Here's an article that makes the case that RSS is too hard for most people. While the article makes a few good points, the various aggregators on the market - like BottomFeeder - have mechanisms in place to deal with most of the issues raised. For instance: the biggest problem for most neophytes is "what do I subscribe to?" Well, BottomFeeder tries to make that easier via auto-detect. For instance, let's say I want to subscribe to news feeds from CNN, and I don't know what they have. In the "Add Feed" dialog for Bf, simply put in the main CNN URL, as I show in the image below:
Clearly, that's not an RSS or Atom feed. However, BottomFeeder recognizes that, and scans the HTML that came down for likely feed links (failing that, it executes a search in one of the syndication search engines). What it comes back with is a list of all the feeds advertised at that site (on that page):
Finally, I can pick one or all. In most cases, it would be simpler to select all, and then blow away the ones you don't care about:
I've made that screenshot smaller, which is why it looks blurry. In any event, the feeds get added to their own folder automatically. So even if you don't know what RSS or Atom is, BottomFeeder will let you find stuff easily.
Another quibble; the author of that piece didn't do some basic research:
To the average website visitor RSS feeds seem to be a geek toy requiring knowledge that they don't have time to gain or just are are not interested in. If web browsers included feed readers by default it would probably increase RSS usage 10 fold. But since none of the web browser makers seem to be interested in trying to do this RSS may remain unknown and unpopular for years to come.
Safari auto-detects RSS, and IE 7 will too - and IE 7 is coming out shortly. In fact, I expect that having IE 7 and Outlook 2007 support for RSS built in will spread the use of RSS very rapidly.
This is the final reminder for the combined Smalltalk users group meeting this Friday and a Camp Smalltalk this Saturday.
Andy Bower, one of the main people behind Dolphin Smalltalk will be demoing Alchemetrics a trading system built in Dolphin.
John Aspinall will be demoing ReStore.
There's 20 names on the wiki so far, this should be a great opportunity to meet other Smalltalkers.http://www.xpdeveloper.net/xpdwiki/Wiki.jsp?page=SmalltalkUK20061020
There's a camp Smalltalk. Felix will be working on Smalltalk/X, Francisco will be working on Morphic Wrappers, I'll be working on Exupery. Come along either to work on a project or learn by working with different people. Bring a project, a laptop, or just yourself.
Remember to RSVP on the wiki. We need to provide security with a list of names so they'll let you in the building.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
I got a tip from Dave Buck this afternoon, and grabbed a few episodes of the Polymorphic Podcast - specifically, the interview with Dr. David West. Dr. West has some very nice things to say about Smalltalk, and gives some good rationales for why Smalltalk - and languages like Smalltalk - are a good choice.
This is pretty interesting: just how accurate are YouTube's statistics?
On Saturday night, I grabbed a video called “Sheep” from the Most Recent list and re-uploaded it under the username “themusichall”. I realized that I’d lost the audio in the process (converted it to the wrong format), but decided to leave it like that - nobody would voluntarily share a 7 second clip with no audio. I then set the page to refresh itself over Sunday night and - sure enough - it was among the most viewed clips this morning. Admittedly, 10,000 or so views doesn’t get you to the top - it’s on the 3rd “Most Viewed” page and ranks 10th in the Comedy category. But this is one computer refreshing one page with fairly long time intervals: I’m not going to make any suggestions that would encourage you to screw it up even more, but it’s pretty obvious how you could attain the number one spot.
Now, Google isn't filled with dummies, so you have to figure they were aware of this kind of thing. But who knows?
ArcterJournal likes Heroes:
Wow, I gotta say that each week Heroes keeps getting better. It's one of those shows I wish I never heard about until after the season is over so I can watch them all one after another without the pain of having to wait 7 days to see what happens next. I don't often rave about TV shows, so when I do you know it's good.
I like it too - the "wake up" scene with the cheerleader this week was pretty darn creepy. I have to admit, I had a chuckle at the end, when Hiro visits from the future with a message. I couldn't stop myself from inserting "in the future, I stopped being a nerd" :)
It is a cool show though - worth a place on your DVR.
