Scripting News for 4/2/2007

Today’s links 

According to Heise Online, the Department of Homeland and Security wants the “master key” for DNS.

Naked Jen visits eBay, and of course, she’s naked! Need I say it’s not work-safe? :-)

CNN report on Kathy Sierra’s death threats.

Yo Wes! 

Wes Felter checks in. He was there at the beginning, and I share his feelings about how code formed blogging, when it should have been the other way around. Oh well.

This is what leadership looks like 

A special thanks from Six Apart.

Companies should always strive for the diplomatic voice, to be above the fray whenever possible. If you’re in the airplane business, run an op-ed ad on the anniversary of the first flight at Kitty Hawk. And if you’re in the weblog tool business, where’s the harm in acknowledging the various milestones in the history of blogging.

So thanks to the folks at Six Apart for the hat-tip. When Cameron Barrett, Jorn Barger and Jason Kottke celebrate their 10th, we’ll light some fireworks here too.

Blogging is inclusive, that’s the point. Everyone gets to share their ideas. We’re all folks, so come as you are. And thanks for the thanks, and many happy returns!

PS: You guys have stepped on a few toes too, btw, fyi, nabd, ianal, etc. :-)

Google Earth and New Orleans 

I recently started using Google Earth, and one of the first places I looked at was New Orleans, and I couldn’t make sense out of what I was seeing — it looked like the city had completely recovered from Katrina. I knew that it hadn’t.

Today I spotted a post on the Google weblog that explained they had replaced New Orleans imagery with pictures taken before Katrina, but I still can’t figure out why they did this.

Is it fair to assume that this is the only part of Google Earth that has been doctored?

What about other parts of Google, and what is their disclaimer policy when the data they are presenting is not the accurate data?

Seems like a basic integrity issue.

“We recognize the increasingly important role that imagery is coming to play in the public discourse,” is not enough of an explanation.

PS: I’ve received emails from people who say they’ve fixed the database, but at 1:50PM Pacific, I just spent 20 minutes zooming around New Orleans in Google Earth, and it’s definitely the pre-Katrina city.

A pro-media blind spot 

Listening to this week’s On The Media, they had a segment on cartoonists, and why it’s so bad that we are losing so many of them as the newspaper industry shrinks. I like cartoons very much, but I was struck by something else in the piece. They were talking about cartoonists testing the limits of where they could go, and listed a bunch of topics that were taboo, and one of them was the publishers of newspapers. Then I remembered, a few years ago I was on a campaign to expose this blind spot, and got absolutely nowhere.

6/6/02: “If everyone says a journalist is really nice, I take that as a clear warning that this supposed journalist is actually playing footsy and selling out his readers. As readers, we have gotten very complacent about this.”

My point then is that the media industry is enormously important to our economy and political system, but we have almost no visibility into how the money flows, and who makes the decisions. Only recently, as the industry has been firing reporters, have some of the editorial people had the guts to look at their bosses. And aside from interviewing reporters the rest of us have no way in there (and we know how reporters feel about bloggers).

This is just a reminder, there are a lot of places we don’t look, but if we did, we’d see our strings being pulled all the time, in so many ways. Ever wonder who decides that we should get a steady diet of Anna Nicole Smith while World War III is breaking out in the Middle East? I do.

Brief note 

To Steven Levy: Brevity has its place. :-)

Parallels report, part 3 

I’ve been running Parallels and Windows XP on my 17-inch MacBook Pro for a few days, and I still like it! It’s not quite as bizarre for me as it is for others because I administer my servers, which mostly run Windows, using Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection, which puts Windows inside a window on my Mac. But this is stranger, because it’s using my local machine to simulate a real machine. Okay, I know other people have run emulators before, but this is my first time, so humor me. :-)

I like it because Windows has won so many wars with me that I like the idea that finally I get to win one. This is the ultimate revenge for having made a fool of me so many times, now I’ve got it fooled into thinking it’s got a whole machine, when in fact it’s just an app! Hehe.

Warning: Spoiler follows.

Did you see Men In Black and how there were galaxies everywhere inside everything, even inside a piece of jewelry? That’s what it feels like. There’s a whole little universe, and inside there they don’t know they’re just living in a dog collar! Oh Microsoft, I hope you’ll understand, please don’t take it personal.

Anyway, back to the serious stuff.

I had to run Windows somewhere new because both of my Windows laptops had died and I needed to test new builds of the Windows version of the OPML Editor because the new version of Internet Explorer broke it. We did something fancy, we embedded the browser control in the MDI window, thinking we could do something cool with it, but we never did, and now it’s just a liability.

I’m at the point where I think I’ve managed to disable the feature enough to stop the crashing, but according to Amyloo, it leaves the app looking bad, but (key point) not on my machine.

