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Scripting News - 2018-06-20T12:15:50Z

- 2018-06-20T12:03:51Z
I'm on my way home, waiting for my flight at Milan's airport. I've been through security and passport control, stood in a bunch of lines, and got a good look at the people in line with me, who come from places you don't often see in lines at American airports. Lots of babies, toddlers and children, along with their parents, all with brown skin. I wondered how they would be treated in my country. Not as well as I would like.

- 2018-06-20T12:11:10Z
People flying to two countries need to go through special security -- Israel and the US. I don't remember this from the last time I was in this airport a few years ago.

- 2018-06-20T12:11:31Z
It's going to be a while before I get home, to midtown Manhattan, a very different place from where I'm at now.

- 2018-06-20T12:07:15Z
One thing an American traveling in Europe notices is how everything here is first class compared to how it is at home. The subways are clean. People dress well, and are generally polite. There are exceptions, the man standing behind me in line yelling into my ear and his phone at the same time, I finally let him pass me so I could enjoy my own thoughts. There's a little justice in this because I offended a British gentleman at breakfast this morning by speaking loudly while we were eating breakfast. I wish he had told me in a more considerate way, he left me muttering asshole under my breath. I am an American, and I guess no matter where we go, we speak loudly.

There is small justification for what the US is doing now with the children - 2018-06-20T12:15:50Z

I listened to the Dailly podcast yesterday and learned that there is actuallly justification for what the US is doing with the children at the southern border.

Previously, an immigrant would cross the border and if caught would declare they're seeking asylum. They would be taken into custody, with any accompanying children, appear before a judge, and would be given a date for a trial to determine if their request is justified. Then they would be released, in the United States. At that time they would be free to get a job, take up residence, and often they would not show up for the trial. So through this large loophole they would effectively become residents of the United States.

That's one approach, and it has an obvious problem. As Trump says, it makes our border open to all, as long as they can say they're seeking asylum.

The method Trump is using isn't any more of a solutionand it's inhumane, creates damaged children and adults, and for people with legitimate claimes for asylum, gives thm an impossible choice. It's also part of our law that we welcome immigrants seeking relief from oppression. It's the philosophy of the country, which is a country of immigrants. Every one of us who is not a native American came here from somewhere else, including everyone in the government.

It's not a simple problem. There doesn't seem to be a good solution. I can't say lesser of two evils, because letting undeserving immigrants into the country is far from evil, it's pragmatic. We do have jobs for them. They have a place in our society. But many of them are breaking the law by coming in seeking asylum without a valid claim, and no rule-of-law respecting person can say that is totally okay.

- 2018-06-19T18:37:10Z
Poll: Who are the vermin infesting our country?

- 2018-06-19T12:46:16Z
My Italy trip is winding down. Tomorrow I fly back to JFK from Milan. Had a wonderful time, starting at #SoTN18 in Trieste and visiting all kinds of interesting people here in Torino, especially Anna Masera, Raffaele Angius and Alessandro Cappai.

- 2018-06-19T12:57:56Z
This is the song we've been singing this week in Torino. It's the song at the end of Killing Them Softly, a movie we believe is profound.

- 2018-06-19T12:45:09Z
The Democrats should have a press spokesperson like Sarah Huckabee Sanders to correct the Trump lies. Daily press briefings. Not always in response to Trump. But never let a Trump lie about Democrats go unresponded-to.

- 2018-06-19T13:05:38Z
Another idea I learned from Italians at dinner last night about how the press dealt with Berlusconi. Don't carry any news about him until he answers basic questions. With Trump that would start with his tax returns.

- 2018-06-15T12:24:19Z
I'm traveling, so updates have been infrequent.

- 2018-06-15T12:24:40Z
I watched the whole of the first season of Barry, an HBO series starring Bill Hader. It's billed as a comedy, I guess, but it's not casual. No spoiler to say that Barry is a hitman, you find out in the very first scene. But it is a bit profound, and lots of plot twists, and about as excellent as you would expect given the brilliance of Hader.

- 2018-06-15T12:26:44Z
I also watched All the Money In the World, quite good.

- 2018-06-15T12:27:09Z
I'm writing this as a speaker from Amazon, a sponsor of the conference I'm at, is giving a commercial. IBM also did one earlier. Otherwise the conference, SOTN18, put on by my longtime friend Paolo Valdemarin, has been excellent. I am being interviewed on-stage by Italian journalist Anna Masera at 9AM Eastern.

