Scripting News for 8/1/2006

Marshall Kirkpatrick has the scoop on a new RSS namespace proposed by Bloglines that would limit access by search engines to the contents of a feed. Seems a bit early to be saying it’s a standard, better to let people look it over and comment, imho. 

New header graphic. BlogHers nerding out during Friday’s keynote lunch. They’re definitely prettier than we are, but when it comes to our laptops, and our attention, we’re apparently not all that different. :-) 

According to Amyloo, I’m taking heat for my comments here about BlogHer. While I haven’t seen very many, it’s not really a surprise. 

Speaking of heat, the projected high in NYC today is 101. 

The first few days I hated my Blackberry and I just wanted my el cheapo Nokia back, but now I’m hooked. The big deal was getting it all wired into my email, now I can check mail while I’m in line at Andronico’s. Not too bad to have the web right there too, but I haven’t yet got that all set up. It takes a while to get the hang of the funky little keyboard, but every email comes with your excuse automatically inserted at the end. “Sent via BlackBerry from Cingular Wireless.” And my mother loves me, even if you don’t. :-) 

Outliners and hierarchic thinking 

Scott Rosenberg responds to a rant that outliners are considered harmful because they force hierarchic thinking.

I’ve spent most of my adult life thinking about this, at least part-time, and with all due respect, the people who are criticizing outliners have vastly over-simplified them.

Think of an outliner as text-on-rails. It does exactly the opposite from forcing you to live with a hierarchy. It allows you to edit the hierarchy.

The equivalent criticism of unstructured text would be to say word processors are harmful because printing forces a rigidity to thinking, but the power of a word processor is that it doesn’t force your ideas on to paper, it makes revision easy, and that has led to many variants from email to blogs and wikis. All were descended from the word processor, which was originally designed (misguidedly imho) to put words on paper.

I am one of the major proponents of outlining, along with Doug Engelbart, and I never imagined an outliner that forced you into a hierarchic box. For me, the puzzle wasn’t solved until the hierarchy was perfectly malleable. We reached that milestone, again imho, a long time ago, in the mid-late 80s, with MORE, and since then, text-on-rails has been a solved problem. Now the trick is to introduce the idea more broadly. That’s still waiting to happen.

My entry in this cause is the OPML Editor, which is open source, GPL, and is also a powerful text programming environment and content management tool, following in the tradition of previous programmable text tools, like Emacs on Unix.

Measuring success 

Shelley Powers said recently that I would never point to her, while observing that I had pointed to her in the past almost as often as I had pointed to Scoble. I point to her when she says something worth thinking about, which is often, but only those that don’t contain personal attacks.

Today, in a long piece about BlogHer, she said something that not only is worth thought, but which I wholeheartedly agree, and was wanting to say at the Politics panel, where they started the old tired male-bash that we don’t point to women often enough and that’s the cause of their suppression (which I don’t buy and for the most part neither did they).

Here’s what Shelley said. “If we, women and men both, follow a path where the only measure of success is the number of ads at our site, the links we have, the money we make, then the only power we’re exercising is that of consumer-catered to, perhaps; but essentially meaningless.”

Israel is wrong 

I know I’m going to catch hell for this, but it’s time to say something. Israel is wrong. There aren’t two sides to this anymore. I’ve heard all I want to hear from Israel. It’s time to stop the attack on Hezbollah, withdraw back into Israel, stop firing bombs into Lebanon, and shut up for a while and let everyone else sort this out. It’s not just Israel’s problem. There are hundreds of millions of lives at stake in the Middle East, and this time not only has an Arab country, and that’s what Hezbollah is, withstood Israel’s attack, but they’re also clearly justified in their response to the Israeli attack.

Hezbollah has every right to have defenses against Israel. If I’m not mistaken, Hezbollah didn’t start firing rockets into Israel until they were attacked by Israel. Okay, they took two Israeli soldiers hostage. And now Israel has killed hundreds of Lebanese, destroyed large parts of the country and its infrastructure. It’s enough already. Even a Jew like myself sees how wrong the Israeli position is.

