Scripting feed

Dave Winer -

Scripting News - 2019-02-21T14:56:41Z

Feature request for Twitter - 2019-02-21T14:56:41Z

When a link goes to a paywall site, indicate that clearly on the tweet. Even better, give me a filter so I don’t have to see them.

Then, a couple of interesting observations...

  • David Teicher: "Or, let me pay like $.25 to access that one article directly thru twitter. Split the revenue with the publisher"
    • This is an interesting idea. Not sure I'd go for it. But Twitter might have the Netflix-for-News platform. I honestly had never thought of this.
  • Dennis Kennedy: "I try not to retweet links to articles that are on paywall or subscription sites, or that I know will run a reader through an ad maze to try to read the article. I, too, wish an automatic marking of these kinds of sites was a feature on Twitter."
    • I responded: "Interestingly if they were marked, you wouldn't mind passing on the link. I know I would. I post links to NYT stories, knowing I might be costing people some of their free stories. I'd do it more often if readers were properly warned."

nightlyRSS problem - 2019-02-20T15:53:46Z

This has been a puzzle for a while, since I reprovisioned one of my servers on Digital Ocean. It had been on AWS.

One of the apps on the server is set to run at midnight but it was running at 7PM. It had been working properly on the other server.

To find out why, I logged on the server in the Terminal app, and ran the date command. It responded that it was 4PM, with the timezone as Z, which stands for Zulu or Greenwich, England. So that appears to be the problem.

I tried setting the time, but that had no effect. It still thought it was 4PM and the server was in Greenwich.

Then I tried setting the timezone from the command line. Now it says the server is in EST and it's 11AM. So hopefully that will fix the problem and the app will do its thing at midnight instead of 7PM.

If I were CEO of the NYT - 2019-02-19T19:53:17Z

I was recently asked what I would do if I were in charge of a major news org like the NY Times. This is a game I love to play. (I've done it before, in 1996, with Apple.)

Here's what I would do.

  • I would start a blog hosting service, with NYT branding, it would be carefully designed so that people knew this was blog space and not editorial space. The Times editorial people do not control what's said here. These are our sources. Maybe the site would be called
  • I would offer a blog to every person who was quoted in a NYT story. This would give people an extra reason to work with our reporters. It would also serve as vetting. If their ideas or experiences are valuable enough to be quoted in our news flow, we want to stay in touch, and this is a great way to do that.
  • There would be a central place where the posts of all the sources are aggregated. Reverse chronologic. Until it became overwhelming, then you could opt out of the full flow, and subscribe to individual blogs. All this would be under reader control.
  • Of course all the NYT reporters, editors, managers, board members, everyone who gets a paycheck from the NYT, would have a blog here too. However they would not have any special access. It's a level playing field.
  • It's not a silo. Every blog has an RSS feed so it can be subscribed to independently of the others.
  • It's the place of record on the web. We'd partner with several long-lived institutions as backups., obviously. Several universities, other news orgs, spread around the world, a hedge against a failure of the American government.
  • The user interface would be simple and clean. Fast. You should feel as if you already know how to use it.
  • Behind the scenes we would encourage our editorial people to quote sources directly from the NYT-hosted blogs. Other news orgs of course would also be welcome to quote from them. 😄
  • Of course as soon as we move, other news orgs will want to do what we do. That's great. We should be compatible with them. None of the tech is proprietary. Lots of room for innovation. People will come to the NYT because we are the NYT. We don't need to own our readers or our sources.


  • This represents a compromise. We're not going directly after Facebook, though I'd certainly think about ways to do that. This is a level playing field within the community we define. Maybe being quoted in the NYT isn't enough, or maybe it's too much.
  • Make sure the elite aren't over-represented. Let's find future AOC's out there. And the journalism equiv of AOC.
  • News will be made on this system. That's good. After all, that's the business we're in -- news. More news? Make my day. 😄
  • Once it catches on, I'd open a physical space in midtown Manhattan. It would be set up as a newsroom for sources and reporters and a place for press events. The writers don't pay to participate, but the people with messages for them do. This is the Hypercamp idea, that has yet to happen. News can't be all virtual. There's huge power in physical spaces for idea flow. Once the NY one catches on, open one in another major city. They will never be as plentiful as Starbucks, but there could be a lot of them. News is made everywhere, after all.
  • It also helps get some fresh thinking into the NYT, something it desperately needs. Times reporters do not engage with people who they don't see as peers. This sucks for the health of our society and political system. Not only aren't good ideas the exclusive province of the elites, the elites are often too scared to say what they really think, if they haven't already had the creativity beaten out of them. People with nothing to lose (i.e. non-elites) have good ideas too and are more free to express them.
  • There's not much time to waste.

