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Good morning students and teachers! ??

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.

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

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.

Good morning Internet guzzlers! ??

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

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! ??

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.

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

Code mode is a real thing.

Good morning sports fans! ??

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

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. ??

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. ??

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. ??

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. ??

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. ??

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

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

The sad state of tech news in 2017

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

A picture named spicer.png

Thank you Om for the tweet-love. ??

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."

githubpub is a Node app that serves from GitHub repositories.

Fix for the Scripting News RSS feed: we now process glossary entries and emoji short codes. The net effect is that text shortcuts like RSS will be expanded as well as ?? emoji ??, in the feeds. As they say, still diggin!

So many thoughts today begin with -- If the Dems only had their shit together.

If the Dems only had their shit together, we would be mobleizable to knock on neighbor's doors this weekend with pre-written talking points. "Did you know that you could will lose your health insurance if the Republicans have their way?"

Repubs who consider voting for the repeal of Medicaid and the ACA should fear the hellfire they will face when they run for re-election. This weekend is the time to make your feelings felt.

BTW, if someone expresses frustration it doesn't follow that they blame you, esp on Twitter which is a length-impaired medium.

Thin servers

Two friends, Jon Udell and Mike Caulfield, are talking about "dumb" servers. I call the same things "thin." Also fractional-horsepower servers. They go by a bunch of names, but the idea and motivation is the same.

The idea: We move functionality from the server to the edge (desktop, mobile device), repeating until someday there's nothing left on the server. We could go all the way, but it needs a strong operational backend, something a big company is good at, not so much individuals. (With the caveat that some think this problem is distributable, notably the fictional CEO of Pied Piper.)

The key thing is identity. Once you have that solved, it all becomes relatively easy. I've factored out identity into a layer I call nodeStorage. It associates storage with a user's Twitter identity. Twitter is a good service to use, unlike some others, because they have a liberal policy of who gets to create apps. Faceook has an extensive vetting process. Twitter is "let a thousand flowers bloom." I know some people have problems with Twitter, but I've learned over many years that all corporate vendors are imperfect. If you're waiting for perfection you'll wait forever. And you build the software so that if Twitter should again become draconian, a new service can be filled in with as little disruption as possible.

Another place I've looked is Dropbox. There, with one simple feature, the ability to associate a domain with a folder, they would solve the problem. I know there are external services that provide something "like" this, but fundamentally Dropbox doesn't provide enough flexibility in the API to do this in a reasonable way. (Lack of granularity in permissions, an app gets access to one folder or everything.)

Or Amazon, if their identity system for AWS were simpler for end users, or if their end-user storage system could be accessed through the S3 API. I'm sure they've thought of it. There must be a reason they don't do it.

And Twitter could completely eliminate the need for nodeStorage, by offering users a few gigabytes of storage attached to their Twitter account, accessible through the API. The first person who described the feature to me was Jack Dorsey, about eight years ago, when we met for coffee in SF. So he understands why this idea is so powerful. I'm not sure what the holdup is.

In the meantime, nodeStorage works. I build the kind of apps I want. Open the sidebar on Scripting News (left margin) and have a look at the apps. Some even have source code so you can see for yourself.

RicMac, part II

Richard MacManus keeps on truckin. There's nothing more powerful than a persistent and curious user who's relatively fearless.

In a follow-up post I learned that there is an IndieWeb-approved feed reader called Woodwind. That's good news. RSS and related technolgies, including OPML import and export, are essential components of the open web.

BTW, to Richard, I wrote up my rules for standards-makers, based on experience re what (imho) is important and what works and doesn't. Another item for your consideration.

Test post

Here's a list with four items

  • one
  • two
  • three
  • four

I'm working on a new Node web server that serves out of GitHub repos. It's a very sweet very small piece of software.

An epiphany. Mark Zuckerberg is his generation's Ray Kroc, and Facebook is McDonald's. I aspire to be Alice Waters.

Future-of-journalism conferences that ignore blogging are not about the future of journalism.

News will be interesting tonight. They've got the Repub health care bill to rip apart, and it's also NBA Draft night.

Fargo puzzler

The last two episodes of season 3 of Fargo were fantastic. But, the opening scene of episode 1, which takes place in a police office in East Germany during the Cold War, is without explanation.

All through the season, I was wondering how it was going to be connected up with the story that takes place in Minnesota in 2011, but as far as I know it never was.

Maybe that was VM Varga as the accused? Or the police guy?

This is kind of bothering me! :-)

Okay then...

