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Scripting News

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

Published: Thu, 29 Jun 2017 12:47:47 GMT

Last Build Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2017 12:52:18 GMT

Copyright: © 1994-2017 Dave Winer.

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 12:30:40 GMT

Mathew Ingram, former old school blogger, GigaOm and then Fortune columnist, has a blog. I'm glad. He's a good example of making money because you blog as opposed to making money from blogging. Had he not had a blog back in Ye Olde Dayz, would he have been hired as professional columnist? It didn't hurt. 🌽

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 12:47:47 GMT

My method for getting people to blog in 2017 is the same as it was in 1999. Roll out the red carpet for great examples of blogging. Then the Tom Sawyer thing kicks in. πŸ’

A possible business model for Tumblr?

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 12:27:13 GMT

NY Mag author Brian Feldman says there's no money in Internet culture. Proof is Tumblr, he says. But while I was reading the article I thought of something they might not have tried at Tumblr. Seeding users with test units of products. Or taking 100 bloggers from some random city to a new movie a week before it comes out and letting them write about it. Even negative reviews would get them exposure.

They probably thought of it. It seems kind of obvious. You can put ads in the stream, but that's un-Tumblr-like, or you can give users a basis to write about your product. Create a long-term connection (people remember respect, and everyone likes to feel important) and immediate buzz.

Did Fargo get a reprieve?

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 12:20:26 GMT

It's the 29th. The API was set to expire yesterday. But Fargo still works.

I tried creating a post and updating it. And sure enough it worked.

I even reloaded the app to see if the updates are still there, and they are.

Not complaining! But what the what?


Wed, 28 Jun 2017 18:55:28 GMT is something new to try out. It works like the Slack group without the need to be approved or log in. It's real time. No need to refresh. And it's also brand-new, so it will certainly have bugs. πŸ„

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:06:38 GMT

This is a test. For the next sixty seconds this station will conduct a test of the weblog testing system. This is of course not an emergency. So hang out and count your blessings! β˜€οΈ

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:30:31 GMT

Re the opening scene of Fargo season 3. They say it's an homage to The Trial by Franz Kafka. Okay then. Very interesting analysis. Thanks to Jim Grinsfelder for the pass-along.

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:49:30 GMT

How tweets are represented in the Scripting News feed.

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:00:37 GMT

Instead of Trump growing to fill the presidency, he's shrinking the presidency to fit Trump.

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:02:40 GMT

So Phil Jackson is finally gone. Now to find a replacement for Dolan. A consolation prize for DJ Trump? Bloomberg? Jeff Bezos?

Reporters don't dumb it down

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 20:56:26 GMT

I'm a daily listener to the Daily podcast.

It's so frustrating when a reporter they interview spends a couple of minutes not explaining.

"It's too complicated for your listeners to understand," the reporter might say. What a waste. You could use the time instead explaining what's going on. Some people might not understand, and some would. With the approach they use, no one understands. Some is better than none, don't you think?

And people who read the Times are smart. Don't you all know that?

Knicks humor

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 03:29:21 GMT


Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:33:54 GMT

Good morning outliner users! πŸ„

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 02:16:51 GMT

Lawrence O'Donnell says that the Repubs would have only gotten 5 votes for their Un-Obama-Care bill. 5 votes. F-I-V-E. 1-2-3-4-5. Just 5. Not 50. Five.

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:52:29 GMT

We have a huge challenge in the US, not just to re-establish rule of law, but also to figure out what it means to have an open society and not be vulnerable to the abuse we took in 2016.

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:40:16 GMT

Braintrust question: Best way to monitor system load on Ubuntu?

The last day for Fargo

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:39:52 GMT

According to Dropbox today is the last day to use Fargo.

A frequently asked question: How do I export my outlines? It's a trick question. You don't. They are sitting in your Dropbox folder in a standard open format, supported by any reasonable outliner. They will still be there tomorrow after Fargo stops working.

BTW, it couldn't hurt to copy them out of your Dropbox folder into a backup somewhere. Better safe than sorry. 🐱

A reminder, they changed the API, and today is the last day the old version of the API works. I decided not to maintain Fargo, so when the old API is turned off Fargo will stop working.

If you like the outliner in Fargo, it's available in another package, LO2. The outliner is also available as open source, so if you want, perhaps you can get another developer to make it work with Dropbox.

Fargo is a great product, but what I hoped would happen with it, has not happened. It is tightly integrated with the Dropbox platform, which has not taken off as a developer ecosystem. I wish it had, but the fact is that it hasn't. At some point you have to cut your losses. That's part of development too.


Still diggin!

New strategy for Twitter/Facebook metadata

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 22:09:04 GMT

The way this blog works doesn't fit into the way Twitter and Facebook do metadata. I knew this would happen with the Old School redesign, because I am immersed in their worlds. Basically every day has the same big image. That sucks because the image has nothing to do with what's being pointed to. They designed their metadata for a model that does not fit my blogging style. For a while I changed my style to accomodate them. But as you know I don't do that anymore. Now I am myself and if they don't like it, etc.

Anyway, I was including an image that never changed in the metadata. Not only did this screw up Twitter and Facebook, but it also screwed up other apps that read their metadata. Like Slack and apparently Feedly.

