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

Published: Thu, 21 Sep 2017 19:31:05 GMT

Last Build Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2017 20:37:15 GMT

Copyright: © 1994-2017 Dave Winer.

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:29:44 GMT

There's a new My Projects section in the About outline.

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 19:31:05 GMT

Roger Stone predicts a Civil War if Trump is impeached. What happens when they find out how they lost their health insurance?

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 18:08:26 GMT

Experian writes to say my email address is on The Dark Web. They offer advice how to deal with it. Change your password. Buy $29 service from them. Buy the deluxe $109 service again of course from them (guessing at the prices, they don't say in the email). Okay first what is The Dark Web? I honestly have no idea. Second. I publish my email address on my blog. I don't in any way try to hide it. Experian is one of the three credit-rating agencies. This is dishonest. Deceitful. Sleazy.

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 14:23:42 GMT

There are a lot of posts going up today of the form: "I was a healthy person subsidizing sick people until something bad happened and I needed health care." But that doesn't tell the whole story. I was a healthy person subsidizing sick people until I needed life-saving heart surgery 15 years ago. Because of a sequence of COBRA, RomneyCare and ObamaCare, I have been insured ever since. Each year because of my age, I pay huge premiums. At times as much as $1500 a month with high dedictibles. In the interim, each year I used a fraction of that amount of health care. In other words as a person with a pre-existing condition (the definition of not healthy) I have been subsidizing sick people who need more health care than I do, and am happy to do it.

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:49:24 GMT

If your site pops up a dialog asking the reader to subscribe to an email newsletter, I won't post it to my linkblog. I'll find another site that explains the concept. Same with videos that autoplay. You really hate your users if you do that. I don't support sites that hate their users.

Unmasking is the new Shariah Law

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:45:02 GMT

Repubs invent these scary concepts that don't have any substance, because the words sound important and menacing. We don't want to be governed by Shariah Law. That kind of implies that Shariah Law is being imposed on us. That's the joke. It isn't. They play the same ugly game with voter suppression (they call it something else). And unmasking. I guess they must have been masked for a reason, you say. To protect someone. And to unmask them, well that's obviously bad, right? Haha. You fell for it. Even when you argue against it, saying it's harmless, you're falling for it. Maybe the best thing is to play along? Why were they masked in the first place? What were they hiding? Maybe you have to play the game to defuse it. Bottom line -- Repubs are scum. If you're a Repub and don't feel you're scum, maybe it's time to start something new.

Write here, cross-post nowhere

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 14:08:37 GMT

I just cross-posted something from this blog to Twitter and Facebook. It gave me a nauseous feeling when the first comment came in on Twitter, from a stranger, who said that unmasking was bad and provided a link to support his belief. A bot. Even if he's flesh and blood, even if he thinks he's sentient, he's just human spam. This is the end of the line for discussion boards. We tried that a long time ago and blogging won out, for good reason. No. More. Cross-posting.

Finding myself in therapy

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:22:27 GMT

I was in therapy for eight years, a long time ago, and while I often asked for advice there was only one time when the therapist gave it.

She said this: Sometimes people are wrong.

There had been a family trip I wasn't allowed to participate in. I had asked to go, and was told no. I was angry and disappointed. I couldn't find a way for it to make sense. Her point was this. They are being bad family members. You can stop grappling with this. You can stop trying to see it from their point of view because they are just wrong.

I asked why this time she made an exception. She said she was human too, and didn't want to go through this with me, yet again. I suppose she wondered why I couldn't figure it out. Or maybe she thought I was ready to hear it. I learned something about myself then, that through nature and/or nurture, my sense of self had disappeared. I had lost the ability, if I ever had it, to see things from my own point of view. It was a big day for me. I'll probably never forget it.

After that event, I saw lots of opportunity to see things from my own point of view. An example. I had gone to a conference and had mistakenly scheduled two things for the same time. I was fretting. What do I do about this? Which one should I go to and which should I blow off? My new inner voice found the answer, in a question: What do you want to do? That would not have occurred to me before.

