Scripting News for 2/28/2006

Steven Cohen has become an incredible evangelist for OPML. 

I got an email from Scott Rosenberg at Salon describing an experiment they’d like to try with Scripting News and you, the readers of Scripting News. First, I’m going to get a comp subscription, so I can read everything on their site that subscribers pay for. Then when I see an article I find interesting, in my aggregator, I can read it, without going through the painful process of getting a free pass for the day by watching an ad, which I do very rarely only for articles that have great appeal. Maybe once a month, if that often. Then if I choose to link to the article, you’ll be able to read the article without going through the get-a-pass process too. It’s worth a try. Salon occasionally gets an important story that should be included in the record here, but I haven’t been willing to point to the articles ever since they went behind the for-pay firewall. Now I’ll be able to point to Salon again.  

Gabe teases about changes-to-come at M-O-R.  

My own teaser. First there was RSS 2.0. Then Web 2.0. Tomorrow, the next 2.0. πŸ™‚ 

Five years ago today: “Ole and Lena were laying in bed one night when the phone rang. Ole answered it and Lena heard him yell, ‘Well, how the hell should I know, that’s over 2000 miles away!’ and he hung up. Lena says ‘Who was that Ole?’ Ole says ‘The hell if I know, some weirdo wants to know if the coast is clear.'” 

Flickr pic: “After a few days of intense rain, it was nice to see the sun today, however briefly. And with sun and rain, of course, came a rainbow. Sweet!” 

Apple: “For $349, iPod Hi-Fi delivers crystal-clear, audiophile-quality sound in a clean, compact design.” 

Steve Gillmor is live-blogging the Apple announcement. 

Best wishes to Joey and Wendy the deVilla family on the passing of Joey’s father yesterday.  

Glenn Reynolds is being interviewed live on WAMU. It’s a call-in show, so call in. 

A brilliant and insightful piece about RSS from Dion Hinchcliffe. Last week I was emailing with an architect at one of the major enterprise software companies, a huge company with offices all over the world. She told me that RSS 2.0 has become the framework for all their work now, completely replacing J2EE. She wondered if that was my plan. I said it wasn’t — that was what SOAP was supposed to do. But SOAP got all screwed up by exactly the kind of tech BS that’s starting to happen now with RSS. It’s probably too late for the tech companies to screw it up, RSS 2.0 has too much momentum and too many people are happy with what it does, and the Roadmap provides an adequate escape valve for the pressure to innovate. But we need to keep our eyes and ears open. Given the chance, Silicon Valley and Redmond will definitely screw it up.  

Eric Norlin posted on Dion’s piece at almost exactly the same moment. 

Here’s an illustration of tech industry interference with RSS. That’s Sam Ruby, the lead of the Atom working group, an employee of IBM, trying to rewrite the rules of RSS 2.0. Do you understand what he’s saying? I don’t. Assuming he means well, which I think is a stretch (he’s got a huge conflict of interest) he surely doesn’t understand the phillosophy of RSS 2.0. Does management at IBM know he’s doing this, is this part of a strategy to keep their lock on the enterprise software business, which RSS clearly is a threat to? Like Sam, they have a conflict of interest too. In the tech world, I’ve learned that if you think the worst of people’s motives you’re usually right. IBM doesn’t generally go for the high road. In any case, IBM should call him off, now. Atom is fine, let people use that if they want, but if you screw with RSS, we’re going to shine the light on you. 

Hey it’s Fat Tuesday! Laissez les bons temps rouler. 

Brian Oberkirch has a Mardi Gras music podcast from New Orleans. He lives in Slidell, Louisiana, a town that’s both on the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Pontchartrain; it was almost exactly where the eye of Katrina made landfall. I met Bruce at the TechCrunch tent party earlier this month. (After I clicked, I realized it’s a strange variant of podcast, each of the songs are a separate download as an MP3. I’ve never seen RSS used that way, it’s cool, but weird. It’s basically a playlist.) 

I’m listening to Brian’s music now. It’s the best stuff. Poignant and bittersweet now that it’s gone. Hoo weee.  

Hey you want to know how to dance to this stuff? No problem, here’s a tutorial. You can even dance while you’re nerding out at the computer, checking out your email, surfing Meme-o-randum. Just let your body move to the music and put a stupid smile on your face! It’s easy, chat. 

To celebrate Fat Tuesday, I wrote a script for OPML Editor users that downloads Brian’s Carnival Cast.  

Today’s excitement will no doubt be a new product from Apple, announced at a press event in San Francisco, which unfortunately I am not A-list enough to attend. And tonight, Scott Johnson and Betsy Devine are hosting a dinner where Scott will announce some new mysterious thing called Ookles. I admit I find the name so cute as to be irritating. But I’ll go anyway, just for the schmooze and to see Betsy, who I did a podcast with last year, at a breakfast in Cambridge. The 20-year old babe-like Betsy made an appearance at the top of Scripting News earlier this month, and in the margin of this post. 

