Scripting News for 12/3/2006

Recorded a podcast this evening with Calacanis and Rojas. How long was it? 40:58. Amazing how all good podcasts are 40 minutes long. :-) 

Titantv.com is a killer TV listing web app. Nicer than the original Yahoo TV grid, without all the Ajaxy slowness. 

Spruce is a killer hill. Once you start going up, it’s just up, up and up. No chance to chill! 

On this day in 1999, MacWEEK (now defunct) covered the introduction of Manila. Believe it or not, Manila is still a product, and UserLand is still operating.  

Al Jazeera: “Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, has said Iraq is in the grips of a civil war and many people are worse off now than under Saddam Hussein.” 

Hipmojo says we’re not in another bubble. 

I’m coming to think of myself as ProtoBlogger. :-) 

Someday you’ll be able to watch a commercial you like over and over and over and over.  

Each segment of On The Media is available separately. For example, the segment I commented on yesterday is broken out on this page.  

Yahoo screwed up 

BTW, I just noticed that Mike’s headline, “Yahoo Gets Trashed by Users,” exposes an insider’s perspective. Companies that see users as adversaries are troubled. And analysts who encourage that aren’t doing anyone a favor. This is why I finally left Silicon Valley, it had become dominated by this distrust of users. This is such a blatant example. The users are saying it so clearly. Yahoo screwed up. Even the people from Yahoo see this (the company used to have performance as a core value).

They all go through this, Apple had the Apple III before they produced the Apple IIe. IBM had the PCjr. Microsoft shipped a version of Word that didn’t work, and at first couldn’t understand what the users were saying. Me, I learned the lesson with Thinktank 128 on the Mac that had less features than the product we had on the IBM PC, which came out earlier. You can’t break users Mike, and that’s what Yahoo did. Explaining it as Users Behaving Badly is totally missing the point.

Postscript: Sometimes I think Radio, which was initially a success, was another example of breaking users. A year after its release I wished instead we had produced a Manila that runs on the desktop. Creating a whole new codebase and design for a blogging CMS wasn’t such a great idea, in the end. Two architectures is one too many for a small company to support. And there were lots of features in Manila that never made it into Radio. It’s totally technically possible to run Manila on the desktop behind a Fractional Horsepower HTTP Server.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it 

Mike Arrington checks in on the mess with Yahoo TV.

Mike, as a former regular user of their service, I don’t read the comments on their blog as hate, but we are frustrated. If there were an adequate replacement for the service on another site, the frustration level would be nowhere near as high, but while Yahoo’s original service wasn’t all that great, it was the only one out there that actually worked.

There’s nothing theoretical about this frustration. Imagine you went out to your car this morning and found that Lexus had changed the way the accelerator worked, so that you had to restart the engine every time you wanted to press the gas pedal. This is the new modern way for cars to work they’d say to you. Ohh, but I just want to go to Starbucks and pickup a latte, you think. They say they appreciate the feedback, but the car keeps working the same brain-damaged way.

Most of us are accustomed to dealing with big companies that are really dumb about us as customers. All that’s happened here is that Yahoo is now one of those companies. Would you *hate* Lexus for being so dumb (in the example, assuming you drive a Lexus). Nahh. Hate is a very strong word, so please be careful about using it, esp to describe a class of people that I’m in. I don’t hate Yahoo, and if they fixed the service today (bring it back to its former functionality) net-net I’d be happy. I really just want to be able to find out what’s on TV now, a nice movie perhaps, or find a news show when I want to find some news (an increasingly difficult thing to find, btw).

This is an important area btw, video on computers is hot, and this is video on computers. It’s a convergence point, the fact tht Yahoo has the only usable listing service (or had) could have been a big advantage for them. As soon as one of their competitors creates a workalike, I bet news travels quick, and we’ll all forget that Yahoo ever had a listing service.

Jeremy Zawodny and Les Orchard who work at Yahoo, comment.