So I nuked the image.

It's still at the top of the home page of my blog. But it's not in the metadata. Let's try that for a while and see if it makes things better. It'll probably break something else. That's how this stuff works. Or doesn't.

"It's even worse than it appears."

To future-of-news people

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 21:37:00 GMT

I sent an email this morning to several friends who I think of as future-of-newsers. People whose opinions I have high regard for, and who care about the future of news. The topic, the future of blogging. This is what I wrote...

I have a feeling the tech blogosphere has a chance to reboot now...

Which begs the question -- what is a blog?

We need a reboot of the blogosphere. It's not that every blog has so much value, but some do. Think of the 2008 financial crisis and the blogs and podcasts that were born out of that. The same should be happening now. I'm sure it is, we just have to find it.

We have a huge challenge in the US, not just to re-establish rule of law, but also to figure out what it means to have an open society and not be vulnerable to the abuse we took in 2016.

The solution is not going to come from Twitter or Facebook. The big news orgs are good at channeling leaks, but not new ideas. Quite the opposite, they're desperately trying to cling to the sensibility of the World Before Trump.

Anyway, the first step imho is to understand that we have a way out. We just have to decide to use it. That means getting over the idea that journalism and blogging are the same thing. As long as we believe that, there really isn't any hope. (Imho of course.)

Because the circumstances are so dire, it's a very exciting time to have new ideas, because there's a small chance they might take hold. When everything is "normal" the chance for innovation isn't so great.

There's no action item here, other than listen for a stranger with great ideas and when you hear one, tell everyone about what you heard. The ideas must be out there now. We just have to turn in their direction. I think that's how this works.

With much love,


Handmaids in Washington

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 18:32:06 GMT


Facebook a.k.a. The Moral Parade

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:05:35 GMT

Facebook is about the news, in a weird way.

Each bit of news potentially fires up a moral parade, where people recite prepared speeches.

Often the speeches begin explaining how what someone said is like this other thing, then basically recites a canned story for that thing.

You could give each story a number, and just type the number. The computer (Facebook) could then get the text and insert it into the comment for you. Discourse could happen much faster.

Eventually Facebook could predict what you'll say and just say it for you. Like the self driving cars Google is making. You'd sign onto Facebook and see in your notification drop down menu "You have commented on Betty Fird's post."

You could read it if you like, but eventually you will know that Facebook correctly stated your opinion.

Originally appeared as a post on Facebook two years ago today.

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 12:20:05 GMT

Good morning students and teachers! 🍏

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 19:40:58 GMT

This is the human side of Health care is socialist.

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 03:51:56 GMT

Scripting News on Aug 28, 2014. I've been digging around in Fargo's CMS, looking at all the different ways it renders content, all from outlines.

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 18:10:04 GMT

Interesting Politico piece posits that Trump acts as if he's mayor of the United States. If NYC is his model, that mayor is esp powerless, because the governor of the state also has a lot of power over the city. It's approx 1/2 of the population of the state, and probably much more than 1/2 of the money. For example, the MTA, which runs the buses and subway, is run by the state, not the city.

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 18:05:02 GMT

Brent asks if the length in enclosures in RSS-in-JSON is a number or string. That's what the test podcast below is for.

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 17:29:33 GMT

From time to time I have to do a podcast to test things out. This is one of those times. Let's see what happens.

Media Files:

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 15:26:03 GMT

Body shaming is wrong no matter who you're using as the example. Someone is being hurt by this. No, I don't care how much you have suffered.

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 13:24:16 GMT

I need an app to view RSS feeds in the browser because Chrome and Safari refuse to let me do that. I'd love to hear the reason why.

Subscribable feed lists give power to users

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 12:24:36 GMT

An interesting comment from Chris Aldrich about subscribing to lists of feeds in a thread on the Woodwind app site on GitHub.

Here's the basic idea. There's a difference between importing OPML into a reader and subscribing to it. The latter is very powerful, for the user, but a lot of RSS reader devs may not want their users to have that much power. It's not a very hard feature to implement.

The idea has been much-discussed here. We call them reading lists. Michael Arrington even wrote a TechCrunch piece about it in 2005.

Subscribable OPML is something all my readers have been able to do through an OPML feature called inclusion. I wrote a howto for a River5 user re inclusion just last week.

Share Your OPML was a service I operated for a while. It made it possible to manage your OPML separate from the reader you used. It was meant to encourage readers to support subscribable OPML. I'm looking for an excuse to bring it back, but first we need a base of shared feed lists.

A lot of good stuff can be done if feed readers are willing to delegate list management to other services. IMHO the only reason a reader developer wouldn't do it is because they want to lock users in. If I let you edit your feed list elsewhere that means you could give the list to another vendor and have a choice which to use. It's really something users should demand, esp if you're paying for the service.

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 12:27:31 GMT

Good morning Internet guzzlers! 🍺

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 12:43:06 GMT

So glad I stopped worrying about Facebook and am now blogging Old School style on I've found my sea legs once again.

