Scripting News for 8/2/07

A debut 

Robert Scoble does the first “Hello World” FacebookGram.

It’s TwitterGram inside Facebook. History is made. Yehi! πŸ™‚

My old friend Don Park did the Facebook development, and the front-end is, as usual, provided by BlogTalkRadio.

The hits just keep on comin!

Okay, I couldn’t miss out on the fun, so I called in a TwitterGram in the usual way after setting up Facebook, and sure enough, the gram appears in my Twitter account. It also appears in my personal TwitterGram RSS 2.0 feed with enclosures. And it appears in my Facebook page after I click the Manual update button.

Lock-in becomes a Web 2.0 issue 

Amazing piece on Mashable, finally the issues we’ve been writing about here for 10-plus years are starting to surface in dramatic terms in the commercial space. To all vendors who are tuned in, look for ways you’re keeping your users from managing their own data. The users are getting educated, fast. Better to be on the right side of this one.

Facebook could easily be the place where the dam breaks. It’s attracting so many users, who may at some point realize that they want control of the data that’s locked up inside Facebook. Then vendors who have been on the right side of this issue will be the heroes.

It happened with copy protection, a similar issue to data lock-in. One vendor with a very popular product took the lead in challenging the more established companies. Borland, with Sidekick, was the product that broke the dam. Users wised up and refused to buy products that were copy protected. It could happen again.

12/12/05: “People come back to places that send them away.

NPR podcast feeds moved?? 

My favorite podcast, Fresh Air, stopped updating on July 7. I couldn’t imagine that the problem was with the feed, so I went on a hunt for a bug in my podcatcher, and traced my way right to the problem. It wasn’t finding the enclosure on each item. I looked at the feed and found out why.

The enclosures are missing!!

So if you’re missing your Fresh Air, as I am (there have been some good ones since July 7), it seems someone must have tripped on a wire at NPR.


Seems as if they changed the address of the podcast feed.

I suppose the other NPR feeds moved too…


I haven’t been able to find the following podcast feeds in the directory: All Things Considered, Morning Edition,

I have been albe to re-locate: Talk of the Nation.

Some of the shows I’m subscribed to haven’t moved, for example, Brian Lehrer.

PS: All is forgiven, now that 10 fresh hours of Fresh Air are downloading now. Whew. πŸ™‚

PPS: NPR has an OPML of all their podcasts. Apparently it has been updated to point at the new feeds.

I now understand why people hate lawyers 

I guess I’m lucky in a way. I made it this far without understanding why people curse the legal profession. Today I get it.

A few weeks ago I found myself in a room with a half-dozen lawyers, I was the only non-lawyer present, and guess who was paying for all those lawyers’ time?

Did I ask for this? Did I get a service I actually wanted? I wanted out. They wouldn’t let me out. Sorry Dave, the legal profession owns your ass. And if you want to fight it, we’re going to take your house, your car and your bank account.

Lawyers are like the Mafia. You don’t dare criticize them for fear they’ll send you a subpoena and tie you up in court for the rest of your life and take everything you have.

When I talked with another lawyer about it, in a social context, she suggested I shouldn’t seek revenge. That’s how lawyers think. I wasn’t seeking revenge (although inside I do admit I enjoy the fantasy of decapitating an imaginary lawyer). What I want to do is fix the system.

But I think it won’t be fixed as long as lawyers are in charge.

I’ll tell you this, if the tables were turned and I was one of six programmers in a room with a non-programmer, and one of them was shafting the non-programmer (maybe putting viruses on their network or stealing passwords), I’d ask the non-programmer to leave the room with the promise that we’d make sure the asshole programmer would stop the unethical behavior now.

Lawyers own us, all of us, and none of them care about the ethics of other lawyers. I say that in a deliberately challenging way, because I’m sure there are some lawyers who care about the lousy way their profession deals with the rest of us. If you’re one of them, come forward, speak up, tell us what to do.

We need to reform the legal system in the US. But no reform will take place until it’s possible to take a lawyer up on ethics charges without having to be represented by a lawyer.