Postscript: Bad news for Yahoo. TitanTV looks like a workalike to the old Yahoo interface (even a little nicer). I had tried out a bunch of others and none were as good, until this one. I’ll try using it and keep you posted.

How to become a third-rate country in six short years 

Watching Meet the Press this morning interview a Bush advisor lie, lie and lie. This is the guy who wrote the memo that leaked, where he told his boss the truth about Iraq. I look forward to the day when I can run a mashup of Meet The Press, and provide a running commentary. The name of the site would be What They Really Mean, and below the speaker would be a translation, in English, of what the spinmeister is saying.

Listening to these guys I think the US has gone crazy. When did our future become the future of Iraq? It’s insanity. We had the leading economy, military, a great country. Iraq was one of a hundred despotic states, no tradition of freedom or intellect, a mediocre economy. What exactly was in it for us in merging with this third-rate country? We’ve lost our minds.

25 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jeff Imig on December 3, 2006 at 8:07 am

    I’ve been using myway.com for a long time.

    My wife started commenting a couple (?) weeks ago that tv.yahoo.com listings were all screwed up.

    but my.myway.com was still working.

    Jeff

    Reply

  2. I just tried myway.com, but it’s not good enough.

    First, it was way too much work to just look at a listing, I had to create an account, even when I had no idea if I wanted to use the service. Yuck.

    And when I finally got through, I saw a grid and that’s good, and it loaded quickly — also good, but it only went up to channel 70. Huh? I have channels up to 900 and the channels I’m most interested in are above 500. That rules it out.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Jeff Imig on December 3, 2006 at 8:24 am

    More re Yahoo vs myway.com

    several years ago (so it seems), I got tired of yahoo improving their my.yahoo.com service… I “discovered” myway.com, & created what I’d thought would be my “Yahoo Killer” my.mywyay page there.

    End result after quite some time: I still use yahoo as a sort of home page, but I never look at their tv listings… What’s really my startup page in firefox is a batch of tabs one of which is my my.myway tv listing page.

    Reply

  4. I agree the setup isn’t that great.

    [900 channels? Do you ever find a time when there’s nothing interesting on any channel?]

    I don’t know if myway.com is still being developed or if it’s just there; it was new at the time if found it.

    It gives me the basic channels, and that’s enough for me. Didn’t know about missing the extras, but I’m not surprised.

    I have decided that I should be creating rather than sitting on my butt watching tv. Not that much time in life.

    Reply

  5. >>Do you ever find a time when there’s nothing interesting on any channel?

    Oh yes indeed. A vast wasteland.🙂

    Reply

  6. Not only does the administration want us to see our future as Iraq’s future (wtf), but the stance is as always, “We’ll get out of Iraq when the Iraqi’s tells us they want us to leave”.

    Never mind what the people of America say. Very strange leadership we seem to have.

    Reply

  7. We should tap him on the shoulder and say “Pssst, remember us.”

    I said years ago, he should go live in Iraq and be their President. We need our own President here to look out for our interests.

    Reply

  8. Last year when you were setting off from Florida on your way eventually to California, you stopped in Savannah for a day. (I was following your blog posts) I felt kind of badly in that I was only in the early design stages of our iTour Savannah website. I recall that you commented that there was really no podcast or significant blogging going on here. I wanted to go meet you and take you on a tour, but I was engaged in my day job.

    I want you to know you had a great influence on my decision to start a Savannah podcast and eventually that interest led to the audio tour business I now run.

    I hope when you return to Savannah someday, you’ll take an audio tour with us.

    Reply

  9. I never actually used Yahoo’s TV service (Their signup form asks for to much personal info, and it wasn’t worth remembering a lie) But I’ve been pretty happy with http://tvlistings2.zap2it.com for years.

