Scripting News for 2/23/2007

I’m glad the Scobles are listening to yesterday’s talk at the NPR conference. I was partly trying to influence the tech industry by traveling across the country and talking to an industry that uses technology. I’d like to discuss the tech part of this at Microsoft’s Mix conference in April.  

I love Betsy. “George Washington Carver was a big-picture guy…” she wrote today. 

Google Grants provides “eligible organizations with in-kind keyword advertising using Google AdWords so you can connect directly with your target audience.” 

Doc Searls: The ITFS Opportunity

Wired: “Alcatel-Lucent isn’t the only winner in a federal jury’s $1.52 billion patent infringement award against Microsoft this week. Other beneficiaries are the many rivals to the MP3 audio-compression format.” 

TPM: “It’s hard to imagine that there’s anyone in this country not under active federal surveillance who has done more to advance the al Qaeda agenda than Dick Cheney.” 

Boston Blogger Dim Sum Sunday 

If you’re in Boston on Sunday, let’s do a blogger’s Dim Sum brunch at Chau Chow City at 83 Essex Street, Boston, 1PM.

Thanks to Jessica Baumgart of the Berkman Thursday group for organizing. It’ll be great to see people from the old days!

If you’re coming please add your name here, so “we can make a fairly decent guess at table size and so we can attempt to find people on site,” writes J.

NPR Podcast OPML? 

I’ve been asking people here for maintained OPML for the NPR podcast directory, just for fun, I did a Google search and it seems they do have a directory in OPML.

It says, in the XML, that it was last updated in October 2005, but it has podcasts that didn’t exist then. If it’s being maintained it’s a big deal.

Here’s what their podcast directory looks like in my world.

According to Darren Mauro, who is responsible for the social media on, says the OPML is dynamic, and therefore is maintained. Coool!

Stop payment on credit cards 

I read somewhere (sorry no link) that there is no way to stop a payment on a credit card, like you can stop a check. I’ve found this to be true. And then there are all the trial services that require you to enter a credit card number that must, in the fine print of their EULA say they’re allowed to bill your credit card every month even if you don’t use the service. And then there are all the $19.95 payments in your monthly statement with names you’ve never heard of, that are too much trouble to investigate.

Did you think there’s nothing you can do? Well, there is.

I tripped over this idea accidentally because one of my cards was stolen, presumably in a batch of credit card numbers stolen from some online service, so I got a new card in the mail, unsolicited, with a new number. All of a sudden the lurking quasi-legal fraudsters are popping up! We want our money, they say in their emails. Act now, give us that new number, or we’ll have to close your account. To which I say, Make my day!

I expect to hear from a lot of them on or about March 1.

Conference session circa 2007 

Movie: There’s a panel in front of the room, a moderator, people lined up at a mike, Doc checking his email and posting to his blog, the audience listens attentively, people in the hallway schmoozing. The questions are basically “How do we remain relevant as things change.”

MP3 of yesterday’s talk 

I thought the talk went very well, everyone I’ve talked with here is enthusiastic about melding with the bloggers. I hope as many people as possilble listen to the talk and the discussion that followed. It’s available as an MP3. Or help distribute the cost, download it via BitTorrent, seeded by Amazon.

Snow in Boston 

Picture taken from my room in a Copley Place hotel.

Doctorow on iPod lockin 

Cory Doctorow: “I think that it’s reasonable to assume that Apple won’t always make the world’s best music player. I’d like to keep my options open. But the longer you own an iPod, the more likely it is you’ll buy more iTunes music, and the fewer options you’ll have.”

The iPod is the best of a not very good field of MP3 players. To lock into the iPod now is a mistake for everyone.

And don’t miss that lockin doesn’t just come from format lockin, it’s also a closed box, only the manufacturer can add featues. Jobs said the reason the iPhone isn’t an open platform because it’s a phone, but that doesn’t explain the iPod’s closedness.

Doctorow is right not to believe Apple, which is a big deal for him, because he’s always been a strong defender of Apple. Me, I use their products, but I don’t buy the religion, and I had enough tech industry lockin for a lifetime.

14 responses to this post.

  1. Two things. Cory is a big Apple critic. He switched to Ubuntu when the Intel Macs came out because he didn’t want to buy an Intel machine. I don’t think Cory has got the Apple religion, although his old office in London did have a stack of 15″ PowerBooks stacked up. He’s been a consistent critic of iPod lock-in for all the time I’ve been reading Cory and all the times I met him in London he was ranting about Apple.

    I’ve got a few things in M4P – Apple’s iTunes locked-in format. But it takes me all of about two minutes to turn them in to MP3 if I want. When it comes to switching away from the iPod, I’ll write a ten line AppleScript and leave my computer to crunch them over.

