Scripting News for 3/24/2008

FriendFeed moves into TwitterSpace 

We said a couple of weeks ago that FriendFeed is gaining a lot of traction. Since then we’ve started a background conversation and have been giving them a bit of friendly advice (heh, sorry). Today they added a feature that brings it closer to Twitter, and in some ways takes it to a place Twitter hasn’t reached yet.

FriendFeed, in addition to being an aggregator also allows you to post directly to other FriendFeed users who are following you, and it has a threaded comment system that allows you to post a response to anything that FF has discovered. But how do you read those responses elsewhere, and how do you know to go see if FF has anything you might be interested in? They have ways to deal with this, but none are as neat as the one they introduced today, if you use Twitter.

The feature: You can optionally route comments from FriendFeed to Twitter (if the original message came from Twitter) as a reply.

Nothing more to say than yes, this is the right thing to do, and yes it is neat, and also it’s nice to see Twitter get some competition. We know that products that have competition get better, and ones that don’t generally have no incentive to. Considering that it would be good, imho, if Twitter were a little more active in adding features (I know others feel differently) it’s good that FF is applying a little friendly (arrrgh) pressure.

And to people who thought Scripting News had become 100 percent politics all the time, here’s proof that it’s not. :-)’

PS: Just tested the new feature. It works.

TwitterGram functionality baked into FlickrFan 

I’ve been meaning to do this for some time…

Just released a new feature in FlickrFan that allows it to do for pictures what TwitterGram does.

You can set it up to check for new pics in your Flickr account and when it spots one, automatically post it to Twitter.

You can set the interval, so it can check every minute if you like, for virtually instant publishing. I like to use this to take pics on my walks and share them with my Twitter friends while I’m still out and about. GIves me a sense that the Twittersphere is on the walk with me.

Yes, I know I need to make this work with Pownce too. And other instant social networks like Jaiku and others. πŸ™‚

If you want to try it out and have FlickrFan running, follow the instructions here. There’s also a place to comment and ask questions.

Status on campaign conference call MP3s 

We begin this week where we began the last. Thanks to McClatchy, we’re getting almost half of the conference call MP3s. But that’s not half as good as getting them all, not close.

Imagine getting a trial transcript with more than 1/2 the testimony missing. Some days you get the words used by the defense, other days, the prosecution. Never both.

Our pleas openly stated in public and expressed privately, have gone mostly for naught. Occasionally there’s a nibble, but never any followup.

I have excellent contacts in the Internet parts of the Obama campaign, but emails on this subject have gone unanswered. The Clinton campaign was worse, they thought I was signing up to support the candidate and suggested I give money, stuff envelopes, etc.

I’ve been in touch with numerous professional news organizations, with reporters, editors, and technical people. I don’t want to say who because I don’t want to embarass anyone.

Dan Gillmor, in a private exchange, a former tech journalist at the SJ Merc-News, volunteered a perspective that’s common-sense and refreshing. This is their job, at the news organizations, to provide readers with information, not to control the flow of news and spin it for us, rather pass it through transparently, so we can make up our own minds.

I consume lots of professional journalism, and it’s sad and angering that so much of what they report as the mood of the people is really their mood, based on no actual information. Because no one can expose them, they get sloppy, it builds over the years.

It’s outrageous to me, listening to them talk about the Wright tapes, they’re getting it wrong. I have actually watched the videos. Have they? Either they have or they haven’t. If not, it’s grossly irresponsible. If they have, it’s criminal, the way they deliver incorrect conclusions and show misleading evidence. When all the networks do the same thing, it’s collusion, anti-trust, conspiracy.

Sometimes, rarely, a little truth leaks out.

So no, I don’t trust them, and as journalists like to say, if your mother says she loves you, check it out. They need fact-checking to keep them honest, that’s why we need the source material.

I had the image yesterday, listening to the Meet The Press podcast, of irresponsible children throwing around lit sticks of dynamite in the middle of a sacred library. Our democracy is at its most vulnerable right now, and they’re behaving as if it was a sporting event. Because I listen to the actual words the candidates and their representatives use, I know when they’re lying. Of course this is the real reason they don’t want to help us get the MP3s. They may not be conscious of it, but it’s the reason.

However, I’m sure that eventually we’ll get them.

Now that you mention it… 

I was reading Newsweek’s story on why Barack Obama asked people to stop calling him Barry and use his more formal name, and I remembered that I had a grandmother who was different in the same way Obama did.

My mixed heritage isn’t so obvious as his because all my grandparents are white, but the difference may be even more dramatic than his because of the time I grew up.

My maternal grandmother was pure German, blonde hair, blue eyes. She married a Jew, my grandfather, in Europe, before the war. I loved my grandmother, but she could say the most hurtful things, even as a child I knew there was a good chance she knew what she was doing. I never fully understood the issues of Jews and Germans, but they were all right there in her house in Rockaway Beach.

So when I wrote the story on Saturday wondering what it would be like now if I had grown up in Germany instead of the U.S., I was unconsciously writing a story that actually happened.

I have to think about this.

One thing’s for sure, the last week has been an incredible week of growth for me, largely due to the conversation we’re having here at a national, even international level (a lot of the response to the piece was from Europeans).

Also, the quality of the discourse, as always, is very high. Keep up the good work everybody! πŸ™‚

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