Scripting News for 8/27/07

Work on the OPML 2.0 spec 

I spent this morning reviewing the suggestions that came in last month for the OPML 2.0 spec, and doing some research for the ones I am going to attempt.

One of the questions came from Randy Morin, who wants to see examples of the category attribute. I did a little digging in the archive of this blog from late 2003 when I was working on a tool I called Channel Z, that was all about routing stuff from outlines to various buckets that would accumulate content over time.

Here’s an example of an OPML file from December 2003, when I was actively exploring this stuff..

And while the dynamic site that was “aggregating” all this categorized content is long gone, is doing a good job of preserving it. Here’s the RSS category, one that I posted to a lot. You can navigate using the links at the top of the page.

Server closet beta 

Why synching sucks 

I took a picture of my new server closet. I could have used my Nikon, but it’s extra work to get the pic off the camera and somewhere useful. The Nikon pic would have been better, but I’m lazy. The step I’m skipping is synching.

I think synching is a bad idea, but Apple’s mobile technology is built around it. I dislike synching. I want my devices to go straight to the cloud, both ways. My podcast player should have a built-in podcatcher. And my podcast recorder should also be a publisher.

Seems unlikely that Google’s phone will depend on synching. It will be more Dave Winer-compatible than the iPhone is.

But the iPhone is pretty cool when you tether it to Twitter through Flickr. Yeah.

I realized earlier today that I have a pretty good bag of tricks for Twitter and Flickr. I may just package em up and give em away. You’ll have to run your own server if you want to access it over the net.

Google and search 

A few thoughts for Scoble for the morning.

1. Google is not going to replaced as the #1 search engine anytime soon. It’s a simple application of Ries & Trout. There’s a ladder in search, as in all product categories. Google is so firmly installed in the top rung of the search ladder it’s hard to even think who #2 and #3 are. (That is, if Google is Coke, who is Pepsi?)

2. Spam has not had a major impact on the usability of Google. I’m sure they’re investing huge resources in detecting and eliminating spam from their index, it’s such a core issue for them.

3. Search is like a desktop operating system. You can translate a dominant position in search into dominant positions in almost any other product category. There were lots of startups poised to kill Windows in the 80s and 90s. None of them had any impact on Windows, which was a juggernaut, as Google is a juggernaut today.

Now, about would-be competitors.

1. Scoble, if the Mahalo proposition to authors is so attractive, have you signed up? Which pages on the Mahalo site are you maintaining? What’s it like being a Mahalo author?

2. It’s ridiculous to think that TechMeme is spam-resistant where Google is not. Both are algorithmic. While Gabe Rivera is a very smart and hard-working guy, they have plenty of smart people at Google.

3. You might have a case with Facebook. When I’m searching for something and can’t find it on Google, I often ask the readers of my blog for help. Sometimes it’s hard to formulate the query. The people who read my site are smart and like to show off. I think the same thing is happening on Facebook. If you can’t find something, ask your network. That might go.

4. The idea that Facebook is an Internet within the Internet, something Time said today, that probably is a big threat to Google. I think you weakened your story by dragging Mahalo and TechMeme into it. The reason Facebook is interesting is that unlike Google it’s built on identity, it’s built on everyone being identified, and people having one identity (although it’s certainly possible to have more than one, it might be hard to get a lot of people to recognize that identity, people with a lot of “friends” may be more trustworthy than people with very few). Facebook may be on a different ladder than Google is. I’m sure Google is all over this from every possible angle, so we’ll find out shortly.

PS: Rand Fishkin steps through Scoble’s piece.

PPS: The champion of the Internet in the battle against spam is using spam to promote his own product.

Random questions 

Are there any third party headphones for iPhones?

I can’t find the disk that came with the Airport Extreme. Is there a place I can download the disk from?

ComputerWorld on Nytimesriver 

Gartenberg: “Why is so much better than”

A very nice piece, hope you read it, but he got one fact wrong. I just made the river site so I could read the news on my Blackberry. I didn’t know about the official mobile Times site, because it hadn’t yet been announced. They came out within days of each other, so it’s understandable that the author thinks nytimesriver was a response, but it wasn’t.

10 responses to this post.

  1. Google is so firmly installed in the top rung of the search ladder it’s hard to even think who #2 and #3 are. (That is, if Google is Coke, who is Pepsi?)
    I remember when VisiCalc was number one. I also remembe when Lotus was the leader. both lost out to distant competitors and are today footnotes or entries on resumes.
    Woops, that’s right you worked at V isiCorp. Sing Lois, Dave.



  2. Well, Ries & Trout would probably say that IBM-compatible spreadsheets turned out to be a different ladder from Apple-compatible spreadsheets.

    Anyway, of course Google could lose it. But I don’t think my buddy Scolbeoleo has figured out how. 🙂


  3. Mr. Winer… twitter’d but maybe got lost in the noise… might be helpful on the Airport Extreme software. Happy to share my CD with you if needed.

    As for headphones… there’s an Apple adapter allowing you an easy method to jack in just about anything you could want. Thinking they engineered the barrel in an exclusive kind of way to ensure their headphones OR their adapter.


  4. internet within ineternet == AOL 🙂

    do we know the future already?


  5. Posted by Ryan Cook on August 27, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    Not sure if this is what you are looking for Dave, but give this a try.


  6. Posted by heavyboots on August 27, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    re: Apple Airport installer CD, try

    That’s pretty much everything they have…


  7. Posted by heavyboots on August 27, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    Argh, without the period that is…


  8. Posted by Will Cate on August 27, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    I love, and I don’t even own a hand-held internet capable device! It’s just an easy way to surf for Times stories that I’d otherwise miss digging through their dumb website.

    re Facebook: My wife does campus ministry at the local college, so she’s all over Facebook. I may be stupid (the claim has been made) but I really don’t see what’s so damn great about it.

    Anyway, at her suggestion, I signed up to be a Facebook app developer; to do so I had to agree to a EULA that was like 20 pages long, governing every conceivable aspect of my programming efforts for Facebook.

    Jeez, talk about a walled garden….


  9. Nice writeup vis-a-vis Scoble’s SEO points. Lots of insight here, especially around facebook’s play.

    One thing I might poke at a little is whether spam has effected the usability of Google — I’d argue that there is a lot more cruft bubbling up to the top of Google compared to 2000-2001 — but that it hasn’t dented it’s success, nor is it clear it would be easy to get around this kind of thing at scale.

    I didn’t know you were a fan of the Reis’ work. Good stuff, too.


  10. As far as earphones for the iPhone, I recommend the v-Moda Vibe Duo and the Harmon-Kardon HK710 (made by Etymotic), but with those you will need a headphone adapter from Griffin or Belkin.


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