profession I can think of, ours depends on telling the truth.You can't lie to a compiler is one of my programming mottos. Garbage in garbage out. I write blog posts the same way a tester writes reviews of software. You have to be ready to hear the unvarnished truth. That's the ethos of blogging as far as I'm concerned. And it's why tech bloggers can do it better than most. Not saying they do of course. There was some real shabby blogging around HTTPS and Google, I kept wanting to ask if they debug their software with that kind of logic? (The equiv of asking a troll if they kiss their mother with that mouth.)

- 2019-08-09T19:45:44Z
New feature. Now in the footer of the home page, you can see a realtime readout of how long this blog has been running in preparation for the big 25th anniversary celebration, whatever it may turn out to be. Of course you have to have JS turned on to see it.

- 2019-08-09T20:07:28Z
And here's a video demo of the feature because why not.

- 2019-08-09T19:22:16Z
I had been looking for the animation of Darwin as a kung fu fighter, and finally found it. I don't want to lose it again.

- 2019-08-09T14:34:33Z
Here's what a reader wrote in 1995 about my earliest blogging efforts. It means so much more now. The loop has closed on all of it, esp the last couple of paragraphs.

- 2019-08-09T14:58:55Z
Those were incredible times, we had tons of what I called blue sky, probably more possibility for technology and humanity since the 1920s (the advent of electricity and cars). I was in perfect position to explore all that blue sky. A confluence like that is rare. Right place, right time, right friends. 💥

- 2019-08-09T16:14:46Z
Biden's latest gaffe is about as important as Orrin Hatch removing glasses that weren't there. Everyone made such huge deal about it, but if they had to admit the truth, they'd have to say they do shit like that too. It's human.


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