Maybe there’s a silver lining here, maybe Hezbollah, having won not only a military victory, but also a political victory, maybe they can see their weapons as defensive, if not now, maybe soon. Especially if the western powers help get Israel to stop attacking.

Look, I’m not a diplomat, I don’t speak for a country, I’m just telling you what I think. I don’t expect a thoughtful response, but enough is enough, it’s time to say something.

Note: This post appeared last night, but shortly after posting it, the flames started and I decided to pull it. Then I got an email from an Israeli saying it was good I realized it was wrong and pulled it. So I put it back up. For me the turning point was listening to the Israeli ambassador to the UN blame the killing of 50 Lebanese civillians, many of them women and children, on Hezbollah, even though they were killed by an Israeli bomb. Had the tables been turned, had it been 50 Israelis, I can’t imagine Israeli logic concluding that they themselves were to blame for the deaths. Israel is not just defending itself, we are defending Israel. Without our army, our arsenal, our economy, Israel would not exist. They have an impossible problem, true enough, but they’re not the only ones anymore, and they’re just 3 million people. I don’t understand where they get their support. I’m an American Jew, first-generation, child of refugees. If anyone would support Israel, it would be me, but I don’t. This war has to stop now.

24 responses to this post.

  1. Hey! I’ll have you know that I’m busy with live blogging in that photo! :)

    Reply

  2. Wow, that’s a coincidence cause I just posted a long response on your blog post about men at BlogHer.

    I appreciate all that you said in your comments, and I agree. I want what was on-topic at BlogHer to be on-topic at a gender neutral conference. Even so there wouldn’t be many men there, but there would be a different flavor to it. I’m not usually that quiet, but fear of being shouted down was a real thing for me.

    And in the politics session, when they started blaming men for their problems, I not only had to restrain myself from commenting, I felt I needed to go to a different room altogether. I couldn’t support what they were saying, and I didn’t want to take the bait.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Adam on August 1, 2006 at 7:40 am

    RE: Blackberry –

    Are you using the Blackberry with your mac? If so what software are you using. I tried out the pocketmac software and while it works – There are some things i don’t really like. I’d really like to select a specific group of contacts to sync like I can in isync with my old phone – same with iCal events.

    Also you can change or remove the signature in the web admin site where you set up your accounts. So you can get rid of the free advertising at the bottom or your email.

    Reply

  4. You’re absolutely right about Israel. A friend of mine said Israel has always been wanting to take out the rockets and the kidnapping was just the excuse it needed. I could go on and on but I’ll just submit my penultimate piece of evidence. If the Bush administration thinks its good, then, most certainly it’s wrong.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Solo on August 1, 2006 at 9:27 am

    You have every right to post your opinion on Israel, of course. And flamers don’t add to any kind of discourse.

    I disagree with you on the issue. Unfortunately, Hezbollah is using the civilian population of Lebanon as human shields. There are also allegations that Hezbollah deliberately placed a rocket launcher on the roof of the notorious building in Qana to provoke an Israeli attack and brought invalid children inside to serve as victims. http://web.israelinsider.com/Articles/Diplomacy/9011.htm

    Hezbollah and Hamas started this war after Israel already pulled back to internationally agreed upon boundaries. It is ugly as hell, but I don’t see that Israel has a choice as far as reasserting their armed deterrence.

    Are both Iran’s proxies for testing Israel and the West while conveniently distracting all from their nuclear plans? I think so. Even if both organizations were completely defeated all Iran would do is take notes patiently.

    Reply

  6. Posted by karl on August 1, 2006 at 9:53 am

    Suppose there was a terrorist group within canada which starting kidnapping US soldiers, launching rockets at michigan now and again and publicly stated that their sole mission was the destruction of the United States, which it believed didn’t have a right to exist. On top of that, imagine Canada as militarily impotent and just sitting by watching this all happen.

