Scripting News for 3/20/2007


I’ve been watching CNN this morning as I drink coffee and catch up on news on the web.

They’ve covered two stories in 1/2 hour: 1. There’s a 12-year-old boy lost in the woods in North Carolina (I think, based on the accents, they haven’t said). 2. They broke away from that story for about a minute to tell us about VP Cheney’s doctor’s appointment, checking up on a leg condition. Then back to the 12-year-old’s father, who talks about how happy he is to hear that his boy is safe. They’re now repeating it. Is anything else going on? Not on CNN.

So I switch to MSNBC, and damn if they aren’t covering exactly the same story. Same on Fox.

In six years he may well be a soldier, in Iraq, fighting for his life, and they’ll be obsessing about another 12-year-old.

PS: I turned off the TV and tuned in the WNYC webcast. At least public radio hasn’t sold out yet. Three American soldiers died in Iraq today. Roadside bombs. President Bush is standing by Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. The President is going to Kansas City today. 3000 more emails were disclosed today in the scandal brewing around the fired US Attorneys.

PPS: At 7:30PM, I thought I’d catch up on the news on TV, after seeing Bush’s press conference this afternoon, I thought there would be an interesting discussion. Is this Watergate all over again (seems that way to me, as the President gets into coverup mode, but he’s bluffing, he can’t hold the line, I’m sure of it). Nope, Anderson Cooper is covering the lost Carolina kid. His chubby dad is on screen, finally even he looks tired. Glad the kid is okay. Sorry our country is so fucked.

Bush’s destiny? 

The blog bootstrap 

CNet searches for the creator of the first blog. That would be Tim Berners-Lee, whose first website was, in every way, a blog. A couple of comments. 1. Not sure how he tried to get in touch but I never got a call or an email. 2. I don’t want to take anything away from anyone else. Lots of people made weblogs what they are today. Why not be inclusive. 3. They call me “irascible.” Not sure if I’ve met either of the authors in person, I wonder how they formed that opinion and why they feel the need to label people like that.

In another, related article they interview the creator of Finger, who says the ideas of blogging originated in bulletin boards.

In any case, with all due respect, I think the CNet article misses something important as they make light of my claim to having bootstrapped blogging. The first blogs were inspired by this blog, in fact many of them, including Barger’s Robot Wisdom, used my software. If you go to BlogTree, a site that asks bloggers to say which sites inspired them, you’ll see how many self-declare as originating from the Scripting News community. How you summarize that effect is up to you, I call it a bootstrap.

I was trying to disperse the community that developed around this blog, from the beginnig. The goal being to inspire other people to do the same as I was doing. Jason Kottke once called me the Johnny Appleseed of blogging, and that’s something I’m happy with. That was my intention.

To people who say the ideas were obvious, I don’t think they were. I tried to convince many, including leading VCs and tech companies, to help bootstrap blogging, but I was left to do it myself.

Stuck tech 

Peter Rip, a man I’ve never met, but would like to, wrote an amazingly insightful article about where we’re at in web applications these days.

“The Web today still resembles MS-DOS more than MS-Windows. Every website is an island, an island that knows nothing about any other website. This is no different than the world before the Windows Clipboard. All 640KB of memory was available to whatever application was running. The point of integration was the User. As it is today.”

I have lots of ideas I’d like to share about where we can go with the formats we already have, but I can’t get past the gatekeepers at the conferences Mr Rip mentions in his piece.

Today’s links 

OpenCongress: Iraq bill tests the Democratic leadership’s skills.

13 responses to this post.

  1. If you can’t get past the gatekeepers, then maybe those conferences are not the right venue…

    I’d think a lot of people would like to hear you write about this topic. So maybe you need to go it alone, or inspire somebody else to go it alone.. (Seems to be a recurring theme for you, viz. “I tried to convince many, including leading VCs and tech companies, to help bootstrap blogging, but I was left to do it myself.” 😉


  2. Posted by Jeremy on March 20, 2007 at 5:02 am

    I believe finger creator Les Earnest was talking about physical bulletin boards. You know, with paper.

