Scripting News for 3/19/2007

AppleTV shipping? 

Apple has been pushing updates of iTunes with features that tease about AppleTV, but today they came right out with a fairly complete pitch for the imminent product, which some think will ship later this week, perhaps as early as tomorrow.

I just got an email from Ole Eichorn saying he got a notice from Apple that they’ve shipped his Apple TV. So that’s it, whatever it is, it’s shipping.

I feel like I’ve done my homework, not sure if I’m going to get an AppleTV, it depends on how heavy the DRM is. I suspect it will be pretty heavy. I’ve had an iPod since they came out, but I’ve never bought a song at the iTunes music store, because of the DRM. I also have a Mac Mini on my TV, acting as my Internet-based DVR. I pay Comcast $115 a month for subscriptions to all the services I use.

In a rational world, we’d be building apps off this site as we’re building on Twitter. It’s really rich, but we’re too scared of Hollywood to work together on this. Or at least I’m too scared. But I admire what they’re doing, esp since they just added excellent RSS support. I may go ahead and design some software that automates BitTorrent for a friend (who will remain nameless) who is a Gilmore Girls fan who thinks its silly that she has to remember to download the program every week. I know Azureus has RSS support, but as it’s implemented it’s way too technical for even me to configure properly, and it’s hopeless to try to explain to a person who knows how to use a TiVO, which is all the technical expertise that should be required. The UI should allow a user to express their desire the way my friend expressed it — every time there’s a new episode of the Gilmore Girls, get it for me. Not 204 copies of last week’s show produced by different people. Just the one I always get. With EZTV doing quality control, the problem is close to solved for TV shows. And for movies there’s Axxo. Don’t know who he is? It’s worth learning. 🙂

The point is this — the open DRM-less world is tantalizingly close to delivering the nirvana we seek, entirely as a labor of love. If we somehow could get clearance from Hollywood to go ahead (unlikely) we could take the last few steps to make it user friendly. Compare that against what Apple will offer us in the next few days. Maybe Apple will challenge Hollywood, the open letter from Steve Jobs offers a sliver of hope. We’ll be watching, very carefully.

Blog Hits for Jesus 

This is Today’s Links with a cute name. 🙂

Anti-Hillary ripoff of Apple’s famous 1984 commercial.

TechCrunch compares Twitter, Dodgeball and Facebook.

The Mayor of Salt Lake City, Rocky Anderson, calls for the impeachment of President Bush. SLC is the capital of Utah, which is one of the most conservative states in the US.

NY Times: “John W. Backus, who assembled and led the I.B.M. team that created Fortran, the first widely used programming language, which helped open the door to modern computing, died on Saturday at his home in Ashland, Ore. He was 82.”

Scoble notes that geek productivity is up 200% today.

Airport Extreme, day 2 

Following up on yesterday’s post on configuring the my MacBook Pro to work with the new Airport Extreme, I installed the software from the CD, but found that unless I plugged all the computers into the same router, they couldn’t “see” each other. This created a problem, because the router I was using had five Ethernet jacks, and the Extreme only has three. I was able to juggle things around, which involved reconfiguring two routers, but eventually was able to get the four machines I wanted to connect to see each other, all through the Extreme.

That set up the moment of truth, when I’d find out how much faster the Extreme is for the crucial job of moving media files between a server and a laptop. The answer: it’s quite a bit faster.

I find numbers fairly meaningless, so I took a movie of my MacBook Pro, in the kitchen, copying a movie from the Mac Mini in the den.;

Movie: Demo of performance of Airport Extreme router.

Now I have another problem. I need the Denon receiver to have a local IP address so I can control it via Firefox. With the Netgear router I looked it up on Attached Devices, and entered its address in the browser, and it just worked. The Airport Utility app doesn’t seem to have a way to find the address of attached devices.

Poor Scoble 

I can’t believe how surprised MSM people are at Scoble saying that Microsoft’s advertising sucks. That’s how people talk, and one of the principles of blogging is, imho, Come As You Are. (See also: Dogma 2000.)

Personally, I think they’re feigning suprise, pretending they’re shocked, when they use language like that too. What do they think about Microsoft’s Internet strategy. When was the last time they created some software that made you think they liked software?

Postscript: I’ve received a few comments saying the reporter was justified in quoting Scoble saying something he didn’t say; and even if the headline was wrong, it isn’t the reporter’s responsibility. This is of course nonsense.

Fresh Fish Flesh 

I had a great time with Ponzi, who came to visit this weekend. We mostly acted like kids and made up a few new slogans, including the title of this post.

Try saying Fresh Fish Flesh five times fast.

Then add a “y” to the end of each word.

Some very strange sounds end up coming out of your mouth! 

Since I had to restart the NY Times river robot to make the Twitter feed work, it was a small matter to restart the HTML page, the one that works so nicely on mobile devices like a Blackberry.

When people say it’s worth paying money for the service, that’s nice, but it doesn’t help, for a few reasons. 1. It’s not the kind of thing people pay for, and I’m not going to try to change the way people think about websites. As a user I myself wouldn’t pay for it (although of course as a developer, I am). 2. It could be a nice place to put ads for mobile products, and there doesn’t appear to be a good place to put ads to reach mobile users. 3. I would be willing, myself, to pay to run ads for the river in the NY Times, to help build a user base, but without an agreement, it would be a foolish investment.