The piece that inspired this story tries to answer the question of why therapists don't just tell you what to do. The purpose of therapy is to help you discover yourself. I know that sounds dorky and newagey, but it is literally what you're doing. You're bouncing around the world, looking for answers everywhere but the only place that can provide them, inside yourself. But if you don't know you exist, how can you find that place? A therapist patiently shines the light on that space, over and over, hoping that this year, or maybe next, you'll figure it out.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 17:54:29 GMT

Here's a podcast for the handful of people who try my software before it's public. I have a project ready for testing now, this podcast explains.

Media Files:

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 18:26:57 GMT

I've been steadily releasing new versions of the publicFolder package over the last few days. Fixing bugs, adding stats and callbacks. The current version is v0.4.23.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 22:38:30 GMT

I did finally listen to Trump's speech at the UN, in full. It was horrifying. It's like he pulled his pants down and took a shit on stage.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 22:42:23 GMT

Also the Daily podcast about the Trump speech is worth listening to. They take it all in stride, which is somewhat disturbing. But it's useful.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 17:33:21 GMT

This dialog pops up when I click most Medium links. I hate this dialog with a passion. It's a paywall thing. Before the paywall goes up. The word that best describes the feeling is bilious, which btw is a great word. ;-)

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 17:41:17 GMT

The thing about silos is they do things to your reader they don't do to you so you don't know they're doing it. And they know you don't know.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 16:05:35 GMT

Rich Hanover has been having trouble accessing over DNS. If you've been having trouble too, please post a note to the thread.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:04:44 GMT

Brendan Greely: "I was a healthy person subsidizing sick people until both of my sons spent a week in the pediatric ICU together." This is the drum I keep beating. Health care is socialist. When Repubs complain that we're socializing medicine, they're wrong. It's not up to us to socialize it. It is socialist.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:55:41 GMT

We thought we were bringing our system of govt to Russia, but it turns out they were bringing theirs to us. The net provided the means.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:58:12 GMT

I'm the first to blame Facebook when they're at fault. But this is not their fault. Our naïveté about the net got us and continues to get us.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:07:16 GMT

I was chatting with a friend who reads this blog, and explained that sometimes when I'm critical of a big tech company, it's not just me speaking, sometimes I'm echoing ideas I've heard from people inside the company. People who aren't being listened to. I guess in that way I'm acting something like a reporter with a source who is on background.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:19:38 GMT

Jay Rosen has been is considering cross-posting to Medium. On Twitter he asked if he should point to the Medium versions of his post or the blog version. I thought I'd answer on my blog. It wouldn't make much difference to me. I read his blog through his feed, and I dislike going to Medium, because of the interstitial dialog that pops up before I can read a piece. So I guess it would annoy me to see a Medium link to Jay's posts, but I'd get over it.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:47:59 GMT

BTW, I tried an experiment, different from Jay's, cross-posting from my blog to both Facebook and Medium. I ended the experiment about a year ago.

My inaugural Enemies List

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 19:32:50 GMT

Just like Nixon I've got an Enemies List. These are the first guys on it.


Tue, 19 Sep 2017 21:13:01 GMT

If you want to be up on the latest developments emanating from this blog, be sure to watch the Scripting-News repository. We're using that space more and more.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 21:37:21 GMT

Warren Buffet bet on an index fund over a managed fund, and he was right, he's winning the bet. I even understand why, as I've bet the same way more or less. Governments are judged by two prices: gas and stock. If gas is down and stock is up, the president wins re-election. So guess what. Gas stays low and stock goes up. It's like free money, basically. Until there's a war or a bubble burst. But most of the time you just make money with an index fund. Now you have the secret too. 🍎

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 21:56:11 GMT

If Kim Jong Un is Rocket Man, who's the Madman Across the Water?

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 18:26:59 GMT

I wondered why people cared about Sean Spicer having his "brand" redeemed by being allowed to make an appearance at the beginning of the Emmy award ceremony on Sunday. I don't think his brand was helped or hurt. I think it's all mixed up with Melissa McCarthy's parody. Spicer will forever be a punchline. Some things probably will never matter. This imho is one of them.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 14:21:55 GMT

If you think making others feel your pain is going to ease your pain, you're mistaken, and wasting effort. It just makes them tune you out.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 14:24:33 GMT

I listened to five minutes of the president's UN speech, expecting to be horrified, but I thought it was good. But only five minutes.

