Have a look at this feed…
It’s got enclosures, like a podcasting feed, but instead of linking to MP3 files, it links to bits of code.
Seems like a rational next step. The code updating process for the OPML Editor is based on XML-RPC, as was the process for Radio and Frontier, but it’s always been possible to turn it into an entirely static process. Now that I’m doing a sweep over my servers, trying to reduce the cost of running them, and at the same time make them more durable, I put it on my to-do list, and posted a heads-up a few days ago, that I was planning something new (at least for me) with RSS.
BTW, the parts that the feed links to are real, they really do contain code, it reflects all the part updates for the OPML Editor since it shipped in the summer of 2005. I haven’t yet written code that interprets the feed, that receives updates from it, so there may yet be changes in the approach. But in the spirit of sharing my work in progress, here it is.
I’ve been a user and critic of public radio for my entire adult life. I’ve even produced my own form of public radio, called podcasting, and helped other people get started doing it.
Radio is so much a part of the way I think that I named a product Radio. I thought of the tools we were using as a new form of radio, where the wires were carrying TCP/IP signals and HTTP formatted packets, and XML structured data.
Change has been coming to radio, for a long time, the same way change has been coming to all media, and the change that’s coming is the same one for all — decentralization. It’s the mode of our times. When our parents and grandparents were in the prime of life the flow was the other way, toward centralization. Who was the best singer, the richest business person, the smartest doctoral student. We worshipped superlatives, most of us could only admire those who were more blessed than we were. There was only one Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson or John Kennedy. One Marilyn Monroe, one Martha Stewart.
There once was a time when we entertained each other. If you wanted music on a Saturday night you’d have to perform it yourself or listen to a neighbor. Before there was broadcast radio, music was personal. It will be personal again, and it wouldn’t be such a bad thing, because the joy of creating is something we should all share. We learn how to draw and write and sing when we’re children, but we were taught not to do that so much as adults, but it still feels good, even if we’re not the best at what we do.
So when people talk about the Long Tail, or crowd-sourcing or participatory democracy, I think they miss the point. The new way of doing now involves the minds, knowledge and creativity of everyone, not just a few.
I was speechless yesterday on hearing the news that Michael Gartenberg was becoming a Microsoft evangelist.
Today I have a speech.
The people who know Michael are universally supportive. It’s quite an endorsement for Microsoft, certainly there are a lot of big tech companies that would be happy to have him on staff. He’s open minded and knowledgable, fair and tough. I’ve seen him in action, I’ve argued with him, and more important than anything given his new role, received lots of support from him, even though in his past job at Jupiter, it wasn’t in any way his job to support people like me.
Now at Microsoft, his job is to help people like us. The people who read this site are all enthusiasts, that’s virtually what defines this site. When I ask a question about technology here, no matter how obscure, we get to the answer in an instant, often with lots of interesting sidebars along the way. And we’re the people who Microsoft lost in the last few years. Look at this graph to get an idea. 24 percent of the readers of this site use Microsoft’s browser. Just a few years ago that number was in the 80s.
A lot of the analysis of Gartenberg’s move has been about how he might influence us, but to me that’s the blogosphere not understanding its own importance. The true measure of his effectiveness is how much we influence them. Remember this is the world after the audience. If you add up the smarts in their room and the smarts in our room, we win, because there are so many more of us than there are of them, even though Microsoft is a very large company. Their challenge has always been to find a way to harness our power, to make them smarter. When Microsoft has achieved its mission it’s been because they did this better than anyone else. Of all the tech companies this is their area of strength, more than Apple, more than Google, Microsoft is of the people, not such an ivory tower, although in recent years, it’s looking and acting more like all the other tech companies.
That they hired one of our most brilliant people is good on them. But a big organization like MS not only generates its own gravity, they have their own laws of physics. Over time, people like Gartenberg and Jon Udell (another recent hire from outside) succumb to the logic of their law, and communication starts becoming one-way and therefore ineffective. But for now we have someone inside Microsoft who speaks our language, who doesn’t rush to explain everything to us about how things work inside their firewall (as if we care, or should) and instead focuses on solving problems and leveraging opportunities.
Good luck to Michael and good luck to us!
PS: I’ve received a number of emails asking what percentage of Scripting News readers are Mac users. Answer: 38 percent.