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I just did a transition on instantoutliner.com. Complete rewrite of the server from top to bottom. I want to do a bunch of development work here, so I had to have a clean foundation. The previous version was last updated in 2016, so it was using the old technology. If you published an outline in the last few days, I might have lost the link to it. It shouldn't have happened but it did. And thanks again to Doc Searls for helping be the other side of users and developers party together. It's the formula that works.

Hacker News thread on re-thinking RSS. Here's my comment.

BTW, to Wikipedia's mistaken claim that a columnist gave podcasting its name, look at this Google Trends graph. See where the graph starts to climb? That's Sept 2004, when we gave what we were doing the name podcasting.

Opening presentation at Trump's trial by Adam Schiff.

I hear that some Republican senators actually listened to the evidence against the president yesterday.

Getting back on track podcast-wise after our brief brush with politics. I explain in this 25-minute cast what I'm doing here and why I value the connection with Doc. It's all about creating a groove with smart people so we can keep innovating. We used to call it (as I'm sure Doc remembers) "users and developers party together." I thrive off collaboration with people such as Doc. I provide examples of other times I've benefited from the insights of others to create new uses for networks.

Doc's mission is Customer Commons.

The nightly email is available as an RSS feed. However I'm sure it's going to look pretty awful because, unlike email, RSS readers don't allow us to include styles. I could of course add the style definitions to the source namespace, where I've put my customizations. If you're an RSS user, give it a try and let me know.

I was spooked last night by how much Jeffries conveys "Obama." The 8th Congressional District of New York.

Brilliant. Kids are swapping AirPods in class then using text to speech to talk without talking.

This is amazing. I read a story at the NY Post saying Fairway is filing for Chapter 7. It's a much-loved grocery chain in NYC. I posted a link on Facebook, because I know a few people who go there and got a link to a Twitter post from the company saying they're fine, no plans to shut down. Can't wait to find out what happened here.

Last night's emails went out late. Sorry. A glitch in the system. This time it was my software, not detecting an error and re-trying. It may be time for a revision to the mail-sending software.

How your iPhone will enslave you

First the government insists that Apple help police to access the data on encrypted phones. This is already underway. Then, the next steps:

  • A new app from the US government manages your identity and social credit. It's like a passport and wallet in one.
  • You can't quit or uninstall it.
  • You can't turn off location services or its access to the microphone and camera.
  • You will use it to vote.
  • It's required that you carry it at all times. Charged.

The new luxury accommodations will be in the rare parts of the world where there is no internet access. You can go to these places to rendezvous with forbidden friends and lovers.

The new national anthem: Back in the USSR. ??

Doc's oddcast on what comes after the Repubs acquit. I will respond forthwith. Doc did the outline.

And my retort to Doc. I cover a lot of ground, tying together all the threads on Scripting News. We're headed to a China/Soviet Union type government in the US. Tech will make it so much easier. Doc was right there will be a lot of angst about all this. But forget the election, and forget Congress. It's over. He not only will be able to ignore the Constitution, he also has Barr, who is infinitely more useful to Trump than Sessions. But unlike everyone else, I don't take it as a given that the Repubs will acquit. They must see the danger. What if a majority vote to convict, but not enough to remove him. That's a third outcome no one seems to consider.

Just tuned into a discussion on NPR that failed to take into account that the president was caught trying to steal the election. If you don't consider that, of course waiting for the election sounds more reasonable.

Re posting a nightly digest in the RSS feed. Been down that road in other contexts. Feed readers are so inconsistent, the result would be garbage for many if not most people. The platform is good at doing what it does, and that's it. The developers aren't listening. Also it wasn't easy to find an email format that works well enough across email clients, and it still looks mangled for some people. Email has only been an approximation of what works.

A Beatles song. Prototype. Finished product.

Look I have a huge dildo.

Play it out. The Repubs acquit Trump tomorrow. What then?

The Dershowitz Defense is the only thing between Trump and eviction. Is it enough of a fig leaf for Romney, Collins and the other so-called Republican moderates?

In the voting booth we can be true to ourselves even if we can't speak up in public. You have to be careful about creating resentment in your campaign. You might not be able to hear it until it's too late.

What voters want is incredibly simple. They want to know you hear them. How to show? Say what they say the way they say it. Do that well and you've got the vote.

