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Scripting News  XML Source: http://www.scripting.com/rss.xml  

I like what happened with Better Call Saul last night. A real curveball. The creation story of Saul Goodman took a surprising and sexy/interesting turn. I wish there were a site where I could write all about it.

Jerry Brown: “We are sleepwalking in a very dangerous era, when split-second decisions can kill hundreds of millions of people and people don’t seem to give a damn — or even know about it.”

A tragic situation, the picture captures it perfectly. Noah's career is disintegrating. He could probably play again if he gave the Knicks a discount on what's left in his contract. For now they can blame it on the old management. If it were only about money he'd be smiling. ??

Poll: Why do you tweet?

Young men who are virgins always lie about their virginity.

John Oliver may have written the epitaph of Facebook. Most of what you read on Facebook is bullshit. So maybe connecting with all those people just creates new ways for bullshit to flow and aggregate, leading to some really awful stuff happening, as we have seen. If you're short on time, skip to the end and watch their honest commercial for Facebook. It's really good, funny, and thought provoking.

A rare occasion Trump comes off as a human being.

Facebook is bullshit

John Oliver is right about Facebook. And the thing is we knew it would be, because we came from there. There was always a bunch of bullshit on mail lists, that's why we found new ways to collaborate, in the primeval days of the web.

We built Web 2.0 on those ideas, but then SV decided to scale it and centralize it, and people liked it, because they believed it was a human experience. Why not? It seemed like one.

The human mind has an incredible ability to abstract. Once convinced it's a real conversation, it doesn't give that idea up easily. (Understatement.)

That's why Facebook has become such a disaster.

And why Jack is still wondering why conversation doesn't happen on Twitter.

We've incorrectly abstracted this as a human experience. It is not. Evolution did not prepare us for this. Yet here we are.

I've got the serving-from-GitHub part working now. Lots of loose ends. And this link may only work for a few days. But it's progress. Also here are my worknotes for today.

I get it. News doesn't care who the news favors. You got a scoop, you run with it, let the chips fall where they may. But.. that applies to current events. Things that happen today or yesterday, or a few days ago. Remember the word news comes from new which means something that just happened. Another requirement of news is that it be unusual. As they say, a plane landing on time might be new, but it isn't news. A plane crash, that would be news, if it happened recently. So if you report something that happened 1.5 years ago, and is as unremarkable as a plane landing on time, and it results in news being made, and your sources being gleefully ecstatic, that's not news, that's cronyism, and you're indicted for no longer being about news. I've had this concern about the NY Times for quite a few years, since they were instrumental in providing the false justification for the war in Iraq. Then there were Hillary's emails. Thanks for that. And the anonymous op-ed. And then the bullshit report about Rod Rosenstein saying 1.5 years ago something we want him to say, like how do we dig out of this hole we're in? I don't know what to do about the NYT. I'd like to hear what they say about this. So far no reporter has asked them why they chose to run the story on Friday that's resulting in Rod Rosenstein's resignation today. And now what happens? Do you have any regrets NYT?

I want a user-owned browser. One that's free of the tech industry. Chrome was good when Firefox got slow and unfocused. And Firefox was good when MSIE was malware-infested and stagnant. But none of them were or are user-driven. We can't have a healthy web w/o a good browser.

I assumed the backlog on the Tesla Model 3 was longer than 4 weeks.

The NYT report on Rosenstein is as disturbing as Comey’s October surprise in 2016 re Hillary’s emails.

I don't see the point of polling for ordinary people. I get why political consultants and candidates would care. Even donors. But why should a voter care? I can't imagine ever making a decision on who to vote for based on poll results.

Lifestyle real estate

Suppose you could live in any time zone, as long as there was a major airport nearby, and you had certain requirements about weather, nearby universities, quality of bike riding, places to eat, real estate prices, or climate, even legal cannabis, politics (I can't live in a mostly-Republican place, I've tried).

The consultant would have a good idea about the markets in each geography, and was pretty good at listening. The things that make a good real estate agent, but without being tied to specific geography.

With the advent of a global network, where you park yourself in physical space is more a matter of preference, it might not limit you in terms of employment.