Technorati Tags: scifi
The Smalltalk User Group meeting planned for the 18th (tomorrow) has been postponed until the 25th. Charles explains:
Due to the upcoming heavy rains on Wednesday, the fact that a lot of our members drive including our presenter which is coming from deep Jersey, the fact that the 18th also happens to be one of our regular's birthday which he will be spending with his immediate family, we shall be postponing our presentaton till next Wednesday the 25th which will be in direct conflict with OOPSLA
We apologize for any inconveniences
(Re) mark your calendars!
PR. Differently calls BS on Edelman's behavior (including the apology):
You're going to tell me Steve couldn't have just walked into Richard's office and been like, "Richard, this isn't cool - We're creating some bad Ju-ju, and we're gonna get busted." Would Richard have listened? Maybe. But Steve commented ""I am sorry I could not speak about this sooner. I had no personal role in this project. There is a process in place that I had to let proceed through its course. This is why it took some time."
You're EDELMAN'S BLOG EXPERT. YOU HAD NO ROLE IN THIS PROJECT? And Columbus sat below, writing out star charts for his next trip to Asia. He had no personal role in actually FINDING America.
Can't say I disagree with him.
Dave Winer gets this dead on:
I practice this myself. There are some things I'm expert at. And some experiences I have that are newsworthy even though I'm not an expert. When I went to the DNC in 2004, I wasn't an expert at the political process, but I brought a digital camera, a MP3 recorder, and my laptop, so I took pictures, did podcasts, and blogged. Put enough normal people in a room covering an event, and you've got coverage. And in my recent experience with MacBooks, a few reporters offered to do phone interviews, which I declined. I said I had written it all up on the blog, all of it is on the record, for attribution, and having a pretty good idea how the interview process works, and the results it produces, the only rational thing for me to do these days is to decline the interview. I predict that more and more people will do that, unless the pros get their act together.
When we went on vacation last summer, I had someone from a local paper do a "man in the street" interview with my wife and I about the security regime at the airport (this was right after the whole "no liquids" thing). We spoke to the woman for 30 seconds, and she was taking notes. When I got back, I saw the item in a local paper - she invented quotes.
That's just shoddy. Digital recorders are cheap, and it would have been very easy for this reporter to get what we actually said down - but that would have been too hard, apparently. The pros in media aren't as professional as they think they are - and the level of respect they get (see: any survey on public attitudes about reporters) reflects that reality. They keep not getting that, and it's going to cause increasing pain for them over time.
Update: Dave added more here. Also good stuff.
Technorati Tags: reporting
What does it tell you about Sirius' gamble on Howard Stern when they have to offer it for free for two days to get more people interested?
What it tells me is that there are now tons of free choices available across all possible media outlets. It tells me that in the unlimited channel space that is the internet, that you have to be pretty darn good to get a decent sized paid audience. Personally, I've never liked Stern - his schtick has always been about "he said what on radio??", or "he did what on tv??", or, when he was married - "he did what, and his wife doesn't care??"
Well, he's now divorced, and he's on a channel where "outrageous" behavior is common. Why should I pay to hear Stern, if I can get someone like Ze Frank for free? His stuff isn't to my taste, but I suspect that there's a fair bit of cross-over in those audience bases. The difference? Ze Frank is free, Stern is behind a pay wall. Sort of like Times Select, really.
Stern was a phenomenon so long as his behavior was outside the norm, and he was the only one beating that particular drum. Those things are no longer true.
The truth is, all candidates use it -- or suffer the consequences. When Wesley Clark entered the 2004 presidential race, he caught a cold, lost his voice, and was unable to campaign for several days. Some people speculated that the pace of a national campaign had knocked the former NATO comander off the campaign trail. I knew it was because he hadn't learned about hand sanitizer. National candidates shake hundreds, if not thousands, of hands every day. They will get sick unless they wash their hands early and often.
Consider the average trade show/conference - you meet tons of people, you shake their hands - and then you blame the post show cold on the airplane. I'm thinking it might not be the airplane air. This isn't something I've given much thought to, and I don't come down with serious colds all that often. If you do, you might want to consider the advice above.
Technorati Tags: health
The studio lawsuits against user video sites have begun:
Universal Music has launched the established media industry’s first legal action against rapidly growing user-generated websites by filing copyright suits against start-ups Grouper.com and Bolt.com.
In separate lawsuits, Universal alleged that Grouper and Bolt had built up traffic by encouraging users to share music videos from its artists without their permission.
Apparently, putting lawyers and music industry executives together doesn't give you anything like a peanut butter cup; more like a crap sandwich, I should think.