But somehow I think blogs are the answer. If a lawyer sues you, sometimes just saying This Lawyer is Suing Me is enough to get them to think again. Most of them have to sell their services to someone, and one thing’s for sure, there are a lot of lawyers to choose from. So I think if we arm ourselves with tools to evaluate them, if we practice the ethics they don’t, and only hire ones who treat others fairly, we could put the worst ones out of business.

Some lawyer once said that sunlight is the best disinfectant. Yeah, I believe that’s true.

Great Trolls of Fire! 

If they gave out a Troll of the Century award or if there was a Troll Hall of Fame, John Dvorak would be the winner and the first inductee, respectively.

Today’s links 

Interesting reaction to yesterday’s Platform piece.

eMarketer asks if RSS is the Best of Web 2.0.

I signed up for the Ignite event in Seattle next Wednesday. It means I have to arrive for Gnomedex one day early. πŸ™‚

Doc’s blog in transition, day 2 

Okay, we have Doc blogging new content over on his Harvard-hosted site, the next step is to move his first blog into its archival home, on the same server as my archived sites. That way his site and mine will last approximately the same amount of time. If my sites are preserved in some fashion, so will Doc’s, and vice versa. There’s strength in numbers. All in the name of future-safing our work. (We hope.)

So we’re leaving his original blog in place for now. I asked Lawrence for a copy of his Manila site, which he graciously provided, and installed it on my server at this location:

Everything should work. Initially I thought because of comment spam that I’d have to make the site read-only, but I may not have to, because Doc was using the Manila discussion group for his community feature, and the spammers haven’t bothered with that. So it may be possible to leave the DG open there. I’ll try to keep an eye on it, at least for a few weeks.

If you’d like to help, go poke around over there and see if you can find anything that’s broken. This will eventually, maybe very soon, be the only online copy of the first eight years of Doc’s life as a blogger. It’s very important stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Two Gartenberg gems 

On the mobile web and the role of developers in creating excitement around a platform.

7 responses to this post.

  1. Dave: Why do I need to Facebookgram to Facebook if I already have a Twitter app running that imports my Tweets, grams included?

    Although it does look pretty…


  2. Posted by anon on August 2, 2007 at 7:41 pm

    Well, programmers don’t spend their careers trying to convince a judge that their side of a story is correct. Unfortunately, being friendly probably doesn’t get you far as a lawyer – playing hardball does. So, is it really all that surprising?

    I think you’re right – blogs (or more generally, social media) are part of the answer. They’ve helped give a voice to those who would have otherwise had none. I almost wish there were some location to index this kind of information. Sure, there’s The Consumerist, but I don’t think a blog is the best representation for this kind of info.

    Also another thought – would Google’s “Don’t Be Evil” mantra have any relevance without a way for people to voice their opinions?


  3. Posted by Dave Petersen on August 2, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    Lawyers are the alternative to pistols at 20 yards. It’s still a fight, possibly to the finish, and now there’s a professional fighter involved. There are always other ways to fight, physically and economically, and blogs may be a piece. I believe that until the legal system and profession prohibits an attorney, or firm, from representing themselves, and prevents wink, wink back scratching deals, the system will be unbalanced. The fight is between two parties, and both need to have the same flesh in the game.


  4. Posted by Dave Petersen on August 2, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    Re lawyers and blogs, isn’t there quote about never picking a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel? Maybe blogs potentially, give us all barrels of ink.


  5. Dave, I agree, but there’s a special kind of litigation, where a lawyer sues a non-lawyer. In that case, the non-lawyer has to pay a lawyer to represent him, but the lawyer doesn’t. And since attorney fees are a very significant part of the economics of the legal system, it’s a mechanism whereby the lawyers abuse the non-lawyers. It’s possible to reform the legal system by establishing a rule that no one can represent him or herself in a civil case. That would probably eliminate a lot of the abuse of the lawyers.


  6. Hi Dave.

    Maybe you can find the NPR Podcasts you need over at which renders their OPML file and makes it easy to find episodes you want.

    Let me know if you would like to try out an account, as you could then simply pick the episodes you wanted, which would then go into a playlist for you – which is naturally available as an RSS feed.

    Your own NPR ‘mash’ πŸ™‚


  7. Bad lawyers? Tort reform? No way. More legislation, more laws, more lawyers!

    Have you ever read Overlawyered? (

    Love that site.


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