Scripting News for 3/8/2006

I’m at Skobee headquarters at 604 Mission, in downtown San Francisco where I’m leading a discussion among engineering-oriented entrepreurs called 106 Miles

Squash: Poor Web 2.0 fools. “This VC is a complete and utter twit.” 

A few simple ideas I call A Busy Developer’s Guide to RSS 2.0. Comments and suggestions are welcome. 

Nick Bradbury’s BDG for RSS

Apple is patenting our inventions, again. Oy. 

Jens Alfke, one of Apple’s “inventors” stopped by to explain how there’s no real generosity in the tech business. I can see where he might get that idea, working where he does.  

Mike Arrington has screen shots of Google’s new calendar.  

Besty Devine: “I drove up to NH today to go digging around the Court Clerk’s offices in Federal District Court, to see what lawyers for convicted phone-jamming conspirator James Tobin are up to in exchange for the $2.3 million they’ve been paid (so far) by the Republican National Committee.” 

3 babes 

I’ve been looking for the perfect day to run this picture of the 3 hot babes of the California web, and I guess today is the perfect day. 🙂

White fences 

Over the years I’ve learned that you can’t lead by asking people to do things. It doesn’t work that way. If I want you all to paint your fences white, I can’t say “Wouldn’t it be great if your fences were white?” I could go on and on explaining how nice white fences look, how they last longer, and how if all the fences were the same color your property values would go up. No one wants to go first. So you have to do it yourself, even if you don’t have a fence, even if you don’t have a house.

Not too long ago I suggested that if you wanted to make RSS 2.0 better one could instead create what’s called a profile of RSS. I was introduced to the term by Andrew Layman, in 2001, who was then one of Microsoft’s chief XML architects. At the time we were trying to get a complicated protocol to interop, and I suggested that perhaps it would be easier if we looked at a small subset, instead of trying to get interop across what had become a far-reaching protocol. So we came out with what we called a Busy Developer’s Guide, or BDG, and it proved to be quite popular.

So if I want a BDG for RSS 2.0 — it’s the white fences again. I bet if I write my own profile of RSS 2.0, others will get inspired do their own. Who does he think he is doing a profile of RSS. We’ll show him! Ours will be better. And I’ll be chuckling to myself thinking that it worked, I got what I wanted.

14 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by markr on March 7, 2006 at 10:38 pm

    Can Apple really do this? Will it be the battle of the attorneys. makes want to get of i-tunes and any other apple stuff here.


  2. Posted by Allan Smith on March 8, 2006 at 12:02 am

    Wow, this is absolutely nuts, if I’m reading the application correctly. There is so much prior art.


  3. I am not a patent lawyer, but I can’t think of any way in which these patents can be read in a way that doesn’t make Apple – and all the listed “inventors” – appear to be complete scum. This is an unexpected bucket of bile upended over my head that makes me want to toss my beloved PowerBook – with iPod still attached – out the window.


  4. Posted by Bernard Farrell on March 8, 2006 at 8:05 am

    I believe you can appeal to the Patent Commissioner and cite prior publications/art. Do you know whether anyone is planning to do this in the case of Apple’s two patent applications?



  5. Did O’Reilly invest in RSS 1.0? When and how or by whom? I would find it really interesting to get further background information about that issue.


  6. Clemens, it was, in every way, from top to bottom, an O’Reilly affair. The chairman of the group, Rael Dornfest, was an O’Reilly employee, he still is. The group was organized by the #2 guy at O’Reilly, Dale Dougherty. It was developed in private on a mail list run by O’Reilly. All the people who were involved were invited by O’Reilly.

    They didn’t hide it, although they spin it that all these people were coincidentally, acting on their own. The record is all there on the Syndication mail list at Yahoo. Mark Pilgrim did an analysis of that on his blog, you can read that if you like, if you don’t believe me.


  7. Thank you! It is quite hard to track down all the protagonists and their interests. It is very interesting to see who is behind the initiatives. So who are the Atom guys? Is it IBM?


  8. Posted by elle on March 8, 2006 at 12:44 pm

    It’s always a perfect day to run a photo of three babes!


  9. Posted by markr on March 8, 2006 at 2:24 pm

    Ok, I will ask! Who are they


  10. Posted by markr on March 8, 2006 at 2:25 pm

    Who are the three babes? Inquiring minds would like to know. Curious


  11. There should be some kind of law preventing people/companies from making such bogus patent claims. Its like a dirty form of plagerism.


  12. I noticed your reference to our “profile” conversation of many years ago. Go for it!


  13. Posted by J on March 9, 2006 at 3:23 am

    “There should be some kind of law preventing people/companies from making such bogus patent claims.”

    This can be achieved by patenting before somebody else does, can’t it?

    Why didn’t somebody from O’Reilly get their patents before?


  14. I think you guys have missed the details of this patent. The patent does not claim any ownership to RSS it describes a ‘technique’ for displaying and managing XML feeds. It is a patent for some of the features Safari has when it displays RSS Feeds. Most specifically, it is the feature to move a slider and increase or reduce each entry length. Whether or not this should be patentable now is another discussion.

    Here is a demo:


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