Let me think - when music videos are put up this way, who exactly is getting hurt? I thought the whole point of such videos was to promote the music (and thus CD or digital sales). Leaving no marketing opportunity unquashed, Universal has pulled out the stupid stick.
allofmp3.com to the RIAA: Go pound sand:
"They [the music studios] are concerned with making money for themselves not the artists. In our opinion, we and the artists are better off dealing directly with each other. In fact we believe it is the future of the music industry," they said.
Anything that torques off the RIAA is just fine in my book.
Technorati Tags: DRM
Michel Bany, the Cincomer who has ported Seaside from Squeak to VW, gives some tips on loading it:
Bundles SeasideForWebToolkit and SeasideForSwazoo are containers for a script that loads the actual Seaside bundles choosing bundles with similar version numbers.
The Seaside bundles can also be loaded manually in the following sequence :
- Seaside-WebToolkit or Seaside-Swazoo
In this case you may load whatever versions you want, for instance :
- Seaside-VW 2.6b1.103
- Seaside 2.6b1.103
- Seaside-Swazoo 2.6b1.84
There may be some issues with the Seaside servlet at present; that's being looked at.
Here's one of the problems with outsourcing your manufacturing widely - you really need to be careful about quality checks. Otherwise, you get things like the iPod virus fiasco:
The company said that a small number of video iPods made after Sept. 12 included the RavMonE virus. It said it has seen fewer than 25 reports of the problem, which it said does not affect other models of the media player, nor does it affect Macs.
From a PR perspective, Apple did the right thing by taking responsibility (and even managed to get a shot in at MS in the process):
"As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it," Apple said on its site.
THis doesn't mean that you should run a vertical stack like Henry Ford did back in the 1920's - but it does mean that you need to "trust, but verify" rather than just "trust".
I just made a small change to the behavior here on the site. You'll notice the enormous lists of category and syndication lists have been shrunken down to pull menus. Michael suggested that to me last night (to be fair, Vassili has mentioned it more than once too). In any case, it's done now - the sidebars should be easier to navigate.
Steve Rubel notes that advertising dollars seem to be getting lower. I say "seem to be", because it's based on an analyst report (Blackfriars Communications), and I know nothing about them. Anyway, here's what Steve notes:
Actual dollars spent on advertising this year was sharply lower than the original estimates. This according to an analysis by Blackfriars Communications. Worse, the same story is true online.
Researchers had predicted that 10% of overall advertising spending this year would go online. Meanwhile, it ended up at 7% of budgets. Plus, the entire pie shrunk as well.
That could be air leaking out of the web 2.0 bubble. We'll probably know within a few months, one way or the other. One thing's for sure - a lot of startups are very, very dependent on ad revenue. Could Yahoo's difficulties there be an early warning sign?
Technorati Tags: web2.0
There's Dynamic as done in Java, and then there's the real thing, as I do it in my blog server all the time (just this morning, in fact). Code that didn't exist when I first wrote the server? No problem. Replacing methods as the server runs? No problem. Creating new code and just loading it? How do you think the recent addition of iTunes tag support (necessary before I could get the podcasts listed in iTunes and other podcast directories) loaded? I wrote the code, tested it, and had the server load the results. Suddenly the RSS generator was dropping new meta information out.
Here's an old post on how I do the same thing in a client. On the server, the steps are as follows:
- Create new code in my test environment
- Once it works, export the diffs between the old version and the new one (i.e. a Smalltalk file-in for patches to existing code, or a new parcel for completely new stuff)
- On the server, create a small script to load the changes
- Hit the script, have the changes load. On the fly, as the server runs
That's it. No need to write code in some custom fashion to deal with things that didn't exist before - the Smalltalk system just accepts that they're there, and deals with it. This is yet another example of the mental cruft you have to deal with in a language like Java. In Smalltalk, that cruft just doesn't exist.
I'll be over here, being productive. You Java guys can read the multi-page post on how to do the same thing in your world :)
Doc Searls sums up what needs to be said about PayPerPost:
Yesterday I said PayPerPost makes you an ass****. Your job is to serve s***. You reduce yourself from a human being to an orifice for excreting messages. That may have seemed extreme or unkind; but hey, what's the difference between that and showing up on a bull**** detector?
What more needs to be added?