So I swallowed hard and installed IE7 in the virtual machine, in the process I had to validate and then activate my machine (the one that doesn’t actually exist, heh) but it turns out you have to do it the other way round (this is Windows after all) so I happily did that, and IE7 is now theoretically installed on the machine. I’ll let you know how it goes.

PS: This is what happened when I tried to launch IE7. I guess it’s (virtual) Big Red Switch time. Luckily, it reboots much faster than a real PC does.

PPS: I had to reboot several times to get the machine to respond. Oy. Maybe installing IE7 on a virtual machine wasn’t such a hot idea. Anyway, I did finally get it to reboot successfully, and was able to reproduce the condition that Amyloo reported.

EMI removes DRM 

EMI press release. “EMI Music is launching DRM-free superior quality downloads across its entire digital repertoire and that Apple’s iTunes Store will be the first online music store to sell EMI’s new downloads.”

PDF presentation. I’m trying to tune into the audio webcast, without luck so far.

Michael Gartenberg: “This is a great PR win for Apple and Steve Jobs.”

Morning coffee notes 

Just before 5AM Pacific.

The Apple & EMI press conference in London starts soon.

Amyloo saw the CNN segment on last week’s blogosphere uprising, she says it could have been worse. I’m tuned in to CNN now hoping to see a re-run, but at 5AM I’m looking for video of the London press conference. Any ideas?

There probably is some meaningful connection between a blog and Twitter, still trying to figure it out. Pointing to Amyloo on Twitter because she hasn’t got a post about this on her blog, yet. I suspect she will have one eventually. Should her Twitter page have something about her blog, or vice versa?

I listened to the Evan Williams interview on the Jason Calacanis podcast, Williams is the guy behind Twitter, founder of Blogger, software philosopher. The interview doesn’t go into much depth, worth listening to if you’re following Twitter, as I am.

Thanks to everyone who sent or posted good wishes for the second decade of Scripting News. There’s a lot of goodwill out there, and that’s much appreciated!

New mail address 

You can send me mail here:

scriptingnewsmail at gmail dot com

This address may change when the spammers catch up with me! :-)

28 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Robb on April 2, 2007 at 6:54 am

    Happy 10th Scripting News!

    http://www.scripting.com/1997/04/01.html

    Reply

  2. Posted by dataguy on April 2, 2007 at 7:18 am

    I would like to add my good wishes for this blog and I look forward to reading the next decade worth of posts.

    Thanks very much for all the thought provoking posts. Best of luck in the future Dave!

    Reply

  3. Posted by Noah Bast on April 2, 2007 at 8:25 am

    Wait until you start playing with Coherency in Parallels. It almost holy-grailish, Mac OS and Windows int he same UI.

    I use Parallels for Visual Studio and web testing on my Mac Book Pro. It has been working wonderfully for me.

    Reply

  4. Dave,
    I hope you are not purposely obfuscating what Google Earth did just to score a few points. The immediate post-Katrina footage was lower resolution than GE typically uses and you couldn’t zoom in as close. After a while, they moved that stuff to a dedicated site. As they clearly say in the post, they now have post-Katrina high resolution imagery and they’ve added it in to GE. From your post, you make it sound like they still have pre-Katrina imagery up.
    -Aaron

    Reply

  5. When I go to New Orleans in Google Earth, I see pre-Katrina imagery.

    I know what it looks like post-Katrina, I went to see for myself Aaron.

    I think you should apologize for your opening sentence. No basis for such an accusation. You’re a pretty nasty dude there Aaron.

    Reply

  6. Dave, something is wrong with your Google earth and you need to reread the Google blog entry. If I open GE and type in New Orleans and scroll over by the levees, I see destruction and cranes at work.

    I apologize for my opening sentence as I didn’t realize you were under the impression that the imagery hadn’t been updated. It’s been updated, as the Google blog post clearly states and as I’m witnessing right now. I’ll post a screen grab right now on my blog.

    Reply

  7. I deleted two messages here, this discussion is going off a cliff. Rather than have it continue in that direction, I hit the Rewind button. Peace.

    Reply

  8. Posted by Jacob Levy on April 2, 2007 at 10:59 am

    Dave, I’m also seeing the new images that Aaron is seeing. It could be a caching issue. Flush your browser’s cache please if you havent done so.

    Meanwhile, your blog is still implying that Google has the old data, which is untrue. Unless I need to flush my cache, of course :)

    Reply

  9. As far as I can tell, Jacob, it does.

    I’m not near the computer with Google Earth on it now, so I can’t easily check.

    Reply

  10. Norm Jenson has a copy of the segment. It wasn’t very good.

    Reply

  11. Jacob, I just checked and Google Earth is still showing pre-Katrina New Orleans here.

    I checked places I visited in December 2005, neighborhoods I used to live in. There’s absolutely no question I’m still seeing the old images.

