Dave Winer - Scripting.com
Scripting News - 2018-10-22T18:31:57Z
This Neil deGrasse Tyson segment on the evolution of the eye helped me understand something important about evolution. "We like to think of our eyes as state of the art, but 375 million years later, we still can't see things right in front of our noses, or discern fine details in near-darkness the way fish can. When we left the water why didn't nature just start over again and evolve us a new set of eyes that were optimal for seeing in the air? Nature doesn't work that way. Evolution reshapes existing structures over generations, adapting them with small changes. It can't just go back to the drawing board and start from scratch."
It's been a week since we started a thread about discovery in blogs. We haven't discussed much, as far as I can see, that hasn't already been tried. One idea, one-click to subscribe to a blog's feed was something we did at UserLand in 2002. The problem wasn't technology, it wasn't hard, rather it was how to get enough of the blogging tools to support the same calls to form critical mass. It didn't happen. Here's my conclusion on the discussion so far. Two things are needed to upgrade the blogosphere. 1. A growing excited user base. 2. A (somewhat) dominant vendor who is committed to user choice, and therefore uses open clonable formats and protocols. #1 is a prerequisite for anything to happen imho. #2 is a lesson I learned when the clonability of UserLand's products was not reciprocated by our competitors. That's an important lesson and I don't think many others are aware of it. As with our tech, it's available to anyone who wants it.
A reminder. This is what Trump did to our judicial system. This schmuck is on the Supreme Court. It wasn't just a bad dream.
Radio UserLand's coffee mug - 2018-10-22T14:11:11Z
Just for fun, I reconstructed the Radio UserLand coffee mug icon in 2002.
The icon appeared on every Radio blog, and Manila site, and on the Scripting News home page. At the time that was a lot of support believe it or not.
If you click the icon it sends a message to the server running on port 5335 of the local machine, which was Radio UserLand, telling it to subscribe to the URL for Scripting News' RSS feed. The app would come to the front, confirm that you want to subscribe, and if so it would add the feed to the database.
It could have worked for any feed on any blog. It was our hope that it would catch on, but that wasn't the mood of the time. People wanted to blaze their own trail. And it probably should have moved to a centralized publicly owned resource, the commons (like DNS perhaps). But it wasn't meant to be, it didn't happen, and easy subscription became a feature-advantage of the silos over open blogging.
If we were keeping a list of criteria for what makes a good future-safe archive, GitHub, now owned by Microsoft, would be far ahead of Amazon S3, because public repos are free of charge, therefore even if you were to stop paying the bill, only your private repos would disappear. It would be even better if there were a way to buy say 100 years of service in advance. And the fact that GIT is so good at synchronization (it's what it was built for originally) is a great feature for a FSA. You could insure your insurance.
I wish there was a Busy Developer's Guide to Jekyll. Maybe there is? I am an experienced web CMS developer. I have implemented lots of frameworks. I'd love to see a concise how-it-works doc, with good examples. For example, I'd love to see a repo containing a Jekyll website that I can poke around in to see how the pieces fit together. It's one thing to read about it, the fastest way to learn is to see it in action. I'd also love to see a quick spec for what a Jekyll theme is.
World Series poll.
Lifestyle query: If you could move anywhere in the US where would you go? (30 responses so far.)
Braintrust query: Does the OPML Editor run on Mojave?
One additional release. Here's a zip archive of the static bloggercon website. Who knows what gems lie within. Now it's preserved for perpetuity, hopefully. 💥
BloggerCon history: The grids for BloggerCon I.
BloggerCon I participant list. I started with the original OPML file and converted it to a web page. There are duplicates and people who were there who aren't on this list. "It is what it is."
I posted a note to the 2018 blogroll discussion about the work I did restoring the blogroll from 2003 from the first BloggerCon meetup.
What I want most -- a list of people who were at BloggerCon I. I'm always surprised by people who were there that I have no recollection of. For me it was a whirlwind, huge fun of course, but few distinct memories.
Terry Heaton sent a note yesterday reminding me that the original BloggerCon was held in October 2003, in other words, exactly 15 years ago this month. We missed the actual days, which I can infer from my blog was October 4 and 5. Unfortunately the first archive.org snapshot of the BloggerCon home page was in 2004, when were getting ready for BloggerCon III at Stanford. I'm going to keep looking on my servers and backups for data about the first BloggerCon. I'm going to archive that as I started archiving the old userland.com websites last month.
Terry Heaton on what BloggerCon means to him.
I switched away from the Knicks season opener to watch the ALCS playoffs for a few minutes. When I came back the Knicks had set a record for the most points in a 2nd quarter by any Knicks team. Yes the Hawks suck. But still.. Could this Knicks team be a winner? Failing that could they at least be fun? It's been so long, 2012 to be specific, since the Knicks were fun to be a fan of. Meanwhile over in Houston, the Rockets have the Curse of Carmelo. I feel sorry for the old man. I really do. He was the heart of the Knicks for so long. Hate to see him become a journeyman, the way he made Jeremy Lin leave home. I guess what goes around comes around applies. Funny coincidence, Lin, who now comes off the bench for the Hawks, played in last night's game at the Garden. He was a bit rusty at first, but the old magic is still there, you can see it.