    What would be an appropriate US response? Should we agree that we don’t have a right to exist, fold our cards, and leave the table? Or should we respond in a way that asserts our right to exist and removes the capacity for the group to continue their attacks on us?

    Reply

  7. Solo, it appears Israel is using its population as human shields as well.

    And in what way did Hezbollah start this war?

    And if they did, what then? Should we stand by and watch Israel kill more and more Lebanese civillians because supposedly Hezbollah started the war?
    Karl, if all that were happening, you bet we’d be all over them. Because that’s our country, but Israel is not our country.

    Israel shouldn’t fold its cards and leave the table, but they also shouldn’t invade Lebanon just because there are rockets there. By that logic, Lebanon should invade Israel because Israel has rockets. And so should Syria and Iran. Israel has to accept that Hezbollah has defenses. They may not like it, but then we all have to accept many things we don’t like.

    Reply

  8. Posted by Xader_Vartec on August 1, 2006 at 10:34 am

    yeah…I want all the jews to die too. I’m tired of everytime Hezbollah arms up and starts kidnapping Isrealies of Isreal going in and attacking them. I common…..I know you pulled out of Lebonon before Isreal, stay out!!! I mean…..we all know the Red Cross, who claims that only 26 people died in that building not 50+ is controled by the Jews. I mean what major government ISN’T controlled by the Jews?

    And why the heck did Isreal feel the need to bring down the building 7 hours AFTER they attacked the rocket launcher? I guess they just weren’t happy the the building full of civilians survived the attack and so they had to go in with their secret service and demo the building to make SURE the civilians died.

    You KNOW why Hezbollah can’t afford uniforms, right? THE JEWS!!! They keep them too poor to buy the uniforms. It’s not the Leboneese fault that you can’t tell normal Lebonese males from the civilians. If the Jews hadn’t kept the Hezbollah so poor and decrepid(sp) then they could afford uniforms and the Isrealies would know the difference between a young male in Lebonon and a Hezbollah army guy.

    I’m sick of all this Middle East strife that’s been going on for thousands of years. It’s time for a final solution. Just kill all the Jews and there will be peace in the Middle East. Only THEN will we stop having Isreal spreading their hate.

    Reply

  9. Posted by karl on August 1, 2006 at 11:16 am

    For one, Israel is the only civilized and free nation in the region. Trying to grant a weird moral equivalence to groups and nations that *literally* celebrate death and have the destruction of an entire race of people and the nation they live in as their stated goal is totally backwards.

    Not only does Israel not *have* to accept that Hezbollah has defenses, but Israel *should* not accept that. It’s not a matter of living with something they don’t like — it’s a matter of living or being destroyed.

    If there were a pack of teenagers shooting guns and throwing bottles at your house and holding up big signs saying they wanted you dead, what would you do — recognize that they “have defenses” even though it’s something you don’t necesarily like — or call the police to have them arrested/removed (by force, if necesary, since those are the terms they chose)?

    Reply

  10. Posted by Solo on August 1, 2006 at 11:35 am

    Dave,

    Thanks for the civil answer. Here’s one more comment for the moment.

    Where should Israel be moving its civilian population to get them out of harm’s way? Maybe you were thinking Minsk would be nice this time of year? It looks like Hezbollah is deliberately setting up in the midst of civilians (the old Chairman Mao playbook) so it is a win-win for them so long as those casualties are merely means to an end (which is where their religious and political fascism overlap).

    I do agree that “we all have to accept many things we don’t like” but it seems to me that there is a difference between Hamas/Hezbollah and Iran/Syria in this respect. The former are intitiating hostilities where the latter are pretty much doing what the USSR used to do, sabre rattling while arming proxies.

    Aside from my own interest as a Jew in this (a big aside, I know, but still), I think that the western democracies do have a stake in this battle as much as they did in the Spanish Civil War. Islamic fundamentalism (as seen in the Rushdie case, the Van Gogh killing and elsewhere) is testing the mettle of pluralistic societies to defend themselves worldwide.

