Sun, 18 Dec 2005

1997 Wants Its Magazine Section Back

tired: An “expert” complaining about the accuracy of a Wikipedia article in a blog entry.

wired: That same “expert” taking the opportunity to fix the inaccuracy himself/herself on the Wikipedia page, or raising the issue in the entry’s “talk” page.

:: 09:34
:: /opinion/technology | [+]
::Comments (0)

Fri, 11 Mar 2005

Single Quote, Sniped Out Of Context

"Apple lost their connect to their most loyal users when they killed the clones, that was the low point, and since then have steadily reconnected, although it's doubtful if they even understand this." -- Scripting News

Not tackling the rest of the essay, but I couldn't agree with this one less. Granted that this was 10 years and many brain cells ago, but my contemporary recollection is that the "most loyal users" were quite aware that the then-existing Mac OS licensing (cloning) program was causing the company to hemmorage money, and that to continue it as it was would have meant that there would be no Apple Computer company after some distressingly brief period of time. Fast cheap beige boxes with no operating system to run on them was the ultimate projected endpoint.

:: 17:55
:: /opinion/technology | [+]
::Comments (0)

Wed, 29 Sep 2004

Wholly Unconvinced by Audioblogging

...or, as Mr. Pilgrim wrote, "blogging becoming an inaccessible, google-hostile bandwidth hog"

I can see where being able to take a few blogposts with you on your morning jog or plugged into the car radio during your morning commute might appeal, but I think there are better ways to spend that precious ear-time.

Otherwise, though, I find audioblog posts completely useless and annoying.

They're attention-greedy

I can skim a written blog post, even a long one, in a few seconds and get a pretty good idea of what it's on about. If it really tickles my fancy, I can sit down, read it in depth, and maybe even comment on it or link to it in a couple of minutes.

Audio posts are impossible to quickly review. If a person posts a 10 minute audio blog entry, to really get anything from it (meaning: to be able to comment on it meaningfully), you have to listen to the whole thing in sequence. Most people are lousy public speakers (myself included). They repeat themselves, they stumble over words, they clear their throats too much, they cough in your ear, they lose the plot and start to babble, whatever.

Stop it. You're being greedy with the most precious resource the modern plugged-in person has these days: time.

Search-engine hostile

Not much to explain here. Search engines don't index the sound of you harumphing and tapping your pen on your keyboard. Next.

Feedback hostile

Admittedly probably not much of an issue for the typical soapboxer, but taking part in conversational blogging (comments, trackbacks, Technorati follow-fu) relies on people having convenient chunks of text to quote, link to, and refute. Exactly how does anyone link to that bit during minute 17 of your audio post (after the donut sprinkles fall on the microphone but before the sound of your cat knocking over your spittoon) where you make some technical point that definitely, positively needs refuting?

I had many more words written for this post, but then I read Maciej Cegłowski's audioblogging manifesto, which covered most of the salient points, so, unlike a lot of audiobloggers, I'm going to be brief and respect your time.

addendum: Coincidentally, today's word of the day is "harangue". Heh.

:: 08:12
:: /opinion/technology | [+]
::Comments (0)

Mon, 24 May 2004

Little. Orange. Stupid.

That icon really does suck.

Robert Scoble: Why can’t you all use the XML icon?

  • Ugly. Really, really ugly. Has anyone ever designed a site that looked better because it had a scrunched up, retangular orange turd with all caps, unkerned white Arial Bold sitting on it? I mean, really, orange and white?

  • Inaccurate. Imprecise. Yes, syndicated feeds are XML. So are about a dozen other things you might reasonably find linked on a modern weblog.

  • Bright orange screams “click me”, right? What happens if the user clicks it? Well, depending on what content type the feed is being served with, whether the publisher has styled the feed with XSLT or not, which browser the user is visiting with, and about a dozen other variables beyond the publisher’s and the reader’s control:

    1. The reader is presented with a screenful of unreadable gibberish, with redundant bits of the weblog content he was looking at just a second ago embedded in it. Reader thinks she’s broken something.

