Scripting News for 2/26/2007

11:20PM Pacific: Happy to report no snow in Berkeley. :-) 

A social networking site with a fantastic business model. 

Rex Hammock: “These phones are not intended for consumers, they’re intended for cult members.” Yes. 

Can’t you hear me knockin? 

If I had one wish, it would be that everyone who reads this blog would listen to the talk I gave to the NPR people last Thursday (MP3, torrent).

Things here will make a lot more sense, imho, with the podcast as background. It lays a foundation that we will build on. I was thinking of ways I could trick people into listening to it. I thought maybe I could put a secret word near the end of the cast, and then require people to enter the secret word before they could gain entry to Scripting News after a certain date. Then I thought it would be better to just post the request, respectfully, here on the blog itself, and skip the tricks. :-)

Please, sometime in the next few days, set aside an hour or so to listen to the talk.

With much gratitude, Dave

What if Yahoo bought UserLand? 

In late 2003, early 2004 we had talks with Yahoo about them acquiring UserLand.

The idea was that Yahoo would get into the weblog hosting business, along with customizable River of News aggregators.

Had we done the deal, it seems Yahoo might today compete with News Corp’s MySpace.

Google Reader would still be playing catch-up.

Sure, our software was designed to run on the desktop, but the design would have easily ported to a Yahoo-scale centralized app.

And we would have given Blogger a run for the money.

Wish we had done the deal! :-)

Busted flat in Baton Rouge 

Today’s a travel day, I have a late afternoon flight from Logan to SFO, but when I woke this morning and checked the news I learned that a blizzard was moving in to NYC and JetBlue, anticipating another fiasco, cancelled most of their flights. In Cambridge, light flurries, nothing to worry about, but over the next hour I started to panic as the snow got heavier and heavier.

Turning on the local news they’re whipping up a panic, school closings, encouraging people to stay home. Oh man I’ve been snowed-in in Boston before and please please, no way do I want to do that again. It’s a miserable way to spend a few days. Being snowed-in is okay when you live there, but staying in a hotel, living off room service, that’s no way to pass the time.

Movie: Cambridge snowy Monday.

Luckily, they were overhyping the snow, NY is getting the worst of it (though it’s still snowing like a mofo here). Logan is reporting minor delays. So I’ll head out to the airport after breakfast and see if I can get an earlier flight. I can’t wait to get back to Berkeley where it’s warm and it doesn’t snow.

I want my MTV 

Just gotta say the Oscars got it right this year.

All the movies nominated for Best Picture were at least good, a few were great, but they picked the right one to honor with the top prize. Last year, I was shaking my head, this year, I’m nodding.

When I saw The Departed for the first time, I wrote that it might be the best movie ever made. I’ve now seen it four times, there’s still little treasures to discover. I don’t think it’s the best movie ever made, but it’s pretty damned close, and Scorcese has made another great movie that’s stood the test of time, Goodfellas, so now everyting’s all square.

Next item on the to-do list, let’s get Pete Rose into the Hall of Fame (and the U.S. out of Iraq).

20 responses to this post.

  1. Heh – maybe that makes me a cult member :)

    Honestly, the only reason I’m interested in that phone is that I have vague hopes Apple might actually create a phone with a decent UI – the UI of current phones is a big steaming pile of excrements. Not only do I dislike my cell phone, I actively loathe it.

    OK. Fine. And the Apple phone is just *shiny* ! ;)

    Reply

  2. I spend weeks at time ‘living’ in hotels in Boston (nice ones too) with room service. I’ve tried most of them now over the past year. Boston and Cambridge.

    ya gotta love room service – but then the food choices can get boring.

    Why not pop around the corner from the Copley to to the big supermarket behind the Lenox and grab supplies. They have a HUGE deli area.

    Reply

  3. Is it just me or is scripting.com not updating as it should? It seems stuck on the 7th of Jan. Maybe I’m just missing something.

    Reply

  4. I’ve just realised that’s not clear: I can still navigate to the new content by going to the archive for Feb, but it doesn’t appear as the default content on the scripting.com page.

    Reply

  5. Posted by tim on February 26, 2007 at 9:50 am

    “Babel” and “Pan’s Labyrinth” were both much, much better movies. (And I suspect they were actually well-viewed by the Academy.) Of course, neither would get recognized as the Best Movie. Both “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Letters from Iwo Jima” were better movies as well.

    But “The Departed” isn’t even the 4th or 5th best movie Scorcese has made: it is a decent remake of a classic.

    Best Supporting Actress was a travesty, and many of the nominations remain crap: Meryl Streep for Actress, Eddie Murphy and Mark Wahlberg (it should have been Damon) for Best Supporting, etc… And how did Guillermo Del Torro get a nomination nod for Screenplay and his film won or was nominated for Cinematography, Score, Makeup, Art Direction, and Foreign Film, but he didn’t get a Director nomination? He wrote it, created the vision, and pulled it all together! Rather than just giving the film the technical awards, it should have won Del Torro the Best Director easy.

    Oh, and “Happy Feet” was story-less schlock that couldn’t be enjoyed by anyone over 4.

    In other words, a typical year for the Oscars.

