Scripting News for 5/21/2008

HRC’s historic opportunity 

Hat’s off to David Gergen, who until now I thought was just another empty suit talking head. Turns out he’s got some guts.

On CNN on Tuesday night he called on Hillary Clinton to reject racist votes. It would cost her nothing now that the racists have finished voting. She complains of sexism at the same time she’s been openly encouraging people to vote for her because she’s white.

Gergen says, righteously, that Hillary could say: “If you want to vote against him because he’s black, I don’t want your vote.” Amen brother! (And let’s go Hillary.)

Thanks to Culturekitchen for the clue. 🙂

Podcasting and RSS at Berkman 

I mentioned here my surprise and pleasure that, at the Berkman@10 conference, Harvard Law prof Terry Fisher claimed, in his opening remarks, that Berkman played a pioneering role in podcasting. It’s very true. And it happened in a number of ways.

1. The first meeting of people interested in the technology took place at the Oct 2003 BloggerCon, hosted at Harvard. You’ll see this meeting mentioned prominently in every history of podcasting. A lot of the people working in this area were there and freely exchanged ideas, techniques and enthusiasm. (The Day 2 grid for the first BloggerCon.)

2. It was at Berkman, with the help of Bob Doyle and the talent of my fellow Berkmanite Chris Lydon and the support of John Palfrey and the rest of the Berkman team that we did the first podcast program, a series of interviews of early bloggers, technology leaders and people making news. We distributed these through Chris’s blog, and also through, for the first time, an RSS 2.0 feed with enclosures.

3. It was also at Berkman, in June 2004 and through the Democratic Convention in Boston that summer that I started Morning Coffee Notes, my own podcast, that broke new ground. It seems that my amateurish but very enthusiastic (and imho creative) efforts served to inspire many others. Where people heard my rough podcasts many thought “Hey I could do that too.”

Nothing like podcasting ever takes off like people say things like that do, it’s never a big bang, or the “build a better mousetrap” myth. It’s always iterative, trial and error. You needed Chuck Berry and many others before the British Invasion could happen and then the Beatles. We’re probably still in the early days of the art of podcasting, but there’s no doubt that Berkman played a big role in incubating and nuturing the initial seed.

John Palfrey gave an interview to Harvard Law Today where he summed up the story with remarkable economy. If you’re interested in the area, the PDF scan is worth a read.

John also talks about the invaluable role Berkman played in stabilizing the RSS 2.0 standard.

PS: A list of topics discussed at all four BloggerCons. I keep looking for this list.

Furious digging happening 

Sorry for the lack of updates here the last few days.

I’m working on a new project I find very interesting. Not sure if it’s going to pan out, but I’m having a blast working on it.

Stay tuned. 🙂

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