    2. The browser silently downloads the feed into the reader’s download directory, where it is instantly buried amongst the other 400 files already there, never to be seen again.

    3. The reader is presented with the same content on the weblog page, but styled differently. The reader thinks “what the hell was the point of that?”

Listen, I’m going to type r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w-l-y…

Feed autodiscovery is the only thing that makes sense.

If your aggregator can’t handle it, throw it out and get a new one. If your publishing software can’t handle serving it, join the rest of us here in the 21st century and get some software that does. If you need to serve multiple feeds (full content versus excerpts, or comments, or whatever), explain that inline (with, gasp, text) or on a separate “Feeds” page.

But for heaven’s sake, don’t try to shame the rest of us into foisting any more copies of that 36 x 14 abortion on the world.

:: 11:34
:: /opinion/technology | [+]
::Comments (0)

Sat, 15 May 2004


:: 14:24
:: /opinion/technology | [+]
::Comments (0)

Wed, 04 Feb 2004

How I Learned To Write Backwards

edit: The validator has been revised and now works like the other validators running on the same codebase. Cool. Thanks.

Blogging format inside baseball. Skip this post if you have a life...

Here's a great idea: take an existing, format neutral validator, remove functionality, add bugs (e.g. bogus non-well-formedness errors), and pass confusing information back to the users of the service (read the comments).

If you're going to indulge in a pissing contest, you should be extra careful not to get any on your shoes.

:: 08:30
:: /opinion/technology | [+]
::Comments (0)

Fri, 12 Dec 2003

Atom Presentation

Next time someone tells you that Atom should just adopt RSS as a feed format, or that underspecification is close enough for horseshoes and hand-grenades, or whatever, bonk 'em in the gums with this. I wish I could have seen the full presentation.

:: 18:25
:: /opinion/technology | [+]
::Comments (0)

Mon, 08 Dec 2003

Not Learning From The Past. At all.

Oh boy, one more god-knows-what listening for god-knows-who to send god-knows-what-unchecked-bytes to god-knows-which high port. Let's not, and say we did, m'kay?

:: 09:34
:: /opinion/technology | [+]
::Comments (0)

Thu, 04 Dec 2003

The Voice of Reason

Once again, leave it to Sam Ruby to gracefully and succinctly provide some much needed moderation and wisdom amidst the sturm und drang.

In other Atom news, this looks terribly clever, though I really don't have time to play with it now. One immediately apparent issue is that it doesn't play unless you have client side XSLT happening in your browser, which rules out Safari and quite a few other browsers, but it looks like static rendering would be trivial to handle with an external script that called your favorite external XSLT engine from your language of choice.

:: 11:14
:: /opinion/technology | [+]
::Comments (0)

Wed, 03 Dec 2003


All worlds are yours except Europa. Attempt no landings there. [+]

Subsequent work should happen in modules, using namespaces, and in completely new syndication formats, with new names. [+]


:: 21:29
:: /opinion/technology | [+]
::Comments (0)

Wed, 29 Oct 2003

Novice Users and Personal Sysadmins

I can't recommend this entry (and the associated comments) highly enough. I visited some of the issues discussed here a few months ago, and if anything the issues raised are even more problematic now than they were then. via Mark Pilgrim

:: 13:34
:: /opinion/technology | [+]
::Comments (0)

Mon, 04 Aug 2003


Falkor, the Luck Dragon

cue Limahl.