    Reply

  6. Posted by dobedo on February 26, 2007 at 10:18 am

    Your post urging people to listen to your podcast brings up a question for your very tech savvy readers. Is there any service out there that can automatically transcribe a podcast. I know there are services like this for voice mail and it would be great if you could do the same thing for podcasts.

    Reply

  7. as for the “fakeyourspace” business…it would be cooler if you could sell your friendship, and have some service as the middle man…so people could, say, buy you as a friend for a monthly charge…you may even get to charge the price you feel is appropriate. This is similar to my business model with Tamago; except we do media. I’m only thinking this way; cause, the big problem, is the models…photographs, etc…

    as for your podcast…i’ll listen to it now, but to be honest, i think most people are way behind on what can/is happening.

    as for the Oscars, I’m glad Forrest Widicker got best actor, I actually thought the Queen was dull, but understand why she won…i have lots of French blood in me…so anything english slightly preturbs. Overall, though, I thought the Oscars were better this year, than they’ve been in a long time; but I was also switching back and forth watching the “Amazing Race.” maybe that helped.

    have fun in boston if stranded; its cold, windy, and wet in San Francisco.

    Reply

  8. The Queen was a fantastic movie. A well deserved Oscar for Dame Mirren. Last King of Scotland was also utterly brilliant. Forest Whitaker really deserved it too – to be only the third black male actor ever to win the top (male) gong.

    Happy Feet was tosh – but then what other great animated movies have come out in the last year? (Have we had enough Penguins yet?)

    The Departed was another great Boston-based movie. It only recently occurred to me that it was a remake of Hong Kong’s Internal Affairs. I agree that Matt Damon should have been up for best support, over Mark Wahlberg.

    And how Peter O’Toole never won an Oscar for Lawrence of Arabia, back in 1963 is totally beyond me. (I have not seen Venus)

    Reply

  9. Any chance we could get a transcript of your NPR talk? I’s love to fulfill your request, but I’m really not a podcast-person.

    Reply

  10. Dustin – why not just listen to it on your pc though your speakers.? Rather like you might listen to a radio?

    It’s amazing what else you can do while using your ears – as opposed to using your eyes ;)

    Reply

  11. FakeYourSpace makes me sick and sad. I’m losing the will to code websites when crap like this make headlines.

    The saddest thing of all is that people might actually spend money on it, to make their totally abhorrent MySpace pages more interesting by pretending to have models as friends.

    where’s my gun?

    Reply

  12. Posted by tim on February 26, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    At least O’Toole lost to Gregory Peck in “To Kill a Mockingbord”… not necessarily the most challenging role but one of the most emblematic, enduring characters in American literature and cinema…

    Them’s the breaks some times.

    I think I’d rather lose in a year of good roles and films than be, say, Pacino (who didn’t win for the Godfathers, Serpico, or Dog Day Afternoon) winning for Hoo-Hah against Downey’s Chaplin or Nicholson in “As Good As It Gets” against Duvall’s Apostle (or Peter Fonda for that matter) or Hanks and Russell Crowe winning for anything

    Reply

  13. Posted by Dan Teeter on February 26, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    I listened to the NPR talk and really enjoyed the discussion for 95% of the time.
    PersonalIy, I much prefer downloaded content (i.e. as in podcasts) to streaming content. However, I must say that you sounded personally offended when someone asked a question regarding streaming and the level of discussion suffered. There are great technological and user-centric reasons why streaming is inferior to downloading and I felt that the audience missed a chance to understand this.

    Reply

  14. Dan, let’s not get personal, okay?

    I didn’t want to go technical, my focus was on economics, politics, the problems/opportunities at public radio and how blogging culture can help.

    This subject was a total detail, and in my opinion, over the level of detail appropriate to the people in the room. I may have been mistaken, and I am not perfect. If I got a 95 out of 100, I’m pretty satisfied.

    If you want to write up a definitive white paper on this subject, I’d happily point to it. (Assuming it’s not about me personally, just about the issues of streaming vs downloads).

    Reply

  15. Are you able to suggest why did the Yahoo! deal did not happen?

    Which side crumbled?

    Reply

  16. Posted by Anton2000 on February 26, 2007 at 5:09 pm

    Travel Day from Hell,

    ..so I rushed out and handed the suitcase to curbside check-in. Rushed back into the terminal, through security again — still carrying my tuna salad! — and dashed for the gate…

    Hello Dave, a really thrilling adventure on Doug’ blogarithms.

    Reply

  17. > Dustin – why not just listen to it on your pc though your speakers.? Rather like you might listen to a radio?

    I avoid talk radio with a passion. I just can’t stand it. Clearly some people love it, and good for them. There are other people who hate it. For these people, a transcript would be really nice.

    Reply

  18. http://castingwords.com/ charges $0.45 a minute for podcast transcription, done by humans.

    Reply

  19. In that case, anyone taking up a collection for a transcript? I also wouldn’t listen to it on the radio (or lecturing in general – if it’s not a conversation, write it down and *edit it* into coherence!) but I’m interested in the ideas…

    Reply

  20. Dustin : fair enough. Maybe we could ask him to sing it next time?

    On second thoughts .. :P

    Reply

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