Chief of Staff at UN speech

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 19:06:17 GMT


We get the big things wrong

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 14:25:44 GMT

During the campaign last year, I pleaded with the press to listen about at least two things.

  • Email is inherently insecure. You're spreading your ideas all over the place when you send an email. Just because the person-to-person channel is guarded, it doesn't prevent the email from being forwarded, saved to disk and transmitted other ways, or through phishing, being stolen as part of a whole mailbox. When you secure email transmission, you're locking a window but all the doors are wide open. It's really just security theater. In other words, someone is taking advantage of your ignorance, and there's one way to fix that -- to stop being ignorant.
  • Trolls. We're being trolled. There's nothing new or novel about this. I know it's hard to not be fascinated, I could tell you stories of years I wasted dealing with trolls, thinking I could win by engaging. You can't. The only way to win is to just turn your back.

But we get the big things wrong. The frustration I feel about us always being late at figuring this stuff out, and digging the hole deeper and deeper, is one that other people who care about science and technology share.

Meanwhile Google is wiping out the history of the web, the few sites that remain from the early days, by doing it in a slow almost invisible way. I guess I have to give up on trying to stop this. I'm going to let them delete my sites over the coming years. I have done make-work for BigCo's in the past, countless times, thinking if I just do what the big company is forcing me to do, it'll all work out. Now I know that isn't true. It doesn't work that way.

We get the big things wrong. Accept it. We take the low road every chance we get. Assume it's being fucked up and be surprised when it's not.

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 13:52:55 GMT

Good morning Citibike fans! 🚴

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 18:14:56 GMT

This is where I'm working on the docs for the Public Folder desktop app. It's not going to be an easy thing to set up. But it works. It's a beachhead.

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 15:57:21 GMT

Speaking of Citibike, they sent an email asking if I'd like to be part of their Bike Angels program. Yes, of course I would. You're basically part a human load-balancer for bike stations. There's an app that shows you which stations need bikes and which have too many. If you move a bike for them, you get reward points. With enough points you can give friends (visiting from out of town for example) free days of Citibike. I'm exactly the kind of person to pitch this to. I'll do anything to get more people on the bike paths in NYC.

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 20:24:33 GMT

Checking to see if Fargo still works, and it does. I just see a lot of hits on Little Outliner and that gets me thinking. Did something change??

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 14:14:25 GMT

I wonder if there's a class in high school or college that teaches how to have a respectful conversation. You learn to ask questions and listen instead of assuming you know what the other person is thinking. I say that because I'm pretty sure some people never, in their whole lives, understand why every conversation they have ends up in frustration and anger. Not only would it make the world work better, but I think there would be more happiness.

Let's actively support bipartisanship

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 13:54:34 GMT

I knew this was coming. I believe Repubs are splitting up now. Maybe one part will be very small, the part that goes with Trump. I think maybe the number of diehard Trump supporters is very small. Where were they all when called to the Mother Of All Rallies this weekend? It was pathetic. Not even a thousand people showed up.

A new middle ground is forming with moderate Repubs and the Democratic voters who don't cast protest votes or stay home on Election Day, who understand that our system depends on compromise, on not getting everything you want because the other guy has to get some too. Obama would fit into this middle party.

Radical change like the failure of the USSR or Trump as POTUS have a way of shaking the order of things. It's like having a death in the family, or some kind of windfall of opportunity. It's a time for change. The assumption that we would change to fascism isn't the only way it can go. It could also turn out that the shakeup breaks the destructive partisanship in DC. Which is why, we as citizens of the US, who have an interest in support from government, also have an interest in bipartisanship.

I also hope it breaks the logjam of the journalism elite, who only listen to each other -- and it shows in their inbred thinking.

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 18:07:23 GMT

The best standard practice for how to respond to a bot. 🚀

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 20:42:04 GMT

An idea for Citibike. When you return the bike you get an email. If the bike needs repair, there should be a place on the confirming email where you can report the problem. (Especially if you return the bike one minute after checking it out at the same station.)

I'm no fan of Facebook, but please...

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 14:38:10 GMT

I can't point to Joan Walsh's rant about Facebook, because she posted it on Facebook, but here's my comment.