:: 09:44
:: /opinion/technology | [+]
::Comments (0)

When airwaves swing, distant voices sing

several threads, helpfully consolidated

Adam Curry:

Time to come clean on an investment I made a year and a half ago. At the time, UserLand software had released a Mac OSX version of "Radio" and I was totally digging the built in news aggregator. I came up with a cunning plan: I asked Userland if I could purchase a pre-installed feed on their aggregator, which supports "RSS" xml feeds. I paid $10,000 for a one year license.
I will again invest $10k in aggregator default placements this year, but I will spread it around, to all developers who adhere to RSS2.0. Include (N)echo and you're out of luck.[+]


You know, this is just bullshit interpersonal politics. Does the term "market of ideas" mean anything to you? [+]


Wow, that's short-sighted. "I bought me a bunch of ads on an AM radio syndicate, and a big ol' console AM radio, but now there's this FM radio thing and I think it stinks! At least they'll never figure out how to get moving pictures inside one of these boxes. That's just crazy talk." [+]


Wouldn't this be considered Payola in the radio world? [+]

Heiko Hebig:

Or just invest those 10 grands you want to waste on bribing aggregator developers (their software will support Echo anyway) into a good counselling on the state of things and how to make the most of it. [+]

Dave Walker:

Heh, I'm even cheaper. $24.99 gets you a mention in a weblog entry, $49.99 gets you in my blogroll, and $149.99 gets you a dream date with me. I'll wear whatever you want. Hey, I smell a new business model!

Mark Pilgrim:

I think we're missing the forest for the trees here. The big news here is not that Adam is an idiot, but that *UserLand accepts payola for undisclosed sponsored links in their products*. Since when was *that* acceptable?


In the spirit of Adam Curry's empty threat generous inducement, I too would like to offer the aggregator development community something - a lucky dip UK lottery ticket [value one british pound] to the first 10 aggregator developers who pledge to support RSS 0.91 and 2.0, RSS1.0 and nEcho [when final]. Given that this is pretty much everyone, I may be out 10 pounds. What will save me from potential destitution is the fact that I only have about 3 readers, although I am beginning to think of the googlebot as a friend. [+]

Dave Winer:

An independent advisory board has been formed to promote the wider use of RSS, to maintain the spec according to the roadmap, and to remove one of the major objections, that only UserLand could answer questions about RSS. The three-member board votes, the majority rules. The three board members are Brent Simmons, Jon Udell and Dave Winer. [+]

Chris Heilman:

Echo is being pushed as a replacemant for RSS. But I worry that Echo may already be owned by some big company, or at least tied up in their litigatory legalities. Listen Echo guys, RSS (mostly) works. I'm not sure that I want IBM or whoever deciding how my content is represented, anyway. [+]


I don't see how "some big company" can claim the rights of what I've written on the Wiki, or what anyone else has written. How do you reach that conclusion, did Copyright law fundamentally change today?


Tomas, I believe the conspiracy theory goes:
  1. Sam Ruby started the whole Pie/Echo/Atom whatever thing
  2. Sam works for IBM
  3. Sam has mentioned that IBM is letting him work on this on their time or some statement to that effect.
  4. Therefore, it's a huge conspiracy backed by IBM to steal weblogs/syndication/life as we know it.

Dave Walker:

Maybe if we all wear tinfoil hats we can stop IBM from tuning into our brainwaves and stealing all our clever weblogging ideas.

Mark Pilgrim:

Joe (primary author of the Atom API spec, good friend of mine, sitter of my dog, etc.) has just started his own business doing custom system development. So the next time someone tries to feed you a line like “Atom is run by BigCos”, send 'em to Joe. [+]

John Robb:

RSS 2.0 is now the #1 return on Google again for the keyterm "RSS".   Two weeks ago it wasn't even in the system.  What happened? [+]

Sam Ruby:

In short, I truly believe that the wiki was necessary for this project.  Necessary, but not sufficient. [+]

Dave Winer:

An article in News.Com, while extremely incendiary, may be seen as the last gasp in the Great RSS War of 2003. [+]

Dave Walker:

I wouldn't bet the rent money on it.

ed: I will add further quotes and links as I find them.