    “The concept, of course, goes back to bulletin boards; that’s where it all started. That is, in my lab at Stanford for example, people would occasionally post something and then others would write in the margin a response to it, and then sometimes add another piece of paper so that they could say even more. They used to have battles on the bulletin board in this way.”


  3. Dave you don’t need no stinking conferences, just start a new series of MCN aimed at this particular line of thought and invite feedback either here or through some other mechanism of your choosing. I can’t even begin to express how influential some of your previous MCN’s have been and how much they have changed the ways I look at the what is happening around us.

    Just do it man, make them thoughtful podcast just like you used to.



  4. Posted by billg on March 20, 2007 at 6:28 am

    I remember using gopher to try to get to Berners-Lee’s site when I had a 9-inch B&W Mac and an account on the-thing-that-became-AOL.

    Berners-Lee may have been blogging (his original concept of the web was very much blogging among academics), but he didn’t call it that. Naming an activity gives it an identity.

    I stand with those who caught the bug from Scripting News, back in the last century. Whether Dave was first or second or third is not important. What’s important is that blogging would be unrecognizable, perhaps nonexistent, without his contributions.

    It’s a bit like all those claims that someone other than Orville and Wilbur were the first to fly. I don’t believe them, but even if someone did fly something before them, it led nowhere and meant nothing. Inventions alone don’t change the world. You gotta spread the news. Evangelize and market. We fly today because Orvile and Wilbur flew, but also because they built a company, advertised, and started selling airplanes. I’m pretty sure if someone ran the DNA tests, Dave Winer would prove to be the ancestral progenitor of almost all bloggers today.


  5. Posted by jim mason on March 20, 2007 at 9:12 am

    News that CNN, Fox,or MSNBC will not cover the death of Fortran Inventor!


  6. Well put, billg. Dave introduced me to blogging in 1999 and made sure I had all the help I needed to get up and rolling on Manila. Like most people who’d been online since the early ’80s I’d done a lot of things that were like blogs and maybe precursors to blogs. But giving it an identity and fomenting a culture was like taking sculpture to movement or art to impressionism, providing that ‘aha’ moment, so maybe we can think of Dave as a kind of Rodin or Van Gogh of blogging.


  7. “Every website is an island, an island that knows nothing about any other website”

    this is why i believe p2p is web 3.0.


  8. Posted by Jacob Levy on March 20, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    Regarding these hidden gotchas that are stuck inside every law passed for the last 20 years or so, what makes you think its (generally speaking) in the interest of the Democrats to “find” and expose these? This is only a problem because we have a Republican president with appointment powers and a Democrat controlled congress. Noone would hear any mention of this if the president were a Democrat or the Congress was controlled by Republicans. Then it’d all be hunky dory just fine.


  9. Jacob, I didn’t say the Democrats shoudl do it.

    You’ve been ranting at me pretty regularly for a while now, and this time I gotta say something. Please read these things jsut a bit more caerfully, and ask for clarification, and maybe think just a little bit before exploding.

    If you go back in time you’ll see that I called for Clinton to resign. I’m not a fan of Democrats, I think the people should take back our government, and put the fear of god into all politicos. They’ve been taking us for granted for too long.


  10. Dave, it’s inevitable that those who live by a partisan agenda imagine everyone else is motivated only by partisanship.


  11. Another reliable world news resource can be found at: ‘The War & Peace Report’ with Amy Goodman. It’s available for streaming weekdays at 9AM Pacific.


  12. Listening to Dan Rather’s recent SXSW depiction of his coverage of what was building up to be Watergate had eerie overtones with respect to the current administration’s behaviour. Maybe being the president is like a drug induced dopamine high – eliciting the corresponding paranoia, feelings of invulnerability, lack of judgment and eventual crash a drug produces.


  13. I’m in the Raleigh, NC media market and it’s interesting that here the local folks didn’t go nuts over the kid in the mountains. Sure, they reported on it, and had staff on the scene. But, it was just another story. They routinely use reporters to do standups anywhere in the state. The local paper ran the story about the kid’s rescue on page one of the local section this morning, which seems appropriate to me.


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