Scripting News for 10/19/07

Validating the validator 

Todd Cochrane noticed that is reporting problems with feeds it used to pass. I checked it out and verified the problems he reported. As far as I can see there’s nothing wrong with Todd’s feed, imho the validator should not be warning about the problems it’s warning about. Please, would the maintainers of the validator check this out and make whatever corrections are necessary. Thanks!! πŸ™‚

Thanks to Colin Faulkingham 

I added his expand/collapse code to the HTML rendering of Scripting News, per my recent request.

It seems to work nicely.

Does it work in Opera? Please let me know. πŸ™‚

LobbyCon 2.0 predicts the Newsroom of the Future 

The lobby of the Palace Hotel was a hub of activity after lunch yesterday. The picture to the right hardly does it justice. A constant stream of friends, a wide variety of ages and backgrounds, flowed through.

It was unlike anything I had seen before, likely because this conference was held in downtown SF, and not San Diego or Phoenix, and a facet of what we’ll have when the Newsroom of the Future is up and running. Every city will have one, but San Francisco will probably be first.

Here’s a video I took last week at CUNY that gives another perspective. Lots of tables, video screens, a stage, radio and TV equipment. What you can’t see is that the room was saturated with wifi, and while it didn’t have a huge presence on the Internet, it could have.

Today’s new toy 

Today’s new (developer’s) toy is an OPML 2.0 rendering of the NY Times keywords list. Have fun!

A mighty torrent of news! 

Doc: “A year from now every newspaper will have a newsriver.”

I think so too because: 1. The idea is so compelling and 2. It’s so easy to implement.

Thanks so much to Doc Searls for writing a great evangelical piece about the power of rivers. The stream is turning into a current, and soon really will be a river.

It’s so weird to see rivers show up in Facebook, and Twitter is just a big river of all the people you’re following.

The idea is actually a descendent of the teletype terminals that used to be in the movies (and for all I know in actual newsrooms). The news was printed on scrolls of paper, and when a new story came in it would push the older stories onto the floor. You could catch up on the news by scrolling back through the news. Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Katherine Hepburn did it. We’ll all be doing it soon enough. And it really helps to get other people singing the song, esp from within the hallowed halls of Harvard.

The more attention we get focused on it, the more other developers will tune in.

And what may not be so clear from the narrative is that this project got its start from a meeting I had with some technical people at the Times last week in NY. Like most organizations, it’s not of one mind, there are people who are scared of what comes next but there are others who know that the Times has to change. By opening up their internal data to me, all kinds of interesting stuff can happen. We’ve been here before. The Times are the unsung heroes of RSS, without them it never would have solidified, with the publishing industry falling in behind the Times. It was this consensus that created critical mass for RSS 2.0 in 2002 and 2003.

I really hope some of this stuff feeds back into the Times support of RSS. And as you have seen, there are now lots of new opportunities in user interface for news. This is what I do, when I’m in my “flow” — we’re there now again, with a new toy to build and then play with, every day. πŸ™‚

Betsy Devine: “Dave Winer has been improving the New York Times for as long as I’ve known him.”

Phil Windley: “With more sources, who are themselves continuously updating, the keyword river could be as dynamic as you’d want it to be.”

The Boston Red Sox 

If I were an American League fan there’s little doubt that I would be a Red Sox fan. They have it all. Fenway Park. The Green Monster. The Curse of the Bambino. And an ancient legacy of sucking and when it looks like they’re not sucking so bad, blowing it in the worst way possible at the last possible moment. The drama of the Red Sox, the agony of their fans. The only more hapless team in baseball is my beloved New York Mets. (And possibly the Chicago Cubs.)

Before last night’s game they were down 3-1 in the ALCS, but they won, and now they’re down 3-2. These are long odds, but with the Red Sox, you never know. (They were down 3-0 in 2004 and came back, amazingly, to beat the Yankees, a sweet wonderful humiliating defeat.)

For some reason, last night I thought of Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring as an appropriate anthem for this moment in Red Sox time. The pioneers have their ups and downs, theres’s still hope, but they’ve suffered greatly. I think of Dowbrigade, hunkered down, feeling sure his team will exceed his worst expectation of disaster.

With the Red Sox, as with Jerry Garcia and Scripting News, it’s even worse than it appears! πŸ™‚

28 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Alexander van Elsas on October 19, 2007 at 7:58 am

    Hi Dave, nice post. I noticed a very similar post written by Anna Zelenka the other day. She uses the river methaphore to describe there isn’t an information overload. Interesting to see these conversations pop up everywhere. We are all looking for ways to (Re-) discover great things on the web :


  2. With all due respect Dave, the only people talking about “The Curse of the Bambino” are non-Red Sox fans and Fox baseball commentators. Us real fans are wondering what was going through Theo’s head when he (way)overpaid for J.D. Drew.


  3. 1957. Age 6. 1st visit w/ Dad to Fenway Park. Deep imprinting.

    Re: rivers: they make sense. Just had to do a minimal UI for a number of photo websites. Did them as rivers. It works.

