· The World
 · · Life Online
 · · · People

Scoble & PodTech · I wasn’t go­ing to write any­thing about this be­cause so many oth­ers have, and I don’t know the first thing about PodTech. But then this morn­ing they spammed me. Any email that lands in my in­box that’s writ­ten in marketing-ese and I don’t know who sent it, that’s spam. I con­clude that PodTech needs some help; there’s some­thing deeply, um, what’s the word I’m look­ing for here, to de­scribe an­nounc­ing a move in the blog­ging space by spam­ming press re­leas­es? Let’s use “wrong”. Some ex­cerpt­s: “PodTech.Network Inc., a lead­ing emerging-media com­pa­ny ... ‘Robert Scoble is a glob­al brand and we are thrilled to have him as a mem­ber of the PodTech team’ said John Fur­ri­er ... pro­vides a me­dia plat­form of Fresh Voices™ that ig­nite the pow­er of con­ver­sa­tion among com­pa­nies, their cus­tomer­s, and part­ners ... His me­dia ex­per­tise and vi­sion is in align­ment with PodTech’s busi­ness strat­e­gy and ex­ten­sion of our de­vel­op­ing me­dia platform.” For their sake, let’s hope that Scoble rep­re­sents a Clue­train tick­et.
Mark’s Salad · You know, it’s re­al­ly aw­ful­ly nice to have Mark Pil­grim back. A small but good de­bate has bro­ken out in the com­ments over the mer­its of Red De­li­cious, Fu­ji, Brae­burn, and oth­er va­ri­etal­s. While the com­menters are right that Mark is wrong to se­lect Red de­li­cious, it is fool­ish to dis­miss the Mac­in­tosh for be­ing too tart; a fresh well-grown Mac is about the best ap­ple there is. But then Mark just gave up on Mac­in­tosh­es.
Dinosaur Loyalty · I re­cent­ly up­grad­ed to the 2.1 be­ta of NetNewsWire, and it’s kind of cru­el soft­ware. In your sub­scrip­tion list, it clas­si­fies feeds that haven’t been post­ed to for a long time as “dinosaurs” and colours them brown. It’s kind of sad: Adam Bos­worth, Pat Chane­zon, John Cowan, Jonathon Dela­cour, Michael Klassen, Mark Pil­grim, Rat­tlesnake, Cyn­thia Webb, Frank Wierzbic­ki, Xana­da, JZ’s Apart­ness, BZim­mer, voic­es gone qui­et. Wel­l, I’m loy­al, I’m still sub­scribed to the ones that aren’t out-&-out gone. And there’s good news: half-a-dozen di­nosaurs turned out still to be there, their feeds had moved or mor­phed when I wasn’t look­ing. But for most of them, when I vis­it­ed the new digs I re­alised that I’d gone months with­out them and it hadn’t hurt too much so I just erased them. With the ex­cep­tion of Bram Co­hen and Brad DeLong. [Up­date: John Cowan’s back­!]
Them Changes · Good­ness gra­cious, I go off to Saskatchewan for a few days, and when I come back, Don Box has come out as a (Lo-)Restafarian, Gartner’s WS-* faith is wa­ver­ing, and David Heine­meier Hans­son is now an Atom evan­ge­list. I ought to spend more time on the Prairies.
Picture of a Switchblade · My fa­vorite pho­tog­ra­pher, Alex Waterhouse-Hayward, has launched a blog, and very beau­ti­ful it is. Alex is a writer, too; con­sid­er Nicolás Guillén and the Switch­blade, from whence: “You will need this sevil­lana (switch­blade) and so that it will open swift­ly I am giv­ing you this lit­tle bot­tle of whale oil. Whale oil is the best... ”
Dr. Macro · That would be the han­dle of Eliot Kim­ber, a mem­ber of the orig­i­nal XML Work­ing Group. I count my­self among the more pro­lif­ic and pedan­tic mem­bers of the markup com­mu­ni­ty, but Eliot sets A Higher Stan­dard; in­deed, those who know him find his en­try to the bl­o­go­sphere long over­due. His tagline: “All tools suck.” He has re­cent­ly pub­lished a rant pre­view which may help you de­cide whether you want to sub­scribe, as I have.