I commented on a "Java dynamic code" post earlier, and got a few comments - so I pushed up a screencast showing how to generate new code (methods and classes) at runtime in Smalltalk. It's way, way simpler than the Java example, and I show that in the screencast. Watch it here; enjoy.
I just got bitten by a browser incompatibility I didn't know about - IE doesn't do "onclick" handlers in menus. Since I just changed over to that, it's kind of a problem. So, I now detect the browser agent and feed IE 6 the older (long) lists. Sorry about the break.
Technorati Tags: blog
The best argument against "net neutrality" legislation was something Jerry Pournelle said on last week's TWiT podcast. To summarize (this is not an exact quote), he asked whether we should trust the Congress to write a law (any law, on either side of this) that would not have some fairly horrid unintended consequences. Never mind the intended consequences.
I know I don't. I'd rather have no new law in this area at all.
Scoble is giving IE 7 a whirl:
But IE7 does have some challenges ahead of it. Some sites in it render very slow. Most notably for me, Google Reader. I’m also using the new Firefox 2 and Firefox is a LOT faster. IE7 is frustratingly slow on Google Reader. It seems to hang whenever new stuff is being downloaded in the background via AJAX. To be fair, Google is probably pushing the browser in all sorts of ways, even the MSN team decided to back off on its use of AJAX due to speed problems, though (Live.com used to have an infinite scroll capability, which I really loved but they got rid of it after speed complaints came in).
I can't speak to this directly; I haven't grabbed IE 7 yet. What worries me about IE 7 has to do with the internal websites here at Cincom. When I tried one of the betas, it simply didn't work with our main intranet site. It may well be fine now, but I'm a bit leery.
I found this post on "languages that suck" interesting. There's a small issue with the metric used to find Smalltalk though. I'm not going to argue that Smalltalk is "mainstream", but it does have a bigger footprint than this site would suggest. How so?
Well, one of the metrics is the availability of code files online:
As in the first study, all data were collected from search results retrieved via Google's Code Search. For each target language, three pieces of information were initially gathered:
An approximation of the language's footprint in Google's database (and thus its popularity). Determined by one of the following queries: lang:<language-name>, lang:"<language-name>", or file:.*\.ext where ext is the file extension of that language's source code files.
Here's the problem - Smalltalkers don't tend to share source code that way - especially in the two dialects that get a lot of attention online: Squeak and Cincom Smalltalk. For Squeak, there's a lot of stuff shared via SqueakMap, and for CST, there's the Public Store. Neither is going to show up in this kind of search. As well, Smalltalk source files don't have a standard file extension across dialects (or even a completely interchangeable source format).
Something to keep in mind.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
Is sanity starting to pop up inside the music industry? The WSJ seems to imply that it might be:
But now there's a growing recognition among some record executives and performers that the people who are downloading illegally are frequently huge music fans and that marketing to them may be more desirable in the long run than suing or otherwise harassing them.
Whoa, that might be too much thinking all at once for these clowns. Still, it's progress - they seem to realize that their bozo tactics aren't working, and the people downloading are fans. Many of whom would grab music legally, given the right incentives (i.e., if the market actually responded to the public feedback). So this, while it's condescending, is at least moving in the right direction:
Hence the alliance between Jay-Z and Coke. By inserting promotional material into the decoy files, and then planting those files prominently on file-sharing sites, record labels and other marketers can turn what is now an antipiracy tool into an advertising medium. "The concept here is making the peer-to-peer networks work for us," says Jay-Z's attorney, Michael Guido. "While peer-to-peer users are stealing the intellectual property, they are also the active music audience," and "this technology allows us to market back to them."
That Google ad thing might be inspiring them. I'd call this a fluke, but Disney recently showed signs of intelligence as well:
"We understand now that piracy is a business model," says Sweeney during the Keynote address at Mipcom. "It exists to serve a need in the market for consumers who want TV content on demand. Pirates compete the same way we do - through quality, price and availability. We we don’t like the model but we realize it’s competitive enough to make it a major competitor going forward."
Umm, yeah. The Buzz Out Loud crew has been pointing out for eons that most people would prefer to stay legal - if only the industry didn't try to shove crapware (DRM) down their throats. Tapes didn't kill CD sales, and DAT wouldn't have either. Downloads won't kill the for profit music sector, unless the studios keep being morons.