    That doesn’t mean that Israel has carte blanche in its methods either.

    Ah, enough. Stay cool in this heatwave and I will try to do the same!

    Best,

    Solo

    (man, does worrying about one’s iTunes troubles look sweet compared to this stuff)

    Reply

  11. Posted by Bob on August 1, 2006 at 11:42 am

    Can’t we just find someplace to re-locate the Israelis where they aren’t surrounded by an entire region of venomous anti-Semites? I don’t understand why the security of the entire planet has to be risked just so that a tiny minority can have their own little religious sanctuary.

    Give the Jews a slice of Poland or something.

    Frankly, I think the western governments that created Israel were aware of the perpetual warfare they were creating. Politicians love war, it gives them job security.

    Reply

  12. If a bully is harassing you do you think the bully’s going to change? You try persuade him its not in his best interest, form alliances, expose him for what he is. Bluff, anything, leave for the sake of self preservation if need be. But you don’t wax him with a gun… or the rest of the school for that matter… Someone has to rise above the muck of thousands of years of ill will and I would say that responsibility lies on the side with nuclear weapons. We could wait a bit until mutualy assurred destruction is an option but why not stop this nonsense now. If there were a ceasfire and Hezbollah broke the peace I might say there’s a chance you’re right Karl but until that happens we won’t know. Why wouldn’t Israel give that a chance – not doing so points to ulterior motives.

    Reply

  13. You are right.

    The problem is that the US government wants Israel to continue, not to stop. Israel is used by the Americans to fight the Hizbullah which is used by the Iranians and Syrians.

    Meanwhile, the children are suffering.

    Reply

  14. Posted by Xader_Vartec on August 1, 2006 at 12:59 pm

    Mike,

    Hitler was a “bully”. Alliances (truces) were formed with him. He was bluffed. Churchill tried to expose Hitler. None of it did any good. The only thing that stopped him was to “wax him with a gun.”

    As far as the children suffering: the only thing more important to Hezbollah than the death of Isrealie children is the death of Palastinian/Lebonese (i.e. non-jewish) children. This is demonstrated not only by them putting their own children in harms way by parking armies and weapons next to them but also by straping bombs to their tiny bodies and telling them to walk into a crowd of Jews to blow them up.

    Isreal on the other hand not only removes it’s civilians from harms way (where Hezbollah is rocketing) but carpets Lebonon with pamplets saying “get out we’re at war” trying to SAVE Lebonese children’s lives.

    I’m sorry. There is NO moral equivilance between the terrorist organization of Hezbollah who’s stated goal is the erratication of a nation/race and Isreal a recognized sovereign nation who has given up more and more over the decades and been attacked more and more.

    Reply

  15. Posted by karl on August 1, 2006 at 1:21 pm

    Mike,

    Say I have a knife. I keep telling you I want to kill you and that I don’t think you have a right to be alive. I throw rocks at you every now and again. Also, I believe that GOD wants me to be doing this. I have friends with guns who think the same thing, keep giving me bullets, and will rejoice the day I’m able to actually hurt you.

    What’s your best option?

    These aren’t compatible philosophies which can peacefully co-exist by someone “rising above thousands of years of ill will”.

    The “bully” example applies to schoolchildren looking for attention — not to religious nuts whose highest attainable value is death.

    Reply

  16. Posted by Jeanne on August 1, 2006 at 1:57 pm

    Hi Dave, Well, on two topice I agree. I thought your BlogHer comments were pretty insighful even tho I was not there (wish I had been, it sounded fun) and I also agree that the Israeli response is just way over the top. Generally, I give Isreal a lot of leeway, not this time.
    Jeanne

    Reply

  17. Dave,

    Congratulations on a very fine post! And thanks for standing up to be counted despite the storm that you will now experience.

    http://azania.wordpress.com/2006/08/01/dave-winer-is-right/

    Reply

  18. Dave,

    There are clearly mistakes on both sides, but you speak about Hezbollah as if they were a legitimate political entity. I mean c’mon, this is a group that vows to push Israel into the sea. How should a nation deal with this sort of aggression?