Ian Kallen on Web 2.0 · It turns out that Ian Kallen, one of the peo­ple re­spon­si­ble for the fact that Tech­no­rati is now re­li­ably on­line, work­ing, and re­spon­sive (when­ev­er I go there at least­), has a blog and it’s pret­ty good. To­day, he calls for a Web 2.0 mora­to­ri­um.
Open-Source Whatever · Over at O’Reilly, John Mark Walk­er writes There Is No Open Source Com­mu­ni­ty, and Ni­cholas Car­r, who en­joys de­cry­ing, well, any­thing pop­u­lar, chimes in with The Amoral­i­ty of Open Source. They both paint a pic­ture of mis­guid­ed in­no­cents who be­lieve in some starry-eyed vi­sion of post-capitalist in­tel­lec­tu­al col­lec­tivis­m, but are ac­tu­al­ly pawns in the hands of larg­er eco­nom­ic forces. They’re both re­al­ly wrong. Grant­ed: Open Source is not a na­tion or a cor­po­ra­tion or a po­lit­i­cal par­ty or a re­li­gion. (While there are “movement people”, or­ga­nized in­to the skeptical-of-each-other Open Source and Free Soft­ware sect­s, they are a tiny—albeit noisy—minority.) Ab­sent those things, what is left? A col­lec­tion of peo­ple who like work­ing on soft­ware and look for op­por­tu­ni­ties, prefer­ably but not nec­es­sar­i­ly paid, to do so. If that isn’t a “community”, what is? And fur­ther­more, I would rec­om­mend that Walk­er and Carr spend some time hang­ing out in the IRC chan­nels and piz­za par­ties and con­fer­ences and mail­ing lists and wikis where the Open-Source peo­ple ac­tu­al­ly, you know, are. They would dis­cov­er, now what’s the word I’m look­ing for... peo­ple who ac­tive­ly seek out their own kind, who share jar­gon and jokes and tools and thought lead­ers and en­e­mies. The word I’m look­ing for is “community”. And any­one who thinks that this com­mu­ni­ty would go away if Sun and IBM and Novell and so on were to stop fund­ing it is nut­s. Open Source Soft­ware is its own re­ward; that, and hang­ing out with peo­ple who share our pas­sion­s. We don’ need no steenkin’ eco­nomic­s. Or ide­olo­gies ei­ther.
Danny’s Blogging · That would be Dan­ny Weitzn­er, the Web Consortium’s le­gal ea­gle, who did a whole lot of the hard, dirty, slog­ging that led to the ad­mirable W3C Pa­tent Pol­i­cy. I am quite cer­tain that the ben­e­fits of keep­ing the patent trolls away from the Web in­fras­truc­ture will be en­joyed by hu­man­i­ty long af­ter Dan­ny and I and al­most ev­ery­one else now liv­ing are for­got­ten.
Gleanings · I’ve been kind of busy, in part due to my em­ploy­er hav­ing made some sort of an­nounce­ment ap­prox­i­mate­ly ev­ery fif­teen min­utes for the last three month­s. I’m still be­hind on more or less ev­ery­thing, but here are some things that have built up in my tabs bar that I just can’t bring my­self to by­pass. Item: Quot­ing Si­mon Phipps: “It seems to me in­evitable that even­tu­al­ly, the no­bil­i­ty of the old world will turn up at the doors of the fron­tiers­men of the new world and de­mand pay­ment of trib­ute in the form of patents royalties.” Item: Br’er Rob chan­nels Ge­org chan­nel­ing God. Item: Za­wod­ny: Do Search Engines Cen­sor Blog­ger­s? Good ques­tion; the one time I’ve dropped in­to unmitigated-flame mode here about a com­pa­ny, the re­sult is that if you type their name in­to Google, my flame’s right there be­side their home­page. I feel guilty even though they en­tire­ly earned the flame; people’s jobs are at stake. Item: Good Richard Pry­or eu­lo­gy. I still think the orig­i­nal Richard Pry­or Live video is maybe the fun­ni­est thing I’ve ev­er seen, com­e­dy striv­ing for the di­vine and not miss­ing by much. Item: IBM li­cens­ing its patent port­fo­lio to star­tups via VCs. This de­serves more at­ten­tion than it’s re­ceived. My ini­tial re­ac­tion is vis­cer­al hor­ror, does it mean you can’t safe­ly start a com­pa­ny with­out tak­ing VC mon­ey? Item: Beau Hartshorne has aban­doned databas­es in fa­vor of Atom. Item: Amaz­ing­ly cool op­ti­cal il­lu­sion. Uni­fy­ing the­me: None.
