Scripting News for 4/22/2008

Spooky white plant 

Dusty Miller is “grown primarily for its attractive silver-gray foliage…”

IRC for Pennsylvania Primary 

I started a chatroom for tonight’s primay.

irc://irc.freenode.net/#PennsylvaniaPrimary

CNN, MSNBC say it’s too early to call but HRC is leading.

How to follow me on FriendFeed 

I’m designating FriendFeed as my backup, when Twitter goes down, you can catch my stream, uninterrupted, over there.

Here’s how to follow me on FriendFeed.

1. Open an account on FriendFeed, or sign in to an existing account.

2. http://friendfeed.com/davew

3. You should see a “Subscribe to Dave Winer” button below my name. Click it.

4. When Twitter goes down, you can get my full stream, uninterrupted, at FriendFeed. I won’t be able to tell you that when Twitter is down, so try to remember it.๐Ÿ™‚

5. If you prefer to use a different service, let me know, and I’ll try to set it up so you can follow me there. If you can set it up yourself, here’s the OPML version of my stream (the source), and the RSS feed derived from the OPML. Pretty sure I’ll release the OPML Editor-based tool I’m using to manage the stream.

How to decouple from Twitter, now 

Twitter is still out.

Mike Arrington posits that because they have a monopoly there is no reason for them to hurry to get back online. I agree. That’s why we have to break the monopoly now.

And it’s not as dire as it may seem, esp for people who use a desktop client.

Here’s what the developers of these products can do to make users safe from Twitter outages: Offer users the option to have their stream of outbound tweets saved as an RSS feed that can be read by FriendFeed and other RSS-based tools, in addition to posting directly to Twitter.

Then, the user can do what I did in FriendFeed, point it to the RSS feed, and turn off FriendFeed’s connection to Twitter.

In FriendFeed, everyone will still see your updates though a little more slowly. And when Twitter goes down, everyone who cares about your updates can switch over to FriendFeed, perhaps temporarily. That’s what Scoble is recommending.

I think FriendFeed should deliberately try to appeal to Twitter users, by reorganizing their UI to be familiar to us, but so far they haven’t wanted to do that. However, at some point, some ambitious entrepreneur is going to want to compete with Twitter directly, and all they’ll have to do is latch onto our RSS feeds and voila, you don’t need Twitter to be up to have the same effect as Twitter. (Is anyone out there ready to go? This would be a fantastic week to launch.)

The only way this bootstrap can happen is if Twitter is down for an extended period while important stuff is going on. Well today is the long-awaited Pennsylvania primary, and the Web 2.0 expo is happening this week in SF. How will we manage without Twitter? Necessity is the mother of invention, imho.๐Ÿ™‚

I’d encourage the people who make the desktop tools to get on this right away. If developers want to discuss it here, I’ll be online through the day (and grasping for whatever returns are coming in from PA).

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