Scripting News for 6/16/2008

Where’s your data? 

Earlier today I asked for advice — should I use Yahoo or Google Groups or something else to distribute email to NewsJunk readers? In the discussion that followed, a few people suggested that because Yahoo’s future was uncertain, Google would be a better bet. This made sense, like everyone else I’ve been following the news about Yahoo and Microsoft, noting that key people are leaving, the stock price has fallen, pundits say the company’s future isn’t bright.

This underscores the need to control our data, we should never think of a company as permanent. If you’re new to technology maybe you’re learning this for the first time. If you’ve been around a while, as I have, you’ve learned this many times. I remember when I thought that CP/M-formatted 8-inch floppies were a perfectly safe way to store data. I figured there would always be a way to read those disks. Only a few years later, that was wrong. Today you’d imagine that you could always view a static HTML file. Seems that way to me too, but I bet someday someone will wonder what you mean by that. 🙂

I guess it’s like a Zen Haiku or something — there really is no here or now, you don’t really have any data, but for the time-being it’s still a good idea to think before you choose a place to put stuff you care about. Today Google seems safe, Yahoo not so safe. Mark that, let’s come back in 10 years and see if it’s still that way.

Yahoo Groups or Google Groups or ? 

We’re adding a 7th way to get your fix of NewsJunk politics — email. Yeah, it’s old and boring, but lots of people still use it! 🙂

Of course we’d like to use someone else’s service to do the actual distribution, at least at first while we’re bootstrapping. In the old days I’d go with Yahoo Groups and not worry about it, but I wonder if there isn’t a better Web 2.0 solution out there for email distribution, or if Google Groups is more popular now? Or something else entirely?

Your opinion is sought in the comments

Update: I created a Google Group as an experiment. You’re welcome to subscribe. We won’t start promoting it until we’re sure it fits the bill.

AP objects to quoting-and-linking 

This morning the top story on both TechMeme and Memeorandum is about the AP and its opinion that quoting and linking is a violation of fair use.

This is something I’ve been doing on Scripting News going back to the mid-90s.

Examples? According to AP, everything on would be a violation.

As many have pointed out, quoting and linking is the norm in the blogosphere.

I have noticed that more bloggers quote the whole piece these days, and put a sentence before and after, saying “This sucks!” or “Dave is an idiot!” I think they could accomplish the same thing by pointing to the article instead of mass-copying it. For the amateur blogger this is an annoyance you have to live with. For an organization like the AP, I guess it’s more of a concern.

So why go after a mere link-and-quoter, when if you went after a mass-quoter, you’d have most people on your side? This is a mystery.

Over the years I’ve worked with the AP on various RSS and blogging projects, and it’s always been enjoyable, respectful and professional work. There’s a lot of goodwill here. I sent them an email this morning offering help, and it was graciously received. And we’re going to continue to use the AP as a source on, at least for now.

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