- 2019-02-18T04:31:38Z
I watched Looming Tower on Hulu. Very nice. Alec Baldwin plays George Tenet, head of the CIA. Interesting to see that a good part of his Donald Trump imitation is actually Alec Baldwin being himself.

- 2019-02-17T16:48:44Z
I have an Electron app that I use every day. Something I wrote for myself. It runs fine, perfectly fast, the performance monitor doesn't indicate any problems. But if I don't reload the app every morning then it gets really slow. I thought I knew the reason, but then I fixed it and it still needs a reload. So maybe Electron isn't perfect, but it's a very good idea, and very useful. A combination of Chrome and Node. I've invested a lot of time in taming the programming model, so I don't want to hear about how Electron is like Flash. But if you think it's too slow, don't trash it, roll up your sleeves and figure out why and submit a bug report.

- 2019-02-17T16:47:49Z
Discourse is not Twitter's strength, not because of the thread structure, rather that it’s a write-only community of attention seekers. Most of what passes for discourse is thinly disguised spam.

- 2019-02-17T02:10:14Z
Poll: Do we need Bernie Sanders to run?

- 2019-02-16T16:59:46Z
I have news for Twitter. “News for you” is not for me.

- 2019-02-16T17:21:09Z
A Twitter thread that will become a blog post, about integrated software. I left out the conclusion. The answer imho turned out to be making the apps scriptable, and tying them together via a system scripting language. That's the software we developed at UserLand.

- 2019-02-16T17:01:22Z
CNN is like an opera. Wolf is the conductor. The performers have memorized their lines. He points his baton at each in turn. They sing. We admire or hate. He points at the next singer. Until we have to break. When we come back the opera will repeat.

- 2019-02-16T16:03:13Z
I love the Starbucks app cause the coffee is waiting for you when you get there. Now there needs to be an app for all the other places you can get coffee.

- 2019-02-15T14:56:35Z
There's been a lot of discussion Twitter lately about how it can become a better system to conduct an interview, after a hard-to-follow interview between Kara Swisher and Jack Dorsey. Maybe Twitter is a publishing medium and not a chat room. Every product has design choices built in, if you make it a great chat app you end up with something other than what Twitter is. No product is everything to everyone, a lesson learned when integration was a huge push in the software business. A better approach is to use Twitter tech to glue together a variety of apps, each with their focus on one aspect of networked communication and publishing.

Future of journalism, part 1 - 2019-02-15T16:57:59Z

Note: I am keynoting the ISOJ conference in Austin in April, and am gathering my thoughts in advance in the form of blog posts (of course). Here's the first nugget.

Journalism should ask itself this question -- why is Facebook making billions in profit every year and growing at such a huge rate, when journalism is stuck in the mud on the verge of collapse.

If this were tech, the CEOs of the journalism companies would be trying to figure out how to grab some of that growth.

That's where we start our exploration. 💥

- 2019-02-15T03:20:17Z
Are any researchers track the growth of blogs?

Amazon is ditching Queens - 2019-02-14T19:08:27Z

Is it bad news that Amazon has decided not to grow in Queens? As someone who was raised in Queens, I think it's not bad news.

There are considerations other than jobs -- primary among them is affordable housing. Manhattan is out of reach for most, and Brooklyn is getting gentrified at a huge rate, and it's now moving into Queens in exactly the area Amazon wants to build.

Having been through the boom in the Bay Area, I can tell you there is definitely a downside to all the high paying jobs. It means people of average means are pushed out of their neighborhoods. And everything that made the neighborhoods special goes with them.

Queens is an amazing melting pot. Probably the most ethnically diverse county in the country. If you own real estate in Queens then of course you want Amazon, because it will make the value of your property go up. But if you live there and want to keep living there, and are of modest means, it's not such a great deal for you.

The Queens melting pot with immigrant families building new lives in the US is the kind of growth New York has always built on, generation after generation. I don't think importing the kind of growth seen in Seattle or San Francisco is in the city's interest.

PS: I grew up in Queens in the 60s and 70s. My parents were immigrants. Lived in Silicon Valley in the 80s and 90s.

- 2019-02-12T19:51:35Z
Medium is doing something much like what I've been advocating news orgs do, only from the other direction. Medium is a "level playing field" platform where anyone can post and they're mixing in professional stuff.

- 2019-02-12T19:53:56Z
However, Medium hasn't been clear about the professional stuff and they should be. There are cases of paid-for pieces that appear to be free submissions. They're buying endorsements without being clear that's they're paid-for. The writers should insist, it doesn't look good for them either.

- 2019-02-12T19:46:36Z
Poll: If you work in the news industry, here's a question. In hindsight, would it have been better to ignore Craig's List in the 90s, or should at least some of you competed?

