Scripting News for 8/30/2006

Today’s song: “I’m goin’ home, and when I wanna go home I’m goin’ mobile.” 

Last year on this day: “The New Orleans Times-Picayune has switched to weblog format for breaking news.” 

Business 2.0: The New York Times’ digital makeover

Todd Ziegler: 9 Ways for Newspapers to Improve Their Websites

Chris Kelley: “I hope Steve Gillmor is right that links are dead because I can’t see anyway to get A URL in here.” 

In the Trenches: “Pretty darn sick!” 

Brian Jepson: “Dave says it’s short for Your Mobile Weblog, but I think it’s short for Yo! Moblog!” 

Posting from a Blackberry 

Today I’d like to share a tool I wrote that allows me to write and edit blog posts using a mobile device. I knew I’d have to have this tool as soon as I found myself carrying a Blackberry at times when I’d usually have my black MacBook with me.

If you visit that page, which is designed to work on a mobile device (it’ll look crunched up on a desktop or laptop) you’ll be asked to enter several bits of information (it may make sense to gather them in advance).

1. The address of your weblog. It must support the Metaweblog API and Really Simple Discoverability (RSD). Most WordPress, TypePad, Movable Type and Manila sites do, we’ve tested the service with these tools with good results. If you’re not sure whether your blog is compatible, give it a try. Important note: If there are problems please report them on the Blackberry-Bloggers mail list, which has been set up for that purpose.

2. Your email address. You know the drill. We’ll send a confirming email to this account, with a magic URL that validates your account. So you must be able to receive email at this address.

3. The username and password for your weblog. These are the two bits you use to log onto WordPress, TypePad or Manila. You must provide these so can post on your behalf.

Click Submit, check your mail, click the link, click again, and enter your email address and password. (This is the tricky part. The username here is your email address, not the username for your blogging software.)

From then on you’ll visit:

Which is also designed for a mobile screen and will look scrunched on a desktop or laptop.

A few notes. When you delete a post, you are only deleting the copy on our server, the post on your blog is not deleted. This is a safety precaution.

It does support categories, which appear as checkboxes on the form, which is long. Scroll down to see the checkboxes and other less-often used user interface elements. There’s also a list of previous posts, which you can edit whenever you like by clicking on the name of the post, and then editing the text in the form. works on any web-enabled mobile device, not just a Blackberry.

This is experimental software. Please back up your data. We are not responsible for any loss in service, or loss of data entered into the system. Will not use your personal information for any purpose other than to allow you to create and edit posts on your weblog. The security of the system is lightweight, don’t trust it for sensitive information. We make no guarantees about performance, uptime, and we may cancel the service at any time, for any reason, at our discretion.

A page listing recent blog posts:

YoMoBlog stands for Your Mobile Weblog.

If you use it, I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

An open note to O’Reillyites 

I know it may be hard to believe this, but I don’t wish your company harm, or anyone at your company including the top guy. However, it wasn’t until the last round of BS that I realized why there’s such a big disconnect, and I thought I should share it, in case any of you are tired of the disconnect too.

Even if you don’t care about mending fences with me, there’s a bigger problem, and it’s going to spill over, I think pretty soon. You can feel it out there. Hire a consultant if you don’t believe me. It’s worth checking out. A dam is about to break. There are a lot of people pissed at O’Reilly, every time you do another exclusive event, more people are getting angry. But so far they’re not saying anything publicly because your company has said, clearly, that if you say anything negative about them, you won’t be invited. Enough people still have some hope that they don’t want to be the one to say how they feel about it. But there’s lots of back channel grumbling.

Me, I am an ornery dude. If someone tells me that I have to shut up or I won’t get invited, my response is to tell you to fuck off, in public, loudly. I value my independence more than anything. I don’t want an invite to FOO Camp next year, or the year after. If you want me to sign something that says I will never under any circumstances come to FOO Camp, I’ll sign it. So I’m not kissing up here, I don’t want an invite.

But what I do want is to avoid a bloody mess. We have work to do here. We have a bubble-pop to avoid. We need to start doing some real investing in technology, not the BS that passes for technology investing that’s been going on for the last decade.

