9:54:40 PM comment  trackback 
Voices. So many voices in this most tumultuous of the many tumultuous moments I've lived through, in my five years of involvement with the RSS phenomenon. So many people taking time away from friends and family, this weekend, to consider the matters at hand. So tempting to simplify it all as a silly-season little-endian/big-endian tempest in a teapot. So much at stake. Update: So sad the voice that started it all has, for now, gone silent. Further update: And now is back, thankfully. ... [Jon's Radio]
8:49:09 PM comment  trackback 
Weblog advertising. At BlogTalk in Vienna we heard Henry Copeland talking about weblogs and advertising.
During the long drive back, talking with Matt, we imagined a service where any blogger could pick the banners of companies he really cares about or talk about on his weblog. It would make much more sense than the current AdSense where ads are placed on your site according to what google thinks you like, not what you really like. It's what Don Park is saying today.
Nonetheless, AdSense seems to work. I am subscribing and see what happens, even in case of bad ads, if it could mean money at the moment I'm interested.
Given the kind of traffic that this (and most other blogs) get, getting linked from top bloggers will suddenly become a matter of money. Only a couple of days ago, Dave wrote about Scripting.com:
What would it be worth to you, not in monetary terms, but in support terms, to keep this going.
Putting ads on your blog would suddenly make the monetary terms important as well. Will this influence the relationship between bloggers? [Paolo Valdemarin: Paolo's Weblog]
8:46:41 PM comment  trackback 
JY's guide to peace in the syndication world. [Paolo Valdemarin: Paolo's Weblog]
8:45:43 PM comment  trackback 
Is the Web Democratic?.
...In an interesting exchange this afternoon, professor Charles Nesson led a discussion on the Internet and emergent democracy. The discussion was principally focused on the question of whether the Internet aids democracy (or perhaps is a democracy in and of itself). In typical lawyer fashion, the discussion stalled almost immediately while everyone debated the definition of "democracy." But once Professor Terry Fisher had created a definition framework, the conversation was back on track -- Fisher made the distinction between political democracy (the ability of the people to have a say in political process), economic democracy (the ability of the people to have a say in their ways and means of making money) and semiotic democracy (the ability of the people to influence mass culture).
... And, as a tool, the Internet can be used to empower each of Professor Fisher's democratic forms: individual political voices (e.g. MoveOn and the MoveOn Primary), individual economic voices (e.g. GetActive as an organizing tool for the AFL-CIO), and individual cultural voices (e.g., HotOrNot and Are You Hot?, the awful TV show spawned from HotOrNot).
... My strong opinion is that blogging is indeed an excellent example of the democratization of information.
[Ross Mayfield: On Blogging]
... The efficiency with which blogs are now spreading points to a discussion earlier in the day led by Professor Lawrence Lessig. Lessig argues that one of the primary forms of regulation in cyberspace is architecture. ... The difference between bulletin boards and blogs is simple: RSS. The architecture of RSS feeds and modern publishing platforms make the dissemination of information created on an individual level potentially massive. It makes it possible for someone like me to became a source of news that is cited in the mainstream media. Thus, to Lessig's point, by virtue of the architecture of modern blog tools, the limitations of bulletin boards are removed and the information can flow freely.
Despite the potentially democratizing nature of the Web, I think one of the important lessons learned from the Internet and this afternoon's discussion is that the Internet and blogging are indeed just tools. They can be tuned to better promote a point of view or better disseminate information, but they are only as good as the "content" they are spreading. VentureBlog is cited by other blogs when we have something interesting to say. And the more interesting the things we say, the more referrers and traffic we get. But it is not the inherent nature of blogs or of the inherent nature of the Internet that causes that dissemination of information. Similarly, while MoveOn may be able to give Howard Dean a better platform from which to disseminate information about his campaign for the presidency, MoveOn can not make Dean a better candidate. Howard Dean using MoveOn will never have the impact that Bill Clinton would have had using MoveOn. So I think that the democratizing nature of the internet is one of access -- the Internet empowers a vast array of participants to produce and share their own content, the most successful of which will rise to the top and become a mass phenomenon by virtue of the power of that content and the robustness of the tools that allow the virus to spread.