When Republicans say the Democrats have wanted to impeach Trump from the beginning, the truth is that the American voters elected a Democratic Congress specifically so they would impeach Trump. BTW, Trump lost the last election, in 2018, despite having a huge advantage due to gerrymandering.

There's a folder on scripting.com called rssArchive. It has a lot of files in it going back to 2000. They all appear to be RSS files. I have no recollection how these files were created. But it might be interesting to have a look to see how my RSS support may have changed at times.

If you've ever been to dinner with me, you know that I almost always ask What's The Song? Well, I have an answer for that.

Imagine if these guys weren't white.

I still like Klobuchar

I like that the NYT endorsed Amy Klobuchar. I think she is the right choice for president, as I've written here before. "She's young, but not too young. A liberal who presents as a moderate. Thoughtful. Doesn't shoot from the hip."

They also endorsed Elizabeth Warren, who imho can't get in touch with most of America, for a lot of reasons. A video convinced me, she would not be a good president. A good senator, a good Secretary of the Treasury, a Harvard professor? Yes, but she writes off 1/2 the electorate in a snipe that lucky for her didn't get a lot of coverage. Also there's this incident, that proved that she's a Democrat as much as Biden, Clinton or Obama, and in not a good way.

A president must be of all the people, not just women or men. We've seen what happens with a president who doesn't get that. Warren, while smart, and determined, is not a leader. Klobuchar still has a way to go before she's confident enough to lead. But she has a lot of things right, and she's tough and from the center of the country, and that's symbolic and important.

And this is the year we need a woman president, to balance four years of having a very anti-woman president. But not someone who will undo the past by re-doing it in the inverse. We need all hands on deck to recover from the various crises that confront us.

The NYT had a line about Sanders that I knew but had forgotten. His plan for change is this: Magic! He has such a personality that everyone, once he's elected, will get behind him. It's what teenage boys dream of when they grow up to hit a walk-off home run to win the World Series. The acclaim, the wonder, such a good boy! Well it would never be like that for Bernie. He's got a character only a few people like, and many can't tolerate. I have always disliked him, think he's shallow and just plain wrong. What an awful president he'd make, something we'll never see because a cranky old Jewish socialist could not get elected president of the United States. He would be the McGovern of 2020, but at least McGovern was a nice guy.

RSS re-think, day 2

When I speak of the limits of RSS, I'm including the limits of reader apps. For many years I've been reluctant to do that. They mostly have conformed to rules set by the now-defunct Google Reader, and by norms set by previous readers, including my own. Unfortunately there's no way to change the behavior of readers. I've tried, in small ways, they just won't budge (or even listen). It's not just mishandling of untitled posts, posts can't be updated and there's more I don't want to go into now.

The net-net is this: even if I could influence what the reader apps do, they would still be the wrong way to read my blog!

If you are just reading my blog through RSS, it would be really hard for you to understand this. Subscribe to the nightly email. Read it from top to bottom once a day, instead of in fragments published through the day. This is the way my blog was always meant to be read. I think I was a bit too willing to compromise, in hindsight.

Some correspondents have said RSS isn't wrong. Of course not. I love RSS. I played a big role in its creation. But it's 20-plus years later now, and the limits shouldn't be permanently insurmountable. A re-think is way past overdue.

Keep using RSS. Bless you. I use it too. Look at my rivers. I check them many times a day. But my blog is fresh and new and works the way I like, and I get to change anything about it I want, and if you read my blog through RSS you aren't getting it. That really bothers me.

No more limits imposed by others or history. That was the epiphany of 2017, and it continues.

We are at a terrible moment. Until Trump was impeached and the articles delivered to the Senate, there was always something more to do. But this is the end. Trump, post-acquittal, will be the monarch, in control of a hugely powerful military, economy and lest we forget it, the people who make up all this power, Americans. With new tricks the Chinese are working on, and no doubt Silicon Valley is as well, quietly, an American monarch will be all-powerful, able to reach into personal relationships in ways the Soviet Union couldn't dream of. If by some miracle the Senate votes to turn back, then we will have just barely dodged a bullet. But it seems more likely we're going straight into the fire without even trying to hit the brakes.

A couple of worthwhile podcasts. Brian Lehrer's Impeachment podcast is the adult version of what you hear on cable news. It still focuses on process and horse races but it goes into more detail, Lehrer has a sharp mind, and is a great interviewer, so you learn more. And Planet Money, always good, has a piece on privacy and billboards. I kept wanting to show them their own story about social credit in China. No longer are the concerns about privacy theoretical and narrow. It's definitely coming to the US.