A perfect four-paragraph short story in blog form. That, I think, owing to the limited attention span of web readers, may turn out to be the blog’s contribution to literature. That, or the perfect four-paragraph op-ed piece. πŸ™‚  

Last time I saw fellow Berkeleyite Scott Rosenberg, at some local dinner, I remarked that while I agree with everything he writes, and I mean everything, it’s also true that I disagree with everything he says when we meet face to face. I can’t resolve this paradox. But it happened again. Here’s a Scott Rosenberg blog post. I found myself chuckling, then laughing out loud. Yeah it’s the truth, what he says — that does not seem likely. πŸ™‚ 

13 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by markr on February 27, 2006 at 10:01 pm

    I think that happens a lot on the web. But I found the opposite true. I HATE what people write here; on usenet, weblogs, or forums but when I meet them they turn out to be really nice people.

    I think it is when they write on the screen they don’t think that they are talking to PEOPLE.

    But I also see your point of view. When they talk, they just say stuff. When they write here, they are thinking about what they are writing about, and trying to make sure that they are writing correctly.

    That might be way weblogs and webpages seem to written with some thought, and usenet is where anything goes.


  2. I think modes of communications have always viewed as a cautionary step towards greater and greater increase in contact, yet on the same hand, this also means a decrease in priavcy. But I think the thing to keep in mind is that although at times we need to be open to change, we need to realize that we do own control over ourselves and our exposure if truly wanted. Just don’t blog about your life for the whole world to see if you don’t want them to know about it. But truthfully, I am glad there are those are there in the world who do want to share their thoughts to who ever will listen, because frankly some of them are absolutely halarious and so obscure that I am continually surprised that people actually think up this stuff. Examples of some of the recent blogs that my friends have told me about:


  3. Posted by Step on February 28, 2006 at 3:54 am

    What does “Laissez les bons temps rouler” is supposed to mean? I am French and can’t understand it. Did you mean carpe diem?


  4. Let the good times roll.


  5. Posted by Paul Worthington on February 28, 2006 at 4:48 am

    I spent the first 21 years of my life growing up in Slidell. Its southwestern edges lie on Lake Ponchartrain and they were wrecked by Katrina – the Eden Isles and Oak Harbor neighborhoods. The closest Gulf Coast beaches at Pass Christian, Mississippi – also destroyed by Katrina (and Camille) – are 30 minutes away by car, and they were my favorite while I lived there. Thanks for pointing to Brian’s strange podcast. It’s a great collection I’d encourage everyone to try.


  6. Posted by jeremyw on February 28, 2006 at 10:34 am


    I have trouble taking you seriously when you say that you don’t understand what Sam Ruby is saying. Had he used abstract language or highly technical jargon, I might explain your comment as some sort of populist anti-intellectualism, but I thought Sam made his point quite clearly, and his example illustrated the problem he is addressing very well.

    To say you, a person who has been around RSS and other specs for years, don’t understand him is hard to believe, when someone like myself, who is only superficially familiar with the format wars, can understand Sam’s note at first glance. “I don’t understand” appears to be code for a political comment, i.e., “Sam mentioned international character sets and RFCs — he wants to control RSS by making the spec incomprehensible to us poor plebs.”


  7. To be clear:

    1. He’s promoting breaking the RSS 2.0 roadmap and

    2. As the leader of Atom, a competiting format, he has a huge conflict of interest.

    I’m not hiding anything dude, I said it very plainly.

    He should stay out of this, he’s got his path forward, it’s Atom.


  8. Re: Salon Deal. That is great news. I’m a regular Salon reader but can’t afford the subscription.


  9. Dave, I’m all over this Salon idea. It’s great to try and push organizations into having a more open way of doing business, at least for a little experiment like this. Let’s try to get them to keep it that way!


  10. So what’s Marc doing there for 3/1? Marc-ing the spot?


  11. I am continuing to improve the Feed Validator. That’s my interest in this area. The post you pointed to concludes with a link to the Feed Validator test cases.

    I have already publicly said that a new spec is an act of social violence:

    I hope this group turns their efforts into creating a profile, a BDG or somesuch.

    In whatever documentation they may ultimately produce, my suggestion is simple. There are many places where the *REAL* RSS 2.0 spec requires a URL. Despite this, people are undoubtedly going to want to put IRIs in there. As IRIs are not URLs, doing so would not only break the spec but also existing tools. Perhaps their document could include a link to the documentation which explains how to convert IRIs into URLs?


  12. […] Sam Ruby responds to yesterday’s post here.   […]


  13. Regarding Salon: Is that an exclusive experiment between you and them, or are they inviting other bloggers to sign up for such a system as well?


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