John Cowan · He’s a leg­end in the XML com­mu­ni­ty, is the au­thor of TagSoup, is ridicu­lous­ly eru­dite on any num­ber of things, and is look­ing for a new job. I think he’d be a good bet.
Catcalls · It seems like my lit­tle thought ex­per­i­ment has touched a nerve. Scoble, Dare Obasan­jo, and Randy Hol­loway all push back, amaz­ing­ly enough all mak­ing the same ar­gu­men­t: how can I be against du­pli­ca­tion in office-document XML for­mat while at the same time be­ing mixed up in the Atom Pro­ject? The ar­gu­ment is fal­la­cious, but at least Robert and Randy made it in grown-up, po­lite terms, leav­ing the child­ish name-calling to Dare. Now, as for RSS and Atom: When I came on the scene in 2003, RSS was al­ready hope­less­ly frag­ment­ed, and there was ex­act­ly ze­ro chance of any of the large-egoed thin-skinned pro­po­nents of the var­i­ous ver­sions de­cid­ing to make nice with each oth­er. Atom is pre­cise­ly an at­tempt to re­duce the num­ber of vo­cab­u­lar­ies that im­ple­men­tors feel they have to sup­port. Turn­ing to the office-document space: right now the world has ex­act­ly one fin­ished, de­liv­ered, stan­dard­ized, totally-unencumbered, multiply-implemented XML-based of­fice doc­u­ment for­mat. You are the guys who want to in­tro­duce an­oth­er, in­com­pat­i­ble one. And I think that’s OK; but re­strict your in­ven­tion to the spe­cial­ized Mi­crosoft stuff that ODF can’t do, and don’t re-invent the ba­sic­s. Why is this con­tro­ver­sial?
A Better World Through Garlic · My broth­er Rob is re­al­ly hit­ting his stride at this online-writing thang. Blog­gers should aim at big tar­get­s, and this week­end he’s ar­gu­ing that, by and large, the world is get­ting bet­ter; can’t go big­ger than that. But we should al­so fo­cus on the de­tail­s; last week he of­fered a prac­ti­cal small-scale im­prove­men­t: Nu­cle­ar Gar­lic Paste. Mm­m­m­m­m­m­m­m­m­m.
Rick Jelliffe · He’s been work­ing on XML since be­fore it was in­vent­ed, he knows ap­prox­i­mate­ly ev­ery­thing about XML and pub­lish­ing tech­nol­o­gy, he in­vent­ed Schema­tron (which you should be us­ing if you need to val­i­date XML in a com­plex or sub­tle way), he’s a nice guy, and he’s look­ing for a job. Go get him.
Lower than Vole Scrota · ESR has cracked up. It’s kind of sad, Eric Ray­mond was one of my ma­jor in­flu­ences with his es­says on the cul­ture and eco­nomics of Open Source. I didn’t al­ways agree, but they were closely-argued and made you re­al­ly think hard. Now he stands on his blog plat­form and ar­gues that we’re in dan­ger of sur­ren­der­ing to Al-Qaeda be­cause of... wait for it... after-effects of the work done by Depart­ment V of the KGB, es­pe­cial­ly be­tween 1930 and 1950. There are con­so­la­tion­s; his re­ful­gent nut­ti­ness brings out the best in some com­menter­s, for ex­am­ple a bril­liant micro-essay by “Adrian”, from whence this fragment’s ti­tle.
