Scripting News for 3/12/2006

6PM Pacific: Arrived safely in Carlsbad, CA. Just spent a half-hour listening to Pierre Omidyar be interviewed by Esther, with Q&A from the audience. The questioners line up in front of the mikes, and are called on, one from each mike. The questioner identifies him or herself. The tone at Esther’s is very spacy, it’s hard to understand what they’re talking about, seems unfortunate because Omidyar has so much practical experience (founder of eBay). If any Scripting News readers are here, please post a comment. Is there an IRC back-channel? If not, shall we create one? One question I was aching to hear answered is What about Skype? I’ve sworn however that I won’t ask any questions, I find the format so unconducive to discourse. I’m going to try to sit with my hands folded and only answer when called on (which I don’t expect to happen). Okay now it’s on to the buffet and opening reception. Let the schmoozing begin! 🙂 

Randall Stross: “Wikipedia’s reputation and internal editorial process would benefit by having a single authority vouch for the quality of a given article.” 

I’ve been getting both public and private warnings that some people are going to try to do something nasty with OPML, maybe get a “war” going with me. I’d love to avoid having to protect my creative work this time. I think at this point, no one would argue that, for better or worse, I am the designer of OPML, and the author of its spec, and the developer of the app that defines the format (the last part probably some people would contest, but I believe most reasonable people would concede that). Yet, based on recent experience, there are people who think it can be “taken over.” I don’t know if it can or it can’t. But why not wait until after the OPML Editor 1.0 release ships to try to hijack the format. After that I won’t fight with you. I probably won’t even fight very much now. The fight has pretty much gone out of me. I’m feeling the stress of all the fighting, and age, and I’m satisfied that I have enough money to retire on now. Why not let me go, quietly and peacefully, I’ll stop writing my blog, I’ll stop developing new stuff, you can be me if you want, I won’t be in your way. How about it? If ever there was a peace offering, it seems like this one must be too good to be true. 

An ex-Googler wonders why anyone buys Google stock at the current price. It’s not really a mystery. They do it because they hope to be able to sell it at a higher price, later. 

Mike Arrington: Flickr has some catching up to do

It was 1983 

I had a dream last night.

It was so vivid, so real, a little on the nightmarish side, with a premise from science fiction.

Somehow I had been transported back to 1983. I was at an Apple event, and there was Young Steve Jobs, with a full head of hair, talking with reporters, but not in a huge auditorium, in a room that looked like a high school gymnasium, kind of a user’s group meeting. He was defensive, talking about the Apple ][, and the reporters were on his tail, hassling him, looking for defensive quotes to fit into what were sure to be stories about the death of his company.

I sought out one of the Apple marketing whizzes, these guys were like gods back then. He was young, in his early 20s, with an arrogant smile. They weren’t winning any battles with the reporters, but I was just some old schmuck, he didn’t have to be nice to me, so he wasn’t. Didn’t matter to me, I was on a mission. I wanted to tell him that it would all be okay, I wanted him to get the message to Steve. As proof that I came from the future, I told him I knew they had a new computer in the works, it would be called the Macintosh (I couldn’t remember if they had decided on the name at this time) and it would ship in January of the next year. He corrected me and said they would have some news in February, not January. I smiled. I told him some more things that would happen in 1984, knowing this would not help convince him that what I was saying was real, but if he’d remember them, he’d know then that what I said about 1997, and the iPod in 2002 would likely be true and I was really a visitor from the future. He walked away, and a minute later a snotty security guy with facial hair like the guard in the Wizard of Oz came to escort me out of the hall. Apparently the young marketing dude thought I was a lunatic.

The dream didn’t end there, it dragged on and on, my subconscious apparently was interested in how life would work if all I had in my wallet were about $100 in cash and credit cards with expiration dates like 2007 and 2008. It was pretty difficult to make a go of it, as a homeless person with almost no money. The place I live in, in Berkeley hadn’t been built yet, nor had my car, my cellphone didn’t work, and if I could find the younger version of myself in 1983, even if I could convince him that I was a relative of his, he was fairly broke then and wouldn’t have been able to help me out much. And then all the different people and places got to be too much, and I drifted off into some other place, or woke up, or whatever.

8 responses to this post.

  1. Gawd. I was hoping OPML 2 would avoid an RSS-esque tea-kettle tempest. The new spec makes me happy, and it won’t be difficult to convert it into other formats. So, like, why don’t the grousers leave OPML 2 alone and see if they can make a better format with better tools to get it better adopted? I’ve realized lately that there’s a reason OPML has spread so well, taken as a complete package.


  2. Seems to be the night for nightmares, I just had one myself.

    I fail to see the point of someone co-opting OPML. Unlike RSS, it is not set in stone so any glaring flaws can be worked out with its creator in a mutually respectful atmosphere. Dave, may I suggest that you add links wherever appropriate to places where discussions of the spec itself are being carried out, not just discussions about the OPML Editor as on


  3. No way, Dave. We still need you. Of course, everyone would (I hope) understand any decision you made about slowing down for your own mental and physical health. You’ve certainly earned it, though that’s no prerequisite itself. If it helps, I think there are a great many who would try to continue on as you would have, if only because your influence has become an innate part of the way we approlook at things.


  4. What’s this about a ‘war’?? What nastiness could anyone ‘do’ to OPML?? I don’t get it.

    I have heard that Microsoft are building an ‘OPML Exchange Server’ – whatever that is, but no bad things.

    I just hope things don’t start breaking as people start extending in OPML 2.0.. we shall see…

    Peace is GOOD


  5. You know, the thing about the guard in the Wizard of Oz — he turns out to actually be the wizard. (Or at least Frank Morgan). And the wizard turns out not to be a wizard. He’s just a guy from Kansas that got blown off course, and landed in the right place at the right time.

    And that picture of Steve…

    I think your subconscious makes a lot of poetic sense.


  6. have you tried #pcforum as an IRC channel?

    My recollection was that that was the channel name last year.

    Though I also recall that connectivity was really bad, esp for the first day.


  7. dave, during pc forum pls comment even if not called upon. this year is about users taking charge (as it should be every year), who better than you to speak to how to actually do that. rodger


  8. Is it coincidence that the Apple guys (Steve and the Wizard of Oz guard) both have facial hair and that Microsoft (Bill Gates) is clean shaven? Sort of like the scrappy street fighter going up against the clean cut champion.


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