  • I'm no fan of Facebook, and I am a fan of Joan, but this is crazy talk. "Allowed" is Repub-like misdirection. Your phone allows you to say and do all kinds of nasty stuff. If you want your platforms to take an interest in the words we use, more than they already do, you're just inviting fascism in here.

I'd add, there are ways to prevent foreign nationals from breaking US laws using Facebook without condemning Facebook's past actions.

PS: Here's a screen shot of her post.

The publicFolder desktop app takes shape

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 14:32:30 GMT

Here's the screen shot.

Let me explain what's going on there...

That's an Electron shell. The publicFolder package is running inside it. There's a web interface that shows you what's going on.

It's configured to have three concurrent processes, i.e. three simultaneous file uploads or deletions. All other operations are queued up, when a slot becomes available, the first in the queue is removed and processed. First in first out.

At least once a minute publicFolder gathers stats about the local folder and the S3 image. You can see how many files are in each and how much space they use. Obviously the numbers should be identical.

You can see how many uploads and deletions have been done since the app first launched, and how many GB of uploads.

Finally, there's a log of the last 500 operations. So you can scroll through them. The file name is linked to the public version, so you can see what's there (read a page, listen to a song, watch a movie, etc) by clicking the link.

If you want to review the source, here it is.

And here's a place for questions about publicFolder.

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 22:54:02 GMT

Look at what's happening at the University of Wisconsin. A good school. I got my Computer Science education there. Professors without tenure who answer to politicians.

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 22:31:31 GMT

New version of publicFolder. More stats, three new callbacks.

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 19:14:53 GMT

New version of PagePark, fixes a "breaking change" from the mime package. Why for crying out loud they felt it necessary to change the name of their core routine, such a simple function. Please. This is nuts. Unless there's some kind of explanation, which I would love to hear.

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 19:29:45 GMT

This is how I like my sports journalism.

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 15:09:28 GMT

The president is a white supremacist. That's a big problem for everyone, especially ESPN.

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 18:09:33 GMT

A couple of small improvements to Instant Dave. 1. We now only show notifications for posts you are able to see in the timeline. 2. And we strip the HTML from the notifications, since they aren't correctly interpreted by the Notification Manager on the Mac. The new version, v0.5.4, is now available for download.

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 00:47:40 GMT

On today's Daily podcast, an interview with Bernie Sanders about his bill to provide Medicare for everyone. The host asks why introduce the bill if it has no chance of passing. "You have to start somewhere." I agree. Obama always prenegotiated. Instead of saying what he really wanted, he proposed a compromise. The Repubs took advantage. Bernie says go for what you want. Accept less if you have to, but that's where the negotiating starts. Also gives Dems something to campaign on in 2018 and 2020. Good move.

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 15:35:38 GMT

Morning Coffee Notes was the name of my early podcast, but before that it was a recurring title here on Scripting News. I created a MCN headline when I wanted to start over a new day. When the good morning message needed to be encapsulated so a new top item could appear. Today was one of those days, the first in a long time.

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 15:33:02 GMT

Re Apple's Face ID: "Who—for the price of a thousand bucks—owns whom?" Good question. We loved personal computers in the beginning because they were off the grid, out of the reach of the priesthood and the military industrial state. One of the companies that made these liberating products was Apple Computer, Inc. Woz's Apple, not the Apple of 2017.

Rebooting our societal intellect

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 13:59:58 GMT

At first I was ambivalent about Chelsea Manning as a fellow at HKS. But seeing all that it has stirred up, I think she would be good. You want lightning rods to help identify issues and boundaries. I understand the objections, let's get those people at HKS too, and discuss the issues, like scholars. That's what universities are for.

I know so many influential people in academia, many who were early participants in the web and blogosphere. We were there in the early days when online discourse held great promise for bringing the differences of the world together, to be accepted, de-weaponized. It turned out the opposite. We brought the differences together and enhanced them, and the rage spilled out into the real world.

Firing Chelsea Manning was a mistake, but an understandable one. Let's get the guy who quit to come back and spend more time at HKS, and get more people on either side of this divide, study it, civil discourse it to death, and see what we're left with.

I think the university is our way out of the intelletual logjam we're in. We have to use all the tools at our disposal, including academic discourse.