COSO · That stands for “Chief Open Source Officer”, and as of now, Sun has one, name­ly Si­mon Phipps. We are do­ing a whole lot of Open-Source stuff, and a lot of dif­fer­ent groups are do­ing it, and we to­tal­ly need a sin­gle point of con­tact and co­or­di­na­tion. Simon’s the ob­vi­ous choice, and now’s the ob­vi­ous time. By the way, if you’ve nev­er been to one of Simon’s speech­es on things OSS, you should go, he’s al­ways worth lis­ten­ing to.
Be the Middle Gazelle · Some­times Len Bullard’s posts take on the feel of Zen Koan­s, for ex­am­ple Do­ing Busi­ness in The Jun­gle and Gas and The Subur­ban War­rior.
Accountability? · For those who haven’t been watch­ing, there’s been a nasty lit­tle dust-up be­tween Rob Scoble and The Regis­ter, an on­line technology-review pub­li­ca­tion. The Reg ac­cused Mi­crosoft, in an IE be­ta, of some anti-competitive nas­ties (to be fair, of ex­act­ly the kind that Mi­crosoft has done be­fore). Scoble hot­ly de­nied it, say­ing the prob­lem was rare, he hadn’t seen it and, when it oc­curred, was a bug not a strat­e­gy. He had plausible-sounding sup­port from the IE team. The Reg re­turned to the at­tack, specif­i­cal­ly al­leg­ing that Scoble had ex­pe­ri­enced the prob­lem and was do­ing a cover-up, and pub­lished an email with Scoble’s name on the “From:” line as ev­i­dence. Scoble ap­par­ent­ly al­leges the email is a fake, and has been sling­ing words like “libel” around. Since then, the Regis­ter has been silen­t, which is re­al­ly trou­bling; they need to af­firm that they stand by their sto­ry, or back down. Either Scoble was ly­ing, or he wasn’t; ei­ther the Regis­ter was off the rails or it wasn’t. I’m not link­ing to the in­di­vid­u­al pieces, be­cause this hasn’t any­thing to do with the Reg’s ini­tial al­le­ga­tion. It’s about find­ing out who’s ly­ing, and if there are any penal­ties for it.
The Atomic Tribe · I just want to say, the Atom­pub work­ing group has been out­stand­ing. Not al­ways po­lite, but in­tense and hard-working and in­sight­ful. Not self­ish, ei­ther; we had to go prompt the mailing-list con­trib­u­tors in­di­vid­u­al­ly ask­ing them if they want­ed to be in the ac­knowl­edg­ments sec­tion. The Net owes a thank-you to: Dan­ny Ay­ers, James Aylett, Roger Ben­ning­field, Arve Bersvend­sen, Dan Brick­ley, Thomas Broy­er, Robin Cover, Bill de hÓra, Martin Duerst, Roy Field­ing, Joe Gre­go­rio, Bjo­ern Hoehrmann, Paul Hoff­man, Anne van Kesteren, Brett Lind­s­ley, Dare Obasan­jo, David Or­chard, Aris­to­tle Pa­galtzis, John Panz­er, Gra­ham Parks, Dave Paw­son, Mark Pil­grim, David Pow­ell, Ju­lian Reschke, Phil Ring­nal­da, An­tone Roundy, Sam Ru­by, Eric Scheid, Brent Sim­mons, Hen­ri Sivo­nen, Ray Slakin­s­ki, James Snell, Hen­ry Sto­ry, Asbjørn Uls­berg, Wal­ter Un­der­wood, Nor­man Walsh, Dave Win­er, and Bob Wy­man.
Caynes’ Cairn · I’ve been asked why I keep point­ing to “that dude’s in­com­pre­hen­si­ble gibberish”, but hey, this is my blog. Any­how, vis­it Tim Caynes’ Lat­est and ei­ther read it or don’t, but do fol­low the link at the end to a re­al­ly re­mark­able pic­ture la­beled “cairn”.
Claire · To­day Claire Gior­dano has a nice piece on community-building, which is a re­al is­sue in these days of highly-distributed com­pa­nies like Sun. If you’re not watch­ing Claire, you prob­a­bly should be; her fin­ger­prints are all over Solaris’ Zones and SMF and Vol­ume Man­ager, and she’s been the sin­gle most im­por­tant per­son in mak­ing OpenSo­laris a re­al­i­ty. Def­i­nite­ly one to keep an eye on. On top of which, she’s got a cool head­er graph­ic.