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 12:56:23 GMT

Dan Shafer died. I knew Dan from the Mac developer community in the 80s, hired him to write the first docs for Frontier. Bon voyage mi amigo! πŸ’₯

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 12:29:24 GMT

Money was a big issue yesterday in the nascent tech blogosphere. First, you do this because you love it, not because it pays well. (It doesn't pay at all.) Now I'd like to take you back to a discsussion that was had many years ago that resulted in this conclusion. You don't make money from this work, but it leads to opportunities where you can make money. Ideas and information make their way to you and if you are so-inclined you can make money by investing in those ideas. No sure things, but some bloggers have made billions, and others have made millions. And others have made a decent living. Not from their blog but because they blog.

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 12:32:31 GMT

In 2015 I wrote that Dropbox could be the king of the one-page app. Because storage is the thing the web doesn't, on its own, do, and storage is the thing Dropbox does best. And they have an API, and they understood the connection to one-page-apps earlier than anyone. But it didn't happen. I've emailed with people at Dropbox from time to time and the best explanation I can come up with is that they are focused in different areas. It seems to me, from my outside perch, that they are trying to become a competitor to Google's and Microsoft's Office products. I was hoping they'd become a platform, focusing on distribution and investment in startups.

Code mode is for real

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 15:53:13 GMT


Sat, 24 Jun 2017 14:57:01 GMT

Good morning sports fans! 🏈

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 20:50:06 GMT

Health care is socialist is getting a bunch of new reads today thanks to some powerful RTs.

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 18:34:44 GMT

Today is emoji day ⭐️ on Scripting News. We have all the ⭐️ best emoji. And they're free, for you, the best ⭐️ people in the universe, the readers of ⭐️ this humble blog. ⭐️

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 18:20:20 GMT

It makes sense that because of reconcilliation Repubs have a hard time repealing ObamaCare. It seems fair that you should have to have 60 votes to repeal something that required 60 votes to pass. How will they explain it to the voters they've been lying to about "repeal and replace." Double-talk. Swamp-talk. πŸ‘

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 18:05:49 GMT

I've started a chatroom on Gitter. Not sure what I'll use it for. Also not sure if it's open for anyone to join. I want it to be. The community guidelines apply. Keep it short, respectful and on-topic, and no spam. ⚾️

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 15:19:17 GMT

BTW, don't ask me to pitch RSS, I won't do it, because the request is based on a misunderstanding. RSS is not a product, it's a format. I have never made a dime from it. You have as much at stake in its success as I do. So I always turn it around and ask the person who asked me for a pitch to instead pitch me on it. I don't budge on this. Ever. πŸ€

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 15:01:10 GMT

Is anyone using the JSON version of the Scripting News feed in their feed reader? It's a bit of a trick question, in a way, because as far as I know, only River5 and Electric River support this format. If so, send me an email at my address, on the About page here. 🍰

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 05:50:50 GMT

Journalists keep making a serious technology error -- assuming the only damage Russia can do to our government is during elections. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 14:26:32 GMT

I get my health insurance through the ACA. It's very much alive, Spicer. Without it I would not have health insurance. πŸ‹

The sad state of tech news in 2017

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 13:43:48 GMT

It won't take much to reboot the tech blogosphere, just a few bloggers with ideas who listen to each other and want to work with each other. That was the idea behind blogrolls, to visibly show the relationships.

  • I'm still thinking about how to integrate a blogroll with the new design of Scripting News. I pushed everything aside to get a clean look for the new site. I want to avoid bringing it all back.

So, we have a few people who are writing and listening. That's a needed first step. Next we need a way to announce and hear about new tech products. Not just ones that get VC backing or come from big companies. We already hear about those products through TechMeme and the pubs that contribute to it. We also have platform-specific news about tech products, it's more limited, but it's there.

It will likely start with word of mouth among the bloggers. If Richard is using a product and speaks highly of it, I'm likely to take a look. Especially if he says it fits into what I'm doing through the open formats my software already supports.

Then I want a river, a place where I can go to find out quickly what's new, in the way of products, not BigCo bluster or another $250 million VC deal. I want to know what my peers are doing. So I can learn from them, and so we can make our products work with theirs.

Work together is a phrase you'll hear me use a lot. It's the potential of tech, but it often isn't the attitude of tech. Even the smallest most independent developers dream of dominating. You can't work with people who dominate, even if they win.

I want to hear about products that are open to connecting to mine.

There have been times, often defined by news sources, that have created huge swells of compatible technology. To name a few: InfoWorld, PC WEEK, MacWEEK, TechCrunch. Very fond memories of the communities that gathered around each of those.

It's time for another. The opportunity is there. It's been a long time since we had an open development community that worked to create great new user experience without lockin. It's like riding a bicycle or swimming, you don't forget how to do it. And like tennis or baseball, you can't play without partners and competition.

Republican-inspired art

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 14:52:32 GMT


Fri, 23 Jun 2017 11:50:48 GMT

Thank you Om for the tweet-love. ❀️

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 16:02:34 GMT

An idea worth RT'ing: "A site people could go to, fill in some info about themselves, and find out how much they would lose under the Repub plan."

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:52:38 GMT

githubpub is a Node app that serves from GitHub repositories.