    — stan


  4. By far–the Cubs, I can say as a North sider, are absolutely the most terribly hopeless team, ever, in any major sport, coming up on 100 years of no championships with, literally, no end in sight.
    They’re still in the middle of recriminations in Chicago over that foul ball in 2003. And their curse revolves around a goat instead of the Babe.


  5. I think the Australian ABC News site is interesting. Rolled out in June. Each story is tagged and each tag has an RSS feed.


  6. Posted by Jacob Levy on October 19, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Your expand-collapse stuff doesn’t work in IE6 now, on Windows XP Media Center Edition.


  7. Posted by Jacob Levy on October 19, 2007 at 7:24 pm

    Sorry, should give more details. When I click on the -/+ box, the sign switches but the items don’t collapse/expand.


  8. The good news is the new code allows me to read Scripting in Opera — that is, I don’t get the marching army of +/- signs expanding the window width ad infinitum.

    The bad news is that the expand/collapse controls don’t work. I see today’s posts as open and the previous days’ posts as closed and they don’t respond to clicks to open (or close).

    It’s certainly an improvement, in any case! Thanks.


  9. Posted by Jacob Levy on October 19, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    The -/+ boxes do work for me in FF but not in Opera 9.20.


  10. Oy.

    I use Firefox that’s why they work in Firefox.

    Maybe someone who knows this stuff better than me can tell me what to do to make it work in IE6.

    There’s a reason I want to master this stuff, it’s not an idle thing.


  11. In 1989, and for several years thereafter, the MacWEEK magazine newsroom had a teletype, linked to the AP Business Wire. We actually had it off the lunchroom, but at times it was my duty to tear off the latest and pass around potential news items, sorted by beat area. Eventually it was upgraded to a net-accessible feed.


  12. The newsroom of my college paper, the Harvard Crimson, had a teletype through the 1970s and into the 1980s. It was a hulking old black behemoth of a machine that printed in all capital letters on foolscap. On rare occasions its bell would ring, warning of a major story. It did feature the “river” sequencing but there was a lot of crap in the stream, too — AP summaries and housekeeping stuff, repeats of stories that had had only a few words modified, and so forth.

    If you failed to keep it loaded with paper or allowed its ribbon to run dry, you risked missing the news, too.


  13. Dave: The warnings he’s getting from the validator are merely suggestions for an improved user experience. The text of the warnings clearly state the the feed is valid.

    Granted, if it were me, I’d probably change the “warning” language to “suggestion” or “best practice”, but it’s pretty clear as-is.


  14. Posted by Mike on October 20, 2007 at 1:06 am

    What’s with the indenting? Before you had simple left aligned text, with some bullets, now it is all over the place.


  15. Roger, I know, I read the text, and I was pretty careful with my wording. But when a validator changes when the feed didn’t that creates alarm. If he wants to provide that kind of advice he should create another app that gives advice, not one that validates. What he’s doing is wrong. I don’t know who maintains the validator these days, could you send a pointer to my post to whoever it is.


  16. Mike, a screen shot?

    What browser/version are you using?


  17. assuming my comment was eaten by a grue because it contained a link – using Safari 2.0.4, the previous layout/code worked fine, this one is borked in that the text overlaps with the next visible one after collapsing and expanding a paragraph. (no img link this time)


  18. Posted by Colin Faulkingham on October 20, 2007 at 5:41 am

    I haven’t tested my theory but looking at the difference between my code at,
    BTW mine works in opera and IE.

    You have a blank a element with the name attribute of the story I assume you are using this as a bookmark.

    I would suggest try moving it to the name attribute to the <a that surrounds the +|- img.


  19. Posted by Gary Secondino on October 20, 2007 at 6:19 am

    I will confirm what g. says. It is the same mess for me in Safari 2.0.4


  20. Posted by Colin on October 20, 2007 at 6:50 am


    I did a little more digging.

    The first problem is with the blank <a element with the name attribute as same as the id attribute on the div.

    To fix this you can,
    1. Remove the blank <a element and move the name attribute to the div or you can leave the blank a element and change the name of the div element like id = body_[unique name].

    Secondly it displays weird in IE.

    To fix this you can,
    1. Change update .hide and .show css with


    also you can add padding-left:15px; to get a little indention on the .show class for the div element.

    Also, I noticed you have a table element(s) nested in the div you should get rid of those because they don’t serve any purpose.


  21. It doesn’t open or close anything on Windows Mobile Pocket Internet Explorer. But who cares. Microsoft will change IE at will in the future. kind of a mobile target to aim at.


  22. Hi Dave,

    The collapse (from minus) seems to work ok from my Opera 9.50 Alpha version.

    I imagine you are aware of
    (does NOT work in Opera or Firefox)

    and their lists effort.

    Thanks for yours,



  23. here’s a screenshot – ie6 on xp


  24. Colin, if you’re following this, I’m having a lot of trouble following this advice. The sentences just don’t parse as English. I followed your example code, I thought pretty faithfully. I’ll try to figure it out…


  25. I also noticed the strange lay out in ie 7


  26. I fired up Opera 9.01 on my Mac and the pluses en minuses work fine.


  27. And Opera 9.23 on Linux works fine as well.


  28. Posted by Chris K on October 20, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    I agree, works on Opera 9.34 on Ubuntu.


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