I was corrected yesterday when I used the word exonerate in a tweet. People felt acquit was the correct term for what happens if Trump is absolved (heh another verb) by the Senate. The thesaurus thinks they're synonyms btw. Another verb would be annointed, because no doubt a decree will follow from King Trump I (his new title, no sarcasm) requiring everyone to say nice things about him, or their charge cards won't work to buy groceries. See also social credit an innovation of the Chinese.

They're still arguing on Twitter about which word is correct. This is one of the saddest comments about what Americans were thinking about as our Reichstag was burning. Is the correct verb burning? I think enflamed was closer.

How to defend against phishing. Stop and think if youíre granting access to your Google account, for example, and ask yourself how did I get here? If it wasnít an operation you initiated, if you clicked on a link to get there, you probably donít want to grant access.

Maybe the solution to the paywall model is daily subscriptions. I pay $1 to read Vanity Fair for today only. Tomorrow it's the New Yorker. Use my browser wallet to pay.

You'll know we're totally over the line when congressional Democrats are arrested and tried for impeaching the Trump.

Trump nearly started World War III. Clearly his motives, as with Ukraine, were entirely personal.

I'm re-thinking RSS now

I've been having a big change of thinking re RSS.

In 1999, I compromised. I wanted journalism and blogging to share a common format. So I ditched the format I designed and accepted Netscape's adaptation in its place, to create unity. And it worked, it was the level playing field I had hoped for. Blogging and journalism both thrived in RSS. But at a price.

The price was forcing blogs into the same format that news orgs used. Problem is, as we can see clearly with Twitter, that format isn't the only one. As Twitter discovered, its style of writing doesn't fit into the model of RSS. People were disappointed when they stopped publishing tweets via RSS. But this was the right thing to do, in hindsight. It wasn't working.

I turned a corner in 2017 with my blog. I realized then, though I wouldn't have put it this way, the price I paid by merging formats with Netscape was too great. It forced blogging into the title-description-body model of journalism. But blog posts are more free-form, they don't all fit into that structure.

So now I'm thinking about what I could have done differently in 1999, if I had evolved my syndication format the way my blog wanted to go, not the way RSS pushed us.

Today's song: Anything goes.

There was a great New Yorker article in September 2016 that laid out what a Trump presidency would be like. We need to do that again. We're staring at the next level. What if Trump succeeds at fully taking over the government? What if he's acquitted? What will that be like?

Now that I've said it, RSS really is not a good way to read my blog. The right way is to wait until the day is over and read all of it from top to bottom. That's the way I put it together. It's a daily cycle thing. For now subscribe to the email. We may need a new kind of reader that doesn't have the limits of email (I'm well aware of them, having written my own email distribution software) and RSS (ditto).

I've heard a dozen reports about the mystery of how Parnas's friend knew the ambassador's movements and no one has said it could be because someone hacked her Google account via phishing. You don't have to infiltrate the embassy to do that.

Plot for a scifi book. An alien race from a faraway galaxy visits earth. We know they're coming and where they'll land. When they show up, they walk by the humans and greet the dogs. Turns out dogs are the master species of earth. And of course the aliens are canines as well.

People are cackling over the design of the Space Force uniform. Why do they need camouflage in space? Obviously it's not really a priority. I'm a big believer in prior art, and there's an obvious choice here. License the design of the Star Trek uniforms from whoever owns them. It has the advantage of looking vaguely futuristic, and it makes Star Trek downright prescient. That is if the Space Force ever amounts to anything.

Doc's podcast for the day. This time he has a public outline with notes. I'm going to do some work on the outline reader. Creating a groove. I updated the outline reader software to hot-up his links, to make it a bit more readable on a big screen, and a lot more readable on mobile devices. It's been a long time since I touched that code, I actually had a hard time finding it. ??

Doc has been outlining his podcast, so I started outlining mine. I have not recorded it yet.

The best way to experience my blog these days is via email, not RSS. That's not the last word, but right now that's where we're at. That goes for my podcasts too believe it or not.

If I ask you to post something you wrote on Facebook on your blog, so I can point to it, it's because I thought you said something interesting, and I'd like to share it through my blog and feed, but I can't share Facebook posts outside of Facebook. I have a rule about that, and I rarely break the rule. Lots of reasons for it.

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