8:41:04 PM comment  trackback 
Personality, Tools and Getting Things Done.
A must read by Clay on how blogs and wikis differ as tools for getting things done, using the Echo wiki as an example:
[Ross Mayfield: On Blogging]
RSS, Echo, Wikis, and Personality Wars. The weblog world has taken the 4 elements of organization from mailing lists and usenet -- overall topic, time of post, post title, author -- and rearranged them in order of importance as author, time, and title, dispensing with topics altogether. (Choosing a formal topic, as Many-to-Many does, is both optional and rare.) This "author-first" organization gives the weblog world a huge boost, as the "Who said what" reputation system we all carry around in our head is a fantastic tool for organizing what we read, as well as acting as a kind of latent bozo filter.
...Most wikis that matter don't operate on a public scale, being used for coordination of small and focussed groups. (IAwiki.net is about the largest I've seen.) Most wikis that operate on a public scale don't have much impact -- the social facts of the wikipedia are far more interesting than the content itself. The Echo wiki, though, is an interesting experiment in when, why and how to use a wiki to convene a large and heterogenous group to deal with a thorny and contentious problem, as well as possibly providing an antidote to personality as an organizing principle. [Corante: Social Software]
8:40:08 PM comment  trackback 
Chris Pirillo's Amazon feeds are just the first step towards demonstrating what I would like to see: a single site with all feeds available in combination with the ability to create synthetic feeds on the fly (from Google, Amazon, etc.). [John Robb's Technology Weblog]
6:29:01 PM comment  trackback 
Duplicate feeds from freeroller folks. I don't know about you, but I subscribe to some nice folk who blog on freeroller.net. However, my aggregator seems to like to download the same RSS items again and again (from time to time). It seems to get tricked by the URL changing in the RSS feed from: http://roller.anthonyeden.com/* to http://www.freeroller.net/* and back, and also http://freeroller.net/*. Is this just me? How come the URL changes on some of the RSS feeds? [Meerkat: An Open Wire Service: O'Reilly Network Weblogs]
3:50:01 PM comment  trackback 
Library of Alexandria Internet Bookmobile. The Internet Archive's Ashley Rindsberg is in Alexandria, Egypt, setting up a print-on-demand system based on the Internet Bookmobile. Check out his progress at his Egypt blog. [Meerkat: An Open Wire Service: O'Reilly Network Weblogs]
3:49:30 PM comment  trackback 
Clay Shirky on the structure of the blogosphere: "[The] 'author-first' organization gives the weblog world a huge boost, as the 'Who said what' reputation system we all carry around in our head is a fantastic tool for organizing what we read, as well as acting as a kind of latent bozo filter." [Corante: aa Corante on Blogging]
3:46:28 PM comment  trackback 
Mark Pilgrim is making total sense. If he does his work openly we'll all learn a lot because Mark is a great teacher. [Scripting News]
3:45:46 PM comment  trackback 
Chris Pirillo's Amazon feeds are now customizable. [Scripting News]
3:45:11 PM comment  trackback 
Celtic Found to Have Ancient Roots. An ancient bronze tablet suggests that the Celtic speakers arrived in England and Ireland much earlier than the usual estimated date of 600 BC. By Nicholas Wade. [New York Times: Science]
3:15:40 PM comment  trackback 
Brian Flemming on Howard Dean's fundraising efforts of late: "This is amazing... His blog turned into a telethon (blogathon?) yesterday, and reading it is like reading an exciting new page in history." [Corante: aa Corante on Blogging]
3:03:50 PM comment  trackback 
The tangled web of blog conversation. via Web Dawn - Rebirth of the Social Marketplace: Last week I blogged about the new Forum View that I have added to this blog. It seems like there is some interest in this approach. Thanks in large part to links from Marc Canter and Many-to-Many, the entry has... [Channel 'social_software']
3:02:41 PM comment  trackback 
The Semantic Web would be great. Alas, it is not going to happen unless.... [Der Schockwellenreiter]
3:00:13 PM comment  trackback 
David Hornik, who's attending ILAW and relates a conversation about blogs: "Many bloggers... report on highly specialized fields, so while they may not appeal as broadly as a New York Times, they have the potential of providing much more granular information." [Corante: aa Corante on Blogging]
2:56:31 PM comment  trackback 
Lily Tomlin. "We're all in this alone." [Quotes of the Day]
2:55:50 PM comment  trackback 
Pissing on RSS, Crappy Aggregators, and Lousy Support - What Gives?. I'm really tired of the RSS argument. Grown men acting like five-year-olds does not help anyone, and the latest set-to over some "vendor neutral format" (whatever that means) is a waste of users' time and energy. All you programmers and geeks and boy wonders should get over yourselves. Your technical elegance doesn't mean squat if you can't achieve ubiquity because of your petty egos. The best technical solution rarely wins in the marketplace -- Microsoft is the 9,000lb gorilla that proves it.