I imagine totally virtual companies might even provide this kind of service to their most valued people. "I feel like living in the mountains for few years, starting in August, make it so."

It would be great if we could make voting a party, a celebration, something to look forward to, not something you have to make time for. That would probably do more to improve the lives of all Americans than any other single thing. It's like the SuperBowl, the NBA Finals, Coachella or the Oscars, only better -- because we are the stars.

I've got YAML working with my GitHub as CMS experiment. Here's an example of a post so you can see what it looks like. This is exactly equivalent to using JSON, my server converts back and forth between YAML and JSON, so my app only ever sees the JSON. Every time I have to teach my software a new text-to-binary format, I shake my fist at a cloud and curse humanity. Some kid is going to come along in five years and not like YAML and there will be ZML or JDAUGHTER or whatever. Will they all do the same thing? Yes of course they will.

JavaScript code that converts between YAML and JSON using js-yaml.

I'm rolling through Maniac on Netflix and loving it. Jonah Hill, Emma Stone, Justin Theroux, Sally Field. Hill and Stone are incredible together. It's a bit of everything, The Matrix, Inception, Big Lebowski, Cloud Atlas, so many other things. I'm just starting episode 7 and rationing it. I don't want it to be over. It's the best thing in a long time. Update: Other movies it borrows from -- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Borat and The Graduate. Also Good Will Hunting. Best line: Gas up the Miata!

At some point journalism has to look at the motives of journalists, because it’s material. What process led the NYT to run its piece today? It looks like access journalism. Was it? Did they consider the consequences? It looks fake, btw. Was it? It feels like they sold us out, as they have been doing starting with Hillary's emails (actually before that, in the buildup to the Iraq War).

This song, Africans by Peter Tosh, is always in my mind.

Wishlist item: I wish it were possible to write a driver for GitHub that would teach it how to display formats it doesn't know about, like OPML and RSS. I write my development notes in OPML, and would like to have them be directly readable in GitHub. OPML has been stable for 18 years and RSS for 16. I think it would be safe to support them now. And this raises a question, can there be a process for vetting the code and adding it to the native capabilities of GitHub? I think most of the expertise in these formats exists outside their company. Are we ready for this kind of collaboration?

Progress on my GitHub-as-CMS-database work. The concept it simple. Internet storage is a problem, there aren't many places to do it, where there are also interactive interfaces, and where you can store small amounts of stuff, personal stuff, for free, that has a chance of persisting into the future. Why do we need storage? When I want to write something, I need a place to store it. The stuff that the rendering for my blog is build from. All CMSes raise this question. There was an aha moment when I realized that GitHub's basic data structure, the repository, is similar to the basic data structure of Frontier, the object database. I wondered if some of the techniques we used for managing data in Frontier, the work that led to blogging, feed reading, podcasting, etc -- could work in GitHub. There are a lot of patterns that worked there, that might work here. I haven't gotten an answer yet, but I am learning, and getting data for more thought.

I watched the 8-episode Forever series on Amazon. I really liked it, totally worth watching. It's a love story, but anything beyond that would be a spoiler. Episode 6 is the oddball, it's totally standalone, you can watch it first if you want, it won't spoil anything. The two characters don't appear in any of the other episodes. It's an artistic flourish you see in shows like Breaking Bad or Better Call Saul, and in this case while the rest of the series is excellent, episode 6 is killer.

Please give $25 or more to the Democratic nominee for Susan Collins' senate seat in 2020. No strings attached. The money goes to the candidate whether or not Collins votes for Kavanaugh. Help spread the word. ??

Today's Daily podcast is a must-listen. It's an interview with a woman who was sexually assaulted in high school. She talks about how depressed and suicidal she was after, but got relief when the assailant apologized in writing and in person. Being able to forgive is a vastly different situation from an attacker who denies. Provides a new perspective (for me) on the situation with Kavanaugh.

Saving the web and saving democracy are related projects.

Poll: Will we, in the next 10 or 20 years, talk about "the former United States" in the same way we talk about the former Soviet Union?

