Scripting News for 2/7/2006

Todd Sampson: “A Podcast is just Radio 2.0.” 

Rex Hammock: “I was just IM’d by a female reader of this weblog who informed me she was dropping what she was doing so she could run grab a Big Mac.” 

I’ve been saying this for ages. Good ads are a draw. Make more good ads. Entertaining or informative, or better, both. 

Jason Calacanis now believes Nick Denton isn’t selling Gawker, despite the rumors.  

To Matthew Ingram, imho, whether a blog has comments or not does not effect its blogness. For one thing, when I point to a post that has comments then basically I have comments. For whatever reason, people seem to be more polite when posting in someone else’s space (as opposed to my space). As you climb a tree, the higher you go, more people want to throw stuff at you, pretty soon all you get is the junk. It usually seems to happen in Year 2 if the blog is growing. Before that they say things like “It’s not a blog if it doesn’t have comments.” Then they start appreciating why it’s actually more fun and interesting (and liberating) to write without having a critics section stinking up your living room. Basically mail lists are conversations. Blogs are something different. In fact I think blogs with comments aren’t really blogs. How about that!  

I took a detour from my project, and did something that’s just plain fun and makes my head spin. If you head on over to my WordPress blog, you’ll see something that looks fairly familiar. A linkblog, in WordPress you ask? Yes, a very very old linkblog. And it updates automatically. And what does it mean? I don’t know! πŸ™‚ 

TechCrunch from Demo: “Great companies. Too bad there is no Internet access here so that we can write about them.” 

BBC: Podcasts reach Peruvian villages

NY Times: “Attorney General Alberto R Gonzales told a sometimes skeptical group of senators today that the Bush administration’s domestic eavesdropping program is legal, constitutional and vital to national security in a time of terrorism.” 

Richard MacManus rates the “meme trackers.” 

Amyloo says what I’ve been saying. Too many feeds in a reading list makes for an overwhelming user experience. Before you publish a reading list you should try using a few to get an idea what it’s like. In most situations, ten feeds is a lot of feeds for a reading list.  

Paolo describes his ideal RSS reader. 

My pain-staking project 

Interesting word, pain-staking. I understand the pain part, but what about “staking.”

Living in the East Bay, as I do, the Bay Bridge looms large in my life. It’s the only road to San Francisco from where I live, and it’s a traffic nightmare and is not in anyway your normal bridge. To begin with, it’s actually two bridges. There’s an island in the middle of the bay, the first bridge takes you from Oakland to the island, a tunnel takes you through the island and onto the second bridge which goes to San Francisco. That in itself would be fairly remarkable if it weren’t for the fact that they’re building a whole new bridge next to the first one, and they’re completely tearing down the approach to the bridge on the San Francisco side.

My car, which is less than a year old, has a GPS system that’s totally out of date wrt to the streets on the other side. Every day the roads go somewhere else, and when its done, I imagine it will be something like what driving in Boston is like now, a marvel of efficiency, tunnels from every where to every other where. But in the meantime, driving to the city is so pain-ful, as opposed to pain-staking, that you just take BART instead, which zooms you through all that without a care. It really is transparent and user friendly.

Now I have my own Bay Bridge construction project, which is part of the OPML Editor project. See, I use the OPML Editor to write Scripting News, but until now I’ve used an application on the back-end that I wrote when I was in Cambridge, called Channel Z. I am in the process of scrapping it, in favor of a very small back-end that ties into the OPML Editor’s back-end, which will be my server environment.

So right now editing my site is very much like driving through Boston during the Big Dig, or driving across the Bay Bridge today, but someday soon I hope it will be like riding BART.


It’s not pain-staking, it’s pains-taking.

Makes much more sense! πŸ™‚

14 responses to this post.

  1. So I guess you’re outsourcing your spam and associated noise to other people’s blogs then, eh Dave? πŸ™‚

    Your point is well taken about climbing the tree or whatever — I am just a humble F-list blogger, and might always remain so. Fair enough.

    Nevertheless, I still think that — farting and all — the living room is a lot more interesting and valuable with other people in it. Why stand there all by yourself talking to people outside through a megaphone?

    One other thing: given your position, how come you allow comments on this blog?


  2. Posted by hullabaloo on February 7, 2006 at 3:25 pm

    Interesting about the comments… What’s even more subtle is the lack of “title” in the RSS feed for ScriptingNews… Dave thats embarassing I think???


  3. hullabaloo: Dave’s blogs and associated feeds have always had a mix of entitled and untitled posts due to his outline-authored style of blogging. Only one or the other of title or description is required in RSS. Not sure what’s embarassing about that in particular.


  4. Posted by hullabaloo on February 7, 2006 at 4:26 pm

    Had to look up the specs sorry my interpretation was embarrassing… Although the feed is one of the very few that have this behavior… Dave’s way…
    BTW Imorichard: Thanx! good for a review Title OR Description Mandatory…


  5. Posted by billg on February 7, 2006 at 4:33 pm

    !. Dave’s blogging style has always made sense to me. If it’s clearly your blog, you don’t need to write a headline for every post and you certainly don’t need to include your byline below every post. Sadly, that’s default of almost ever blogging tool I’ve seen. (Not Radio Userland, unsurprisingly, but then that’s showing its age.)

