Scripting News for 5/3/2007

Essential television, part II 

4/25/07: Bill Moyers, Buying the War.

4/27/07: Bill Moyers, Jon Stewart, Josh Marshall.

His blog, RSS feed. Subscribed.

Previous installment: America at a Crossroads.

Don’t forget to give generously to PBS.

Why the users of Digg got pissed 

I hate to say it but Ed Felten doesn’t explain why the users of Digg got so upset.

He thinks it’s a technical issue. It’s just a number, and who can claim ownership of a number?

What if it were Ed Felten’s social security number, plus the number of his VISA card, driver’s license, mother’s maiden name, a couple of pieces of data, enough to unlock a bank account of Ed’s that has say $50,000 in it. Suppose the publication of those numbers was done by the same guy who published the code that cracks HD movies on Linux? Would he be less justified in publishing those numbers? Hard to imagine Felten going along with that.

I think I understand why the Digg users got so upset. They weren’t consulted. They weren’t included in the decision. Their opinion, the core value that Digg “owns” if they own anything, wasn’t sought. That was the source of the anger.

If instead of deleting stories and users, silently, they had written an open letter to their users explaining what was happening, and why the lawyers felt they needed to respond quickly; I think that would have worked much better.

The people who man Digg want what everyone wants, respect. To be listened to. To be considered. Solicited. I think that’s where the disconnect was.

Today’s links 

Don Park: “There is no value in a community of hooligans.”

ZuneThoughts is a blog about the Zune.

Wired: PC World Editor Quits Over Apple Story.

HBO has a podcast feed for the series Rome.

LA Times: The Internet sure loves its outlaws.

Nice work Yahoo Maps 

Yahoo: MacArthur Maze Detour Update.

Sometimes it takes a five days to generate exactly the one piece of information that 5 million people need.

Audio of Monday’s session 

Here’s a 39MB WMV from the A/V people at Mix.

Apparently they had the camera focused on the slides (we didn’t have any), so it’s really just audio. 🙂

Mike Lehman from Microsoft says he’ll turn it into an audio podcast, so if you want to save some bandwidth you might want to wait.

On the other hand, the audio ought to be enough to communicate what happened.

Jeff Sandquist, via email: “We just ship up the audio + slides during the event to conserve bandwidth within the venue. High quality videos are being prepared and will be up within the next few weeks.”

Live-blogging the Republican debate 

Remember this name: Ron Paul. Renegade Republican candidate for President.

I’m much less familiar with the Republicans. The only one I like listening to is Ron Paul.

McCain is trying to sound like a president. Mitt Romney plays a dad on TV (he’s on TV). If Giuliani doesn’t win he could take over the Hanibal Lecter character.

BTW, think of Twitter as “Live-blogging for the rest of us.”

McCain: “I’ll follow him to the gates of Hell.” (Of Osama bin Laden.)

They mention Schwarzenegger, and I realize none of these guys could even remotely win against Arnold. Of course they don’t want to change the Constitution, he’d kick their ass.

Giuliani got Roe v Wade more right than the rest of them.

Controversial RSS study 

ICMPA study on RSS, reaches incorrect conclusions, imho, about the quality of news you get from the feeds of the NY Times, al Jazeera and the Guardian, among others. I like getting short summaries of the news from feeds (e.g. NY Times River), and if I want more information, I can click through to the full stories. I know others disagree, but this is a matter of taste that they present as a matter of fact.

Zune, Day 2 

I have a lunch in SF today, which means a BART ride, so I thought I’d take the Zune with me instead of the iPod, to listen to some podcasts and some music, but I can’t figure out how to add a folder to the list of folders it synchs up with, or how to even get it to recognize the device (which is attached via a USB port). It might be a Parallels issue. So many pieces of software to get working with each other.

Later… Turning Autoconnect on for USB in Parallels did the trick, although it caused XP to crash but reboots are really fast in this environment. It’s synchronizing now. What is it copying onto the device? I have no clue. 😦

Later… Nothing got synched. Oy. This trip I take the iPod.

Before I leave — When we were developing Radio 8 in 2001, we set a goal that 80 percent of the people who tried it had to get to first post in five minutes. We iterated until we got there.

So far I’ve put at least three hours into the Zune, and I haven’t managed to get one of my songs or podcasts to play on the device. Granted, a lot of the difficulty has been using the device inside Parallels on a foreign operating system. But, a fair amount of the difficulty has been in getting meaningful feedback from the software. The controls are impossible to find, the settings a first-time user is going to look for aren’t there (of course they must be there, but I poked at all the obvious controls and didn’t find them). The online help is pretty useless.

It seems the designers of this product could benefit from having a similar goal. Measure the performance of the device in terms of the success of a first-time user. True, in 2002, I had similar problems with the iPod. But it’s not 2002 anymore.

Alsop’s rebuttal 

What do you do when two people remember an event differently?

Yesterday, I got an email from Stewart Alsop, saying that I got the facts wrong in in my recount of his Agenda conference. Of course it is possible that I got it wrong because my memory is imperfect, and I do make mistakes.

But I have a very distinct memory, sitting in the audience of his conference, having paid a lot of money, and believing that the table had been unfairly tilted in favor of Stewart’s interests.

He says it’s not possible. So I ran his objection at the end of my story. And I wanted to give it even more prominence, here this morning. However, I want to make it clear that I am not retracting, my piece is very clearly labeled as my recollection, and I’ve disclaimed that my memory is imperfect, so I think everyone has all the caveats they need to decide for themselves.

Here’s his rebuttal.

Stewart Alsop via email: “I became a VC in June 1996. At Agenda 97 that fall, I shared the program 50/50 with Bob Metcalfe. I made my first investment at NEA right after that conference in December 1996. I did not participate in running Agenda 98, by which time I had three portfolio companies. But, even if I did AND if I had all three CEOs participate (which none of them actually did), it’s hard to imagine that 3/26 of the program would be a ‘fair number of the presenters.'”

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