    Reply

  12. Dave,

    First, congratulations on ten years of blogging! Keep at it – I’m looking forward to many more.

    I try to follow Google Earth developments closely, myself. In response to your Google Earth comment, I’d just like to point out two blogs that do an excellent job of covering developments on Google Earth, good and bad. First is Stefan Geens’ superb Ogle Earth – I think you’d be particularly interested in his very thorough coverage of censorship issues pertaining to Google Earth. Also highly recommended is Frank Taylor’s Google Earth Blog. I’d encourage you to get more background from these two blogs, among others. The integrity issue you raise is an important one, but on balance I believe that Google has done a pretty good (not perfect) job to date. In any case it is right to be vigilant.

    Reply

  13. Posted by tghfbt on April 2, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    Dave,

    You can use http://www.rdesktop.org/ to get Remote Desktop on OS X. Runs on any Unix.

    Reply

  14. Dave;
    I’m glad someone else mentioned the “Pre-Katrina” look at Google Earth. After my return from there in Jan. I commented to a friend on how weird it was that Google shows “Pre-Katrina” New Orleans, he didn’t believe me until he checked for himself. It’s a shame Google is using pre-katrina photos, especially since the Federal Government has basically turned their back on the people of that fine city.I guess it’s in the best interest of the country to move the oil refinery business to Houston instead of rebuilding it in New Orleans, since the current administration doesn’t have any ties to the Houston Oil Industry.

    I was also surprised(Anderson Cooper included) that the mainstream media didn’t call President Bush out on the fact, he made no mention of New Orleans in his 2007 State of The Union address.

    Reply

  15. Posted by Jacob Levy on April 2, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    Dave, thanks for checking. I cant explain whats going on, you’re seeing one thing and Aaron and me seeing a different thing.

    Peace.

    Reply

  16. Re: the On the Media segment — I’m surprised you didn’t mention the other segment they ran, the one about the socializing that goes on between DC reporters and politicos. It raised similar questions about blind spots.

    They interviewed Fortune Magazine’s DC bureau chief, Nina Easton, who apparently is married to John McCain’s media/PR guy. They met at the annual Correspondent’s Dinner, which is the most egregious example of the socializing the story discusses.

    When asked whether being married to a candidate’s spinmeister might not be such a great thing for a political journalist, Easton actually offered this defense:

    I would say it’s actually a bonus for me to watch somebody in my house go through the experience of having a candidate covered and see where it’s fair and where it’s not fair. You start looking at coverage through the eyes of people who are being covered. And, if anything, I think a combination of that, you know, seeing what it’s like to be covered day in and day out, A, and, B, a sense that I have to be extra careful – I have to bend over backwards to be fair – I think it continues to train me to be more fair and to be more careful about the people that I’m covering.

    Yes, that’s exactly what we need from political journalists today — more sympathy and identification with their subjects. God help us.

    Reply

  17. Posted by Simone Bettini on April 2, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    Hi Dave

    About the IE7 issue, we had the same behavior with a site of a customer of ours being served in ssl on a nonstandard port. On most browsers/os it worked with no problem, on some we got the same report and screenshots.

    Imho it depends on default security IE7 settings, that prevent from non standard ports being reached if not configured to allow connections on these specific ports.

    As usual IE error notification are all but useful to understand what’s happening ;)

    Right this morning we managed to have it working switching to the proper ssl port, in your case you could just try to have the app serve on port 80 and see whether it works.

    Reply

  18. Simone, are you sure you had the same behavior?

    The OPML Editor is crashing? I could see if it were somehow failing to display stuff, but when we display anything in the MDI window after startup it crashes.

    To test your theory, as unlikely as it seems to me, I changed the port to 80, and it crashed exactly as before.

    Reply

  19. Posted by Sharona on April 2, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    Hi Dave

    I’m a reporter at ABC Australia and I’m doing a program on blogging. Sorry to post this but I’ve been having some trouble finding a direct email for you. I just wanted to speak with you about doing an interview on the Kathy Sierra stuff – I’m especially interested in what I’m seeing as several simultaneous pushes to regulate blogs, from within and without the community.

    Cheers
    Sharona

    Reply

  20. Posted by Jeanne Kane on April 2, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    Hi Dave, Congratulations on your 10th year of Scripting News. Sorry I missed it yesterday. You are a big influence in many lives, mine included. I hope you continue with great success and continued passion. I am glad you posted the 2003 essay again because it was new to me and I appreciate the sentiments. Jeanne

    Reply

  21. Posted by Simone Bettini on April 2, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    No, no crash for me, looks like it was a different issue, masked from the same IE error window. doh!