Update: In the episode guide on Wikipedia they describe the opening scene as follows: "In 1988 East Berlin, Jacob Ungerleider is questioned in the death of a woman, which he claims is a case of mistaken identity." So it's not VM Varga in the hot seat. Who is Jacob Ungerleider? I have no idea! ;-)

Good morning summer solstice fans!

It was a boring NBA postseason, for the most. But the excitement of next season is already starting, with the draft tomorrow, and deal season in full swing. The place to find all the news is nbariver.com. It's one of many rivers maintained by my River5 installation.

BTW, I hate the term "eating the dogfood." As much as I love dogs, it says that our users are pets, not sentient human beings, our equals. It also says our software is dog food. I think as a kid, as an experiment, a few of us kids actually ate dog food. It's a vague memory, that must have some basis in reality. It makes me nauseous to think about it. And that's what I think about when I hear the term. Please, let's find another way of saying "My software is good because I use it, and vice versa."

Yesterday I posted a screen shot of one of my posts on Facebook, to accolades from friends on Facebook. I deleted the post. I won't be doing it again. Facebook is not a place for blog posts. Not as long as they disable linking, styles, titles and podcasts. If you want to help Facebook destroy the open web, go for it. But I will not participate in that awful adventure.

On Facebook you are who the algorithm says you are.

GitHub API example app

A simple web app that travels through the River5 repository in my GitHub account, producing a directory that reflects the structure of the repo.

I couldn't find sample code that does this simple thing. Now I won't have to hunt for it, and neither will you. ;-)

Here's the source code.

Bike video from two years ago

An old friend: Richard MacManus

Richard is one of the old school bloggers. He started ReadWriteWeb in 2003. It started as a Radio UserLand project and grew into a leading tech publication, something which I'm personally proud of.

He has a new blog up and running. I've added it to my personal river here on Scripting News. He asks about where the blogrolls have gone, a topic I wrote about a couple of days ago. Richard would certainly be in my blogroll.

Maybe the subscription list for my blogger's river would make a good start for my blogroll, or vice versa? Something we didn't do in the first iteration is make our rivers public. Nowadays I'm doing that routinely. A few examples are in the left sidebar here on Scripting News.

Richard has turned to IndieWeb for the latest on open web tech. That's fine, but you have to look elsewhere too, because as he's discovered, they only embrace part of the open web. It's too bad they chose such an inclusive name, but have an exclusive approach. For example, they have avoided RSS, for reasons I'm sure I don't understand (I've listened, so no need to repeat the reasoning). We need all the advantages we can get because there are serious headwinds these days for blogging. RSS is serious open web technology. To not build on it is unthinkable, for me at least.

Re integration between writing and reading, another topic of interest to Richard, all my rivers hook into Radio3, which is my latest linkblogging tool. For reading, I encouraged Richard to look at Electric River, it's the closest to what Radio UserLand did with aggregation in 2002. It runs on your Mac desktop, as the original did. When he wants to go all-in with rivers, nothing can take the place of River5, which is getting both modular and deep. I'm doing more work on that. Rivers have not finished evolving as far as I'm concerned.

Anyone want to blog-debate about XML vs JSON? I've spent years using both, I think I have an objective view of the strengths of each. Imho, they are almost the same thing. XML has attributes and values, and that does make it more complex. Slightly. But you don't have to use the extra features. Look at OPML for an idea of a simple very JSON-like application of XML. Beyond that, there's really no difference. If you disagree, write a post, link to this and send me the link. I will read what you wrote, and respond, on my blog, if I have something to say. There's been so much bullshit flying around. I'd like to cut through that.

It helps to remember we're in a war

People assume the massive data dump by the Repub consultant was an accident. That's not known. One thing for sure, it caused massive damage to American democracy. It could be an escalation in the war against the US. The country hasn't yet acknowledged that we're in a war. We started to when Obama was president.

It's too easy to attack us. Imagine being able to attack your enemy and they don't even realize it's an attack. And the lack of mature thinking about tech in journalism and the herd mentality (no original thinking, just looking for leaks) means we never figure it out. We haven't caught up to the last attack, and new more damaging ones are certainly underway.

Repubs and ObamaCare

Republicans stuck it to themselves and everyone else after years of campaigning on undoing ObamaCare, justifying this idea with lies. Did any of them think one or two steps out, that someday they'd be in a position to have their bluff called? Now look at where they/we are. About to do real damage to the country.

As Marge Gunderson asked in Fargo (the movie):

  • "And for what? A little bit of money. There's more to life than a little money you know. Don't you know that?"

Good morning sports fans!

Facebook and its algorithm are like a self-driving car that decides where you can go.

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