- 2019-02-11T15:25:07Z
I'm reconfiguring my CMS today so there may be some issues on Still diggin after all these years. 💥

- 2019-02-11T00:37:57Z
Our campaign poster for 2020.

- 2019-02-10T21:15:19Z
I recorded a 6-minute podcast explaining "If it doesn't have a feed it isn't a podcast." Ken Smith, an Indiana English professor raised the question in this post.

- 2019-02-11T02:59:13Z
Can we agree if Trump shuts down the government again it's time to impeach.

- 2019-02-10T20:56:48Z
I ran a script that fixed all the broken links to on blog pages on I got tired of all the broken images. Here's a list of the pages, and a zip archive of the original versions of the pages, as a backup in case anything went wrong.

- 2019-02-10T20:45:42Z
Klobuchar announces in Minneapolis. Quite an image.

- 2019-02-10T20:07:08Z
AOC is like Napster. In 2000, at its peak. People were talking about music in supermarket checkout lines and airports. Music hadn't been that exciting in decades. AOC is like that.

- 2019-02-10T17:41:18Z
A panel of elites tells journalism their business model for the future is raising money from philanthropy. Worthless advice designed to warm the hearts of the tech giants.

- 2019-02-10T16:30:49Z
As you may know I'm shopping for a car. I'm using a number of car-rating sites, including Consumer Reports where I am a member. I wanted to use their pricing service, but they ask for a phone number before letting you in. This was a deal-stopper at first, but eventually I relented and entered my number. Immediately I was taken to a screen that said that a dealer would contact me by phone. No opt out. I was not warned this would happen. I assumed that because this was integrated with Consumer Reports website that it would treat me, the consumer, fairly. I just got a call from the dealer. I didn't take it. A waste of all our time, but most importantly a waste of CR's rep. They took a big hit here with me. Which sucks because trust is central to the service they sell. [Update: It's turning into a spamfest. The dealer, Bertera Subaru, has called twice, sent three text messages and two emails, so far. Another update. When I asked Andrew Luzio of Bertera to stop spamming me, he responded with more spam.]

- 2019-02-09T16:37:56Z
My blogging is changing back to the way it used to be. I have nothing in the game and nothing to lose. I owe the inspiration to AOC. If she can speak the truth, no matter what the trolls might say, then I can too. In my drama, Google and their trolls are the Repubs.

- 2019-02-09T23:14:52Z
I just completed a binge-watch of all six Sopranos seasons. One thing to note. The last season was awful. It was a total slog to get through all 21 episodes. I kept putting it down it was so bad compared to the other seasons. But the awfulness of the last season makes me think that the contentious ending of the last episode might have just been a punt by a writer's room that had clearly run out of gas. They didn't know how to end the series, so they didn't. BTW one of the great things about having a blog is that I can show you what I thought of the last episode at the time it aired. Basically I wasn't buying it: "The Sopranos was a mess, and it ended in an unsatisfying cop-out."

- 2019-02-09T23:26:42Z
The archive for June 2007 has lots of stuff about the end of the Sopranos.

- 2019-02-10T00:00:39Z
One thing I learned from a week of driving in upstate New York, both Google's and Apple's maps apps go crazy when the phone doesn't have an Internet connection. I had only experienced this kind of insanity once before, when driving in downtown Boston. There the phone doesn't know which level of road you're driving on. The major highways are all underground. This last week the apps kept changing their mind about which direction I should be going on a road. This not only made me miss turns, but it also drove me crazy because I never knew if I could rely on their directions.

- 2019-02-09T16:38:13Z
Owen Williams' sad tale of Google News reminds me of the scene in The Godfather where the undertaker Bonasera visits Don Corleone on the day of his daughter's wedding. Bonasera's daughter has been raped. He went to the police, they tried the rapist, but he got off with a suspended sentence. Bonasera seeks justice from the Godfather who gives his first great speech in the movie. "We've known each other many years, but this is the first time you ever came to me for counsel or for help. I can't remember the last time that you invited me to your house for a cup of coffee, even though my wife is godmother to your only child. But let's be frank here. You never wanted my friendship. And you were afraid to be in my debt." In Williams' tale of woe, the Godfather is the open web, other news orgs, his readers, and the legal system is Google. We have to work together Owen. The web made all you do possible, you can't go over its head to Google to get what you think you need. And though you disparage RSS in your piece, it, or something exactly like it, will be the glue that routes around Google and Facebook and eventually makes networked news work. BTW, the dialog is on Wikipedia and the video clip is on Youtube.