The RIAA has taken a quarter step in that direction:
This week the MPAA's CTO Brad Hunt had his own realization: "I understand that if we frustrate the consumer, they will simply pirate the content." He then goes on to explore how the MPAA is pushing for some degree of DRM interoperability
DRM is the problem, which is why I call it a quarter step. They seem to be aware that there's a problem; that's better. Next, they need to recognize that DRM is a bug, not a solution.
Now, before I start sounding all sunshiney on this, there is bad news: The IFPI (think international version of the RIAA) is suing anything that moves:
THE music industry has launched a new wave of 8000 lawsuits against alleged file-sharers around the world.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents the world's music companies, said the new cases were brought in 17 countries, including the first ones ever in Brazil, Mexico and Poland.
I guess there has to be a conservation of cluelessness.
Wendy Seltzer explains in detail why you would be absolutely nuts to upgrade to Vista. head on over there for details, but I love the lede:
Reading the Windows Vista license is a bit like preparing for breakfast with Lewis Carroll's Red Queen: You should be ready to believe at least six impossible things about what users want from software.
I agree with her - those terms are utterly absurd. I shouldn't have to register my software, and MS shouldn't care if I install new components in my PC. With this, they've now reached the same levels of titanic stupidity that IBM attained in the late 80's.
Peter Fisk needs a small correction hee:
A company which did survive the transition was Digitalk which did an absolutely brilliant job of porting Smalltalk/V to Windows. After writing Windows applications in C, the experience of using Digitalk Smalltalk (1.0 and 2.0) was a total liberation. Forget about the mixed-mode pointers; make a window? - no problem! And I wasn’t the only one to feel that way. By the end of 1994, there was a thriving community of Digitalk developers.
Of course, it didn’t last - Digitalk never brought out a 32-bit version.
Unfortunately, Digitalk never enjoyed the same success with their 32-bit offerings.
In fact, not only did they bring out a 32 bit version, they brought out a Windows/95 logo certified edition - Visual Smalltalk (and the enterprise edition, VSE). Digitalk then merged with ParcPlace, and things got all wonky (no need to go into that here). Point is, not only did Digitalk come out with a 32 bit edition - they got out early, and got it logo certified.
Update: Peter corrected his post.
Scoble notes that many people don't use the Yellow Pages anymore:
Geoff reports he doesn’t. I don’t even know where mine are. I’d hate to work there, although there’s still money left in that old model cause there’s still lots of people who don’t look to their computers for everything.
Most of those people, though, are older than me. That means that business model has 20 years left in it, if that.
It really depends on what you're looking for. Need an electrician to come out and look at something? You can waste time in Google trying to narrow the search, or you can open the big yellow book to "E", and find what you need in seconds. For an awful lot of local businesses - electricians, plumbers, that kind of thing - the Yellow Pages are still far more efficient.
Technorati Tags: advertising
Looks to me like the recording industry finally figured out that the law wasn't the best attack vector for going after allofmp3.com - instead, they hit them directly in the wallet: Visa and Mastercard have announced that they will no longer process payments there.
That's going to affect their behavior a lot more than arcane negotiations at the trade talk level ever would have.
Awhile back, Scott McNealy said "Privacy is dead, deal with it". That got a lot of play at the time, but fell into bit bucket over time.
Today, Bruce Schneier explains just how far reaching that assumption is:
Everyday conversation used to be ephemeral. Whether face-to-face or by phone, we could be reasonably sure that what we said disappeared as soon as we said it. Of course, organized crime bosses worried about phone taps and room bugs, but that was the exception. Privacy was the default assumption.
This has changed. We now type our casual conversations. We chat in e-mail, with instant messages on our computer and SMS messages on our cellphones, and in comments on social networking Web sites like Friendster, LiveJournal and News Corp.'s (nyse: NWS - news - people ) MySpace. These conversations--with friends, lovers, colleagues, fellow employees--are not ephemeral; they leave their own electronic trails.
We know this intellectually, but we haven’t truly internalized it. We type on, engrossed in conversation, forgetting that we’re being recorded.
This goes well beyond any legal worries over government monitoring. That sounds like I'm back burnering that issue, and - for the purposes of a larger point, I am. Let me start with an example.
