Archive for the ‘Heartbreak’ Category

Dan Gillmor’s story

Dan Gillmor tells the story of Bayosphere, as he turns away.

There’s been a lot of discussion about this. It’s good that he told the story after the fact, but it’s too late to do anything to help. What if Dan had been blogging the process as he was going along. Yes, people would have taken shots at it, that’s always going to happen (you can see that in my proposal yesterday to create a connection between two promising open source projects). But, people who might have partnered with Dan’s company might have had their creativity activated if it had been discussed openly. To me it was a puzzle what Dan was doing. Too bad we couldn’t participate in the process while it still was a process.

As CEO of UserLand, I tried to narrate my process, best I could. So there’s not much of a post mortem to write, it’s already been written, it’s in the archive of my weblog.

I disagree strongly with Adam Green’s assertion that you must be able to consider the possibility of failure. I’ve learned, through both successful and failed startups that the only times I’ve been successful was when I couldn’t visualize failure. That’s different from anticipating downturns, there are always ups and downs in any ongoing business. I remember trying to imagine what the last day at Living Videotext would look like, and I just couldn’t imagine it. I knew the day would likely come, but I didn’t see how I could lock the door for the last time, calling it a failure. Where would I go then, what would I do? The times that I have visualized failure, I did fail. The times I couldn’t, I didn’t. Hardly proof, but still a belief of mine.

Anyway, it’s good that Dan wrote this piece. I was going to give him a hard time about it, his silence was conspicuous, as he transitioned away from the startup into his new jobs at Berkeley and Berkman (two places I’m pretty close to, kind of weird that way). Journalists often over-simplify what it’s like to be an individual entrepreneur. Maybe now Dan can inject new reality into the world of journalism. Gaining traction as an independent is hard to do, and when it happens we might be more careful about turning things over to the BigCo’s so quickly.

How to save a Gmail message?

This should be a real simple thing to do but I can’t figure out how to do it. I have about a dozen messages in my Gmail inbox that I want to save to my local hard disk. How do I do it? I’ve scoured the online help and have come up with nothing. I admit I should have checked this out before making it my main mail system. I hope the answer isn’t Save Page As in the Firefox File menu.

The wonderful world of Apple RSS

Here’s an example feed. You can’t read it in Firefox, and I haven’t been able to get NewsRiver to read it. They must look at the User-Agent header and only return if it’s their browser. Apparently it works with NetNewsWire. What are they doing at Apple?

Well, it’s not a User-Agent thing, it’s looking for a plugin, and it’s only present in Safari. The feed displays in Safari, but I haven’t been able to get a look at the XML source. To say this is somehow RSS is pretty wacky. Did Jobs really say it’s “industry standard,” as Engaget quotes him? I’d love to see some evidence of that.

Wait Phil Ringnalda spotted the url to the “real” feed.

I couldn’t read that in my browser, so here’s a copy.

It’s pretty bad. There are lots of errors, the date formats are wrong, there are elements that are not in RSS that aren’t in a namespace.

Engadget quoted Jobs as saying they were using “industry standard” RSS. Even if we used terminology like that (we don’t, there’s no standards body for RSS) one company can’t on its own say it’s standard, esp when it has so many mistakes in it. It’s a fairly damaging lie. Yeah, companies lie, I know — but then sometimes bloggers have to say they’re lying.

Assuming their intentions are good and they’re not trying to kill RSS, why don’t they put some of us under NDA and let us help them get the bugs out before they ship.

See Brent Simmons’s blog for more comments.

Twas the Night Before MacWorld…

“Twas the night before MacWorld, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse!”

This is kind of a big day for me, and an even bigger day for a young (nameless) friend of mine, because we’re both likely to get new laptops before the end of the week, if Santa brings us new faster smaller and cooler computers from the fruit company in the South Bay.

It’s my first “Jobs Keynote” since returning to the fold, believe it or not it’s been over 20 years since I sat in the auditorium at Flint Center and watched Young Steve (we’re the same age, btw) unveil the Computer For The Rest of Us. He lifted the curtain and it said, simply — Hello.

I suppose I might have come back to the Mac long before, had Apple not turned its back on WebStar users in favor of Apache. A unique culture was flushed because the gods at Apple didn’t know it existed. This is why the Internet as a platform is so valuable, because it’s the platform without a platform vendor. I stayed with Windows, using it as an Internet user would, not using the Office Suite, or any software other than my own, an email client, a web browser, a paint program. Today I use more than that, on my two Macs, one a powerful dual-CPU desktop honker and the other a white, rugged, slow laptop. The funny thing is I can see the obsolescence in both, I have already, in my mind, bought their replacements, and I like it. I like paying money for things that give me pleasure. But in the back of all that is the fear that they’ll do it again, and wipe out something I love, because they didn’t know it existed.

I suppose Christmas breaks your heart too.

“The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.”

10:52AM Pacific: Looks like the keynote is over. I’m not interested in an iMac desktop, and I’m not going to rush to buy one of the new laptops. What else? Sure sounds like they plan to dump the non-Intel apps pretty soon. Scary stuff. I should ignore Steve Jobs and just use the machine. I really don’t like his style. So commercial, so arrogant. Mac isn’t that much better than Windows, the software is more colorful, and the viruses haven’t hit the Mac yet, he really shouldn’t gloat so much. I don’t like it and I give him a lot of money. That’s the same old shit, to Apple it’s some kind of privilege to give them money. Yuck. After all these years I guess I still don’t like the guy. Sorry.