RSS 2.0 works fine. It gives me everything I need. Others are adding stuff to it (like ENT) that make it better. As a simple-minded user who wants RSS to serve business and personal goals I'm happy with it. Buff it up a little bit and move on. What I'm not happy with is the state of aggregators.
For a few weeks I've been testing NewzCrawler. Today I downloaded NewsMonster. Now, I'm not programmer but I cannot fathom that it is rocket science to build an RSS feed reader. But apparently it is. Both of these tools are sorely lacking in polish and functionality. Mostly they just crash and are full of bugs.
NewzCrawler has Alzheimers, and can't remember what it has and hasn't read to save its life. Its "Blog this!" feature is a great idea that doesn't quite cut it. And I know it's beta, but it is at version 1.4+ and they are taking money for it. It damn well ought to work.
NewsMonster can't import feeds from an OPML file, despite having a "wizard" for expressly that purpose. How am I supposed to test that? And it hopelessly crashed Mozilla the first time I installed it, forcing me to load another browser and go out and install Java J2RE 1.4.1 -- despite the web page claiming it would run on JRE 1.3+. Why would I spend $30 on a "Pro" version of something so crappy?
I have better hope for Nick Bradbury's FeedDemon, since Bradbury's already got a couple of very solid commercial software successes under his belt. But it's only in Beta (and he is not, by the way, trying to sell it before it actually works.)
I've said this before -- Radio plus myRadio is still the best, most reliable Windoze aggregator experience I've found. I wish it ran faster, but at least it remembers where it's been and doesn't crash. Combined with Mark Paschal's Kit I can get full text search, as well.
But all is not roses here, either. This license renewal thing with Radio is driving people nuts. I introduced a few friends to Radio last year. All had install problems but I helped a bit and we got through it. Then they all universally let it languish. Now the licenses are up for renewal. One friend decided to give it another try and signed up for her renewal. She paid her fee, got her number and -- drum roll, please -- it doesn't work. One month after paying her money she still can't get an answer from Userland or get her software to function.
She got so fed up she went out and downloaded a little program called iBlog for $19.95. She had it up and running in 10 minutes, publishing to her own server, with no help and no problems. She even changed her own templates and stylesheets. In less than an hour she accomplished more with iBlog than she had in weeks of trying to work with Radio.
So between the pissing match going on with the RSS spec people, the wretched state of aggregators, and lousy support at blog software companies all you self-proclaimed gurus are doing little more than filling your own barnyard full of shit.
I no longer feel confident recommending this stuff to anyone because it is all so badly broken, so damned hard to use, or so poorly supported. What happened here? How did this go from being an area of such promise a year ago to a freaking technical quagmire?
If you want to solve population problems just put blog software people in charge of the food supply chain. Within a year a third of the population will die of food poisoning, and a third will die of starvation. The remaining third will be early adopters eating beta versions of GMO foods that will probably kill them within the next year. But the tech people will all think of themselves as geniuses. Talk about your broken business models. [b.cognosco]
2:55:13 PM comment  trackback 
A nice collection of computer related wisdom from Joel via Scoble.