In Battlestar Galactica, the humans call the Cylons toasters, to remind them they are machines not people. But we know they’re actors, and the actors are actual people, pretending to be machines that look human. It creates an interesting conflict that they explore from every angle.
A study by Chartbeat showed that traffic from Facebook to news sites had dropped by nearly 40% since early 2017.
Humans aren't really toxic - 2018-10-17T13:56:52Z
I've been wanting to discuss the idea of male toxicity. What does it mean? And why only male toxicity? Why aren't women given the same awful label? It's like the use of the word dead to apply to things that were never alive. Seems like a misuse of the term, an impossibility. I saw one person say that Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator from South Carolina was a toxic male, without explaining how or why or what it means. We're just supposed to know? I don't.
I engaged on Twitter with Gina Häußge who used the term in a tweet about a series of lovely old LEGO ads, one which showed a girl and her LEGO creation. As a tech creative person myself, I am so proud of that little girl for following her path to geekosity. The smile on her face tells the story. Whatever this is, it's mine. That's the geek ethos imho. 💥
I think we should stop applying a word like toxic to people. It's not far from calling people vermin. It's dehumanizing. A prerequisite for violence. Find another way to say what you're trying to say or refine it so it's closer to the truth.
Also, I don't think there's any way to measure the quantity of abuse one gender does to the other. It's all a soup -- we create each other. I inherited toxicity from both of my parents, and they from theirs, male and female, all the way back. We create each other.
We may not achieve some ideal we have for each other. A lot of our grievances come from that. I watch people online who are so good at finding fault in others, but never see the obvious opportunities they have to solve the problems themselves. If you regret other people aren't working together, the best approach is to start working with other people yourself. Take the advice you so want to give to others to your own heart, and then act on it.
This isn't new wisdom. Humans spend their whole lives figuring this out. It's why functional families are so nurturing, if we could only find one! Accept what we have and do your part to make the present and future better. That's about as good as it gets imho.
I had to see a specialist doctor today. At 63 my doctors are all younger than me. This one was so bright, careful in explaining and listening, enthusiastic about good health, an evangelist. Just 31 years old. Made me feel so optimistic about the future.
Here's a weird idea I proposed to one of my favorite political analysts. Why can't journalism raise issues? They don't have to let politicians drive this. Don't the voters have issues that need airing? What about the people who wrote the Constitution who expected Congress to act as a check on the Executive branch? Why do we have to sit on the sidelines and accept the crap they hand us. Now Elizabeth Warren is doing it. Jeez. You'd think they wrote off the intellect and seriousness of the electorate. Time to change the way we do things. Journalism could be where the change starts. Of course they would have to listen, for a new idea to penetrate. 💥
I want a new kind of news where there are no professionals. Only user-generated ideas. No blame discussed. No live debates. Only ideas for how to solve the obvious problems, and then we write the Occam’s version of the story.
My agenda for the midterms - 2018-10-16T18:25:11Z
I scattered $25 contributions all around the country for Senate races, so of course now I'm getting calls and spam from Dems wanting more.
If they're willing to call me, with a real human being (it seems) why not send an email written by a human being, asking if I have anything I want to contribute that might not be money?
Someday political parties will do more than advertise, they will gather the best ideas from the people and implement them. A different kind of transparency.
Right now I'd tell the Dems to talk about oversight.
Restoring power to Congress.
And that means voting out the Repubs.
I'd like to hear some promises from Dems that they plan to provide the missing oversight.
I haven't listened to Exile on Main St in too long.
Why didn’t Elizabeth Warren hold on to the results of her study until Trump raised the issue again? Raising it herself just before the midterms seems like the most disadvantageous timing. Imagine if Trump re-stated his offer of $1 million, then she could release the study. Bonk. Wasted opportunity?
On Facebook, King Kaufman asks if the bike rider in this picture is doing the right thing. I responded: What the bike rider doing is correct. The only alternative would be to go in the left lane, and another driver is going to be pissed about that (he has to wait for the bike to get going and over to the right before he gets up to speed).
This is the most puzzling and curiosity-provoking article I've read about #metoo. The men, who said they were innocent, were critical of another man who also claims innocence, for coming forward. "The collective sense is that Mr. Elliott should do what they’re doing: 'taking one for the team,' as one of them put it." Elliot said “Multiple people asked me at first if I was O.K. just taking a bullet for the movement. Because of their politics and, frankly, because of mine.”
Braintrust query: Don Park wrote on Twitter -- "I feel that discovery layer is missing or lacking. blogrolls didn't scale. ring blogs just sucked. SEO is just survival-of-the-fittest money pit. Discovery layer is critical. Without it, even recent push to reshape blogs into shops is meaningless. even small towns have a Main Street for discovery. Blogrolls worked more like book recommendations. Hard to maintain too. Worked well with new technology. With other and over multiple topics, not so well. We need a more self-organizing and ad-hoc, emergent if you will." I'd like to do some thinking and experimenting in this area. It's a good time for me. Maybe others who have blogs want to do join in. Here's the thread.