- 2018-06-13T15:07:47Z
Google should get used to people writing about what's obvious as opposed to what they admit to. They do it too. In the fight for net neutrality, I doubt if the ISPs admitted to adding tariffs for YouTube and Netflix. But Google acted as if it were inevitable. Same thing here.

Point of view is everything - 2018-06-13T14:23:26Z

Companies create their own gravity, even small ones.

Google is huge. Their gravity is analogous to that of a star. But it diminishes rapidly as you move away from it. Other perspectives take hold. That's something very few people inside or outside appreciate. How different things look to each of us. Point of view is everything.

My point of view -- I never signed up to be a Google developer. I wouldn't have if they asked. So I resent having to beg them to keep their hands off the open web. And if they slander my work, or cut off access to it, I will not conform to their demands. I will not be a Google developer, ever.

If you're listening to me, and them, all I ask is that you think for yourself. Be true to your own point of view. And try as hard as you can to understand that other people's points of view are valid and try to understand what they're saying and doing.

Technical problem at Facebook - 2018-06-13T13:58:29Z

I've noticed that I'm seeing the same stories in my Facebook feed, repeatedly. My friend Amy Bonetti Price wrote, in a comment, that she's seeing it too.

  • Feeds are so messed up. You don’t see your friend’s posts, and the posts you see are people way down on the totem pole. Cheap ads. Stories posted and reposted from your ‘friends’ that are old posts from 4 days prior. You didn’t like it then, why would you like like it every day for 4 days. Cheap news stories and not from top tier news outlets - even though I constantly unlike and say that i don’t want to see these types of stories. All in all my feed has gotten littered and uninteresting and I have to purposely go to friends timelines to see what they’re doing. I’m really upset about it, as are so many people I know.

My experience is more or less as she describes. I asked my friends and they report the same.

BTW, I normally do not point to Facebook, as I explained previously. But since this post is about Facebook, I thought it made sense to point in. No guarantee of course that you'll see anything when you click the links.

Our big loop - 2018-06-13T13:17:58Z

I want people to be able to put up their own web servers. Not companies. Not people with Computer Science degrees. People. Anyone. Everyone.

I think every journalist should learn how to set up and run a web server. I think any student, no matter how young, should learn, if they want to. The doors to publishing should be open to everyone. It's never been easier, and it could be getting easier all the time. That should be one of the overarching goals of our profession, to make what we do easier and easier, all the time. To make what we did ten years ago something anyone can do. It's the nature of software, that once we know what we can do that we make it easy for everyone to do it.

But there's no doubt that the browser vendors want to go the other way, to raise the barriers, to make it harder for newcomers, young or old, to launch their own boats into the mighty ocean of the web. They may be righteous or treacherous, or some of both, but their motives don't matter, what matters is the net-effect, and that is to restrict publishing to the initiated, the priesthood. To keep the rabble from interfering.

If they succeed, and at this point I think they will, I have no doubt what will happen next. We'll just invent the web all over again. With a new Mosaic, a new Marc Andreessen, a new Google, etc. It's how tech works. Just when Bill Gates thought he had it all wrapped up, in 1994, that his software was at the base of every stack, along comes the web to knock him off his perch. Google is ripe for this disruption. They don't see it coming, but it's coming all the same.

This phenomenon is why I'm seriously thinking of changing the slogan at the top of my blog from

  • It's even worse than it appears to
  • All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again.

I will try to have a good backup of my websites, so if we need to transition it will be possible to do so.

- 2018-06-13T02:37:09Z
A new standalone river from the list.

- 2018-06-12T20:48:27Z
A video that Trump showed Kim Jong Un at their meeting.

- 2018-06-12T20:11:55Z
Anna Masera is interviewing me. What questions should she ask?

- 2018-06-12T17:10:58Z
Remember how the Obama campaign in 2008 used meetups to get out the vote. Let's do that again. Put the focus on getting people to register and to vote to be sure Congress represents the people's interest starting early next year, and to get Trump out of the White House asap so we can start rebuilding.

- 2018-06-12T12:53:59Z
Journalists will only say what's been proven, so they feign not knowing things that every sentient being knows. Which keeps them from going the next step to see theories that might explain why Trump is the way he is. Why does Trump love Putin, Netanyahu, Kim Jong Un? Why does he hate the G7? His algorithm might be just this simple -- he's the inverse image of Obama. Where Obama is light, Trump is dark. And vice versa. He likes what Obama doesn't, and he hates what Obama likes.

