Scripting News for 5/7/2007

Audio for last week’s Mix session 

Mike Lehman at Microsoft produced an audio podcast of last week’s Let’s Design a Podcast Player session at Mix 07.

A hypothetical case 

Imagine you’re getting an operation.

You’re on the operating table, half-conscious, some part of your body open, spewing blood all over the place.

You’re semi-sedated, on some really nice opiate, feeling like you wouldn’t mind doing this again. (I’ve actually been there, it’s a very very strange place!)

Your mind is humming along, when the surgeon says: “I’m almost finished, I’d be happy to sew you up, but you have to pay me $150,000 first.”


I guess you’d have to pay.

But you’d kind of hope that the other doctors in the room would do something about it.

If you were to ask me what it feels like to have your lawyer sue you, the guy who’s supposed to protect you from legal nastyness, I’d have to say this is what it feels like.

Welcome to the country that couldn’t shoot straight 

CNN: “Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius expressed concern Monday that rescue and recovery efforts after tornado-packed storms were being strained because much-needed equipment is in Iraq.”

My dad is a blogger too 

Leon Winer: “The Press, or the Main Stream Media have failed us by not examining critically Bush’s moves to start and continue the Iraq war.”

I love writing reports like this one.  

Two problems reported on Scripting News recently, both solved.

1. Yesterday I posted here about expanding a LAN. I had a missing, important piece of knowledge about routers and switches. Now that the gap is filled, I can see my IP-based printer from all stations on my local network. I also bought a nice new switch, which should arrive from Amazon on Wednesday, so I can add 15 more devices to my LAN, all visible to each other.

2. A few weeks back I noted that Firefox wouldn’t display local images under certain circumstances, only to discover that this is a security precaution, a wise one. This morning I thought of a workaround, don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier. My app is a web server in addition to all the other things it is. So I wrote a custom responder that loads the specified image from disk and returns it. Voila. Outage circumvented, neatly.

What would I teach a journalist? 

Kevin Reynen, an instructor in the J-school at the University of Nevada-Reno, writes to ask what I would teach a journalism student about the new technologies. How would I design a curriculum for students wishing to learn journalism in the age of Web 2.0, if I could work with him/her every day for 10 months?

Well, that’s a juicy question. Something I’ve thought about in the back of my mind for quite some time, and it turns out that I actually have some ideas.

First, I’d forget about Drupal, and customized sites, and HTML, CSS and PHP.

Let each student create their own site at or, where ever they like. If they want to create five sites, let them create five sites.

What a privilege to be able to work with the students every day for 10 months. Don’t they get vacations or weekends off? I assume so. But five days a week, man, you could really get something done.

The students must start covering their world online, openly. Tthe class meeting would be like the Berkman Thursday meetups we had at Harvard (they’re still having them, btw). But, and this is important, they’d evolve and how they evolve is something you will figure out, with the advice of the students, as you go along. It’s hard to say at the outset what it would become, but if I had to guess, you’re going to create the equivalent of a newsroom, for your community.

Which brings me to another key point. You must bring Reno into your school. Open the doors. Go on the local TV and radio stations and explain what you hope to do, and tell them where and when they need to be. You will attract some amazing people from the community. I could go down the list of the people from the Boston area who showed up at Berkman, but the list is too long. Lisa Williams is now an editor at the Boston Globe. Andrew Grumet, who was a developer at MIT is now the CTO at a SF Bay Area startup. So many others.

Bring Reno into the school.

And don’t think in terms of curriculum.

It’ll be like an unconference — no panels, no speakers, no audience.

No students, no teachers, no classroom.

Just news about the community, and make it inclusive, and everything that needs to happen will happen, imho.

Something strange 

I was struck by this Todd Bishop post at the Seattle P-I.

At first I couldn’t quite place what seemed so weird about it.

And then it hit me.

A professional reporter saying another professional is doing something un-professional.

Usually that’s the kind of thing a blogger, an amateur, says.

I like it! 🙂

6 responses to this post.

  1. About ‘A hypothetical case’, I thought I was reading a blog entry from Scott Adams at first…


  2. serendipitous link of the day:

    I think there’s a future in an open source sort of education.


  3. What would I teach a class of aspiring journalists?

    I come at this from a once aspiring journalist turned PR guy. I greatly value technology, but having studied film in college, I have a deep respect for narrative.

    In the world of media consolidation, crowdsourcing, blogs and YouTube, I would focus on the following: Be open to the promise of technology, but never a slave to its allure. Experiment with new formats, but always look for a good story line and compelling personalities. Be open to change but respectful of tradition. And whether it is a blog posting or news story, always maintain your integrity – be fair to those you are covering, but never shirk your responsibility to your audience or steer away from the truth.


  4. Finally got around to listening to the audio from mix. Dave, if you are just going to talk about this device than I am going to start talking too 🙂

    I got to have a 70 min conversation at lunch today about what I want in a podcast device with a really cool guy. Next time we will try to record it.


  5. Posted by Ralph on May 13, 2007 at 7:39 am

    You say you don’t want to start a company to produce this player. Would you be willing to host the conversation? It seems to me that everything except the wifi could be accomplished by forking Rockbox and modifying it to suit podcasters. That means it coud get started with very modest costs.
    Good day,


  6. Why is everyone always trying to make broadband faster? How about we focus on first getting everyone on this continent on some sort of broadband access. Everyone always forgets about the “other” half of the population that can’t even download a simple podcast in a timely fashion! People talk about how much more innovation that could happen with faster access but imagine the knowledge and thought out there that isn’t yet on the internet.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: