Scripting News for 11/11/2006

A new podcast. I’ve been flashing on all kinds of things after Tuesday’s election. We’ve never had so much power. We sure didn’t get fooled again. A branch of government switched parties, and all of a sudden we got our democracy back. What’s next? 

NY Times: “The president and his political adviser, Karl Rove, refused to compromise on legislation, bullied their own party’s senators and ignored leaders of the opposition.” 

Does hype ever go out of style? 

Just when you may have thought it was safe again to make software for users without so much hype, John Markoff, writing in the NY Times, says Web 3.0 is “in its infancy.” Who says it’s the next thing? Hmmm. Hard to figure out.

Stop for a moment, take a breath. Do we really want to go here? Just as Web 2.0 is petering out (we hope) can we avoid the next bit of bullshit?

The hype habit of Silicon Valley is pretty bad. How about setting expectations somewhat in line with reality? Sell what you have, not what you’re dreaming about. Every time SV pumps up expectations, the money starts flowing into the hype, and away from what keeps people employed — the technology SV is supposed to be producing.

If Hollywood worked this way, they’d sell the movies they think they’re going to ship in 10 years. If Nashville worked this way, they’d sell the country music of 10 years from now. If NY worked this way, they’d only sell futures, you wouldn’t be able to buy stock.

More hype should be as welcome by the technology industry as another Karl Rove slogan is welcomed by today’s electorate (hint: the president’s approval rating is down to 31, a drop of ten points in less than a week).

Danny Ayers: “Who else is lumping these things together and applying that label?”

Tim Finin: “The article is pretty much content free from a technology perspective.”

Postscript: The features they’re hinting at are hardly new. Collaborative filtering is a mature technology, although there’s certainly room for innovation, and a lot to be gained by opening up the silos. Example: Netflix movie recommendations. They know which movies I’m likely to like, based on the ones I rated, and by finding patterns in other people’s ratings. They’re remarkably good at it. Yahoo has the same feature. Amazon makes purchase recommendations, but I find they’re recommending things I’ve already bought from them, hardly very creative, and almost never results in a sale.

Anchors in OPML 

Anchors, as Tom Morris describes them, should survive a reorganization, and luckily it’s not very hard to do.

Each headline that’s to be linked to externally needs some sort of identifier that’s unique within the file.

I suggest using the created attribute, which provides a unique ID down to the second. Of course this would fail if you create more than one node in a second, but I find that’s a limit I can live with.

6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Cletus on November 11, 2006 at 5:28 pm

    Praise Murphy! Dave, dude, I would love to hear you doing more shows. No surprise, but in this age of 10,000 podcasters, your style is still unique and your content of tremendous interest. My top 10 list of favorite podcasts to date includes two from you: the “breakfast” episode with your parents and the Florida beach storm or “godcast thunderstorm” I think it was called. Both are pure citizen media perfection.


  2. There can’t be a web 3.0 until after the current crop of web 2.0 companies suffers enough of a downturn in the business cycle to throw people out of work. By the time the next cycle turns up we’ll probably call it something else.


  3. Wait, if the president’s approval rating dropped 10 points in less than a week, doesn’t that mean that:

    a) 30 million people changed their mind in less than a week, or
    b) the system they use to calculate this is utterly inaccurate


  4. Thanks, Dave. The tool I’ve just build is in deep version 0.1 territory. Once I’ve got a bit more time to work on this, I’ll be pulling together numerous ways to link in to OPML files. Created should work fine – I’m going to make a little tool next week to find the node you want and get an anchor link for it.


  5. I’ve been working along the same lines recently with webOutliner. My first thought was to create a namespace specific ‘wo:anchor’ attribute for that purpose, which offers the possibility to use a simple, short, name for the anchor.

    Using the OPML ‘created’ attribute is simpler from the OPML generating perspective (and I do not think generating more that one anchor a second is a real life issue 🙂 but it makes for hard to type and remember urls when linking to the inside of an OPML outline manually…

    We also need a way of specifying what part of the target outline gets included: is it the anchor designated node only, that target node and its children if it has any, or that target node, its children if any, and its subsequent siblings if any ?

    I tend to favor the last option, but devising a standard way of choosing between these options from the originating link would be interesting. A bit too forward looking maybe ?

    Still thinking all this over. Any comment welcome.



  6. Marc – I’ve started using ‘created’. It’s a bit of an odd way of doing it, but it works. The good part about it is that it’s automatic. The vast majority of OPML producing tools add it automatically. And for everything else, you can use a path.


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