It happens. Sometimes I stumble across an app that I obviously wrote, but can't remember doing, or even how it works. Such is the case for this OPML to JSON converter app.

A message from a human being. When someone is attacked online, don't assume there are actual people doing the attacking. By now we should all be aware of Russian strategies for making us hate each other. And no doubt others have learned the craft. This story is as old as the net. 3 minutes.

Times are a changin

I remember hearing on the NYT Daily podcast a couple of weeks ago that the Kavanaugh confirmation was locked in. Not even the slightest doubt. I objected, you never know what can happen. A sports fan would never say something like that.

What's changing now is much bigger than one Supreme Court nomination, and I'm very aware of how significant one seat there is, esp this seat.

We're at peak Republican power, if the rest of us do it right. Repubs have optimized the flaws in the Constitution to enable the maximum concentration of wealth. PCs were instrumental, esp in gerrymandering. But the net works against the Repubs, because now people can organize, if we resist the automated methods that keep us disorganized.

Now is a good time, a very good time, for the people to make their presence felt by the few senators needed to set back the Republican march. They just need to know we see them in this moment and are taking careful notes on what they do, right now.

And while you're watching the Senators, ignore the trolls. They are here to slow you down. Don't let them slow you down.

Why is our software so bloated? The problem is that when we get a consensus platform, so we can all focus our energies on optimizing, instead another platform gets invented, so we have to spread our resources paddling hard just to stay in place. It takes years and years to go from prototype to a well-oiled machine. In cars, how many years were there between Ford's Model A and Model T? What were they doing? Gratuitously changing indenting styles? Creating more hacks to try to solve callback hell by introducing fresh new hells? Or writing your docs in some arcane syntax built on top of the language everyone uses? We have 10000 times too many programmers for what we're getting done. Create limits. There are only so many MLB or NBA players. If there were fewer programmers we'd have to stop reinventing and try to be efficient. There's a math to this I'm sure of it.

It's not well known that Aaron Swartz made a contribution to RSS 2.0, wrt the <cloud> element. We were initially only supporting XML-RPC and SOAP protocols, but Aaron suggested also supporting HTTP-POST. It was a good idea, and it came during the comment period for RSS 2.0, so it was possible to add it, so I did.

Poll: Will Kavanaugh ultimately be confirmed?

My own opinion. Kavanaugh will not be confirmed. I expect Christine Ford to be a compelling witness. Reporters will interview classmates of hers and of Kavanaugh's. Some Repubs on the Judiciary Committee understand enough about the issue to be far more sensitive than they were with Anita Hill. But some will not, and this will spark rage at Republicans including from within their own base. A lot of women vote Republican. There's a decent chance a handful of Repub senators will quit the party, or even become Democrats. As I said yesterday, governing has become a burden for the Repubs. They know how to bully, they know how to obstruct, but this is far more complex. They won't be able to hold their coalition together. Think of it as an intra-party wedge issue for the Repubs.

It's been a long time since the Repubs were playing something other than the bully or obstructionist. Now the politics gets more complicated. This might be the moment when Repubs switch parties. The stars are lining up for that.

RSS was successful not because of the efforts of people on mail lists debating the merits of various formats. It happened because Netscape seeded the market with a few popular feeds. Blogging software supported the format, so all blogs had feeds. Then software developed that made it easy to use the feeds, and finally the mother of all news pubs, the NYT, jumped in and everyone else followed. With the benefit of hindsight, the mail list people thought was so important, wasn't.

There's a reality distortion field around mail lists. You feel you have arrived at The Place where all decisions are made. Yet when you decide something then what next? Who wants to tell the subjects they have to change? ;-)

File-level metadata in Markdown?

I wonder if anyone's thought about a way to add file-level metadata to a Markdown document. This just came up in a project I'm working on, but it's not the first time I've encountered it.

In Frontier's website framework, we used a # to delimit a value, something like:

  • #title "My Test Page"

We borrowed the idea from C on Unix in the 70s:

  • #include "mymacros.h"

We have the same thing in HTML and OPML, in the <head> section:

  • <title>My Test Page</title>

The directives are not part of the rendering. You don't see them when you read the document. But the values are available to software processing the document.