I communicate with other Cincomers (and a variety of other people) via an IRC channel. I'm on that channel most of the time, and the traffic is all being logged - both by my IRC client, and probably by every other IRC client. Ten years from now, someone who I've had a falling out with could dredge up some extended bout of silliness we engage in from time to time, take it out of context, and embarrass me greatly. Heck, it might go beyond embarrassment - if it was stupid enough "bathroom humor", it might do actual damage.
IM is another communication channel I use, along with email. Email is persistent, and IM logs can be saved. There's no telling what someone could do with an out of context message (or, an in context one made under a presumption of privacy). As Bruce says above, we operate as if we're engaged in an "over the fence" chat, only these are all logged, and could come back to haunt us.
I'm grateful that I didn't have blogs, email, IM, and IRC chats to leave a paper trail on me when I was in college - today's students do though, and their transient acts of silliness - acts that would have dropped into the ether 20 years ago - could easily come back to haunt them in 2 or 3 decades. I fully expect politicians to get chased by decades old logs in the coming years, and for political battles at corporations to work the same way.
Unlike Bruce, I don't really think legislation will help much. I chat with people in other countries on the Smalltalk IRC channel all the time. US law won't mean anything to them. Likewise, overseas emails and IMs won't be affected by whatever privacy regime Schneier idealizes. Ultimately, I think we are going to have to internalize the new reality of a logged world. I'd recommend a book - James Halperin's "The Truth Machine". part of the world built in that book is a constant logging (video, audio, etc) of everything - mostly by people themselves.
Technorati Tags: privacy
I have an an idea for Smalltalk user groups - if you can record your meetings (hopefully with compelling speakers), I'll be happy to post the recordings in my podcast feed. Just send me an audio file (compressed in a zip or gzip would be best). I'd advise sending any such things to my gmail address, as the Cincom email filter might well eat the attachment.
Scoble lays out the issues with making money for online video solely through advertising:
Here’s the trouble. Most people I know are getting advertising revenues of between $10 and $40 CPM. That means that for every 1,000 people who visit a Web site, an advertiser is paying somewhere around $10 usually (often less, and in some cases, far less — Jeremy Wright told me he was only getting about $.50 CPM when he runs Google’s ad bar).
Now, that sounds great, particularly if you can get a big audience and when you write a blog that has minimum creation costs (yeah, some posts take hours, but others can be done in minutes and you don’t need anything but a computer to do this). That low cost of production is why Jason Calacanis was able to create $25 million in value by lashing together 100 bloggers. But, let’s look deeper at video.
First, the videos I’m putting up are around 200MB a piece. The bandwidth distributors I know are charging $.14 or more PER GIGABYTE to distribute those videos. So, that comes to $28, or more for 1,000 downloads (if my math is right).
That's going to be a problem, I think. It's just going to be very hard to get arbitrary video segments paid for - sponsorship works, but does have strings (implicit or otherwise). For those of us using podcasts and screencasts strictly for promotional purposes, this isn't really an issue - it's just part of the overall marketing budget. For others, it's currently a challenge.
Jeff Jarvis spots a nascent trend in the newspaper business:
Virtually every major paper is making the shift to local coverage, often as it cuts deeper into editorial operations. Only recently, the Dallas Morning News announced it was closing its national bureaus while cutting 20 percent of its newsroom staff. It was becoming a local paper again after several decades of rising stature for its national and international coverage. More than 100 people were let go.
Similar, if less dramatic, changes are taking place at such papers as The Washington Post, New Jersey’s Bergen Record and Herald News, and the Richmond Times Dispatch. And joining them all is Gannett, the largest newspaper chain and publisher of USA Today.
“We’re going to get hyper-local,” says Tara Connell, a Gannett spokesperson.
I'm not sure what that means for USA Today, but it makes a lot of sense for other papers. I can get national and international news from a bunch of sources, and my local paper is not the first place I'd look for that stuff. On the other hand, who else is going to cover the local crime beat, or the meetings of the local county council? The national networks won't do that stuff, nor will the newswires. The local papers could do that, and they could easily do it better than anyone else.
It doesn't even have to cost that much - local reporters won't command (or even need - you might well get by with a bunch of stringers interested in specific local areas) nearly the salary requirements of a "big" reporter. It's back to the future time for local media, and not a minute too soon, IMHO.