- 2019-02-08T20:53:48Z
There was a point in the development of RSS, after a few VCs invested in startups, that the consensus among them (the founders and the investors) was that RSS was theirs, and they told me to my face they weren't going to listen, because I was the old way, and they were the new. (Famous last words.) Even some people who thought they were friends did this, perhaps not so bluntly. Okay now fast forward, all the startups are gone, they were so stupid they failed for many other reasons, not just their arrogance and closed minds. Stupid people. Here's a better rule. Listen by default. Tech is filled with idiotic arrogance. It's a kind of narcissism. I am the only one who can think. Bullshit. Look at all you're building on. The people who created that not only had an idea, but they were right. That's a very rare combination. And until you have built something like that, you are not smarter. And once you have, you know other people are smart, because that's what you learn.

- 2019-02-08T20:32:13Z
New header image -- a snowy driveway. Previous: MLK.

- 2019-02-08T20:07:09Z
New York should just buy a team, coaches, players, owner -- the whole thing, and move it into the Garden. The other city can have all the rookies and draft picks. New York is the greatest city in the US. It should have the greatest NBA team. We can afford it. Failing that, if Bloomberg doesn't run for president, could he just fucking buy the Knicks and manage it in an interesting way? I don't know if he's a basketball fan, but somehow I think he might do better than Dolan.

- 2019-02-07T17:34:09Z
If it doesn't have a feed it isn't a podcast.

- 2019-02-07T22:05:05Z
When Pelosi kicks butt for America I cheer because the good guys are still here, have guts, and she proves with style and grace that ageism is an idea that losers latch onto out of fear.

- 2019-02-08T00:28:34Z
This applies to journalism and to tech too. We don't have to accept the mediocrity of Facebook and the big news orgs. There's something between that combines the best of both to make a news service that's much much much better than what we have now. We must stop accepting limits.

- 2019-02-07T16:48:12Z
Brent posted his roadmap for NetNewsWire in 2019.

- 2019-02-07T16:47:19Z
I guess podcasting was doomed when VCs started investing. This TechCrunch piece explains how they’re going to destroy the level playing field to line their pockets.

- 2019-02-06T21:16:34Z
Another idea. I'm staying in a rented house with Internet but no cable. I would like to watch a little news. It would be great if there were a web/app-only news channel, that competed with MSNBC, Fox, CNN, that was fully available over the web or Roku (or the like). It's ridiculous in 2019 that I am shut out from cable-style news just because I haven't paid Spectrum. Do we really still need them? (Note: I do pay them at my apartment in Manhattan, it's not like I'm trying to avoid paying them.)

- 2019-02-06T21:09:41Z
An idea for the EU. Why not offer personal membership in the EU to citizens of countries that withdraw from the EU. Benefits might include, they get to keep their EU passport. They can freely move between EU countries as before. They can vote in EU elections. Might lead to something interesting, like a new political party in the withdrawing country?

- 2019-02-06T04:36:47Z
Journalism should compete with tech. The tech companies were willing to give equal voice to users. They created a level playing field. Journalism still insists that only pros have a voice. They could create their own journalism platforms and mix things up differently.

- 2019-02-04T14:40:20Z
The Washington Post ad on the Super Bowl was an ad, and as such only presented one side of the story. Another view might tell of all of the lives ruined or destroyed by incompetence in American journalism.

- 2019-02-05T00:59:11Z
This is not only a function of the narcissism of American journalism, but of the corruption of Americans, all of us, people of color and whites, all sexual persuasions, boomers and milennials, all of us -- we're the Facebook of the world. As much as we despise and villify the current top dog in tech (Microsoft before FB and Google, btw) we are that, for the world. We are the privileged. We have collectively killed so many countries, millions of people, to maintain our control. We think of ourselves as the country we were taught about in school, but that was a bedtime story. We have done some awful shit, and the chickens may be coming home to roost real soon now.

- 2019-02-03T16:52:12Z
All the news sources are on the net, mostly on Twitter, these days, but Twitter is far from optimal. Any news org that wanted to compete, that actually had a strategy, would find there are openings in the market, big ones.

- 2019-02-02T21:48:43Z
A long-winded 16-minute podcast about CJR's bold experiment in trusting readers. Are there fewer blogs today than in the early days of blogging? I think there might be many many more. And I think there's more that CJR can do, and this is on the path to finding the journalism that's made possible by open networking.

- 2019-02-03T03:16:31Z
America got an up close look at the buffoonery of one billionaire, and extrapolated. Maybe the super rich aren’t rich because they’re so smart. Hmm.

- 2019-02-03T03:40:20Z
Idea: If you're selling a house, put it on the market by listing it on AirBnB. People who are interested in buying can stay there for a few days. Might get a better price if the house has features that are only appreciated with time.

- 2019-02-03T03:20:31Z
I’ve tested the Subaru Forester and what they say about how roomy it is is true. I get in and out without having to contort my body. Also the AWD is fantastic in snow. I actually got to test that too.


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