I haven’t read Jimmy Carter’s new book yet, but I have heard a few interviews with him on public radio, and I have read a bunch of stuff written about his book by people I respect, and I don’t know what it is about Jews, but when it comes to Israel they lose all sense of perspective. Do they think the Palestinians are entitled to a point of view? Imagine for a moment if you were a Palestinian. Might the treatment you’ve received by Israel feel just a bit like apartheid?
I think Carter is doing us a service, giving us a chance to see things from another perspective, and it’s so disappointing to see otherwise intelligent and thoughtful people, including at least one person I respect enormously, refuse to consider the possibility that Carter makes a valid point. How are we going to get to peace if we don’t see things from everyone’s point of view? Come on Phillip, give it another chance. If I had been at your party, it wouldn’t have been unanimous.
This is something I don’t agree with my parents about, either. When it comes to Israel all reasonableness goes out the window. I don’t feel very good about this. I was raised to think Jews are smarter than everyone else, but when it comes to Israel, we’re pretty damned thoughtless.
I don’t understand identity conferences. I went to one yesterday, and sat down at three sessions, listened for a bit, then got up because I had no idea what they were talking about. Funny thing is I don’t think most of the people at these events are technical, but they’ve invented a jargon that they use in fast-spoken sentences and I have no idea what the language means. Not saying they should change, but I can’t get over the hurdle to figure out what if anything I can contribute.
Doc says they need a Dave Winer, but I don’t think he understands that the reason I was able to make RSS 2.0 stick was that for a brief period I controlled all sides of the technology and could create consensus over a cup of coffee, with myself. I could have a conference in the morning, write the code in the afternoon, and ship it the next day. Seems there’s no equivalent opportunity in identity, which was already a contentious, fractured and divided world, before the Internet even existed.
Which brings me to Phil Windley, a congenial fellow, I don’t know him very well, but I know him well enough to shake hands and look him the eye and be glad to see him and see that he’s glad to see me. We’re about the same age, and I thought of similar minds, until the subject got around to Bush and the war in Iraq. Phil lives in Utah, and is very Republican and very different from me. Now what I’d like to do with our differences is have a conference about that, and balance it, one Berkeleyite to every Utahan. Let’s spend a few days, in Utah first, skiing at Park City. Pair up, a congenial older lefty like me, and a congenial older righty like Phil. Ride up on the lifts together. Ski down groomed slopes at Deer Valley. Then we all have a buffet dinner every evening and compare notes. In 2007, in today’s political climate, I think we could really get something done.
My new Denon receiver is really tied into Windows, but because it also has an HTTP interface, I can program it from my Mac laptop. That made me think how Apple benefits from the openness of others. Suppose Denon were like Apple, and made a closed box, then I would be pissed because I’d have to use my Sony laptop to control it, but I would use the Sony, even though I prefer to use the Mac. The idea of user choice isn’t about good or bad, heaven or hell, it’s really pragmatic. Being open creates opportunities for companies like Apple, it allows them to coexist with monopolies like Windows, to develop a superior product, even though another company has dominant market share. Maybe someday Apple will dominate, but that day will likely be a bad day for open interfaces because while Apple benefits from the openness of others, they themselves aren’t willing to leave the door open for others.
A good acid test of openness. My software runs on Mac OS X. I’d like to run my software on my iPod. I can’t. In my humble opinion, that’s too damned bad, because I’d do some great stuff with it that Apple could copy, and make a market out of. It would not only be great if they opened it up, but if there were also economic incentives for me to pour my heart into their platform. Like Steve Jobs, I like to make money. Let a thousand flowers bloom. Whatever happened to that beautiful idea.
At dinner the other day we were talking about conferences and we got around to Gnomedex. I thought of something nice, it made me smile. Gnomedex is the only show that invites me to speak, year after year, without me having to ask. That says something special about Chris and Ponzi. I’m really not a bad guy, I bathe regularly, I listen when people talk, when I talk I try to give people something to think about. So I conclude that Ponzi and Chris aren’t scared to ask the people who come to Gnomedex to do all that. Having realized that, I didn’t think I should let it pass without thanking them. Thanks!!
On Thursday at the PaidContent mixer in SF, I met a guy, talking with Susan Mernit, who, in the past, there had been er ahem, difficulties with. I said hello, paid him a small compliment on something he had done since, and was surprised that he wanted to talk. We had a good back and forth, shared some ideas, and I offered my hand, saying, you know we’ve had some problems in the past, but I don’t have a need to perpetuate that. He said me too. That made the whole evening worth it. It was a big noisy room, but not too bad. You could do some business there.