It seems since we're in The Age of JSON, something in JSON, delimited by a # might be appropriate?

  • #metadata = {
    • title: "Hello World",
    • tags: ["fun", "wisdom", "greetings"]
    • }

I started a thread on this on the Scripting News repo.

Poll: Will Benioff lead a revival of TIME or will it continue its slide?

Main thing wrong with journalism: too scared of pissing off Repubs.

If Trump can't deliver a Supreme Court confirmation, what good is he to the Repubs?

Google dismantles the web, cont'd

We're a few weeks into the new version of Chrome with its NOT SECURE label for sites such as Scripting News. As I've said many times in this discussion, I'm just one person here, I like to tinker, but I'm doing other things in my life these days that right now are taking more of my attention.

With limited time for playing with my web stuff, I can't consider using that time to jump through the hoops of random huge companies. They'll keep coming up with more and bigger hoops. Even if I do what they want now, at some point I won't be able to keep up. Ultimately, I'm just a statistic, some percentage of web traffic, a very small percentage. Net-net: I don't care about them, and they don't care about me. Cool.

It's pretty clear they're going to whittle away at the web. AMP and Let's Encrypt, next up they're going after URLs. It doesn't make sense. Why not just jump straight ahead to the simple safe thing they have in mind. When they're done, it won't be the web. Certainly in their internal debates someone must be saying this. If you don't like the person you're married to, instead of trying to change them, marry someone you like better.

Another idea, Google could buy AOL from Verizon. I bet they'd sell it cheap! ??

PS: Something like this happened with Apple and podcasting. They offered to promote my product, but I'd have to convert it to iOS first. I thought it works perfectly well as a web app. So I said no. I'm sure it would have been fun to be featured by Apple, but I've been on that trip before, and I don't like how it ends.

PPS: A quote from 2005: "BTW, the bigco's will whisper sweet nothings into the ears of their 'third parties' but as they're doing it, you're being guided into the trunk of the car, while they ride up front. The clicking sound you hear is the lock engaging. The whooshing sound is the air supply being cut off."

Statement by Manafort's lawyer: It's a tough day for Mr Manafort but he's accepted responsibility and he wanted to make sure that his family was able to remain safe and live a good life. He's accepted responsibility and this is for conduct that dates back many years, and everybody should remember that.

The conversion of Manafort from enemy agent to FBI asset makes me proud to be American. We have a Russian tool as president, his party is thoroughly infested and in control of Congress. It feels like America might still win this one, and if so it'll be because of that corny stuff Superman used to talk about, Truth, Justice and the American Way. Ingenuity and persistence and the conviction that we're right. If we emerge with our pride intact, we better work on rules that keep enemy agents from occupying our government. BTW, if you haven't watched Active Measures, please do. It's like three months of Maddow in one sitting.

Do any pubs, such as plan on a status center to track hacking leading up to the November election? Someone should own this reporting. Let's not wake up in mid-October having not prepared at least somewhat for this.

I voted for the establishment Democrats in Thursday's primary in NY. It's time to close ranks and present strong opposition to the Republicans. I expect to do the same in the November election. As Obama says "Better is good."

More restoration work on userland.com websites. Came across this post from 6/15/99 about ScriptingNews 2.0b1 format that predates RSS.

I injured my right shoulder 25 years ago in a skiing accident, it was worth it, I was in top shape and showing off, and crashed spectacularly. I could have had it fixed with arthroscopic surgery, but opted not to. The cost, every so often my shoulder goes lame and is extremely painful. It's always (so far) been solved with rest and patience. I think I must have hurt it when I took the fall a couple of weeks ago, which otherwise appears to be healed. So it's been hard to sleep. Luckily there's a new season of Bojack Horseman to feast on. It's made the pain of my shoulder disability a lot easier to bear.

Hot tub spas should be as prevalent as Starbucks. Three to choose from any block in Manhattan. The idea that humans can't immerse their bodies in warm water as readily as they can buy stimulant is barbaric. How much happier the world would be if soaks were commonplace.

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