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Scripting News

Scripting News, the weblog started in 1994 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution. 🚀

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Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-25 18:56

Republican senators should watch this scene from Game of Thrones. You see that guy Joffrey, the guy talking about "putting a son" in the attractive woman -- he's a lot like your leader (except he has nice hair). Wait for the punchline. You're going to love it!


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-25 19:47

The Dems should embrace the Repubs-with-heads-on-spike meme. They would be doing the Repubs a favor actually because even if they deny it, we know that some of their heads will be on spikes before long. Let's debate that on CNN.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-25 18:12

Here's what my day's been like so far. Woke up at 9:30AM. Made some breakfast, turned on WNYC on my Alexa. Listened to their summary of the previous days' impeachment speeches, no mention of Pikes and how angry Republican senators were (thanks for that), then at 10AM they started broadcasting the speech by the White House counsel (who, I thought was supposed to represent the office of the president, not the president in person, but what of it) and he started into the lying and deception. I couldn't handle it. Told Alexa to stop. Finished my orange juice and skipped the coffee and went upstairs and back to bed. Woke up at about 1PM. Guess I needed the sleep. Would you believe it's raining in January. I moved my car out of the carport and into the rain, it could use a wash, totally mud-covered. I feel depressed. I think we're over the edge again, about to free-fall into another worst thing in the world. God please help America. Your devoted servant, Admiral Davey.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-25 18:49

My mother was a beauty. Always I had the most beautiful mother in school. The other kids said that. I was proud. She married a man, my father, who was not beautiful. I found myself wishing the other day that she had married a beautiful man, then I would be as beautiful as she was. But then I thought, then, I would not be me. Or would I? I have no idea. I'm going to try to get some work done now.


Andy's voicemailcast

Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-25 20:07

Andy Sylvester, a longtime user of my stuff, recorded a voicemailcast. He did an outline too. And here are some of them.

Andy, thanks for the voicemailcast. We've only met once face to face that I know of, and that was in a noisy place (in Portland), and there were a lot of other people there.

This voicemailcast multiplied my understanding of who you are.

Anyway, it is hard to collaborate with me on the code I write, because of the way I work, but that's not likely to change any time soon. Coding has not been the limiting factor for a long time. It's where to go and how to attract writers. I have a massive body of working code. As I said in the podcast, from this point it's about selecting bits to integrate into the current writing environment. With LO2, people will be using the same blogging environment I use. So we can evolve together.

Also if Wordpress works for you, that's great. It just isn't fluid enough for me.

And btw, Doc has shown me how to make it more fluid. I haven't implemented his request yet, but now I see how much it would help. More on that later.

There are ways to collaborate. For example, Andrew Shell has been managing the rssCloud server functionality. Perfect because we have a well-defined API for how our software interacts. He tells me he's doing a new release. So helping him might be an option, if he needs help.

But here's my number one request of the world -- what I want most that other people could create, is a Linux version of Frontier. I am in a precarious place on the Mac. The version of Frontier that I use as a code-writing and devops tool does not run on the latest Mac OS. We knew this was coming. I bought a super hot iMac Pro just before their OS switch, so I'm good as long as this machine continues to run, and the backups I have which are older continue to run. But I'm three hardware failures away from having no way forward. That scares me.

And Linux is great. All my servers run Ubuntu now, all my server code is in Node.js. Imagine how smooth it would be to have my development environment run there too. Lots of synergies, and safety. Ted Howard is the main guy on that stuff. Without his work I would have lost use of Frontier a long time ago. BTW this is a project I personally would put money into. You talk about the economics of software, there is a new bit of info on the economics.

Also next time you do a voicemailcast please send me a link via email. I almost didn't see this, and that would have been a shame. 😄


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-24 16:19

I just learned about the Dunning-Kruger effect.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-24 18:58

My least favorite thing is people explaining why they unsub from your feed. I don't care. I have a motto. "Don't slam the door on the way out." That way you know you really are going in peace, vs the passive-aggressive control freakery you're actually practicing. Now suppose for the sake of argument, I try to make you happy and dump every political idea I have. Great. You're happy. You feel powerful. But then someone else wants me to stop writing about tech ideas that come to me, because it makes them feel inferior because last week I posted one they didn't understand. Keep going, eventually there's nothing left here. So, I've been doing this for over 25 years. By now I've heard from every control freak on the planet. Heh probably not, but it feels that way.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-24 20:42

Here's a great Bloomberg ad about Trump and the military. If the Dems had run ads like this in 2016, Trump would be a Fox News analyst today, like Sarah Palin.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-24 13:58

I got a couple of reports from people who use the Mail app on iPhones to read the nightly email. The contents of the mail only fills a portion of the window horizontally. I am able to reproduce the problem here. Apparently previously it filled the space. I've started a thread to gather info about this. I don't know how to debug this, but I will try.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-24 14:08

Yesterday, I included the video of Dale Bumpers' speech at the Clinton impeachment trial in 1999, but it wasn't displayed by some of the email clients. Here's a link to the video on C-SPAN.


