Scripting News for 8/27/2006

The second half of today’s Meet the Press was truly wonderful. First I have to say the Republican tactic of labeling Democrats as being for “Cut and Run” is disgusting, it’s dishonest, I can’t say I’ve heard a single Democrat politician say that we should get out of Iraq, but everyone in both parties is thinking about it. Bush is thinking about it as he explains why he thinks we should stay the course (he calls it “adapt to win”). Isn’t it obvious that it’s time to cut and run? Anyway, I couldn’t believe my ears when the two Republicans on the analyst panel, Kate O’Beirne and Robert Novak, started saying of course it’s time to get out of Iraq, and that real Republicans were against going into Iraq in the first place! Then I heard about Christopher Shays, Republican representative from Connecticut, on his way back from Iraq who called Russert before the show to be sure he knew that he thought it was time to Cut and Run. There it was, the Republicans were crumbling, in real-time. It wasn’t the Democrats who were saying Let’s Cut and Run, it was the Republicans! Oh is that beautiful. Who’s going to be the first to run on the slogan: Cut and Run.. For America. 

I couldn’t help myself, I had to buy CutAndRunNow.com. I’m going to put a Republican campaign site there, listing all the Republican quotes that come along that even hint of cutting and running. I expect an overflowing site. 

Ray Edwards: “One thing that I have noticed about the OPML editor/Newsriver combo is that it changes the way I blog.” 

Dennis from WAP Review: “The Rivers are 50-75K for the main page. Ordinary mobile phones like the RAZR for example, and just about anything without a keyboard or touchscreen have a page size limit of between 10 and 30K.” 

Bernie Goldbach, via email: “All 3G phones sold in Europe deliver over-the-air playback of MP3 files that make the experience feel as though it’s streaming service. I pay around $60 a month for podcasts that get me to and from work. I’m limited to 2 gigs of transfer traffic a month before I start paying around $1 a megabyte for the privilege of getting podcasts ‘live.'” 

Bob Stepno: “Back when Jimmy Carter was president, anyone with a big computer downstairs and thousands of dollars in wire service subscriptions could read a daily ‘river of news’ on our computer screens.” 

It doesn’t take much to amuse me. I think it’s cool that there’s a picture of Jimmy Carter on Techmeme. :-) 

Internet time 

Thanks Marc for the kind words.

Actually, there is lots that’s new in what I’m doing now, except it was new in 1999, when I was doing it for the first time. And as you can see from Bob Stepno’s piece, the concept is as old as journalism. He’s saying the same thing that Paul Kedrosky said, without being condescending. (We should give awards to people who find a way of giving feedback without attacking someone on a personal level. Stepno, who is a gentle person, would rate high.)

Some wise old fart once said, “Everything on the Internet is just like something else. Or if it’s any good it’s just like everything else.” So, we’ve been having this discussion about whether or not something is new, for a long time. And it’s such a waste of time, because whether it’s new or not is hardly the issue. Doc Searls gets that and says it well. What’s new is that people are getting it and they’re happy! I think sometimes that’s a big problem for some of the kvetchers and complainers, they just don’t want anyone to be happy. If you’re feeling happy don’t worry, we can fix that! :-)

I love that one of the jackasses who says I’m an idiot also happens to be squatting on the “generic” domain in this area. Yeah I’m working for the asshole, but he isn’t smart enough to avoid kicking me in the ass as I make him a bunch of money. Isn’t that the height of stupidity? (Don’t worry, I bought newsrivr.com, just for fun.)

People said, in 2004, that podcasting was an instant success that could only happen in Internet Time. Uh huh. Except that we started pushing it in January 2001, and didn’t arrive at the right pitch until the summer of 2004. Of course the world had to change too, it helped that there were lots of iPods and people were receptive to thinking about new ways to use MP3.

We were excited about WAP in January 2000, and we (UserLand) made it so Manila automatically generated WAP and WML from each site’s home page. Where did that go? Nowhere, because no one was using mobile stuff then, they were just having conferences about it.

You have to stick with ideas if you want to actually deliver. No doubt there are people with khaki pants and blue shirts, MBAs, and mid-range BMWs, raising money right now with VCs to do what you see me doing here. They don’t like old Jewish guys who use their hands when they talk. I think they’re scared we might hug them. Anyway, some of the khaki dudes will get rich, and some of them will meet me at a TechCrunch party one day and thank me for the work I’m doing now. :-)

Your crazy uncle,

Dave

PS: Sneak preview of tomorrow’s big feature.

6 responses to this post.

  1. No more “kvetching or complaining” from me. I get what you’re trying to do and respect it. The technology isn’t new, but the user interest and ubiquity of capable devices is relatively new. Thanks for continuing to explain your thought process. It helps when everyone understands what the goals are- that’s when real dialogue and feedback are possible.

    Here’s another question that should be addressed though, perhaps you can dig into this one. How can these interfaces be improved to help people interact and comment in an easier way? Some devices will full keyboards and decent screen sizes don’t have much trouble, but what about everyone else? Also, is there any kind of “feedback” mechanism (think “diggs”) that could be employed to show which stories are getting the most interest from the mobile readers?

    Reply

  2. Dave, the reason that WAP got nowhere in 2000 was because of pricing. Mobile internet pricing in Europe has changed from per minute charging to per megabyte. And those megabytes are getting cheaper and cheaper. When I first got WAP on my phone, it cost me 10p a minute to use regardless of how much data was transferred. And not much was transferred. It was a novelty, an expensive one too. Once you’ve burnt through ten pounds of credit on WAP access, you feel like you’ve been robbed. And so nobody used it.

    Now we are approaching a price point where it is usable. I now pay £1 a day for unlimited mobile access over GPRS. Once I’ve paid the daily rate for it, I can use it as much as I like from any of my devices – phone, PDA or laptop. As the price drops and the speed increases, more people will use it.

    What will make it more usable are things like a return to better offline browsers with syncing between devices.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Bob Boynton on August 27, 2006 at 8:10 am

    Are you going to set up the river of news for your Chumby?

    Reply

  4. Chumby? Isn’t that the thing that was announced at that exclusive invite-only confab for the insiders and elite A-list Friends Of All Who Are Manly and Meaningful in Sebastopol? I’m not cool enough to have one of those. I’ll stick with my Blackberry until they get over themselves.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Bob Boynton on August 27, 2006 at 12:51 pm

    If you like gadgets it looks about as neat as doing blogging and websites, etc. with Writely.

    Reply

  6. Dave – can you tack a link to the “comment on today’s Scripting News” somewhere on pda.scripting.com? It would be handy to be able to toss in a comment while on the go.

    (and worth a test of wordpress’s pda-friendliness)

    Reply

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