I've known Don Park for a long time. Goes back to when I lived in the middle of the golf course at the end of Sharon Park Drive in Menlo Park. Don did the INIT for UserLand IAC Toolkit, which was the precursor for the Apple Event Manager and ultimately XML-RPC and SOAP. Don is thinking about blogs these days, and posted something interesting on Twitter yesterday about blogrolls. He says wtf happened. There is no good discovery mechanism for blogs. I agree. Don had some immediate ideas, so I offered to start a thread on it, so maybe we could come up with some experiments we could do to see if maybe we couldn't bootstrap something now. That's what the previous post, the braintrust query is about.
Another tweet that's a blog post - 2018-10-13T13:56:57Z
PS: Here's the tweet.
PPS: Here's the text, so search engines can find it.
- I used to speak freely on my blog in the early days, that was the thrill of it, and I still do speak more freely there, but it feels like very few people read what I write there.
- But I'm scared to speak freely here (on Twitter). Not because of bots-as-trolls, rather not wanting to be attacked by "the left."
- I find this interesting, because I vote totally lefty these days. I give to Democratic candidates. I promote them to the best of my ability.
- But even so, my ideas would evoke a mob reaction from my allies. They have in the past,. It's a big punishment for speaking your mind. So I hold back.
- We've invented something that looks like speech, but it's more of a way for mobs to organize. And the term mob, which I hate that the Repubs are using, so effectively, actually is the right word.
- I wonder if there isn't some way to get through to our allies witout evoking their rage, that sometimes, maybe all the time, the rage works against our cause.
- It would be better to hear what people think, rather than shouting them down and intimidating them into silence.
- Remember even if you can't hear them, they can still vote.
I wrote a series of tweets updating on the project I've been working on to use GitHub as the backend for a blogging system for non-geeks.
Then I talked for about 20 minutes re what motivates me.
I just gave $25 to Stacey Abrams for Governor of Georgia.
I also gave $25 to Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, to help make sure she is re-elected. Have a look at this list of all the candidates for Senator in 2018, with links to their ActBlue donation pages.
Our big sin, which we will keep paying for, is that we fought two wars without a draft and while lowering taxes not raising them. War must cause pain at home. One way or another you eventually have to feel it.
If you asked my father what Dave's favorite music is, he would have told you what his favorite music is, and (importantly) he'd think he's answering the question. If you ask someone why Dave works so hard, he'll tell you what he aspires to. He might say Dave does it to get rich. That wouldn't tell you anything about Dave, but it likely tells you something about him. This is important to understanding disputes, and is why listening is so important. For example, the US thought North Vietnam was fighting because they were part of a global communist alliance to defeat the west. The Domino Theory. Because we were at war against that. The Vietnamese were actually fighting a war of independence, and were puzzled why the US, a former colony that fought for its independence, was fighting them. Moral of the story: Unless you ask, you probably don't know why someone is doing what they do.
Conferences and unconferences - 2018-10-11T14:03:50Z
I don't like conferences that are all about the speakers, esp if I don't know who they are. When you put people on stage speaking, they have had so much time to prepare, they have slides for everything they thought of while they were preparing, and sometimes that was months. So it takes forever for them to get to the point. Or they don't do much prep, and they just play back the pitch they made to VCs or play the deck they used on their press tour.
Or they're blowhard CEOs, so full of themselves they hardly know anyone else is there. I once heard Larry Ellison speak at a tech industry conference where he thought he was talking to an Oracle User Group! At least we got to hear what he says to them (it was mostly press, financial types and his competitors).
I stumbled across a different format in the 00s that we called an unconference, a name that has since been usurped by a different format. In our format, it's a discussion group with a leader at the front who interviews the room. It has to be someone who knows who's there, and has an idea for a story, and has a hardass attitude about people droning, repeating, and self-serving. With someone who knows what they're doing, it's something to behold. Everyone is on their toes, involved. And you can be called on, so you can't afford to lose track of what's going on in the room.
I find professors and reporters make good moderators. The more opinionated they are the better.
The Newsgeist conference I went to a couple of years ago actually carries on that tradition, in some of the sessions. I wonder why? Maybe it's because Jeff Jarvis is involved, and he was a big fan of the format back in the day.
What made me think of this is I've been getting email from Poptech, a conference in Maine in early November. It's totally about the speakers. Kind of TEDish (though it's not a copy, it's a contemorary). I didn't know any of the speakers. I'm pretty sure I don't know any of the attendees. Why spend $2000 for that? Not that I didn't consider it, I did. 🚀
I gave $25 to Tammy Baldwin for Senator from Wisconsin.
The political extremes get all the press, but most Americans are ready to compromise. Weary of the never-ending conflict. If you read one political story today, read this one.
Any time someone is inviting me to be enraged online, I'm suspicious that I'm being manipulated. My standard practice is to unfollow the person who sent them to me. They may mean well, but they're being used. I don't need your rage, I have plenty of my own. 🚀
2010: Did you invent RSS?
Sept 17: "RSS was successful not because of the efforts of people on mail lists debating the merits of various formats."