:: 09:36
:: /opinion/technology | [+]
::Comments (0)

Thu, 31 Jul 2003

The War Against Novice Users

...and the techies that try to rescue them.

I had an interesting experience helping my cousin with his computer a few hours ago. I've done this plenty of times before, and I'm sure every computer professional has served as volunteer tech support for family members at least occasionally. The difference this time is, instead of simply doing a few quick fixes for the things that were broken/nonfunctional (which is what I usually do, in the interests of time), I actually thought long and hard about what was broken, and more importantly, how and why it got that way.

read more after the break...

:: 19:12
:: /opinion/technology | [+]
::Comments (0)

Sun, 20 Jul 2003

A bassdrum and a cloud of dust

Falkor, the Luck Dragon

I added some more words to the Neverending Story.

:: 12:55
:: /opinion/technology | [+]
::Comments (0)

Sun, 13 Jul 2003

Give Me An Effin' Break

if you want to develop software, you can build for the Web and/or Unix and/or OSS platforms; or alternatively, you can be a sharecropper. - The Web's the Place

Sharecroppers performed backbreaking physical labor for almost no money, and existed in an environment where a bad harvest or a duplicitous landowner could spell the difference between a survivable (but meager) winter and near-starvation.

Software engineers work in air conditioned offices, usually for at least decent pay, and have freedom of movement, self-determination, and the opportunity for professional advancement.

My aunt tells a great story of the night her grandmother (my great-grandmother) and her family headed north out of Mississippi ahead of a lynch mob, having completely torched a crop of cotton in the fields because the landowner tried to cheat them out of the proceeds they'd earned that year. She'd have kicked your pansy coding ass. Mine too.

:: 17:56
:: /opinion/technology | [+]
::Comments (0)

Sat, 31 May 2003

Yes. Apparently Proper PNG Support Requires Longhorn

If this were a slapstick film, this little snatch of BecauseWeSaySo™ would get a spit-take.

Host: Brian (Microsoft)
when / will there be the next version of IE?

A: As part of the OS, IE will continue to evolve, but there will be no future standalone installations. IE6 SP1 is the final standalone installation.


Host: Brian (Microsoft)
Why is this? the anti-trust? (no further standalone)

A: Although this is off topic, I will answer briefly: Legacy OSes have reached their zenith with the addition of IE 6 SP1. Further improvements to IE will require enhancements to the underlying OS.

Keep in mind that Longhorn doesn't ship until 2005 (maybe). If you figure on the usual adoption curve for new operating systems, that means that web designers will have to put up with IE's current flaws until, oh, say 2008 or so. Raise your hand if this makes you feel, y'know, warm inside.

:: 07:09
:: /opinion/technology | [+]
::Comments (0)

Fri, 30 May 2003

The Silence of the Lambs

Most of he various Mozilla bloggers are curiously silent about the Microsoft/AOL deal... well, I guess its not that curious -- the ones who actually work for AOL have to be circumspect out of sheerest self-preservation. The funniest summary comes from Hixie, who (I'm guessing) doesn't depend on a paycheck from Netscape.

The best thing to say, I guess, is that the code is already out there, living on thousands of hard drives, so that even if AOL shutters Netscape tomorrow, derivative works will be around forever. Mozilla (well, mostly Mozilla Firebird and Camino) are dramatically far ahead of the ever-stagnant Internet Explorer in providing a pleasant browsing experience, and frankly I don't see that changing anytime soon.

:: 07:58
:: /opinion/technology | [+]
::Comments (0)

Best Beer: A panel of tasters assembled by the Consumer’s Union in 1969
judged Coors and Miller’s High Life to be among the very best. Those who
doubt that beer is a serious subject might ponder its effect on American
history. For example, New England’s first colonists decided to drop anchor
at Plymouth Rock instead of continuing on to Virginia because, as one of
them put it, “We could not now take time for further consideration, our
victuals being spent and especially our beer.”
— Felton & Fowler’s Best, Worst & Most Unusual