- 2018-06-12T13:31:03Z
How about a Chrome plug-in that redirects from each Google site to a competitive site. So when you go to do a Google search, it takes you to for example. Installing it would be like wearing a nicotine patch.

This ad used to run in the right margin of this blog - 2018-06-12T21:13:52Z

It's not really an ad. 💥

I fear Google's control of the web - 2018-06-12T14:03:29Z

My fear is this -- once Google has control of the web, they can turn off huge parts of it for whatever reason, however thoughtless, and without disclosing why. They might say they would never do it, but I've seen them do it with Google Reader.

Their intentions might be fine and it might not be on their roadmap, but capturing RSS and then shutting it off probably wasn't on their roadmap either, until they decided to do it. Then it was on their roadmap. 💥

They talk to me like I have no idea how tech companies work internally, but I do. After the next reorg they won't remember any commitments the previous management made. It's like when we change administrations in Washington. Very chaotic.

That's why the wonder of the web is that it is not subject to the whims of chaotic corporate management. Now, I suppose at some point it will be owned, and then after that it will be shut down. That's how we lose huge amounts of IP, open stuff, non-corporate stuff.

It's not surprising that a big corporation has little respect for stuff developed outside big corporations, but that was and could continue to be the glory of the web. It was amazing all those years ago, the freedom to do whatever you thought of doing. (It's what made Google itself possible.)

I would like future generations to have that ability too. But next year's roadmap from Google will make the web more like AOL and the one after that, more and so on.

Earlier: Google and HTTP. Also a few thoughtful comments on Hacker News.

My father at 65 - 2018-06-12T21:00:32Z

Here's a picture of my father, Leon Winer, at 65.

When I saw this I said "Lookin good dad." He did. Really fit, and the Frontier t-shirt, that was a plus.

He winced. I asked why. He said that in his head he's still 19.

I'm now only 2 years younger than he was then. And I can testify that I am shocked when I see a picture of myself.

In my mind, I'm 19, or 22. Not 63. 🚀

- 2018-06-11T17:48:36Z
Here's an OPML file of the top US news sites, created by I added it to my River5 installation, so now we're getting updates from all these pubs. You're welcome to bookmark it.

- 2018-06-11T20:28:25Z
Here's a page, being served over HTTPS, that includes HTTP files. None of the code works. Look in the JS console, you'll see lots of errors. Converting to HTTPS isn't just about servers, you'll have to deal with a lot of old HTML, styles and script files.

- 2018-06-11T20:10:59Z
Trump is Obama-inverse. He hates the G7 because they loved Obama. He loves KJU because he and Obama hated each other. He hates Iran because Obama did a deal with them. He loves coal because Obama loves clean energy. Etc etc.

- 2018-06-11T17:54:20Z
Kevin Marks suggested looking at for ideas on how to handle date and base64 values in the JSON version of XML-RPC. It gave me an idea for another approach. Basically, when JSON has a syntax for a type, just include the data (int, double, boolean, string, struct, array). When it doesn't, represent it with an object with two properties, #type and #value. The second example illustrates this approach.

- 2018-06-11T15:27:27Z
At what point will non-Repubs feel compelled to do more than wait for the Repubs to do something? They obviously are not going to.

- 2018-06-11T14:26:30Z
Google and HTTP is getting a lot of engagement today.

Craig's generosity - 2018-06-11T18:20:57Z

Craig Newmark gave $20 million to CUNY school of journalism.

Unfortunately I don't have that kind of money, but if I did I would endow something different.

A program to teach all high school students the basics of journalism.

To spread the values through the whole society.

If we had done that 30 years ago, we'd be looking at a different situation now. But maybe it's not too late to plant the seeds for a truly democratic and informed society.

- 2018-06-10T18:40:51Z
BTW, next year will be the 20th anniversary of RSS.

- 2018-06-10T15:57:16Z
I'm traveling later this week, so am trying to wrap up my work on the JavaScript implementation of XML-RPC in the next couple of days. There are issues that will linger, as there always are in projects like this. 💥

Podcasts are feeds - 2018-06-10T19:23:26Z

If it doesn't have an RSS feed it isn't a podcast

Please if you make a podcast, remember that. It's actually a lot more important than you probably realize.