Watch This Space. Really. · Which is to say John Cowan is on­line. He knows more stuff about more stuff than you do, which could give a per­son a big head and in fact he has one, but not that kind if you know what I mean. Sub­scribed. [Uh, for some rea­son, all my NetNewsWire blogspot sub­scrip­tions got dropped a cou­ple of weeks ago... I thought John and Sass and many oth­ers had gone dark. Just me? Hm­m.]
Another 55’er · I see Dave Win­er is turn­ing 50; for a birth­day pre­sen­t, I added him to a pret­ty in­ter­est­ing club that I’m a mem­ber of too.
Democratic Reform BC · My friend and for­mer col­league Matt Laird, who, as a part-time ISP, hosts on­go­ing, is a can­di­date for the Demo­crat­ic Re­form par­ty in the provin­cial elec­tion we’ve got un­der way right now. They’re cur­rent­ly mad be­cause their lead­er isn’t be­ing in­vit­ed to the TV de­bates, and their gripe sounds rea­son­able to me. In this elec­tion, I haven’t yet tak­en the time to fig­ure out who I like, but I’ve turned in­to one of those aw­ful single-issue vot­ers be­cause I’ve got a kid in el­e­men­tary school, and the lev­el of un­der­fund­ing is shock­ing, scan­dalous; un­ac­cept­able in as pros­per­ous a so­ci­ety as we have here. It looks like be­ing a re­al horse-race in my neigh­bor­hood too, so this should be fun.
Ph.D. Fun · I have a low­ly B.Sc., which didn’t both­er me un­til just now when I read Post­mod­ern Sass on the re­wards of post­grad­u­ate study.
Calling all Canadians · Ra­dio guy Tod Maf­fin just wrote up an im­pend­ing re­draft of Cana­di­an copy­right law. If this turns in­to a fu­tile at­tempt to shore up failed busi­ness mod­els by forc­ing the de­vel­op­ment of user-unfriendly tech­nol­o­gy, I’m not go­ing to take it ly­ing down. Other places to look are Michael Geist’s site and the Cana­di­an In­ter­net Pol­i­cy and Public In­ter­est Clin­ic, which he found­ed. Cana­di­an­s, please take note and get in the loop. With a mi­nor­i­ty gov­ern­ment in Ot­tawa, we may even get some lever­age. [Up­date: If you read Michael Geist’s cov­er­age, it ap­pears that the pro­posed leg­is­la­tion is a lot less bad than it might have been. We should still be vig­i­lan­t, be­cause the oth­er side will be try­ing to tilt the ta­ble their way.] [Up­date: Ray­mond Lutz wrote me to point out Dig­i­tal Copy­right Cana­da, an­oth­er ad­vo­ca­cy site.]
Julie! · Here at the North­ern Voice con­fer­ence, it’s been most­ly pret­ty nice. Then there was the “Making Masks” ses­sion by Julie Le­ung and it was exquisite, be­yond beau­ti­ful; a nearly-hour-long prose po­em about the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the blog­ger and the world, with trips through fam­i­ly, death, love, and in­ti­ma­cy. Il­lus­trat­ed by fine pho­tos (no bul­let points) cen­ter­ing around Bain­bridge is­land where she and her fam­i­ly live. On two oc­ca­sions I found tears in my eye­s; Julie’s talk, with a bit of pol­ish and stage­craft, could be a one-woman show in a the­atre. Don’t miss her if she’s com­ing your way.
Green On Search · Care about search in gen­er­al? Then you prob­a­bly should start read­ing Steve Green; he’s in Sun Labs and knows more about search tech­nol­o­gy than just about any­body, way more than me. Plus, he’s amus­ing.
Michael Klassen · This gen­tle­man has just launched a kind-of-Vancouverish kind-of-Canadian kind-of-pop-cultural on­line pres­ence, which looks pret­ty good so far; a lit­tle more weight on the top left cor­ner of the bl­o­go­sphere can’t hurt.
