Scripting News for 3/21/2007

Google and universities 

You may have heard that Google is doing deals with university libraries, in general the terms of the deals are secret, but some of the terms are starting to come out.

For example, at least some of the universities didn’t get the right to re-license scans of books that Google hands back to them.

It appears none of the libraries thought the whole thing through to the point where they realized that after it’s all done, there will be one great university library, Google’s, and it will be a commercial entity. It’s one thing to sell a food concession to McDonald’s, but the library? How much more central to the being of a university can you get?

Had they worked together first, it’s likely they could have negotiated terms that allowed them to remain in business after Google is finished sucking up all their content.

Peter Brantley, who negotiated for the University of California, wrote two blog posts about his dealings with Google. One lyrical and sad, and the other apologetic. Both are revealing and worth reading.

Remember, in all this, Google is a rich company whose first responsibility is to its shareholders. Today they’re riding high, but in a few quarters, they may have trouble making their numbers. It may have seemed Microsoft would always be on top, and no one could get fired for buying IBM. Who knows what Google will do with the trust when they need the money.

And while some of the schools are private, and responsible only to their trustees, others are public, and repsonsible to the people. What right did they have to trade away the people’s property, and what did they get in return? No one knows, yet.

Attn OPML Editor users 

The new version of the RSS-based updating code (some call this appcasting or codecasting) is available for testing.

I posted instructions for “brave souls” on the mail list.

If all goes well, these changes should be integrated in the downloadable version of the editor, along with fixes for Vista and IE7, in a couple of weeks.

Still diggin! 🙂

Obstruction of Justice 

Naked Jen says what’s obvious — the President is obstructing justice.

Congress is a co-equal branch of government.

It does not serve at the pleasure of the President.

Today’s links 

The Guardian — yet another UK newspaper with reality-challenged headline writers!

Political mashup art, across two centuries.

A vision of the future of Twitter, with twits from JetBlue, Starbucks, your favorite baseball team.

Nick Carr: Two views of Web 2.0 in business.

Brandon Paddock flamed by Walt Mossberg?

TV links is a watch-in-browser public DVR.

My first blog 

Scripting News is not my first blog, it’s not even my second.

The first was the News page of the 24 Hours of Democracy project, started on 2/15/96. It ended shortly after the project was over, on 2/27/96.

My second blog was the Frontier News page, started shortly in March 1996. It wasn’t until 4/1/97 that it was lifted up to the home page its name was changed to Scripting News.

So — April 1 is the 10th anniverary of this weblog.

PS: David Dunham wonders if DaveNet wasn’t a weblog. I wonder about that too.

12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Gary Wise on March 21, 2007 at 9:48 am


    When considering the “first” Blog, don’t forget Science Fiction writer Jerry Pournelle. His “Daybook” preceded the Internet (on the “Byte Information Exchange (BIX)” bulletin board system).

    He has a comment about this on his website here:

    Nevertheless, Rock on,



  2. Hi Dave. I´m Tiscar Lara. I was the Spanish girl Visiting Scholar at the Weblogs at Harvard 2003 Berkman weekly meetings. I opened at that time as my first blog and then moved to when I came back to Spain, where I keep writing since 2004.

    I´ve been asked to write an article about the 10th aniversary of blogs and thought that Scripting was your first. Now I know that there were two more before. Thanks for the information and congratulations for keeping writing for so long.
    Best wishes!


  3. I was looking for my first blog-like thing today and I found this site that I did way back…

    Not exactly a blog, since it didn’t feature the reverse chronological order business, but I was using it to post “serial news.”

    Seems so long ago…

    Take care,



  4. Hi Dave,


    Re: The new RSS code updates. Easy as 1, 2, 3. My OPML Editor is running on Windoze – worked fine for me! HawSome!


  5. I always used to to think of your web site as “DaveNet” — was that not a weblog?


  6. David, maybe.

    But if I were to do a blog post that says “DaveNet was a weblog” the ensuing shitstorm would be epochal, leading more reporters to say I’m “irascible.”

    Behind the din, I think the point might be missed. 🙂


  7. funny…i remember coming here when it was “DaveNet,” how things change yet stay the same 🙂


  8. A lot of my early work on the Internet had a blog-like format. The ISP I co-founded in March 1996 started a reverse-chronologicl news page in December 1996. These were directly influenced by Dave’s

    And a site I built for some college buddies also has a reverse-chronological news page, which started August 25, 1996:



  9. I think you’ve always been pretty rascible towards me. But I’ve never worried about the terminology (other than to hate the term “blog”), so if you want to exclude DaveNet I won’t argue.


  10. More thoughts on a potential business model for Twitter:

    Is this farfetched???


  11. Posted by Jake on March 26, 2007 at 9:12 am

    I always liked as a weblog. Where is that barrel?


  12. Your link to the Guardian points to a headline that is a question.

    I’m assuming you didn’t take the trouble to follow through to the story.

    Try it. Then see if you still want to write the same link comment. We’d not want you to be lazy, or not complete your research, after all.


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