Scripting News for 1/14/2007

Al Jazeera: Iraqi president arrives in Syria

According to Google News, the Iraqi president’s visit to Syria isn’t being reported by American news sites. It could be that my search is inadequate. Or it could be that we’re not getting all the news.  

Jason Lefkowitz outlines a reaistic nightmare scenario in Iraq.  

Congress has power again 

It’s time for everyone to bone up on the separation of powers in the American form of government. In its first six years the Bush executive was unchecked by Congress, but that’s over now. It’s remarkable to see the lights of our government come back on. The wisdom of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the fighting they did, the tension between the first Senate and the first vice-president (Adams), the personalities of our founding fathers are still what forms discourse in our country, in the age of television, blogs and podcasting. It really is a miracle to see it all start to work again. Brilliant!

What I meant to say 

Yesterday’s essay has gotten a lot of pointage and comments, but so far no one has pulled the key quote from the piece, probably because I buried it. So here it is, standing on its own.

“The iPod is a wonderful product, but damn it’s time we made one that could run our software, could run any software, so users have choice, and so you don’t have to buy new hardware to get software features, and so the market can grow at the rate of innovation, not at the whim of one marketer.”

Perhaps people can agree with this. Apple could even make it, a limited edition iPod that runs Mac software and allows us to add commands to the iPod user interface.

You never know what might come from this, after all Apple didn’t invent all the cool stuff that’s come along in the last few years. :-)

What does it mean to be open? 

A permathread for sure.

Am I hypocrite because I want to write software to run on iPods but I won’t allow other people to post to Scripting News? I don’t know, maybe to some it does, but I think not.

When I started this blog in April 1997, I immediately published, for free, in source, the code I used to publish the site. The result, within a few months, a bunch of sites that worked more or less the same way this site did. When I added syndication to this site, I encouraged others to create their own syndicated content, and tools that use the content. Within a few years everyone is doing it. That may not be the only way to define being open, but it seems to be part of what it means to be open.

STFU about the hand-wringing 

Paolo: “Ask not what Apple can do for you. Buy their products and STFU.”

Ethan Kaplan says the hand-wringing is out of control.

I think the hand-wringing about the hand-wringing is out of control. :-)

Governor of Caleee Forrrr Neeee Ahhhh 

I just watched our governor on ABC.

He’s great. Just what we need.

19 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Eric Kidd on January 14, 2007 at 7:58 am

    Preach it, Dave!

    Or to put it terms Steve can understand: As a software developer, I will go out and buy more Apple stock the moment the iPhone becomes an open platform. Why? That’s the moment that Apple will own the mobile computing market, which will be huge over the next two decades.

    But as long as the iPhone is a closed platform, Apple is (a) leaving an opening for Microsoft to own mobile computing, and (b) making it too easy for users to switch to a competitor’s product.

    They’ve got maybe a one- or two-year window to figure this out before somebody else gets their act together.

    Full disclosure: I really want to write cool software for the iPhone.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Jake on January 14, 2007 at 8:13 am

    So just make it then. Who is stopping you?

    Reply

  3. Posted by Larry on January 14, 2007 at 8:25 am

    What is the incentive for Apple? They are already selling huge amounts of iPods and one doesn’t hear a hugh and cry for more software functionality.

    Reply

  4. Seperation of Power is a wonderful thing. So Dave, does that mean you’ll be voting for a Republican president in the next election so we can retain those checks/balances?

    Reply

  5. Dave says: “So far no one has pulled the key quote from the piece, probably because I buried it.”
    Gee, Dave. I thought this was the ‘buried key quote': “I took my friend Rex Hammock, who was in town for the Expo from Nashville, to Fry’s in Concord, for a cultural exchange.”
    Rex : )

    Reply

  6. There was this one really cool thing developed in the last couple years – not from Apple – that actually made the iPod interesting to me again.

    Reply

  7. Hey, Rex, sorry I missed you in Nashville the week before last when I was in town for training with The Climate Project, but they kept us too busy for BBQ anyways… I’ll definitely be back.

    I thought the key not-so-buried quote was: “Carrying Apple’s product announcements as if they were news is probably not good for reporters and bloggers, ethically.” This reframing gives us the opportunity to step back and look at what makes “news” and how Apple’s communications techniques shape the process, in terms of releasing and withholding information, leveraging events. In my nearly half-decade in the MacWEEK newsroom (89-94), it was a complicated dynamic love-hate relationship, because we were generating buzz with our investigative reporting of rumors (and not just “Mac The Knife”) at the same time that Apple was trying to maintain control. We had a context (newspaper) that laid the groundwork for assumptions around editorial independence, and financial/accountability mechanisms that supported that (by and large), tempered by our very existence as a technical journal aimed at a market consisting of “Macintosh Volume Buyers”, so we operated in a context that did impose some limits on what we could say and how we could say it. Blogs have their own context and limitations, with different frameworks imposed by the personal relationships between authors and companies, bringing about greater flexibility yet sometimes less independence. As a strong blogosphere matures it will provide the transparency necessary for readers and participants in blogs to evaluate authors and posts and develop the context to interpret any particular post or blogswarm.

    Reply

  8. Posted by Nick on January 14, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    Hey,
    Does anyone know of a Digg like site for software and web 2.0 stuff? I am looking for a new email program and it just dosent seem like there is much out there when it comes to rating web services. If anyone knows of one or wants to team up to make one hit me up at nickirelan@gmail.com.