    Reply

  10. Posted by Nick on December 3, 2006 at 10:29 am

    Dave,
    Why is it that bloggers have the power to be a new type of journalists yet none of them use that responsibility to its true potential? I thought that you ,the inventor of the blog, would be different enough to see how things could be done, but I am appalled to see that I am mistaken.
    For example, when the bloggers I have seen criticize a politician they basically mirror or agree with what a major news outlet said. If necessity is the mother of all invention, so should it be the mother of all posts. By that I mean blogs should be a voice not for those that agree with someone that has a voice, but a way to empower those who don’t.
    I feel like a blogger should have a conversation with me so that I may relate to his feelings or he can relate to mine. When a blogger has a problem with Bush I want to hear what Bush has done to them rather than an opinion on what he has done to someone else.
    In a nutshell, I want to hear what the blogger himself knows, not what he saw on the same channel I too can watch. Only that would give me something that I can not find in another outlet.
    Thanks for the ear,
    Nick

    Reply

  11. Nick, I have no idea what you’re asking me to do. Maybe if you skip the preamble and sermonizing and get to the point directly it’ll be a little clearer.

    Reply

  12. Posted by Nick on December 3, 2006 at 11:39 am

    Ok Dave,
    take a look at two posts from your own website that I labled 1 and 2.

    [1]Watching Meet the Press this morning interview a Bush advisor lie, lie and lie. This is the guy who wrote the memo that leaked, where he told his boss the truth about Iraq. I look forward to the day when I can run a mashup of Meet The Press, and provide a running commentary. The name of the site would be What They Really Mean, and below the speaker would be a translation, in English, of what the spinmeister is saying.

    The first one is a meet the press story. Its the same groupthink that all of the major news organizations have. Its not what I want from a blogger because I can get it from a traditional news agency. My ability to watch it on TV takes a portion of the value of you telling me about it away.

    [2]Listening to these guys I think the US has gone crazy. When did our future become the future of Iraq? It’s insanity. We had the leading economy, military, a great country. Iraq was one of a hundred despotic states, no tradition of freedom or intellect, a mediocre economy. What exactly was in it for us in merging with this third-rate country? We’ve lost our minds.

    Information is valuable when I can’t get it someplace else. Your opinions and insight which you gave me in the second post are something I can’t see on Meet the Press and therfore is a valuable addition.

    You seem to think that blogs are a competitor to conventional news. They could be a tool that can be used with the traditional news providers.

    I want some sort of search engine that gives me information that I want to see after I learn from another source. For example, if I saw Meet the Press on Dec. 3 I should be able to search for blogs that A. tell me more information or B. have a different view. Search engines and blogs today seem to be about starting to learn not continuing my education.

    Reply

  13. Your aspiration to mashup the talk shows with your own commentary is called The Daily Show where they do it with great humor.

    Reply

  14. Nick, if you don’t like the news go out and make some of your own.

    In other words, lead by doing, not by telling other people what to do.

    Reply

  15. Posted by Nick on December 3, 2006 at 12:43 pm

    Those are good words to live by Dave. My partner and I are working on a site that does what I described to you, but we know you have alot more blogging expierence than we do. It would really help us if you could take a look at the site before we release it to the public to tell us what needs to be added or approved. So give me a call if you have some free time to look at the site.
    Thanks,
    Nick
    (812) 639-0834

    Reply

  16. I just wanted to comment on your good health report from yesterday. That is wonderful news, Dave.
    Jeanne

    Reply

  17. Posted by Ezra on December 3, 2006 at 3:41 pm

    You know, it’s probably unfair to say that Iraq has no tradition of intellect. They did sort of invent writing. They also had a pretty advanced civilization when Europeans were just puttering around in the woods.

    Reply

  18. Posted by Ezra on December 3, 2006 at 3:44 pm

    If you can get a video file of Meet the Press, I think you can do what you want to do with iMovie on the Mac, using the “subtitle” title style, which overlays text onto the bottom of the movie as its running.