So if you could take Tim aside, and say look, this isn’t working, we have to grow bigger, and let people say what they think about us, and our role in the industry. We’re not going to be able to keep a lid on it much longer, and it’s better to let it out in a way where people know we’re listening and we want to work with them.

I had an experience like this with Apple in 1997. The company was in disarray, the market was sinking fast. Craig Cline, who was running the Seybold Conference at the time asked me to chair a panel entitled “Can Apple Survive?” I accepted the assignment with gusto. This is exactly what we needed to get out in the open. But Apple controlled the conversation and they tried to sabotage us. Well we had the discussion anyway, ask anyone who was there, it was a real good thing we had it. A lot of people were very concerned, and rightly so. By getting the angst out of the way, we were able to focus on what was working in the Mac market, and that played some role in the revival of Apple. Not a very famous role, but I think an important one.

We need to get all hands involved in what we used to call Web 2.0. It’s time for it to stop being exclusive, and it’s way past time for one company to be controlling who’s supposed to participate. I’ve totally earned the respect of this community, and dammit it’s time O’Reilly to show some of that. You’ve behaved really inappropriately for a company of your stature. Let’s get past this, and let’s start building, and forget whatever it is that’s been in our way. I posted a very generous invite to Tim two days ago, I’ve been reaching out this way for years, now it’s about time you guys responded, don’t you think?

Yeah I know it’s a long shot, but I want to be able to say I did everything I could to fix the problem. It’s worth trying to fix, and pride (which believe it or not I have a lot of) isn’t something that should get in the way.



Apple in the news 

TechCrunch got a legal notice from Apple requesting they take down a video that demonstrates a feature of an unreleased version of the Macintosh operating system.

Just when I think Mike has turned into a lapdog for the tech industry he inspires me with something like this! 🙂

And with Eric Schmidt on Apple’s board, not much chance of Google launching an iTunes killer.

9 responses to this post.

  1. I have a feeling I already know the answer to this question, but just in case…is this service only available for Blackburry use?


  2. It works on any web-enabled mobile device, not just a Blackberry.


  3. Hi Dave, I’ve been using Google script for converting any web page to a mobile version. It’s been around for a while and works extremely well, even gives you an option if you want to display images or not. It’s at


  4. Hello Dave. Don’t know if you saw this article in Business 2.0 magazine, but it relates to a few posts you’ve made, especially the one about what newspapers need to do.

    The New York Times’ digital makeover

    NY Times “most valuable laboratory may prove to be MyTimes”

    “Most people outside the business are totally unaware of it (RSS).”



  5. Mary Ann: yes I can confirm it works on pretty much anything, including Nokia series 60 cellphones like my E70 🙂

    Dave: yes you are seriously onery. But why the heck does O’Reilly matter in the Web 2.0 scheme of things? Seriously, the only time I really hear about them is around Foo time. What do they add? It’s a serious question: how does Foo Camp add to or detract from the Web 2.0 juice? The only affect I see is taking some key people out of the loop for 3 days.


  6. Ben maybe so, then we’ll find out at some point one way or the other.

    One thing I do know is that discourse has always been severely stifled in the tech industry. And you’d think that with all these new methods of communication we’d be past that, but it seems to be getting worse.

    Maybe there are a lot of other people with opinions who would express them more freely if there wasn’t that big a price to pay?

    Anyway, I had something to say, I said it ,and now the ball is in their court. We’ll see what happens. 🙂


  7. Posted by scott on August 31, 2006 at 12:34 pm

    > I’ve totally earned the respect of this community

    This is the big disconnect.


  8. Dave you are right – I was not saying anything about the O’Reilly situation in the hopes I might be able to one day talk to him about what’s going on – to engage in real, open dialogue. Realizing that this is probably not possible, its time to stand on the other side of the fence and be part of the NOO list (Not-friends Of O’Reilly)

    Like you, I wish it did not need to come to this, but if that is there way of thinking, there is no other choice but to stand up for what we believe in.


  9. Thanks Chris, I think you’re the first person other than myself to say openly that enough is enough with the exclusiveness, that if the web is about anything it’s about inclusiveness.

    My friend Sylvia Paull once said she doesn’t go to parties her friends aren’t welcome at. Ever since hearing that I’ve adopted it, and find it works well.


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