    Reply

  9. Posted by billg on January 14, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    Being “open” is a choice, not an obligation. Nor is it a synonym for “make something and then give it away”. There’s no conflict between criticizing Apple on its new toy and controlling the content of your own blog.

    Apple’s record with OS X certainly doesn’t indicate that they will open the phone. Jobs believes the combination of Apple hardware and Apple software that his sales. He’s not about to do something that would allow competitors to market equivalent products.

    PXLated: Separation of powers has nothing to do with political power. It has to do with where judicial, executive and legislative power rest. The folks who wrote the Constitution didn’t want political parties to exist.

    Reply

  10. Posted by billg on January 14, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    Ummm, make that “…software that drives his sales”.

    BTW, it’s appropriate to point to the downside for journalists who alter their behavior and/or their stories to maintain access. If the story is impossible to write without access, then the choice might be between no story and a compromised story.

    Jobs wants the press to act as cheerleaders. That’s why he has these dog-and-pony shows. Fair enough. It works. Auto manufacturers have been pulling the same trick for decades.

    But, journalists who stake their reputations on honest, technically sound reporting ought not cheer too loudly. If there’s a conflict between writing honestly and getting an invitation to Jobs’ next PR bash, opt for the former. Your boss can always send the guy who writes the car stories.

    Reply

  11. Posted by Tom Brandt on January 14, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    I believe you are correct about the USA new services not reporting on the Talabani (Iraqi President) visit to Syria. This event seems to me to be not just historic, but potentially quite important in the overall scheme of relations among Arabs in the Middle East.

    I looked on the ABC, CBS, and NBC web sites and could find nothing on this event. CNN was sketchy. But the Jerusalem Post has an article. The question is why are USA news sources not reporting this.

    Reply

  12. The Talabani AP story made cbs news but not world news front page. I don’t know if that is significant or not.

    Reply

  13. Just my experience…I got better results searching on “Iraqi president syria”, but not by much. It is sad to see how little coverage there is.

    Reply

  14. Posted by Eric Kidd on January 14, 2007 at 7:44 pm

    Jake: So just make it then. Who is stopping you?

    According to Steve Jobs, the iPhone (unlike, say, a Treo) won’t support third-party applications.

    billg: Apple’s record with OS X certainly doesn’t indicate that they will open the phone.

    Oh, I don’t think they’d ever open source the hardware or the software, and I wouldn’t expect them too. What people are complaining about is that the phone is entirely closed to third-party software, not that the OS X source code is closed.

    Some phones (typically the cheap ones) forbid all third-party software. Other phones (typically the expensive “smart phones” like the Treo) allow you to download and install third-party software. The iPhone is about twice the price of a smart phone, but you can’t install third-party software on it.

    Since the iPhone is a really sweet phone with excellent network connectivity (and one which will probably sell like hotcakes), there’s obviously some interest in developing third-party software: RSS readers, specialized reference applications, etc. But none of this will be possible given current Apple policy.

    Reply

  15. billg…I’m fully aware of that but the fact of life is we do have political parties and it’s not good letting one party control multiple parts.

    Reply

  16. Posted by Jake on January 14, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    Eric: I was referring to this statement:

    “The iPod is a wonderful product, but damn it’s time we made one that could run our software, could run any software, so users have choice, and so you don’t have to buy new hardware to get software features, and so the market can grow at the rate of innovation, not at the whim of one marketer.”

    My comment was to just make this magical mp3 player, since nobody is stopping you. I wasn’t talking about running third party apps on the iPhone.

    Reply

  17. re: “not getting all the news”

    Roger that. We’re also not seeing bodies or even coffins http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/05/business/media/05carr.html?ex=1307160000&en=529e8b15b79222ae&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

    Presumably, the request from the government to limit public revulsion, has been met with voluntary compliance on the part of the media.

    Reply

  18. Posted by billg on January 15, 2007 at 5:44 am

    Depends on the parties, PXLated.

    al-Assad and Talibani: The AP story has been widely picked up by now. Given the animosity between the Syrian and Iraqi Ba’ath parties during the Saddam regime, the visit is interesting. But since Talabani doesn’t run the government it’s unikely anything of substance will result. How much other coverage it gets from U.S. TV networks depends on who, if anyone, is allowed to have correspondents and camera crews in Damascus. The AP story is worth a few inches on an inside page. Without video, it will be lucky to get more than a mention on TV. With video, maybe 30 seconds.

    Do we know how quickly Google picks up new stories? Does anyone know of a way to filter out all the entries pointing to upmteen different sources running the same wire service story? I only need to see those stories once, preferably from the original source.

    Reply

  19. Posted by Stan on January 20, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    I’m with Jake. You seem to be bothered that Apple hasn’t made a product different from the one they’ve made. Let’s look at your “key quote” again:

    “The iPod is a wonderful product, but damn it’s time we made one that could run our software, could run any software, so users have choice, and so you don’t have to buy new hardware to get software features, and so the market can grow at the rate of innovation, not at the whim of one marketer.”

    Who’s this “we”? The collective unconscious? Apple is in business to make stuff, sell stuff, and collect the money. Same as Microsoft or Coca-Cola or Ben & Jerry’s There’s supposed to be more than one marketer, sure. Is Apple supposed to allow for anybody to run any software on Apple’s platform? Dude, they’re selling a product. I don’t hear you complaining that Ben & Jerry’s doesn’t sell ice cream with spare ribs in it. You want something different on the market that doesn’t exist, go make it.

    Reply

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