    Reply

  19. “You know, it’s probably unfair to say that Iraq has no tradition of intellect. They did sort of invent writing. They also had a pretty advanced civilization when Europeans were just puttering around in the woods.”

    This is true in a comparative sense, Iraq is does make up some of the land that was at one point, Mesopotamia and Sumer. Those civilisations did achieve vast leaps of knowledge including writing and math BUT- (and a notable one) that doesn’t let one fairly conclude that Iraq “ivented writing”. We are talking about 4th and 3rd millennium BC. A long time before Babylon and the countless societies that would come and go on the land that we know recognize as Iraq, not that we recognize their sovereignty or anything but you get the idea. I think when Dave wrote, he was careful in his words to say “tradition of intellect”. As in, in recent/modern history, there really is no tradition or heritage of educational progress or higher learning for societal advancement. They’ve pretty much defined their groups by religion and race and been run by an extremist dictator without any successful coup despite wide support for a popular majority from neighboring nations. In other words, Baghdad is no Paris or Beirut.

    FWIW- I totally agree that it is insane this entire country has lost it’s damned mind- on the other hand- we did recently vote for change and thus, we can hope things are (slowly) starting to swing in a positive direction.

    big fan of Scripting.com- keep it up! One piece of feedback- as a mobile user, any chance we could get a link to a mobile version of scripting.com. Am loving the newsrivers on my nokia6133 but can’t seem to get a super easy version of SN, I probably overlooked the link- any help would rock.

    Thanks again-
    Jack

    “Once in a while
    you get shown the light
    in the strangest of places
    if you look at it right”
    😉

    Reply

  20. Our current President (and his father) and our Vice President and, well, most of the administration have a vested interest in oil reserves. OIL. They do not care about the people of our own country or the problems that we possibly face because we do not add money to their coffers. Securing the oil rights in Iraq will do that. It has been their focus since taking office.

    I believe we have an insane President and Administration. I also believe that the citizens of the United States are finally coming out of their flag-waving, patriotic coma and are realizing that Iraq is/was/will be a huge mistake and waste of human lives and American tax dollars.

    Our recent election was a hopeful sign that the insanity may be starting to wane.

    Reply

  21. Posted by Ezra on December 3, 2006 at 5:40 pm

    “there really is no tradition or heritage of educational progress or higher learning for societal advancement.”

    Actually, the Iraqi education system and overall level of education was not bad until sanctions in the 1990’s. Iraq is not third-world like Afghanistan is. (Think about how many Iraqis make it on the news speaking English, just for starters; that’s not exactly the hallmark of an extremely backward country).

    And as for being defined by race and religion and being run by an extremist, well, let’s not cast the first stone on that one…

    Reply

  22. I was going to recommend TitanTV. Its nice because it knows where you are and what service you use and only displays those channels you receive.

    Reply

  23. Hi Dave,
    This comment is blatant self-promotion, but you might find this useful. A project of mine, runstoppable.com, lets you map out where you go on walks (runs, etc) and gives you a nice elevation graph showing where you went (the graph is interactive, too). I have an example here http://www.runstoppable.com/routeoverview.php5?route_id=950991470.

    Anyway.. I saw your note about Spruce Street, and thought it would be cool if you could share the magnitude of the hill.

    Reply

  24. Posted by Mike C. on December 4, 2006 at 4:45 am

    If you’re interested in tv listing info, it might make sense to contact this guy: http://evoketv.blogspot.com/.

    I used titantv for a few years, but left it in a flash for EvokeTV. For me, presenting episode details in a new window is a killer. It really disrupts the flow. EvokeTV didn’t do that.

    Alas, they recently suspended service, but could come back. It was a truly great service. No gratuitous flashiness; all necessary info.

    Reply

  25. Posted by Will Cate on December 4, 2006 at 8:34 am

    WOW – thanks for the tip on TitanTV. It’s great.

    I don’t mind the program details appearing in a separate window, in fact I prefer it. But each to his/her own, I suppose…

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: