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Scripting News

Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

Published: Tue, 12 Dec 2017 17:39:14 GMT

Last Build Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2017 17:39:53 GMT

Copyright: © 1994-2017 Dave Winer.

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 16:51:55 GMT

Braintrust query: Help me test BingeWorthy for Movies. 🚀

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 16:52:49 GMT

There's been a change in criteria for inclusion. We now also include movies featured on Netflix. Still getting a feel for what works here.

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 15:05:56 GMT

Here's my ratings for currently playing or featured movies on Netflix.

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 17:09:56 GMT

Every generation must learn about NIH for itself.

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 17:23:02 GMT

It's Mueller vs Moore for the heart of the Republican Party. That's the choice should Moore win today.

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 17:39:14 GMT

Dems are more likely imho to become a majority in Congress when the Republican Party splits in two because Mueller and Moore can't fit in the same party, Repubs will have to choose. If they all go with Moore, then the election will probably be meaningless, sadly.

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 17:26:01 GMT

Let's run a hologram of FDR for president in 2020. FDR gave the best campaign speeches. We need someone who can fire up a crowd like he could. If there aren't any living Democrats who are up to it, we can fall back to technology, need-be.

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 18:16:13 GMT

I expect to have BingeWorthy for Movies ready to go tomorrow. It's the same codebase as the TV version, but there are differences. I only include movies currently playing in theaters, and new movies on the streaming services. So if a movie opens on Dec 25, it's not in the initial database, but will be there as soon as it's in theaters. I don't know if movies will age-out of the list. We'll see how it goes. I'm using Google for search because they include showtimes in their listing and DuckDuckGo does not. Utility wins out. No strategy tax. And there are a bunch of tweaks and little improvements of course. 🚀

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 16:07:20 GMT

We need a Democrat who can sell The New Deal. Here's a demo.

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:57:18 GMT

Be sure to swallow any coffee in your mouth and take a deep breath before watching this video. Trust me. You're going to be laughing, hard, for quite some time. 💥

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:49:55 GMT

Idea. When the president attacks a reporter we all follow that reporter. So @daveweigel would have as many followers as @barackobama for example. Double what El Presidentè Trump has. It's like the Streisand Effect applied to ranting authoritarian politicians on Twitter.

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:50:40 GMT

Another idea. An outliner you use to gather all the tweets you don't want to lose.

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 14:23:24 GMT

Highly recommended: This Politico survey re the #metoo moment by Emily Yoffee. I learned a lot reading it.

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 02:59:36 GMT

New header graphic for the change in season.

Sun, 10 Dec 2017 22:47:05 GMT

Hillary's mistake was thinking all she had to do is remind voters how awful Trump is. I saw the ads as evidence she had nothing to offer, no passion. Over and over. I wouldn't bother pointing this out now if the Dems weren't repeating this approach.

Sun, 10 Dec 2017 18:05:41 GMT

Reporters and pundits seem to think we're reliving Watergate. I don't think so. In Watergate you didn't have ex-presidents warning that if we don't do something, we're going to wind up in Nazi Germany. I wonder how many times we'll hear that warning, or if you only get it once, and if the next thing is that the ex-president goes into hiding. How much are the Repubs in Congress backing Trump because they like the politics or they fear for their lives? There probably won't be a point where you get a choice, go this way for salvation and the other way for hell. It may be that by the time you realize there was a choice, there no longer is a choice. A year ago we were trying to convince electors to do the sane thing and not vote for Trump. Now look where we are. If Roy Moore makes it into Congress, how many Roy Moores will follow?

Sun, 10 Dec 2017 14:28:11 GMT

I'm working my way through The Crown, season 2. It's every bit as good as the first season. No John Lithgow, unfortunately. But still plenty of politics and intrigue and British mannerisms to keep you entertained. Stiff upper lip. Cheerio. Quite right.

Sat, 09 Dec 2017 15:20:35 GMT

It's ridiculous we don't have parking lots for bikes in NYC.

Sat, 09 Dec 2017 13:37:15 GMT

Rectify is a favorite of the BingeWorthy crowd, although with not a lot of votes, so I gave it a try. I watched two seasons. It had some good moments. And the premise is fascinating. A man on death row is given a reprieve and sent back to the town where he supposedly committed his crime. But the show drags on and on. It's a soap opera. Lots of meetings between characters where they sigh and struggle, in soap operaish ways. I guess most shows are just that, even The Wire or The Sopranos. But they have variety and surprises and humor. I'm not sure what makes a great binge, but for me, Rectify is not it.

Sat, 09 Dec 2017 13:28:23 GMT

After getting lots of advice from the braintrust, the consensus was get a Roku. So I did. It hasn't arrived yet. It was supposed to be here yesterday, ordered from Amazon, but it's late. Can't wait to try it. I was going to use it to watch season 2 of The Crown, but I'm going to go ahead with my ancient Apple TV.

Have you seen the Netflix show "Godless"?

Sat, 09 Dec 2017 13:18:43 GMT

If so, please rate it at BingeWorthy.

It should probably be in the top 10, but hasn't received enough ratings yet to qualify.

Thanks! 🚀

I'm tired of all the bashing

Sat, 09 Dec 2017 13:48:43 GMT

Last year's election was a real drain. I remember as we were coming up to Election Day thinking maybe this will all be over soon. In my heart I kind of knew that it wouldn't. Though I wished it would. I'm a programmer, so I'm pretty fatalistic about bugs like Trump. You can't wish them away. You have to roll up your sleeves, address the problem, fix it. That's the school of programming I belong to. There is no moving forward until you fully understand the problem.

The biggest drain was the utter stupidity of all the anger on the social nets, when people should have been pulling together, to avoid the catastrophe that is Trump. People bashing Hillary or Bernie, or each other. So much hate. Even bashing Trump is pointless. We need to see each other as real people just like ourselves. The media was pushing us apart, not bringing us together.

Well it didn't get better. My Facebook world gets smaller and smaller because I have a rule to not engage with people practicing hate. I don't try to talk them out of it. I have a simple gentle way of dealing with it. Instead of objecting I silently unfriend and unfollow the person. It keeps conflict to a minimum, and I get to preserve my self-respect. Watching friends rant about how this group or that group is responsible, often a group I belong to, takes its toll. People I couldn't stand to say goodbye to got second and third chances. But ultimately once we lost them to hate they really are gone. They don't seem to come back.

So rather than fight I withdraw. The circle gets smaller. Eventually Facebook might just disappear, at least my version of it. I think about where I can move to withdraw from all of it. I dream of somewhere in the Rockies. Where the mornings are cold and the air is clear. Maybe start skiing again. But then I realize there really is no escape. That's America too. The hate follows you everywhere.

Last year when the music stars were dying, Prince and Bowie, and this year -- Tom Petty and Walter Becker, I would joke, well at least they don't have to live through Trump. Like all jokes it was funny because it was true. I keep wondering when the suicides will start, as people give up hope. I think that is the logical conclusion of my thought process. The way to make the world disappear is to make yourself disappear.

Don't worry dear reader, I have no intention of doing away with myself. That'll happen soon enough through the natural progression of things. But if I were a young person today I'd be angry and in the streets, shaking every person saying what the fuck are you doing to put a stop to this lunacy?

People who show up

Sat, 09 Dec 2017 14:47:22 GMT

There's a nice thread on Twitter, started by @anildash. He asks you to name people who opened doors for you and made new things possible. I got a few very sweet testimonials from old friends. It's nice to have your good work appreciated. Opening doors for other people is a big deal for me.

Brent Simmons said it was simple. I gave him a chance as a programmer working with me, on projects in the 90s that had pretty great results. So obviously I made the right call. I want to say why I chose Brent over more experienced educated people. It's simple. He showed up.

You can learn how to program, and your help might be very helpful, but if you aren't there, you aren't willing to take a chance, don't have the innate skills, the foundation, the whatever-it-is that made you show up, if you aren't all those things which amount to showing up, then well I'm going to go with the person who showed up. It's a decent algorithm. Empirically, it works. (Not a joke, though it might sound like it is.)

Same with Chris Lydon. Many if not most things about Chris infuriate me. I have to get that out of the way. I love him, but most of the time, in the ways I care about, he does not show up. But I worked with him, and the work, like the projects I did with Brent, proved to be significant. It produced results that could be built on. I know this because things were built on it. Because in the end, for whatever reason, he showed up.

When I made my list of people who opened doors for me, that's the criteria I used. People who worked with me, trusted me, took a chance on me, because flipped around that's exactly what Brent and Chris did. There are probably certainly things about me that infuriate them. But I showed up, they showed up, and something happened.

Give her a show! ;-)

Sat, 09 Dec 2017 20:42:16 GMT

Yesterday I tweeted that Yamiche Alcindor, a reporter at the NY Times, should get her own show. Here's why I said that.

  • At the moment I wrote that tweet she was a guest on MTP Daily on MSNBC. They were talking about Al Franken. There were three reporters on a panel moderated by Chuck Todd, the host.
  • She was the only one who said what actually happened. Franken did not admit guilt, did not apologize, and there was a rush to get him out of the Senate, no process was used. So we don't know anything more than Franken was accused of something that he denies.
  • I had heard her earlier on Friday as a guest on the Daily podcast, where she said the same thing, in more detail without interruption, so I knew what she was trying to say on MTP.
  • With one exception, Masha Gessen writing in the New Yorker, every other report seems to have missed this very basic point. Franken could have, guilty or innocent, helped establish a process for a #metoo case, at least for politicians. The process is going to be different in private corporations. But the senators that forced Franken out had no authority to do so. He isn't anyone's employee. He represents the people of Minnesota, and as was pointed out in the New Yorker piece, they were not consulted.
  • I have written about this twice. I expressed the same ideas Alcindor was expressing. I added that I didn't see what the rush was. A thorough and deliberative process would say that we're trying to be fair. A rush to judgment is exactly the kind of thing the Democratic Party was against, as far as I know. It's against the basic values of our country. If we want to maintain the rule of law (we do!) how does it help to circumvent it? I think it's great that a reporter thinks the facts are more important than an insider's view of optics, which is what the other panelists focused on.

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 16:53:58 GMT

For the movie version of BingeWorthy, coming soon, I want to start with movies that are in theaters now, and add new movies as they come out. I want to know about shows you've already seen or want to see. Also interested in movies as they show up in rentals and on DVD (or Apple TV or Netflix, etc). Post a note here, or on Facebook, or in response to this post on Twitter. Let's have fun! 🚀

Follow-up to Franken resignation

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 17:45:23 GMT

This is a very lightly edited version of a series of tweets I posted yesterday after the Franken resignation, and after there had been some time to absorb its implications.

  • Earlier today I wrote that Al Franken should not resign. My concern is we'd be without a process should any other senators be accused of abuse. It should have taken time to decide Franken's fate. Now we have a very flawed process. Not a good place to be.
  • People who say the Dems took the high ground are wrong. The high ground would have been to resist the impulse to act quickly, and let the ethics probe proceed. Franken promised to cooperate. This would have been the constructive example for the country, imho the high ground.
  • The Sam Seder situation was a warning. There are trolls at work here. Have we already forgotten the debacle of the 2016 election? How easily we can be manipulated. This truth goes along with all the other truths being exposed now.
  • His judges, his Democratic colleagues in the Senate, were angry, involved, not dispassionate. Franken maintains that the stories don't add up to what the senators implied (but didn't say). When they write the history, all anyone will be able to say was that Franken was accused.
  • It wasn't deliberative. It didn't reach a conclusion. His speech was defiant. Maybe there's truth there. This isn't the way it should be in the United States.
  • My main point is there are trolls among us. I'm not just thinking about Franken, but where we go from here. How easily lives will be destroyed (have been destroyed). We are too vulnerable, and the senate could have taken that into account too.
  • The key word is deliberate. Which means slow and careful. The way Mueller is pursuing the president. Why were we in such a rush to get rid of Franken and Conyers. We should have been careful. That's the mistake.
  • So if you go back to the beginning of the thread. All I claimed was the Dems did not take the high ground. I think they should have.

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 16:00:08 GMT

The server behind the English app is released. MIT license. It's good to have a simple example of an editor that uses the GitHub API.

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 03:11:54 GMT

Braintrust query: I'm looking for a good website with ski area weather forecasts for the Rockies. Lots of sites have conditions at the ski areas. I want to know where the weather is. Mainly just a question of the storm track and what's coming. I suppose I could look at weather forecasts for each ski area, but that's pretty labor intensive. What I want is the overview. Any suggestions?

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 21:43:37 GMT

Braintrust query: A list of all movies currently playing in NYC theaters.

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 16:36:06 GMT

I am beginning to think we're seeing people exiting the dollar as the reserve currency. Wondering when the panic is going to start, or if it already has.

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 19:17:18 GMT

Unfortunately we're going to have to watch Trump dentures at war with Trump brain many more times, bigly, but it's necessary to make America great again.

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 16:17:12 GMT

Jonathan Chait points out that the press has never considered the claims of the Steele dossier credible. I have the opposite take. I think they're obviously true, are the simplest explanation of Trump's behavior. Trump goes to Moscow, flattered and bribed, gets in bed with Russians, it fits his lifestyle. I don't see why people don't believe it.

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 15:23:42 GMT

An old joke. Human goes into doctor's office. Doctor says I have good news and bad news. Give me bad news first. You have cancer, you'll be dead in 2 weeks. Geez what's the good news? I just won the lottery! 💥

Al Franken should not resign

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 13:50:18 GMT

I understand why other Democratic senators want Franken to resign, but they aren't the whole universe. They may believe the women, always, 100 percent, but the world isn't that simple. Remember all the fake trolls who threw the 2016 election and the aftermath we're dealing with now. Let the dust settle. Develop a process for dealing with this kind of situation, so next time there won't be a precedent of the man just leaving in disgrace. Franken may be guilty, or not. We have principles in this country to uphold. Just walking away makes it that much more of a problem for the next man who is accused. Don't make a cliché out of the presumption of innocence. It's an important principle. The Democratic senators have said their piece. Now let's have a process, and let's examine the facts.

Update: Franken resigned.

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 16:49:38 GMT

I have a new app for you to try out. It's called English. It's an editor that runs in the browser that can create and edit a Markdown document in a GitHub repository. It's designed for editing docs and readmes, and to make it possible for less-technical writers to participate in GitHub-hosted open source projects.

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 16:59:42 GMT

Update: I am now using English to edit the Readme file of the Scripting-News repo.

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 17:00:10 GMT

Disclaimer: I know it is missing most of the features you'd want in an editor. I explained that in the readme.

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 20:49:08 GMT

The point of real estate porn, if there is one, is to get all the enjoyment there is to be got from fantastic homes without having to pay for them, or live in them.

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 17:52:29 GMT

A jaw-dropping tweet unlike any other I've ever seen.

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 18:17:04 GMT

New technology is adopted bottom-up, never top-down. And of course the big mucky-mucks can't admit that. Which creates problems.

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 18:27:12 GMT

This kind of document should be on a publicly-owned server.

Try to pull people off Facebook? Wrong idea

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 17:01:09 GMT

The other day, I got an email from a friend suggesting that we try to get people to stop using Facebook. This idea comes up a lot. I don't support the idea, for a variety of reasons.

  • I like Facebook. I use it to keep in touch with friends. I have made new friends there. I would miss it. I don't want to quit.
  • It's hopeless. Facebook is an addiction. Try telling a smoker to stop smoking. It's bad for you! Yes yes I know. But people have to want to quit, a lot, to overcome the addiction. A well-intentioned friend is not helping by insisting they stop. (An aside, much better, when they decide it's time to quit, tell them it makes you happy. Offer to help, to go for a walk with them when the urge is overwhelming.)
  • And there's something more direct that will do much more good. See the next section.

Here's the better idea..

  • Instead of getting people to quit Facebook, let's get proactive in rescuing great writing from Facebook.
  • There should be a process. I see something great on Facebook. I then open a page on some alt-Facebook, or bizarro-Facebook, or whatever you want to call it, and create a copy outside the silo. A place where search engines will find it. Where it can have a life on the open web.
  • Yes yes I know people might not like it. You can ask first if you want, but until the rescue site gets famous people won't know wtf you're talking about. Better to make it a guerilla thing at first. Ask for forgiveness instead of permission. ;-)
  • That's what I think. You could even write a bookmarklet to automate much of it.

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 17:31:48 GMT

Here's a screen shot of the editor as it exists today.

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 04:03:00 GMT

I'm using the new editor to edit the readme file for the repo. It's really more of a todo list right now for this project. But when it's done, probably tomorrow or the day after, it'll be for the actual readme.

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 16:13:32 GMT

Speaking of convolution. I'm trying out the idea of a wizzy editor for GitHub readmes. A simple editor, based on Medium-Editor, so you get styling, lists, heads. I found a plug-in that generates Markdown code. So what I push up to GitHub is Markdown, which is the only style that GH renders as HTML as far as I know. It works. Now the question is how to save the text locally between edits. Ideally it would be in Markdown, but the plug-in can't turn Markdown into HTML to initialize the editor. There was a thread on the repo for the project where people asked for this but it appears not to have happened. I tried a hack. Use another MD processor to do the initial conversion, and go from there. Hey Markdown is enough of a standard that it appears to work. I love it. PS: I started a thread on my repo for this project if you have questions or opinions.

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 16:08:47 GMT

My eyes are playing weird tricks on me. I have to wear reading glasses for computer work, because of the weird arrangement of lenses in my eyes. Long story, have been told before. I've been trying out different prescriptions, but today I'm back to the lens I've been using for a year. But my eyesight on the computer has reverted to where it was two years ago. Virtually impossible for me to read. I make typing mistakes because I literally can't see what the characters are on the screen. Then I thought, let's just take off the glasses and see what happens. Amazingly I can read the screen without them. A little double vision, but that's nothing compared to what I was dealing with before.

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 13:18:50 GMT

This piece gives you a very small idea of the hell that men live with, now that we're getting educated on the hell women deal with. You know the grass always looks greener on the other side. I don't think most women would like to be in a man's body in this world. We are human too, believe it or not, and when you carry on about how we're all evil or scum, you're not being fair, kind or even in the ballpark of truth. We all need love and support. Men too. Thanks for listening.

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 21:32:02 GMT

If the world is going to end I might as well have some nice headphones. Bowers & Wilkins PX. They sound pretty good. But I haven't found music (yet) that sounds that much better than the much cheaper and lighter and less confining wireless headphones I was using previously. I may still return the new ones.

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 15:01:09 GMT

My poll about 280 character tweets got exactly 280 votes. 33 percent said it was bad, the rest said good, some good some bad, or not sure.

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 15:02:13 GMT

I stopped going to tech conferences when I realized there was no way to win as a voice in the "audience." Then I started a conference that didn't have the concept of an audience. Our goal was to draw the crowd in the hallway back into the conference room. It worked. People loved BloggerCon. I saw some of this at Newsgeist in November. The quality of the session depends on how committed the discussion leader is to hearing from everyone, and following through on interesting and different ideas. I found that teachers and reporters often made excellent discussion leaders. A conference about news should be great. If the reporters are committed to getting the story. But reporters sometimes have a narrow field of vision. And teachers sometimes aren't interested in dialog with students.