Joel has a nice page of funny quotes about the computer industry.
Much fun and a bit of wisdom to be found there.[McGee's Musings]
2:53:29 PM comment  trackback 
Alexi Sayle. "Americans have different ways of saying things. They say 'elevator', we say 'lift'...they say 'President', we say 'stupid psychopathic git'...." [Quotes of the Day]
2:51:36 PM comment  trackback 
Movable Type's installation conflagration. Weblog entries from Stephen Den Beste and Burning Bird cover a controversial provision in Movable Type's licenses that may prevent people from installing the software for others and charging for the service.
Mena Trott, one of the cofounders of the company that developed Movable Type, said that the provision will be changed:
... I agree we're being too restrictive now and I want to change that. People should be able to charge for their time and work. We will allow people to do this. All I'm asking is for people to see that yes, we're going to change things and we just need some time to do this.
Though it sounds like the situation is being corrected, it illustrates one of the benefits of Nucleus, Blosxom, Drupal and other weblogging tools that offer licenses without commercial use restrictions. [Workbench]
2:50:28 PM comment  trackback 
Cleaning up for AdSense.
I wanted to play with AdSense so I applied for it just now and started obfuscating four letter words in my blog so Google won't think I am a porn site.[Don Park's Blog]
2:49:03 PM comment  trackback 
RSS and Echo. Well the big companies have finally made their move in the weblog world with Sam Ruby being directed by IBM to take control of an emerging syndication standard. Why now? Big publishing companies are starting to think about using RSS (really simple syndication) not only to automate the delivery of news to readers but also to automate the production of news. IBM is very interested in this given their longstanding and extremely lucrative relationship with the WSJ ($500m over the last three years) and other publishers. It would be against their interest to let a simple syndication standard emerge that didn't require lots of IBM iron and software expertise. RSS had to die. Also, if you small vendors or individual contributors think that you are gaining some say or freedom with the development of Echo, think again. The big companies are going to roll right over you as the push this forward over the next couple of years. [John Robb's Radio Weblog]
2:48:34 PM comment  trackback 
Interdependent Thoughts in Dutch and German.
Ton starts Dutch/German bilingual version of his blog. This makes me happy because only recently I thought that it would be nice for me to read some Dutch blogs to improve my Dutch. Any other suggestions of blogs in Dutch about KM/learning are welcome.Mathemagenic]
2:26:08 PM comment  trackback 
Blogs vs. KnowledgeBoard.
No time to comment, so just to point it out: there is an interesting discussion about effects of members turning to blogging for the KnowledgeBoard community (scroll and read in reverse order :)[Mathemagenic]
2:22:40 PM comment  trackback 
Blog changes. There's been a couple of changes that you might not have noticed here, assuming that you haven't scrolled all the... [Backup Brain]
6:08:01 AM comment  trackback 
Announcing SS_PrefsController. I've got some new Cocoa source for you today, folks: announcing SS_PrefsControll... [Irate Scotsman]
6:04:23 AM comment  trackback 
An American Blogger's Korean Life.
I found Shawn Matthews via James K. Lee who found Shawn from Blogs about Korea in my blogroll (?). Like many English bloggers in Korea, Shawn is an English instructor. And he has some really funny stories to tell. Along with James, I found myself chuckling whenever I read his posts. He has been in Korea long enough to learn how to bump Ajumas (pronounced Ah-Jeum-Mah) out of his way. Considering that Ajumas are Korean version of X-Men (well, X-Women in this case), he has adapted well to Korean life indeed.[Don Park's Blog]
6:00:24 AM comment  trackback 
Forward Motion!. XML-RPC spec updated. "Site Syndication Format" launched. Lots of RSS 2.0 specs? Why is all this happening? I have a theory ... [Sam Ruby]
5:58:46 AM comment  trackback 
A Critical Look at Trusted Computing. mod12 writes "After just attending a two-week summer program on the theoretical foundations of security (one of the speakers was from Microsoft research), I ... [Slashdot]
5:55:43 AM comment  trackback 
Escaped HTML discussion. An update on yesterday's position, based on feedback. ... [Sam Ruby]
5:51:58 AM comment  trackback 
My Take on Echo's Future.
