Scripting News for 1/27/2007

Jimmy Carter’s book 

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.

Morning coffee notes 

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.

9 responses to this post.

  1. I live one state over from Utah. I don’t think you’ll get very far on the debate – but the skiing should be good.

    You know they’re kind of isolated. And there’s this mob mentality that sort of just forms as the default no arg constructor in a vacuum. You know we can’t go to war without congress declaring it as such – according to the seldom used constitution. I mean why did all these people vote this way?

    Certainly it wasn’t because they all supported it. Some were deceived. Some just wanted to keep their job after the next election. The net result a predictable one.

    In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. – Nietzsche

    Maybe you are attempting to remove the mob and get back to the individual.


  2. Posted by Nick Irelan on January 27, 2007 at 11:48 am

    Mike,Have you ever considered that maybe the small group in Utah isn’t the mob? It would be much more likely that the larger group in liberal states like New York or California are in a mob. How else can you explain not being happy with Bush when the economy is doing well, education has improved, and the worest thing that is happening is terrorists attacking in a foriegn country. I know you liberals say Iraq dosen’t make us safer, but can you show me one example of them attacking the U.S. after Iraq? I can show you plenty examples of a fight being waged in Iraq. However I cant remember a terrorist attack here after 9/11.


  3. I went to the first Digital ID World and experienced the same sort of problem. The difficulty is that “identity” covers such a broad space — authentication, security, labeling, reputation systems, trust, social spaces — that we’re not always sure we’re talking about the same things when we’re talking to each other.

    I find a great deal of overlap between the things I write about on my blog (the DNS, domain names, and Internet governance) and identity concepts, so I do a fair amount of reading of identity blogs and papers. I find the technical stuff too technical and the ‘think pieces’ too vague. So when Doc says the identity space needs a Dave Winer, he may be talking about the need for someone to bridge the technical and lay spaces. You have a knack for both developing and explaining what you’re developing. Few people can do both equally well.

    — Bret


  4. Posted by Thomas on January 27, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Thanks for assuming every Utahn is a conservative who easily succumbs to mob rule. Very enlightened and benevolent of you to try and save us from ourselves.


  5. All of them voted for the war. I live in San Francisco, and my senitor, Dianne Feinstein (spelling?) at first said she would not, then she did; even Hillary did.

    It was all based on Greed. We went there to rape, pillage, and plunder. Sadam looked like an easy mark. Weak, no allies, oil.

    We actualy deserve everything we get. Especially those who sit by and bitch and complain; yet pay taxes and are unwilling to actually do something. Now its just pass the buck time. Everyone in the bay area just bitched and compalined. No one took it to the streets. Everyone, b/c there was no draft protecting their childern from going, was just looking out for themselves. Yeah, but they could bitch and talk about how they hated Bush, etc.

    So now, if we leave, millions more will die, because of us; and because they’re brown, different, far away, we can simply push it to the backs of our minds and somehow justify it; like good white people do.

    If only our nation had the balls to change, look to the future, rather than trying to maintain the status quo, would this tradgedy have been prevented. Remember, this war was caused b/c you’re too lazy to walk to the store which is five blocks away; or you have to live in a huge house in the suburbs with an hour commute to work, justified b/c in your mind, living close to other people, city dwelling, is disgusting, and dangerous. they’re people.

    we brought this on ourselves; republican and democrat.
    Its just a shame we can’t take responsibility.

    those are real people dying over there.

    ahhh.. but we’re not going to change. cause I gotta make more money than the next guy. Have a beatiful house, with a beatiful wife…


  6. Deer Valley? Count me in. What if we don’t talk about politics or technology?


  7. Posted by bobby on January 29, 2007 at 8:14 am

    read the book first and then comment…
    Jimmy carter apologized publicly (during speech at Brandeis) last week for the way portions of the book ssounded offensive.
    it is a well known fact Crater hates jews, which translates into antisemitism.

    Athens, GA – Former President Jimmy Carter once complained there were “too many Jews” on the government’s Holocaust Memorial Council, Monroe Freedman, the council’s former executive director, said in an interview.
    Freedman, who served on the council during Carter’s term as president, also revealed a noted Holocaust scholar who was not Jewish was rejected from the council’s board by Carter’s office because the scholar’s name “sounded too Jewish.”

    Freedman says he was tasked at that time with creating a board for the council and with making recommendations to the White House on how best to memorialize the Holocaust. He said he sent a memo to Carter’s office containing recommendations for council board members.
    When the memo was returned there was a note on the upper right hand corner that stated, “Too many Jews.” The note, Freedman said, was written in Carter’s handwriting and was initialed by Carter.


  8. Posted by Ken on January 29, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    I can’t think of anyone who has done more to promote world peace and humanitarian efforts than Jimmy Carter since he left office. He writes a book critical of Israel and Israeli policies and the response from the media is strangley muted. The reponse from individuals is nothing but flak. A typical response is like that of the Dvorak Uncensored blog (which I like) which shows a picture of Carter with a Hitler mustache.

    I haven’t read the book, but judging from the knee-jerk and juvenile response, it must be right on the money.


  9. Posted by anonXLguy on January 29, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    It’s not about racism. It’s about including out-and-out complete and utter lies in the book. They may just be mistakes but one must ask why that detail-oriented president did such poor fact-checking.


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