Scripting News for 5/5/2008

Boostrapping a decentralized Twitter 

Overnight Mike Arrington weighed in on the decentralized Twitter discussion. I’m glad he is getting involved, he’s a smart guy and is now using Twitter as an integral part of his communication system. But I have to disagree with the way he characterized my thinking.

I always work in bootstrapping mode, addressing the first big issue, solving the problem, then advancing to the next one. It’s why so many of the ideas I’ve worked on have become popular modes of communication. Big-bang approaches always fail. I’ve spent decades arguing with people who want to reinvent the world in one stroke. They always try anyway and always fail. Bootstrapping is the only way that works.

BTW, I’m not the only one who believes in bootstrapping. Doug Engelbart, who invented many of the things we take for granted today works that way as well.

So the first step in decentralizing Twitter is to get our data safe and stored off Then we need discovery, a way to find people through Twitter, and then without Twitter. There are many ways to do this that work and scale (DNS for one, Skype does it too, without a central server).

It’s also important that we work with Twitter and that they be rewarded for being the primary bootstrapper of this network. I think it’s important because it’s right, and also because we need to incentivize others to do the same.

Also, while others believe the conversational aspects of Twitter are primary, I’m not one of them. I buy into the original vision — “What are you doing?” — and also see it as a link-blogging environment. I have of course used it conversationally, I’ve replied on Twitter to others, but I don’t depend on it because I think this is going to “spam out” — in fact it already is going that way. Just in the last few days I’ve gotten replies from users whose Twitter streams look totally like splogs, and at least a few of them are clearly automated. I block every one of them.

Steve O’Hear: Respect what already exists. Amen!

Is Obama black? 

Yesteray at breakfast at the Sunnyside Cafe in Albany, we arrived late, all the indoor tables were taken so we sat outside. It was frigid cold, for California, in the low 50s. I wasn’t really dressed for it.

We started talking with the man at the next table about how cold it is, and I said it’s nothing, I grew up in NYC and went to school in Wisconsin. The man, who was black and wearing an Obama for President button, said he was from the Bronx, we started talking about the hometown and the good old days (we’re about the same age) and after a while talk turned to politics and he volunteered something that I found jarring. You know Barack Obama isn’t black like I am. Hmmm.

He said Obama was raised by his white mother in Indonesia and his white grandparents in Hawaii and his father who was from Kenya was not an American. I’ve been to Hawaii, it’s not like the Bronx or Chicago, LA or the Deep South where most black Americans live. If you look at a map you’ll see how far away Hawaii is from the US mainland.

So what’s the point? I don’t know, but if if the tables were turned and we were electing the first Jewish president, but his father was from Israel, and his mother was Christian, and he was raised far away from the cultural centers of Jewish life in the US, I’d wonder how much like me he was.

That’s all. I’m still voting for him.

IRC for Indiana/North Carolina 

I started a chatroom for tomorrow’s primaries.


Please join if you want the firehose conversation! 🙂

If the Dems didn’t have Superdelegates… 

I was wondering if the Democrats, like the Republicans, didn’t have superdelegates, where would the race stand right now. Here are the numbers…

At this moment, Obama has 1491 and Clinton has 1337.

There are 404 delegates remaining in 8 primaries and caucuses.

So with a difference of only 154 delegates, the nomination would not be decided.

However, to take the nomination by 1 delegate, Clinton would have to win 70% or the remaining delegates.

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