Scripting News for 4/30/2006

Tomorrow (or Tuesday), with any luck, we’ll have a nice way for people who are new to videoblogging to get a bunch of stuff in a single download, and in doing so, help the net. It’s been a while since we’ve done something explicitly for that purpose. We should do it more often, don’t you think? :-) 

Amyloo: “I wish I could prove I predicted what’s about to happen on West Wing.” Tease! 

Posting from the BART station at SFO, thanks to EVDO. Just missed the 5:36PM train, so I have eleven minutes to kill, so why not do some shopping on Amazon. Maybe Google better hurry up and install wifi all over San Francisco, pretty soon it won’t seem so special.  

Of course I have to try using the EVDO connection on the train while it’s moving. So far so good. As a result, I don’t have to leave my seat to look at the BART map. I can see that I can ride this train all the way to West Oakland. No need to get off at Balboa Park. Pretty cool! (I lost the signal when we went underground.) Given that this is the Bay Area, no one gives me weird looks. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to save this stuff when we surface alongside 280, south of the city. Yup. Batteries last much longer with Airport off. 

I’m hearing Stephen Colbert was pretty incredible at last night’s press dinner in DC. Haven’t had a chance to watch it yet.  

Movie: Last night during dinner, on-stage, a participant was being made up as if he had been assimilated into the Borg.  

Russell Holliman on the Sprint Ambassador Program.  

BloggerCon.Org guidelines for Discussion Leaders.  

The utter futility of geekness 

Alex Barnett led an intense lightning-fast discussion yesterday that quickly went to the predictable place. I’ll explain.

When bloggers get together, the topic of every session drifts into “How do we make money doing this” no matter what the original topic was. It’s the same way with artists. It’s so funny, because bloggers don’t do it for money, and no matter how you try, the discussion never actually uncovers any ways to make money, it’s just about how we need to discuss how to make money. It’s a meta-discussion of a hopeless subject. Sort of like debating the need for world peace at the UN. Come to think of it, I bet that’s exactly what they do debate at the UN. :-)

When a roomful of smart geeks gets going (3Gs!) the conversation always slides down the slope to its own predictable place (sds => pp) — How are we going to convince the users to use this. No point, you can’t convince the users to use anything. What geeks do, in idle years, is discuss this, until the users find something new to adopt, on their own, then we catch up with them, and then do it all over again.

I promised I’d explain once and for all why it’s hopeless to “try to get the users” to use social bookmarking software unless they’re already using it. Here’s why: I don’t know. But I do know it never works. It’s so bad that when I try to solve the problem (I’m a geek, so I fall into this trap myself, can’t help it), I hack at making it easy and painless, figuring it’s a user interface problem (if you’re a geek you’re nodding your head right now, right?) but when I make it so easy anyone would have to do it, not only doesn’t anyone else do it, I don’t even do it myself! Why? As I said, I don’t know! Makes no sense to me at all. But there you are.

I do know that Dan Bricklin posed something like a law to explain the phenomenon, as best as a geek possibly can. Software that rewards you for doing something one percent of the time will get used (email, word processing, SimCity) and software that punishes you for doing it only 99 percent of the time will not get used (calendars, PIMs, categorizing stuff, social bookmarks). The genius of del.icio.us is that it falls into the former category, even though it appears at first to fall into the latter.

Never say Bricklin isn’t a smart dude, if you remember his rule, you’ll avoid hours of interesting discussions about how important it is to do something that is impossible to do. :-)

My guess is there’s a dozen Hugh MacLeod cartoons in this.

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