Technorati Tags: news
Whenever the bright boys at the RIAA wonder why the public hates them, they might look at stories like this one: a firmware update to the Zen Vision:M product disabled the FM radio capability, due to "copyright issues". Yeah - recording songs off the radio, complete with the station lead-in and out is really a threat to music sales. There's a reason people don't have any respect for these clowns; they don't deserve any respect.
It's time for the weekly look at the logs. BottomFeeder downloads were at 182/day last week; the details:
Next, the HTML traffic. Total site traffic was up again, which is always good:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
IE 7 use must be up - or my audience demographics are changing. Last, the RSS distribution:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Net News Wire||8.2%|
|Google Feed Fetcher||5.6%|
|RSS 2 Email||1%|
Nick Carr is truly a curmudgeon - in a post about Google, he wraps up with this:
Those Japanese commodes are nice, but it's important to remember that they're merely transitional devices. We'll know that Google has truly fulfilled its vision when the Googleplex no longer needs toilets at all.
Technorati Tags: humor
Michael, David, and I got together this morning and had a chat about image based development - and responded to some listener email. This week's topic: Image based development and deployment. Stay tuned at the end for James Savidge's Smalltalk Jobs Report. You can grab the mp3 here - this week's chat was nearly 45 minutes.
If you have feedback, send it to email@example.com. If you send an mp3 file, we'll try to play it on the air.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
This is pretty cool. Follow the link to see what the actors saw, as opposed to what Sam and Frodo saw, when they first caught site of Mount Doom.
Scoble points to the last Gillmore Gang - Dana Gardner and Jason Calacanis got into a pretty good fight over public/private charity. I started listening to that a week ago while jogging; I've actually looked into some of the issues they were arguing over, and was a teacher 20 years ago. I stopped listening, because every additional second I listened, I lost respect for Gardner. Why?
He was arguing that Jason Calacanis' entirely admirable efforts to rescue a few children from bad schools was an act of evil, designed to "destroy" public education. That's a really, really stupid argument, without regard to what issue you try and deploy it against. The bottom line is, any effort to help people in need is admirable, and Jason should be saluted for caring enough to try. Gardner can go suck eggs. When you let ideology (of any stripe) blind you to good acts, you've lost some of your humanity.
Jeff Jarvis charts the ongoing decline of the newspaper business - it's been a bad week for the news business. In reading through the cuts and changes, I realized that I was reading a proxy for the fears of the RIAA (and eventually, the MPAA).
The news business is changing, due to a number of related events:
- The non-stop, 24x7 news cycle that the cable news outlets can cover
- The availability of 24x7 news online - delivered in ways that fit nearly any ideological or taste niche
Daily newspapers can't keep up with that unless they go digital - and that business is mostly ad supported (as opposed to ad and subscription supported). The music business sees that same thing coming at them - a digital juggernaught of ad-supported, no copy protection data files. The margins there are a lot lower, and (literally) thousands of the current middle men have no place in that future.
The newspapers can't fight the future with DRM and the DMCA; they have to adapt, no matter how painful and gut wrenching that adaptation is. The music business, thus far, has taken the "preserve our business model at all costs" route instead. When their fall comes, it will be all the more catastrophic for them, because they'll have been living in denial for too long.
Andres Valloud has been keeping up with Smalltalkers and Smalltalk related goings on at OOPLSA.
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The US government has banned Vegemite?
The bizarre crackdown was prompted because Vegemite has been deemed illegal under US food laws.
The great Aussie icon - faithfully carried around the world by travellers from downunder - contains folate, which under a technicality, America allows to be added only to breads and cereals.
Say what? What moron decided to do this?
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Personally I think it’s cool that Tim Bray thinks Sun’s new product is cool enough to use salty language about.
Actually, it's very much not cool, and I'm utterly unimpressed with Bray's handwaving about it. Here's the thing: when you use coarse language, there's no upside. That's right - none. At best, part of your audience won't care, or won't care that much. It's an absolute certainty that some of your audience (who knows how much) will be put off by it.
In marketing terms, that's a pretty large net negative. No one (or, almost no one) is going to have a positive reaction. Some people will blip past it. However, some of your readers (or listeners) will be offended - possibly enough to damage the way they look at your product, service or company.
So no, that usage wasn't cool, not by a longshot. The best we can say about it is that it might not do much damage. For those of you who think such usage is somehow more "authentic", I have two words: grow up.