    I was listening to the conference recording today on my commute. It was great to get an hour of Dave, Doc and friends in my ears. There was a guy who mentioned using the Palm platform. The Palm does make a reasonably good podcast listening device – especially the Palm TX. When my Mac was busted recently, I spent a lot of time using my TX as a podcast listening device. The TX comes with a program called Pocket Tunes which makes a pretty good podcast player – it has a “save my place” option like the iPod does, so if you need to pause half way through you can bookmark where you are. I bought the upgraded version of pTunes because they improved this functionality in version 4 (the TX comes with verison 3).

    There is also a fairly average RSS reader for the Palm platform called Quick News, and it supports podcasting. The UI isn’t great, and it’s not the most usable application – and I wouldn’t recommend using it for straight news, but it’s a neat application just for podcasting. It can also import and export OPML.

    For podcast recording, there’s an application called SoundRec, and if you buy an external mic, you can record quite easily with it.

    What’s even better though is Bonsai – a pretty decent outliner for the Palm OS. I use it for note-taking where a laptop wouldn’t be appropriate. It’s possible to import outlines that one has written in Bonsai in to the OPML Editor – I’ve been meaning to write a script to make the process easier.

    For uploading there are some FTP clients available for Palm, and an SSH client for controlling remote servers (works better with a keyboard). The network connections available are Bluetooth and WiFi. The WiFi works pretty good, and I use the Bluetooth connection with my Motorola phone to get modem speed Internet access.

    You can pick up a Palm TX for $266 on It would probably be easier to find a Palm OS developer and get them to build the most perfect podcasting application for the Palm platform – I’d love it if the podcatcher was integrated in to PocketTunes. I’m sure that if there were a significant number of podcasters and podcast listeners who pitched up in NormSoft’s inbox and said “we’ll buy PocketTunes Podcast Edition for $15 more than the normal price”, they’d build it.

    All the pieces are there, there just needs to be slightly better software.


  2. Dave,

    For saving $$ on podcast bandwidth, nothing beats Libsyn. You pay a very small monthly fee, and you get all the bandwidth you need. Please consider supporting that great service. We use it for our podcast. πŸ™‚

    Misty (a day late and a dollar short)


  3. Posted by Harold on February 23, 2007 at 10:58 am

    I see no torrent link.


  4. Dave

    Re: credit card charges – you can dispute any charge you like. The issuing bank (the people who gave you the credit card) will ask you to provide info on why you don’t think the charge is correct/should be paid. They will contact the business that submitted the charge and arbitrate. In general, businesses don’t want to have a “chargeback” (a disputed charge that the cardholder refuses to pay) as it is expensive for them.


  5. Re: MP3 – It’s a good week for Ogg Vorbis, eh? πŸ˜‰


  6. Hey, Dave. Just listened to you and Doc at the public media group. I thought you did a great job. And I’m from Nashville : ) – Rex


  7. Posted by Scott Gjerdingen on February 23, 2007 at 4:36 pm


    Very nice talk. There was a question posed to you which I don’t believe was a challange of sorts, rather, seemed to honestly look beyond time shifted persisted content to a timeshifted “streaming is available” model (via wifi).

    Your response seemed terribly defensive and if I may, close minded, were there dynamics I missed, did the question just not click with you, or did I truly miss the direction ofthe question?


    – scott –


  8. Posted by Wes Felter on February 23, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    Dave, I thought the benefit of credit cards is that you’re allowed to dispute any charge. In fact, I read an article on Slashdot the other day saying that merchants bear all the liability; cardholders aren’t responsible for anything and banks have set it up so that they make money either way.


  9. Dave, I’ve transferred about 70megs of the podcast so far… πŸ™‚


  10. Dave,

    According to the CA Atty General: “In a credit transaction,…There are two categories recognized by federal and state law under which you can resist payment, and these are known as “billing errors” and “claims and defenses”. Your rights are different under each.”

    See this link for all your rights:


  11. I agree that Apple won’t always be making the world’s best music player. Currently, they make the world’s best marketed music player – but there are other people who, if they could get their act together, Apple would be toast.

    Interestingly, as much as it’s a consumer item, the iPod is still a computer peripheral. And it shows: Q: Why does the iPod Updater exist? A: Because it’s a product of a computer company. They just happen to do some consumer electronics, too. I’ve never seen or heard of a firmware updater for my MiniDisc player. Because Sony isn’t a computer company, they’re a consumer electronics company. They just happen to do some computers, too. Imagine what would have been possible if Sony and Apple got together a decade ago…


  12. Here’s how the NPR OPML of podcasts looks from our world πŸ˜‰


  13. There are many old and dead feeds in this. It would be easy for us to import this OPML (instead of simply include it remotely like this) then clean it up.

    That way, anyone can get the OPML for any folder level they want (a la OPML 2.0) . πŸ˜‰ As opposed to grabbing the whole kaboodle (unless you want that, which we can do too)


  14. Here it is imported to demonstrate how you can now obtain any folder’s OPML, at a more granular level. Great for bandwidth savings and mobiles. πŸ˜‰


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