The reason it's important is this. As long as there are RSS feeds for every podcast, no tech company, like Google, Apple, Amazon, etc can own podcasting. It remains an open platform. It and HTML/HTTP are pretty much the last bastions of the open web.

A reporter told me the other day that he was doing a podcast in the 1990s. Not possible, I said. RSS didn't exist until 1999, and we didn't define the podcasting features until 2001.

A JSON design problem - 2018-06-10T15:23:33Z

I did implement a JSON version of XML-RPC as part of the package, and it works really nicely, but has at least one major undecided feature. I'm asking that people who think about JSON give this some thought, and perhaps suggest prior art to look at.

The problem: representing certain types.

First the types that work. These XML-RPC types are not a problem because JSON understands them. When it sees one of these in JSON text, the parser will create a property or object with the correct type.

  • int
  • boolean
  • string
  • double
  • struct
  • array

However these two types are problematic because there is no way to communicate through JSON that we're looking at a value of this type.

  • dateTime.iso8601
  • base64

What happens in the current implementation? The value is converted to and transmitted as a string. You can test it by running the betty test app locally and calling examples.echoParams using the debugger. Here's a screen shot showing a setup for testing base64 data, and here's one that tests a dateTime.iso8601.

As you can see from the screen shots above, dateTime.iso8601 and base64 types are converted to strings. The server toolkit will pass them up the stack as strings, where the XML-based version will pass up Date and Buffer types.

I put this out there as a design problem for JSON experts to consider.

Update: An egregious hack for adding date and base64 types to JSON.

- 2018-06-09T21:24:04Z
One of the things I'm learning is that there is are problems with date-time values in XML-RPC. The question is whether or not the date part of the date-time should have hyphens. The Frontier implementation does not. The XML-RPC spec says not. But ISO 8601 seems to say they must be present. The built-in JavaScript function includes the hyphens. I don't have any other implementations that I can easily check against, so I don't know what offers the most interop with other XML-RPCs. For now I'm documenting the issue, and leaving the JavaScript implementation as it is, for now. This means in this area it does not interop with Frontier, in that Frontier will not understand the JavaScript date-time values. Going in the other direction there is no problem, because I've included a workaround.

- 2018-06-09T15:24:38Z The contents of the XML-RPC directory from the early 2000s, served through current software, edited with the newest tools. It's preserved here as a historical document.

- 2018-06-09T15:57:51Z
Next up: I'm going to write the validator handlers in JavaScript so I can test my implementation. And perhaps others can test theirs. (It was a good idea. Just found a bug in my implementation. <struct>s can be empty. My server was throwing an error on an empty struct.)

- 2018-06-09T16:50:52Z
All this XML-RPC spelunking is like searching through your garage and finding an old car buried amid the junk, and when you put the key in the ignition the engine starts.

- 2018-06-08T13:37:40Z
New site:

- 2018-06-08T14:15:39Z
On GitHub, there's a new repo for the XML-RPC client and server in JavaScript.

- 2018-06-08T14:18:17Z
As with earlier versions, there's a demo server called Betty, and it does exactly what the original version did. Same procedure calls implemented. If your client worked with Betty 1 it should work with Betty 2.

- 2018-06-08T14:19:34Z
There's a Node package called davexmlrpc. Betty requires it.

- 2018-06-08T14:20:19Z
A new XML-RPC Debugger browser-based app. Yesterday's video is a demo of that app.

- 2018-06-08T14:22:14Z
Important: Everywhere XML is supported, so is JSON. Want to know how they compare? I did a cribsheet that shows you. I needed this to keep moderately sane while I added the JSON implementation alongside the XML implementation.

Why the internet didn't reboot democracy - 2018-06-08T16:25:30Z

Our institutions, government, journalism, even tech, didn’t embrace its power. Obama, for example, used it to organize his campaign in incredible ways, but didn't use it to organize as he governed. Even now the tech giants, Google and Facebook, are turning what’s left of the open web into Disneyland.

PS: See also.

What changes when your parents die - 2018-06-08T16:27:21Z

Your parents get to give you all your trips when you’re too young to know. They load you up with all their parents' BS, and their parents as it was passed down to them, the good and bad. As powerful as the genes. Maybe more so.

But then, when they die, assuming you survive them, the power switches. You get to define who they were. More important, you get to define who you are, to reject the values of previous generations, choose the ones you want to keep and discard the rest.


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