Anyway, as long as the program is running, it’s a small matter to generate the HTML. But I’m not committing to running it indefinitely. Just for now.

14 responses to this post.

  1. one aggregator that does news rivers pretty well is Kinja. i never see it mentioned in lists of aggregators much but its still better than greader and all thee rest. heres my inbox:


  2. It’s not perfect but a quick ping sweep by pinging your broadcast address should get everything to respond. You can then look up the ARP table to see what the IP of the receiver is. I’ve not worked with the Extreme yet but have used this with other routers that are deficient in this same way.


  3. the router sounds like it isn’t very Extreme.


  4. Josh, I don’t understand what you’re suggesting.

    What does it mean to “ping your broadcast address”.

    How do you look up an ARP table?


  5. Posted by Wes Felter on March 19, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    Dave, if your friend wants to torrent a TV show, tell her to try Democracy (what a terrible name): and

    (Earlier today I considered making the same suggestion about the broadcast ping + ARP table dump, but I figured it would be too much trouble to explain. Now I can just let Josh do it. 🙂 )


  6. Posted by Matt on March 19, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    Hi Dave,

    Actually, no-one said “the reporter was justified in quoting Scoble saying something he didn’t say”, as you suggest.

    What the commenters (including myself) said was that the reporter filed an accurate account of what Scoble said and that a sub-editor (a completely different person) put a headline on the story that you believe misquotes Scoble.

    The commenters then argued that the headline possibly didn’t misquote Scoble either because it got to the essence of what Scoble said.

    Nobody anyone in that last comment thread said it was okay that the paper misquoted Scoble. There’s a difference between suggesting that Scoble wasn’t misquoted and saying it was okay that they misquoted him.

    Of course, all that means that you, Dave, are now the one doing the misquoting, by misrepresenting what we the commenters said.

    Seriously, point out where in the story Scoble is misquoted. I’m not talking about the headline — the reporter did not write the headline and therefore even if the headline misquotes Scoble, it is not the reporter who misquoted Scoble but rather the sub-editor.

    To say that the reporter misquoted Scoble, which is what you said, is just flat out wrong. If you said the paper misquoted Scoble, then you would be on firmer ground. I can see your problem with the headline.

    Now, I’m not saying newspapers get it right all the time. I’m just saying that if you’re going to criticise anyone here, criticise the right person. Or criticise the organisation.

    And no, I don’t work for the Times. I’m just trying to give you a better understanding of how newspapers work. Because after all these years you still don’t seem to get it.


  7. Matt I didn’t do anything wrong, and you don’t know who wrote the headline, you have an opinion about it, but the paper, if it wants to take responsibility for it, really needs to disclaim it, otherwise sorry, the reporter is on the hook. I don’t want to know the inner workings of the newspaper, I’m a user, and to me it looks like the reporter said it. I don’t make a distinction.

    In any case, Scoble is being made responsible for it — read the damned headline.

    He’s not pissed, I talked with him about it. But if it were me, I would be pissed. I write my words carefully, and if I said a company’s advertising sucked, then that’s what I said and I didn’t say they suck because that’s a pretty harsh condemnation, and I’d be very careful about that.

    In your essay you got it right Matt, you said that people don’t want to split the hairs you think they should want them to split. It’s time to start worrying about how you look, and when you misquote people so capriciously, you look bad. Not just the reporter, but the whole journalism industry.

    My opinion of course. YMMV. (And I haven’t heard anyone on your side of it say that other points of view are valid, btw.)


  8. Dave,

    Thanks for giving us back the NYT River, even if for awhile.

    I think this is the best way to read the Times, all the niftiness of the web but with the randomness of actually reading a paper (all the stories it at least makes me aware of, which I might not check section by section). Plus the links all go to the printer version, that is just the best.

    If you link to your favorite Chinese restaurant, I will send you some spicy noodles as a token of my appreciation.



  9. Dave,

    If you want to automate DL of shows from EZTV one easy wat would be to use the RSS feeds provided by with Democracy player. provide a per-show RSS feed of the torrents. plug that as a channel in Democracy and shows will just appear magically for you friends viewing pleasure.

    This is how I watch 24 and BSG.


  10. Posted by different Josh on March 20, 2007 at 4:51 am


    Re: finding an IP on your network

    Try Applications > Utilities > Network Utility.
    Click ‘Netstat’
    Select ‘display routing table information’
    Press ‘netstat’ button and hope…

    It _should_ give you a list of all IPs on your network which _should_ give you the info you need.


  11. Utah is the most conservative state in the U.S., but Salt Lake City is only about 50% Mormon and thus more liberal than the rest of the state. How much more so, I don’t know, but it’s something to bear in mind.


  12. Lifehacker posted a guide a while back about using Democracy + as some sort of “BitTorrent DVR”.


  13. Democracy Player is pretty nice, but another good client with RSS support is :


  14. Posted by Jonas on March 21, 2007 at 10:18 am

    Even if it’s not what it was said to be, Yahoo Pipes is the perfect environment for bringing together the RSS feeds of torrentspy and isohunt and all the other torrent trackers and wiring them up to filter for your favorite shows.

    I already experimented with it and it works beautifully. Especially if you then subscribe to the Pipes-feed using Azureus.


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