    Does a terrorist organization have a right to have defenses against any nation? If you’re explicit goal is to eradicate a people and a nation then don’t you forfeit your rights?

    Reply

  19. I think there are too many sides to the problem to call it one way or another. But I can’t say I like Israel’s approach to solving problems. Let’s say Hezbollah fired rockets from atop a hospital. Does Hezbollah’s use of human shield void the lives of people who make up that shield? What if the two hostages were in the hospital? What then? Responding to the first situation with guided bombs and the second situation with commandos seems to be Israel’s way of fighting terrorism.

    Leaving aside for the moment that I, being a mad Korean, would have bombed in both situations, is this right?

    Reply

  20. Its insane that people do not understand that the nation of Lebanon is a free and democratic society. They are allied with the US and for the US to let one of its allies to be bombed to smitherines over a few captured (not kidnapped) soldiers is inexcusable. What message will this send to other fledgeling democracies that look for our support in stabilizing the region?

    What people forget is that Hezbollah, Iran, Syria and now (thanks George!) Iraq are basically all Shiite muslims. Why does anyone think that Hezbollah (an Iranian startup btw- still funded by Iran and with strong Syrian support) can be taken out of play without their benefactors upping the ante?

    Israel has nothing to gain but to create more resentment in an already hellish area. The poor people of Lebanon have been bombed to hell for no other reason than the fact that one small group within the nation has beef with Israel.

    It’s like attacking the civilian population of a nation of mixed people because your upset with a small % of the populus.

    It’s like I’m walkin down the street holding my baby and I stop at a corner, all the sudden a bankrobber runs by and suddenly my baby is shot in the face by the cop who’s chasing the bank robber, guess who I’ve got beef with? Hint: The guy who actually pulled the trigger.

    Everyone seems to be so lazy that they equate Hezbollah with all of Lebanon, well you people are just showing your own ignorance. The people of Lebanon have done nothing to Israel or the US. They are a newly formed civilized (not that it matters either but some people are racists and like to call others uncivlized to make them feel ok about bombing the shit out of them) Let’s just all be glad that Hugo Chavez didn’t bomb Washington D.C. in response to Pat Robertson’s out of control remarks because that’s basically what Isreal has done. No other nation in the world would be able to get away with what Israel has done, I’m sure the Lebanese feel similiar to victims of Katrina, no help and left to die.

    Speak truth to power Dave, you are saying and doing the right thing!

    BTW- totally agree with ya on the politics at BlogHer ;)

    Jack

    Reply

  21. Posted by zeus on August 1, 2006 at 7:28 pm

    Sayyid Nasrallah himself told a conference held in Tehran last year that “we all have an extraordinary historic opportunity to finish off the entire cancerous Zionist project.”

    http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/021014fa_fact4

    Reply

  22. Dave,

    A brave comment. I’m glad you reposted it. The United State’s unvarnished and unflinching support of Israel in the face of atrocities like this completely undermines its position as a morale authority and makes its posturing about “freeing the Iraqis” from a tyrant even more laughable.

    Reply

  23. On my blog there is a piece about the one sided one sided coverage. The thing to remember is that Israel is doing the best they can not to target civilians and that Hezbollah is lobbing missils directly at civilians. There is a big difference between objective coverage and amplifying propoganda. I don’t want to see this war just from the eyes of the Hezbollah. That is why i subscribe to blogs like Isralie cool. We know that the media has a dog in this war. They should have the decency to reign him in.

    Reply

  24. Posted by badcat on August 4, 2006 at 9:17 pm

    I came to your site to get your perspective on technology. First time visitor.

    I can guarantee you that it will be the last – Your comments and those of your visitors are the truly misguided ramblings of anti-Semites. The idea that there is some moral equivalence between radical Islam and the nation of Israel is the perspective of someone that should seek psychiatric help.

    Reply

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