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This is funny - I especially likes this bit:
If someone drops a Smalltalk book on your desk, and you start to shiver uncontrollably, your eyes rolling back in your head as strange gutteral voices shout from your throat ‘Never! I shall never release his soul!' - you might be a Blub programmer
Lessig may have his heart in the right place, but he's awfully unrealistic. I grow increasingly tired of the "but they have better broadband in (insert country here)" arguments:
I. and many, have concluded it is not. I take it, that is the view of the more than a million who have written to policy-makers arguing for network neutrality legislation. These people want policy that will finally push broadband providers to provide at least the quality and price of broadband in France. The online campaign to get Congress to do something here has been amazing, rivaling only the campaign to stop the FCC from passing rules that would permit even more concentration in media ownership.
Perhaps Lessig could pull out a map. If he did, he might notice that France is roughly the size of Texas, and that we have 49 other states besides. That's a lot less territory in which to pull cables. He might consider what net neutrality laws would accomplish in practice, as opposed to his theory. In practice, a real congressional committee (with real lobbyists) would push something through, and then the various providers would start fishing for interesting ways to take advantage of it. Under the current system, with no law in that area, public pressure on particularly egregious acts can work. Under Lessig's system, every provider would answer complaints this way:
We're just following the law; direct your complaints to Congress
Yeah Larry, that's a huge improvement. Thanks so much for trying to take an admittedly bad system and screw it up even worse. Do the rest of us a favor - stop advocating for law in this area. You just might get your wish, and the rest of us will spend years regretting it.
Peter Fisk identifies the crux of Microsoft's problem:
Their problem isn’t a lack of talent, it is a lack of direction - and no amount of hiring is going to fix it.
I always figured that MS would be ok, so long as Gates was having fun. Whenever that ended, and he moved on to something else - the company was going to start drifting. It looks like I wasn't wrong. This doesn't imply that MS is "doomed", or anything - but I think they are going to end up sliding through the same tunnel of malaise that IBM went through during the 80's and early 90's.
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Rogers Cadenhead is being threatened with a lawsuit by conspiracy nut Art Bell - over comments made to his blog. Rogers notes that part of the CDA protects him from having to police those comments:
Though I give readers wide latitude in the comments they post, I remove libelous comments when they're called to my attention, as I told him in our email exchange. But I'm under no legal obligation to do so, thanks to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act
I think Rogers should be get support if he gets sued over this - no one wants to live in fear of commenters wrecking their lives.
The quick cancellation of “Smith” elucidates how television, like the movie industry, has become a business where there is little room for the modest success. Network executives might talk endlessly about how, in an era where the attention of audiences is ever more scattered, new shows need time to find themselves. But those same executives are often quick to pull the plug on an expensive production that does not immediately perform to expectations.
Not so fast, Jeff. I watched a little over half of the first episode, and I can tell you why I stopped - the "heroes" of the story are a bunch of slimeballs. In the first episode, as they rip off a museum, they kill a guard who's just doing his job. I have no ability to sympathize with that kind of plot line; none at all. I might be an outlier on that, but with that show, I really hope I was in the majority. I say good riddance to that, and I'd be happy to learn that the writers involved never work again.
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We had a small outage this afternoon - it seems one of the images posted on Troy's blog was linked over at MySpace, and it was being served dynamically (rather than statically). That caused a few problems. Everything is back to normal now, and we are in the process of trying to prevent that particular problem from cropping up again.
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Phil Windley notes that video podcasting is a different animal than audio:
Brett comments that when he's at his computer watching video its far more likely to be YouTube than it is a video podcast on technology 'ala the Scobleshow. Audio podcasts compete with radio, music, or, in some cases, non-consumption (i.e. the fill time that the listener wouldn't be listening to anything else). This doesn't change with better video iPods.
For me, it's like this: I jog between 35-60 minutes at lunchtime every day. I can listen to audio then. Even if my iPod could handle video (it's an old mini), I couldn't watch it - I'm paying attention to my surroundings. When I'm back at my desk, I can have audio up while I'm working - but video requires most of my attention. So a 5 minute YouTube clip, or something of similar duration - sure, I can find time for that. A long interview? Not a chance.
Now, I know some people prefer video, but why not provide a separate audio link, and see what your download stats look like? I could be wrong, but I'd bet that the audio files will be hit harder.
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