Jerome Can Go Jump · That would be Jerome La­coste, who writes “It was fun to see a guy of his age use vi to code some non main­stream lan­guage and put some CSS in HTML.”. Wel­l, kid­do, my beard may be most­ly white and my head most­ly bald, but all ten fin­gers more or less work. Fur­ther, it oc­curs to me that this is a dis­ci­pline in which skills are ac­quired as you go along, and as you go along, year up­on year, you get bet­ter at it. And as for vi, well y’know, I would have used Emac­s, but I didn’t want to scare the kid­dies. Here’s how it is: Some peo­ple can’t not code, and some­times the con­di­tion is long-lasting. (Ac­tu­al­ly, Jerome said kind things about my Javapo­lis talk. Seems like a smart guy, give him an­oth­er decade or two and we’ll see.)
The Markup Tribe · The three days of the XML con­fer­ence are just an aw­ful­ly good time. This is where I come from, and in the years since I first came in 1990 I’ve worked for dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies and done dif­fer­ent things, but the same peo­ple keep com­ing around in par­al­lel or­bit­s. In this group of peo­ple, you nev­er have to ex­plain why it’s OK to be ob­ses­sive about markup, about tex­t, about lan­guage, or about mean­ing. Plus we had a par­ty where se­cu­ri­ty came to shut us down. Most­ly this is just an ex­cuse to post a few pic­tures ...
Warm Antwerp Glow · This idea of pub­lish­ing your sched­ule is a win­ner. Since then, I’ve heard from Jim Heid, who re­cent­ly spent some time there and rec­om­mends two ex­cel­lent ho­tel­s, and Mik Lernout, who’s speak­ing at the con­fer­ence and is go­ing to be mov­ing from An­twerp to Van­cou­ver, and would like to have din­ner. Peo­ple are, you know, gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, ex­cel­len­t.
Postmodern Sass · The ti­tle is Post­mod­erne Sprach­spie­len; I’m not ex­act­ly sure what that mean­s, but the blog is by an old-time bud­dy of mine who for the mo­ment wants to man­i­fest as “Sass”. Def­i­nite­ly worth read­ing: She’s just get­ting start­ed and has al­ready writ­ten about love, drunk­en­ness, South­ern cul­ture, and Elvis. It doesn’t work that well yet on In­ter­net Ex­plor­er but she says she’ll fix that on the week­end and any­how, who us­es IE?
A Little Bit of Payback · I found out last Au­gust that the the Votemas­ter was ac­tu­al­ly An­drew Ta­nen­baum, short­ly af­ter I met him on­line. I’d writ­ten him sug­gest­ing that Electoral-Vote.com need­ed a feed; RSS was new to him so I ex­plained and helped de­bug his, it’s been a huge suc­cess (#79 on the Blog­lines top 100 as I write). Those read­ers who nev­er stud­ied Com­put­er Science may not know that Andy Ta­nen­baum is one of the top CS au­thors in the his­to­ry of the world. He’s al­so the au­thor of Minix, the ed­u­ca­tion­al OS that helped mo­ti­vate Li­nus to write Lin­ux. I per­son­al­ly learned net­work­ing from his clas­sic Com­put­er Net­works and once taught a course us­ing Minix and his com­pan­ion text Oper­at­ing Sys­tems. Which is to say, he’s one of my ma­jor in­flu­ences and one of my heroes. It was very sweet, ex­plain­ing a lit­tle piece of our dis­ci­pline to one who ex­plained so much to me. Kind of amus­ing too... his half of the con­ver­sa­tion in­clud­ed some­thing along the lines of “It can’t be that sim­ple; you mean the whole world just polls this RSS thing to see if it’s changed?” Plus, it’s worth say­ing that Electoral-Vote.com is a very fine piece of work, up to Prof. Tanenbaum’s high stan­dard­s. If you haven’t been read­ing it, dig through the archives and en­joy his eru­dite but amus­ing com­men­taries on the course of the elec­tion.
author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
Random image, linked to its containing fragment

By .

I am an employee
of Amazon.com, but
the opinions expressed here
are my own, and no other party
necessarily agrees with them.

A full disclosure of my
professional interests is
on the author page.