    2. I can’t think of a blog I read because of the comments. They’re often interesting or irritating, but not the reason I keep coming back.

    3. The value of a blog, as any other publication, is determined by the quality of the words it publishes.


  6. Hi Dave, the linkblog, or asides as Matt calls them, can be used in WordPress using some code easily found on his site or by googling. “Matt’s Asides” and it will also post the title in the RSS feed, without the title in the “linkblog” entry, so it fits your typical style. The other plug ins and options to do this in WordPress do not work as well as just inserting Matt’s simple code into the template’s index.php file.

    I am not sure how this works on, but it works great in my home-grown wordpress 1.5 install, and that’s what Matt uses too, I assume! Of course, doing your own wp install is not as easy as, but I’m sure you can figure it out:)


  7. Are “asides” on the side?

    See I think the links belong up front, they should be what you see when you come into the blog.

    Somewhere along the line blogging got taken in the wrong direction by people who think every little thing you post on a blog has to be a major undertaking.


  8. Matthew, my farts smell great, yours well, hmmm, okay, next question.

    Actually I kind of like the controls they have here in WordPress-land, once someone cuts a smelly one in the thread, I spray some deodorant. If he complains about the deodorant, I spray some more. If he complains again, I send everyone home.

    Seems to cut down on the nasty stench. πŸ™‚


  9. No, ‘aside’ doesn’t have to be on the side, though some people do that. It’s simply a small entry that doesn’t warrant a big header (or usually comments), and it can be a short paragraph or just a link, or a link with a short comment. And yes, it can start with a link. I think Matt credits Kottle for this, though I’ve seen it used all over the place. Most of your entries are like this, so I was surprised to see him credit Kottle…

    I’m surprised he didn’t build it into But then most people probably don’t want this. I happen to love it in your blog, Kottle’s and everyone else who does it. Not every thought warrants an “essay” as you often label your long posts…


  10. One trouble with the no-headlines posting style is that a lot of aggregators don’t support it very well, especially if the post starts off with a link.

    An example in the aggregator built into Drupal at

    See how the HTML is exposed in the items from Scripting News?

    Drupal’s aggregator is quite rivery.


  11. Dave you made me laugh you old fart πŸ™‚


  12. Dave,
    you are a celebrity, maybe you don’t need bodyguards, but your blog does need them!

    To effectively manage comments to your post, you cannot rely on antispam tools, you need a reputation system to assess how cool is this bold reader that dare sending a comment to your venerable blog.

    This is basically what we are trying to obtain with our proposal of a reputation system for blog comments. There are lengthy posts about it on the Clipperz blog, http:///

    See the latest revision.

    To test this proposal we are planning to:
    – design an API for the reputation managers;
    – implement a functional and free reputation manager service at (the site will go live shortly)
    – (trying to) implement reputation modules for a couple of leading blogging platforms (with a lot of help from their communities)

    Anyone interested?


  13. Amyloo, Scripting News, even the ‘linkblog’ RSS entries, show up in most of the aggregators I use (NNW (Mac), FeedDemon (PC), mRSS (Palm/Treo), in the headline views fine, but without HTML links in the RSS (or code residue), so it must be a Drupal thing (and maybe other aggregators will do this–I’ve also tried other Mac aggregators and never seen this on Dave’s stuff).

    I think David’s Frontier/OPML editor may be programmed to put in the first x-number of characters of his ‘linkblog’ in as the RSS headline (not sure though how this actually works).

    I have messed around with this a lot in WP trying to get the similar effect while testing in the resurrection of my own blog (coming along slowly and note quite their or regular yet). The best solution (and I have tried various “linkblog”, “Asides”, and “miniblog” plug-ins”) has been Matt Mullenweg’s own ‘Matt’s Asides’ code. Using this, I actually put in a title entry, which is usually the first line of my short entry (link or no link), and a specified ‘aside’ category formats this without the title and other ‘article’ formatting on the page, so it looks like Dave’s ‘short’ Scripting News entries, but in the RSS feed (and the permalink page) the title does shows up properly, and if there is a link in the title it just shows up as text like Scripting News–I do this using the WP GUI editor, Ecto, MarsEdit and Mo:Blog on the Palm.

    I’m not sure how this works in Scripting News. I used Radio a long time ago, but don’t remember this functionality. But one of the reasons (among others) I have been testing and resurrecting my blog was because a while back Dave made some comment in a blog entry like “if you want to comment on my blog then write your own blog….” or something like that. (so Dave is now asking, “then why the long comment post here, paul?”) And for the most part, I just want to make comments on other stuff, link to things, and on occassion do full article entries. Thanks Dave. But I would be interested to know how it works in your OPML Editor/Frontier implementation in Scripting News (I know I could try it, but I like WP). But as hullabaloo noted, Dave’s blog does not handle the linkblog/aside entry title properly in the RSS feed. That’s why I brought up ‘Matt’s Asides’ thingy, which works. But it’s nice to able to comment here…


  14. […] 2/7/06 this blog got an annex on that mirrored the content […]


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