Scobleizer Weblog

Daily Permalink Monday, June 30, 2003

Microdoc News: "What is the Blogosphere?" Article about how webloggers define weblogging and the space we publish in.

Robert Hurlbut found a great article on pair programming best practices.

BBC: Taiwanese company develops a genetically-modified fish that glows in the dark.

Hmm, I used to raise fish. This sounds sorta interesting.

The big question in Scoble's household: Where to go for the best fireworks in Seattle? Any suggestions? Garrett Fitzgerald sent me some links in IM:

Eastside fireworks.

Ivar's fireworks on Seattle waterfront looks to be the best so far.

Lake Union has a big shindig planned too.

Anyone wanna get together a Seattle weblogger party on the fourth?

Joi Ito points to an interesting article about what might be behind the cause of high suicide rates in Japan. The comments on Joi's weblog are interesting too.

The month of July is the Photographic Scavenger hunt.

Speaking of cameras, my Nikon 5700's batteries died after taking 5200 images. So, I just bought two more and am starting to shoot again. Someday I'll build an interesting photo blog.

Denise Howell links to info about a California court decision that upheld a guy's right to spam 30,000 Intel employees.

Chris Sells talks about Learning to Learn. He's absolutely right. The times I've pushed myself the hardest is when I've tried to teach other people about something. For instance, I thought I knew a lot about NetMeeting in 1996, but it was only after writing almost half of a book on the topic that I really learned what was under the hood.

Chasing Daisy is a weblog about the lighter side of life.

For those of my readers who've never heard of BoingBoing, it remains one of the "A list" blogs in my mind. Lots of good tech news.

Did Steve Jobs sandbag us all with reports that Apple isn't doing a Tablet? I was over at Gizmodo today (great site for keeping up to date on cool gadgets) and I see that Apple is supposedly getting ready to do a Tablet. A friend who knows the OEM business well dug around and said this isn't confirmable, but that it seems to be accurate. We'll see.

Bill Gates answers the question "is Microsoft boring?"

In the spirit of Dave Jacobs, I'm going to stop posting about Echo vs. RSS and move onto something more important. If you're an "O-blood type" I hope you consider donating your kidney, too. I'm considering it for the first time, but I'm not an O. Can anyone who has donated a kidney send me email and tell me what the process is like? How long were you out of work?

As a reminder that all of this RSS stuff doesn't really matter in the big picture, I saw this post: "Dave Jacobs needs a kidney transplant." My best wishes to Jacobs.

Seyed Razavi: "Frankly, I think users will welcome [Big Companies] now. The Sun/Microsoft pissing contest may have been just as shallow but at least it was about real money not the shitty little self-important crap discussed here."

Dare Obasanjo: "What's Wrong with the MetaWeblog API?"

In my comments, it should be pointed out, Dare accused me of "propaganda and cult of personality rantings ."

Hey, isn't that what a weblog is supposed to be? Heh!

Just to be clear. What you just read was a dream. None of what was just written has any basis in fact. Also, this was my dream. Mine only. If you think this dream had anything to do with my wife, my son, my employer, my friends, my enemies, or anyone else, then you're wrong. Hope you have a nice week!

OK, now to the reason why I woke up at 1 a.m.: I had a RSS/Echo dream.

I had a dream that Dave Winer donated RSS to the Echo project.

Now, hear me out.

My dream started with waking up on Monday morning and reading Scripting News. That's Dave Winer's weblog, just in case you stumbled upon this without knowing any context for this dream. Dave Winer is the guy who has popularized RSS, a popular Internet content syndication protocol. It's used by all sorts of people and companies from my weblog, to Sun Microsystems, to Oracle, to the New York Times, to the BBC (and many more). The Echo project is a group of people and vendors (basically everyone in the weblog world) who are trying to come up with a new syndication format, and a new set of APIs for weblog tools to interoperate.

Anyway, in my dream, I get up and read these words:

"I have decided to donate the RSS protocol to the Echo group. Why? Because I realize that there is a sizeable group of people who want to control the future of the RSS protocol and they are doing their best to take control of it away from me anyway. I have better things to do at Harvard University and since the protocol has widely been adopted, my job is mostly done.

"I'm giving this protocol over to Echo completely and will never mention it again on my weblog, nor will I interfere with this group and its decisions."

"I do so, with some reservations, because this group thinks they know how to keep the big companies and special interests from having its way, but they really don't. It's just that I am tired of fighting and everyone seems to think they know how to best make vendors and other people stick to a single simple protocol, so for the good of the community I'm giving them the code, copywright, and other RSS products (Web sites, etc).."

"This represents a real investment of about 15 years of my life, and probably somewhere around half a million dollars of my time, either spent directly on the protocol, or evangelizing it to people and organizations around the world."

Then my dream turned to nightmare.

The group didn't realize what it had, and what it had lost.

First, RSS is a big deal because one guy kept the format simple. Simple enough so that any idiot could figure it out. But, the group instantly started putting stuff into the format that made it more complex. Look at Don Park's weblog for a good visualization of what happened in my dream, soon after Dave gave RSS to the Echo project.

Soon, some weblog tools vendors added in APIs and extensions to differentiate their "communities" from other weblog communities. Think this isn't gonna happen? Quick, name the search engine that we all use and love, but who only has one weblog tool in its search bar? (Oh, sorry, that's reality, not my dream).

Yeah, in my dream, MSN and Microsoft eventually signed onto the Echo project. Why not? They were already beaten there by IBM (Microsoft's fiercest competitor), Google, and others.

In my dream we soon ended up with wild new weblogging tools and communities, but, Echo/RSS was being "embraced and extended" in all directions and no one was standing up to the special interests and big companies (not to mention the small ones, who wanted to try to build a feature or two that they could control exclusively).

In my dream, now a nightmare, no one was willing to stand up for users, who just wanted a simple weblogging syndication format and set of APIs that worked, and were supported by all vendors. Why? Because there wasn't anyone with enough power. Plus, no one wanted to be seen as "the new Dave Winer."

In my dream, the nightmare even went full circle. The Echo project handed RSS back to Dave, thinking he could bring the world together again, just like it had been back in 2003. But, by then, it was too late. Someone else owned the world.

Oh, wait, was I dreaming about RSS? Or, was I just reliving how John Sculley kicked Steve Jobs out of Apple in the mid-80s?

Brent Simmons talks about seeing inside the sausage factory. He has a good point. Lots of people say they are dismayed by the process that's been going on between Echo and Dave Winer.

But, I think we're just finally seeing inside how things really happen in everyday world. Remember when Steve Jobs was kicked out of Apple in the mid-80s? How messy do you think that was? Wouldn't it be fascinating if all of our human endeavors played out on the Web the way this one has?

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Robert Scoble works at Microsoft. Everything here, though, is his personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. No warranties or other guarantees will be offered as to the quality of the opinions or anything else offered here.

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© Copyright 2004 Robert Scoble Last updated: 1/3/2004; 2:41:16 AM.