Only two permanent Olympic venues

Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-24 19:14

We, as a world, should build one great venue for summer olympics and one for winter. Why? Mostly symbolic. To say to the world, to ourselves, decisively, that we can work together, and compromise, for the benefit of humanity and the planet.

Think about it this way, we don't build a new United Nations every four years.

Further, no more spectacular displays of carbon consumption. Those made sense 127 years ago, at the dawn of electricity tech. Now it's rubbing salt in the wound. And it makes clear that we can and will sacrifice for our survival.

Specifically, no more Christmas trees. And turn down the lights in Times Square. You can't air condition the outdoors. (In NYC amazingly, there are places that do.)

Symbolism first, change the way people think, shock people out of their sense of normalcy, then rebuild our civilization around the new low-carbon-emission ethos. You can tell your children and grandchildren that you remember a day when we built a new temporary city every two years for a two week athletic competition, and never used it again.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-23 20:45

So far people seem to like the RSS version of the nightly email. I don't like the way it looks in readers, and I want more features, but if that's where some people want to read my stuff, of course I'm happy. The important thing is that you read, listen and watch (and think of course).


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-23 20:15

An idea for a recurring sketch on a comedy show. Two actors, one plays a Trump supporter. Someone who speaks like an actual Trumper, who says things that echo what's said on Fox. Vary the gender, where they're from, etc. Each time, they discuss current events with an actor who is not a Trump supporter, serious, plays it straight. Now here's where it gets interesting. The Trump supporter realizes how wrong it was to support Trump. They do something to demonstrate that they see the light. Remember, they're actors. It's scripted. So the outcome is always the same. I would love to watch this, just for the release. Also it would really piss off Trump supporters, which is an extra bonus. Worth trying maybe on SNL or the Daily Show.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-23 17:52

I am watching the trial, hoping for a moment like this.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-23 18:33

A Trump unencumbered by the Constitution could make this happen very quickly imho.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-23 17:18

I keep hearing that the outcome of The Trial of Trump is either acquit or remove, but there's a third possibility that we should prepare for. He might not be removed but is not acquitted either. Say the vote is 55 to convict vs 45 to acquit. He remains president, but a majority of the Senate voted to remove him. That's not a win. It shakes his tree. "Keep fucking with us and maybe lose some more support in the Senate and maybe next time we have enough votes to put you out." Before you say that's not going to happen, it might. The Repubs are at least as savvy as we are (heh, we're babes in the woods compared to McConnell), and know that some of their senators come from purple states like Maine, Colorado and Arizona. And there may be other senators who may want to vote to convict because they're more independent, like Romney, Murkowski and Alexander, for example. The Repubs have room to help some of those senators without giving up ten more months of stacking the courts with unqualified Republicans. They might want to send a signal to El Presidenté that the US isn't quite his banana republic yet. It's not an impossible outcome. It's all negotiable in politics.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-23 15:23

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


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-23 16:20

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.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-23 16:28

Opening presentation at Trump's trial by Adam Schiff.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-23 17:07

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.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-23 16:31

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


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-23 19:01

A third version of For No One, this time in the studio.


Dale Bumpers' speech

Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-23 17:59

Have you ever seen the closing argument in the Clinton impeachment by former Senator Dale Bumpers? If not it's a treat, you deserve it, it gives an idea of how trials bring out amazing things in people.

Having served jury duty twice, once through deliberations to a verdict, I was really impressed at how deep random people from all walks of life can go, given an opportunity to get immersed in understanding other humans. I sense a bit of that starting to happen here. It's not imho in any way a foregone conclusion what will come out of this.

It's also interesting, listening to the Bumpers speech, I hadn't listened to it in a a long time, how much this impeachment must hurt for Hillary Clinton. No one gave a shit about her in the Clinton impeachment, yet Bumpers does touch on it. And now she's a subject of controversy again because she dared to say what she actually thinks about Bernie Sanders.

A longtime friend Dan Conover isn't watching the impeachment, arguing basically there's no new information, but I think he's making a mistake. You could say the same about going to see a historic play like Hamilton. You know the outcome, so why pay the huge price in money and time to go see it. Because something other than information is transmitted.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-22 18:22

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.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-22 15:22

Doc's mission is Customer Commons.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-22 22:39

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.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-22 17:14

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


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-22 17:22

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


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-22 15:51

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.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-22 10:51

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.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-22 22:43


How your iPhone will enslave you

Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-22 10:41

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. 💥


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-21 14:47

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


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-21 15:54

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.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-21 17:25

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.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-21 16:57

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.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-21 16:17

A Beatles song. Prototype. Finished product.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-21 16:04

Look I have a huge dildo.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-20 18:05

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


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-20 18:14

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?


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-20 18:12

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.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-20 17:16

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.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-20 14:32

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.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-20 21:38

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.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-20 17:13

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.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-20 15:12

Imagine if these guys weren't white.


I still like Klobuchar

Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-20 15:20

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

Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-20 14:42

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.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-19 14:48

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.


Permalink - Posted on 2020-01-19 17:58

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.