Scripting News for 6/7/2006

Once again Seth Godin is a source of clarity. Good product names are not descriptive, they are evocative, imaginative, new. Podcasting is a fine name, as is RSS. In the end it doesn’t matter what the name is. Television, automobile, watch, sneaker, chimney, mouse, cellphone, speaker, screen, lamp, MP3 player, DVD, baseball, mitt, stamps, bottle, cup, flashlight, menu, router, Mac, cable, printer, glass (made of plastic of course), wallet, these are just some of the things in eyeshot of me right now. Which of them have “funny” names. Is there any confusion about what they are? How inane is it that marketers at Microsoft balk at entering the podcasting market because they think the name helps Apple. Geez get a life — it undermines Apple, you losers! Bill Gates, fire those idiots, now. Unfucking real. 

Show this picture, quickly, to any kid on the street and ask them what it is. I bet they get it wrong. 

Learning how to control the SanDisk MP3 player is an exercise in frustration. I wonder if there’s a legal reason they can’t just adopt the conventions of the iPod. Trying to figure out how to scroll through a podcast to (for the sake of argument) minute 23, I certainly would know how to do it on an iPod, but I can’t figure it out on the SanDisk. I read the docs, no clues there. On the iPod, click in the middle of the wheel and then scroll. Hardly intuitive, but sheez, about 50 million people know how to do this. Must be a patent, eh. If so, thanks for the lock-in. 

Steve Rubel reports on integration between TypePad and FeedBurner. More monetization of User Generated Content.  

There’s a difference betw 1. Creating easy to use blogging tools because you want to empower non-technical people to use a new medium to share what they’ve learned and believe, and 2. Writing yet another boring mashup tool because you want to make a million dollars with flipmeat based on a business model of tricking ordinary people into creating User Generated Content so the company that acquires you can put ads on it, as Lee Gomes has expressed so well in his WSJ article.  

Silicon Valley Watcher reports that Craigslist is being blocked by Cox Interactive. “This situation does not look good in the context of the net neutrality debate. This is exactly the kind of scenario that many people are concerned about, that the cable companies and the telcos will make it difficult for their internet users to access competing services.” 

I’m going to be at Vloggercon this weekend.  

Great Arrington rant about Google and their fans.  

I’ve had some second thoughts on the way we’re inviting people to this BloggerCon. The plan where each DL gets 10 invites and chooses them as if they were panelists at a non-unconference, was interesting, but imho, it didn’t work as I hoped it would. So one of the hallmarks of BloggerCon planning is, when something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it. The new plan is very simple. Tomorrow morning we’ll open a Wiki-based signup page. There will be space for 125 sign-ups, and the first 125 people to sign up will be part of the show at BloggerCon IV on June 23-24 in SF. There’s lots of room outside the meeting room, and wifi everywhere. The weather is likely to be great. There’s also BarCamp going on in SF on Saturday, so there’s lots of blogging schmooze available South of Market during the conference. 

The NY Times writes about Netflix. What they say in general is true for me. I love Netflix for the breadth of their catalog. I can explore Woody Allen movies over a period of a month, loading up my queue with every Woody Allen movie they have, and then playing with the queue as the month goes by. Simultaneously I’m exploring movies directed by George Cukor. As far as I know this is the first time a regular person like myself has been able to do this. But there still are a lot of old movies you can’t get on Netflix. I’d like to see a partnership between Netflix and Turner Classic Movies, a process whereby I could get any movie on TCM delivered via Netflix. I also think the key to longterm survival of Netflix is giving people incentives to connect up to their friends’ movie history so I can easily recommend movies to people I care about and they can tell me what they thought.  

The blogosphere view of Silicon Valley is completely out of whack with the reality- based version. The Valley is history, it’s over, the VCs cashed it all in, in the bubble of the 90s and the cars that used to fill the parking lots on Central Expressway are now filling lots in Ireland and Bangalore. Trust me Toronto, you don’t want to be Silicon Valley unless you want to be a bedroom community for who-knows-what. I honestly can’t figure out who lives in Santa Clara County nowadays. Maybe Valleywag can tell us. Perhaps it’s time to do a photo tour, to show the rest of the world how dead it is down there. 

5 responses to this post.

  1. I will post this when I am not working. But if you want to find your google created RSS 2 feed check the syntax on the blog entry. That’s how to find the feed. And if you leave me a comment, I will reply but only if you have an email attached.
    Now back to our regular program.


  2. I have a hard time believing 50 million people own iPods. But then again I see those little white earbuds on BART every day. I’ve never owned one myself. It sounds like you’ve been retrained by Apple into what is likely their own proprietary control scheme. If you hadn’t been using iPods all these years you likley would have figured out how to fast-forward your Sandisk player in a jiffy. I’ve posted a much longer response on my blog if you care to read it.


  3. Posted by Diego Barros on June 7, 2006 at 6:18 pm

    I’m sure that Microsoft are just probably working hard to re-invent (and in their eyes improve) podcasting. Just like they have a replacement for JPG, PDF, etc. It seems that when someone else does something Microsoft gets busy “improving” it, releasing their own implementation of some technology and providing the required lock-in. Of course, it’d have a name like “On The Go Radio Show”, instead of simple Podcasting, and come in five different editions. Home, Extreme, Personal… etc 🙂

    On MS re-inventing the wheel, no wonder Adobe are balking at just letting MS put PDF support in Office for free. They’d find a way to undermine PDF in user’s eyes while the whole time propping up their implementation. Sun Java VM anyone? 🙂


  4. Posted by Matt on June 7, 2006 at 6:49 pm

    Dave wrote: “Podcasting is a fine name, as is RSS. In the end it doesn’t matter what the name is. Television, automobile, watch, sneaker, chimney, mouse, cellphone, speaker, screen, lamp, MP3 player…”

    Actually I reckon it does matter, especially with new technology – and especially to people in the “real world” as opposed to people who live and breathe tech.

    Dave, you have no idea how many people I have spoken to about buying an MP3 player and they say, ‘Oh, you mean an iPod’. And when I explain that no, an iPod is just a type of MP3 player (like an apple is a type of fruit), they still look at me as if I’m talking a foreign language.


  5. Posted by Matt on June 7, 2006 at 6:52 pm

    Oh, and I should add that I think podcasting is a great name. RSS, I’m not so sure, much as I love the technology.


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