Scripting News for 8/24/2006

Today’s Rocketboom covers the NYTimesRiver. Thanks! 

Realized I had not officially announced the BBCRiver. Works great on Blackberry, Treo, web-enabled mobile device. 🙂 “The next time you see someone pop on the headphones and get that faraway look in his or her eyes, don’t be so sure it’s a tune that’s beguiling them. It just may be the latest oral arguments from the Seventh Circuit.” 

Wired: “It’s easy to forget that one of the reasons people were so excited about Napster back in the day was the social networking aspect.” 

Netflix announces its mobile site.  

Amazon surprises us again. EC2 does for computing what S3 does for storage. I’m scratching my head, in a good way. What does their virtual machine run? Their only code sample is in Java. Postscript: Colin Faulkingham sheds some light. 

Jon Udell’s screencast demoing EC2.  

David Galbraith: “EC2 allows you to put a disk image of a Linux machine onto Amazon S3 (their remote storage service) and create a virtual machine by installing from there onto EC2.” 

Marc Canter notes what we’ve also been noting. Google’s development strategy looks more and more like the one that got Microsoft in so much trouble in the 90s. We gave them perfectly good ways of moving data around, so developers could use any company’s infrastructure. Google reinvents it so you can only use theirs. I recommend going some other way, for now. And Google, we want to ride up front, with you, not locked in the trunk, with uncertain air supply. 

Phil Jones: “The silliest thing, ever, is people getting all uptight because Dave is “arrogant.” 

A union of explainers and justifiers? 

Thanks Doc. We should start a union of explainers and justifiers who respond to the kvetchers and complainers who say we have no right to do anything new, or find a new angle on something that’s been done before. I don’t think I need to justify that I’ve contributed a lot of innovation here, yet that’s what the other folk are making an issue of. Heh. My first river of news aggregator first appeared in 1999, when RSS was new. I’ve been doing them ever since. This was the week when the concept finally caught on, imho. As with outliners, that needed bullet charts to justify them to many people, the river of news concept needed mobile devices. As payloads for RSS (2000) needed podcasting to give it a purpose (2004).

The way technology works, for those who care about such things: Start with a vision you believe in, and keep trying to find ways to show others how powerful it is. Over and over, often for years.

Outliners took eight years from idea to product of the year. Podcasting took four years. River of news took seven. This is opposite the myth of invention, the Eureka moment when everyone sees the idea. The moment often takes years to play out. Maybe it always does. But when you finally break through, savor the moment, and don’t pay any attention to the ballast. (Also, I find that the people with the biggest problems often turn out to be competitiors. It’s a dishonorable way to compete. Much better to try to give users more good stuff, not try to keep them looking at stuff they like.)

13 responses to this post.

  1. “Amazon EC2 allows you to set up and configure everything about your instances from your operating system up to your applications.”

    “provides the equivalent of a system with a 1.7Ghz Xeon CPU, 1.75GB of RAM, 160GB of local disk, and 250Mb/s of network bandwidth”

    You basically create your own Amazon Machine Image and upload it configured the way you want.

    As I understand it you use the web service to create and instantiate your virtual machine images. Then it’s pretty much like using your own machine to do what ever it is you need to do.


  2. Posted by Jacob levy on August 24, 2006 at 8:42 am

    So lets see —

    160MB/mo of disk is 160 x $0.15 = $24
    24 x 30 x $0.10 for existence = $72
    100MB/mo of bw is 100 x $0.20 = $20
    Total per image/mo = $116/mo

    This is not competitive with offerings of dedicated machines such as here:

    That one is a *dedicated* machine which offers a bit slower CPU, 1500GB/mo of bw, 1GB of RAM and 80GB of disk. I played with the configuration and got something very similar to what EC2 offers for $179/mo except for bw which blows EC2 out of the water.

    For resellers anyways its a non-starter. If it offered something extra like no restrictions on usage of Amazon E-commerce services (currently you’re limited to 1 API call per second per key)

    In Amazon’s favor, they offer (bursty or sustained? doesnt say) 250MB/sec network bandwidth and in-network communication is free, between instances of EC2 virtual machines. Not bad a-tall.

    So far from skimming their docs I did not see whether they offer dedicated IP addresses and how many per virtual machine, and how would you bind (via DNS) a host name to one of your virtual machines.


  3. Posted by Elle on August 24, 2006 at 8:57 am


    It’s really unprofessional to dismiss as kvetchers and complainers the readers that have commented on your mobile demos. It’s also pretty unprofessional to suggest that these readers “say we have no right to do anything new.”

    Nobody suggested that you have no right to do anything new. They’ve suggested that your mobile demos aren’t new or particularly interesting, which is accurate.

    Instead of getting defensive and dismissive about this, it would be great if you could learn about the prior work that’s been done and then work on doing something really new.


  4. Elle, whoever you are (who are you?) you certainly are a kvetcher and a complainer. How else would you characterize your post here? Take your own advice, do something new. Kvetching is OLD. 🙂


  5. Dave,

    Once again (!) congratulations on yet another insanely great (he-he) idea!

    I don’t know if you’re taking requests but one of the best places to find out what’s really going on in the world is – I’d love to see that Blackberried…

    Thanks for everything. 🙂


  6. To everyone saying that Dave’s mobile news concepts are nothing new, I think you’re right, and it would be nice if dave acknowledged others innovations in the same way he wishes all his innovations to be credited. But that’s all missing the point here. The point is that Dave has a lot of influence with a lot of people (i mean this in a positive way– it’s well deserved over many years), and he has a way of presenting simple ideas in ways that make people go “hey, I could use that!”

    So yes, Dave has an ego, as we all do to some extent, but his contribution here (as has been with many of his past work) as an evangelist are really unparalleled.



  7. All things considered, I’m pretty happy with the response; I’ve come to expect some nasty stuff from the usual places. Nothing new there.


  8. […] I was given a beta account this moring and I planed on doing some testing this weekend. John Udell already got and instance up and running very cool. It currently only supports Linux VM see my comments on Dave’s weblog. […]


  9. Dave, the BBC River is the UK edition, with lots of UK news. Is there a corresponding international edition that focuses on global news?

    I’d love to see this for The Economist too.

    There a (nifty) hack that lets you search through Google News with a string like
    source:ann_arbor_news +the
    and return a nearly full RSS feed from that, which could without much fuss turn into a river of just about anything.


  10. Shalom Dave,

    I was contacted by someone at the Israeli Center for Educational Technology about an initiative for using RSS for helping people with disabilities to use the web.

    I have pointed him to your “river of” ideas as ways to take information coming from RSS and fitting it to the needs of any device. A “device” might be hardware but also software that is used for special ways of accessing the information.

    Looking forward for more old ideas from you.



  11. […] Earlier in the week, while trying to sip from the firehose of feedback, Ed Vielmetti pointed out that the feeds being scanned for the BBC river were from the UK Edition, and that there was more in the World Edition. So it went on my to-do list, and this morning I was able to find them and now they’re tributaries of the BBC river.   […]


  12. Posted by Anton2000 on August 26, 2006 at 6:30 am

    Word of the Day Archive, Saturday June 1, 2002

    They begin to look like malcontents who kvetch about the weather so much that they don’t notice the sun coming out.


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