    Reply

  22. Congratulations on 10 years.

    As far as cartooning, there are tons of new comics sprouting up in lots of formats to check out. One great comics resource in general is http://www.tcj.com/journalista/ another is http://mikelynchcartoons.blogspot.com/index.html.

    Reply

  23. Seeing as Six Apart are such buddies, maybe you could ask them why their new blogging system, called ‘Vox’ does not have RSS. (Atom only)

    Also, their documentation, though very ‘pretty’ leaves SO MUCH to be desired by developers wishing to post to their multitude of systems. It’s a mess.

    I’m sorry, but there’s something about SA which I just don’t like. I can’t put my finger on it. Bad experiences with MT, TP, etc.

    I used to work for an organisation which made the decision to use MT internally. Big mistake. Took forever to set up. So complicated – even for ‘experts’.

    I suppose that’s what happens when you pay for a blogging system : you ARE going to use that support line – making you feel like you’re getting good value and support – which should have never been needed in the first place.

    My 2p.

    ps: It’s time for SA to get out of bed with Nokia, duping ppl into buying an MT blog so they can use the ‘LifeBlog’ system they have had for ages.

    Now, with their new phones, they are trying to get you to set up a Vox account – when will they realise that a blogger is NOT going to change their blogging system to one with less features and abilities. (or one you’re forced to pay for) Bloggers are very passionate about the systems they use. They’re personal.

    To try and break that relationship (with say, WordPress or Blogger etc) is such a dumb move.

    API all the way!

    Reply

  24. Well I never. I take that back. I have indeed found an RSS feed on Vox. Except I had to guess the link. They display the Atom link. Simply replace atom.xml with rss.xml in the url.

    Now to see if the multimedia entries support enclosures (which is the idea, right?)

    Reply

  25. Last update : Yes the VOX RSS does support enclosures. Now, why on earth are they hiding away the RSS feed? Seem to be no way to make the feed link to RSS instead of ATOM.

    Don’t they want people to use this free service for podcasting, or what?

    kosso out….

    Reply

  26. Posted by stephen bove on April 3, 2007 at 9:13 am

    re: DNSsec and Homeland Security…

    There is an excellent entry on Wikipedia about how DNSsec works, what it is designed to protect DNS against, various implementation problems and the implications of guys like Cheney having access to the root key…

    Fortunately the International Internet community is raising a stink about this and recommending that ICAAN (not Dick Cheney) be the key holder…

    Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatulûk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.

    or for those of you who don;t read Tengwar:

    One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNSSEC#DNSSEC_Deployment_Initiative

    Reply

  27. Kosso, as you’ve found, we do have RSS 2.0 feeds for everything in Vox, just as we do with Atom. As many have encouraged us (From Yahoo to Dave himself) we’re only advertising one feed for everything, while having a consistent way of getting to other formats if you prefer. We have thousands of people podcasting on Vox today, to answer your question.

    I do agree we need to do a much better job with our developer documentation. If you visit developer.sixapart.com, do you find that an improvement over the past (admitting that it’s still just a small step), or do you think it’s still not heading in the right direction?

    I also definitely agree any large internal software deployment can get complicated, Movable Type included. If you’ve got specific feedback about what we can improve, I’m all ears — my IM is anildash and my email is anil@sixapart.com. I’ll pass your response on directly to the team.

    Finally, I don’t know what to say about your allegations about our relationship with Nokia except that you’re completely off-base. Here’s the truth: Nokia sells millions of phones every year, and we want all those people to be blogging. (That’s our overall goal, in case it’s not clear — we want more people to be able to start blogging. Period.) Only a tiny percentage of people who buy those phones have a blog already, so we default to them being able to get a free blog on Vox to get started.

    However, all of the blogging clients are completely platform-neutral, and will work with any blogging tool. I honestly have no idea how that would constitute “duping someone into buying MT”, but if there was a miscommunication or some other conversation I’m not privy too, feel free to contact me offline and we’ll sort it out.

    Finally, this: “I’m sorry, but there’s something about SA which I just don’t like. I can’t put my finger on it. Bad experiences with MT, TP, etc.”

    I’m sorry you’ve had bad experiences, but I do want to point out there are millions of people around the world who are happy customers or partners of Six Apart — we are definitely *able* to make people happy. I don’t suspect that we’re the right tools for everyone, but I hope you don’t doubt that we sincerely care about blogging and want to help people get started. If we can agree on that point, we can figure everything else out.

    And just from my own personal experience, I almost never find it useful to say about *any* group of people, whether it’s a company, a country, or any other organization that “there’s just something I don’t like”. We’re a group of individuals, all of varying backgrounds, and if you talk to any of us as individuals, I bet you’ll get a pretty positive response. I hope that helps!

    Reply

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