The question of whether Echo will succeed in replacing RSS seems to be on many bloggers' mind just now. Scoble thinks Echo has no chance. Many people on the Echo supporters list think otherwise. I put my name on that list as well, but I don't think the chance of Echo replacing RSS is very good.
RSS is far more than just a spec as Scoble explained, but engineers tend to focus only on technical side of things so it is no wonder most Echo supporters don't see it that way. Just looking at the process of picking a name shows clearly how naive most of them are. I meant naive in a good way so I hope they don't take this comment as an insult.
Although I don't think there is an optimistic future for Echo, I signed up as a supporter because, as I wrote before, I think it is a Good Thing. There has been pent-up energies among developers that demanded something like Echo. I don't mean Echo the spec. I mean Echo the project. Echo project is a good outlet for all that creative energy which could be destructive and chaotic if applied wrongly. In my opinion, funky RSS was an example how destructive and chaotic creative energy can be.
I am happy that the funky RSS storm seems to have passed for the most part and creative energy has been released toward more constructive path via the Echo project. Just as I think Dave is trying to Do The Right Thing, I believe everyone working on Echo are trying to Do The Right Thing. Even if Echo the spec end up a dud, I think the effort is worth doing and was inevitable in one form or another.
History will happen as it does and not as it should. Questions, discussions, and predictions are, in the end, no more than memories of turning pages. So there is no point of asking who will win nor whether it should go on. Besides, good ideas from Echo can be incorporated into RSS eventually so the users will win no matter which format wins.[Don Park's Blog]
5:40:14 AM comment  trackback 
Replacing the orange XML icon. We haven't quite worked out how to publicise them yet, we need to persuade our graphic designers that the orange XML lozenge is a beautiful complement for their delightful layout. [Kevin Hinde at BBC News Interactive] The orange button was fine for weblogs, but on websites with corporate design it's not going to work. … [Sjoerd Visscher's weblog]
4:49:36 AM comment  trackback 
The difference between RSS and Echo. In the recent heated debates about Echo (I'll call it that for now) the prevailing comment is that Echo is a replacement of RSS because of political issues. While this is not entirely untrue, there are actually big differences between Echo and RSS. I'm going to address the main difference for each version of RSS. … [Sjoerd Visscher's weblog]
4:48:30 AM comment  trackback 
Bloggers, email list moderators gain libel protection. An appeals court ruled last Tuesday that bloggers, website operators and e-mail list editors can't be held responsible for libel for information they republish. I covered the story for Wired News:
Online free speech advocates praised the decision as a victory. The ruling effectively differentiates conventional news media, which can be sued relatively easily for libel, from certain forms of online communication such as moderated e-mail lists. One implication is that DIY publishers like bloggers cannot be sued as easily.Link to Wired News story, Discuss [Boing Boing Blog]
"One-way news publications have editors and fact-checkers, and they're not just selling information -- they're selling reliability," said Cindy Cohn, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "But on blogs or e-mail lists, people aren't necessarily selling anything, they're just engaging in speech. That freedom of speech wouldn't exist if you were held liable for every piece of information you cut, paste and forward."
The court based its decision on a section of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, or the CDA. That section states, "... no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." Three cases since then -- Zeran v. AOL, Gentry v. eBay and Schneider v. Amazon -- have granted immunity to commercial online service providers.
4:41:53 AM comment  trackback 
iTunes Playlist to Blog. While messing around today I wrote a little Python script to post an iTunes playlist to a Metaweblog API enabled blog (like MovableType). I'm toying with the idea of using it to auto-post a top 25 list of songs once per week or something. The script is available here. Here's... [Artima MacOS X Buzz]
4:22:07 AM comment  trackback 
Mac Developer Blogs List. Yes there is a list of Mac developer blogs. I actually saw this a while back, but forgot about it.... [Artima MacOS X Buzz]
4:19:58 AM comment  trackback