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Scripting News

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


Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-10 15:15

Podcast: Second impressions of Clubhouse. 8 minutes.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-10 16:02

Poll: If you were a NYC school teacher would you feel safe starting school in a few weeks?

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-10 16:01

Here's a wicked idea. Let Trump put himself on Mt Rushmore. Hopefully to be announced before the election, hopefully with great fanfare. That would get all the Democrats to turn out, and quite a few Republicans, now they can clearly see where Trump is going.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-10 17:25

Patti Smith's tribute to Jerry Garcia, who died 25 years ago.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-10 13:58

I just gave $100 to Joe Biden.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-10 14:03

It doesn’t matter to me personally who Biden picks, that said, the best choice imho is Gov Whitmer of Michigan. Mainly because I think she'd be a good president. She’s been tested in Michigan. I was impressed with this interview, in April, at the height of the tensions in Michigan re their lockdown.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-10 14:07

I need a backlit keyboard because I write at night and the room where I work is pretty dark. I like it that way. I have a Logitech keyboard which I like, but the keys are getting sticky, and it's blowing my concentration. I spend so much time at the keyboard. The keyboard should be transparent, I should never have to think about it while writing. As I look on Amazon there aren't many keyboards that are illuminated, at least from companies I've heard of, and the prices are suspiciously low. I would buy one from Apple if they had one. The model that I have now has been discontinued, it seems.

If Biden doesn't choose Harris

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-10 14:51

From a thread on Facebook.

  • My two cents on Kamala Harris and baggage.
  • She has the worst kind of baggage. She's already tried to humiliate Biden, unfairly, in public. It didn't work. My experience in life is if you let something like that go, they do it again and again. The relationship is over. She took a calculated risk and it didn't work. That's the way business and politics work. You don't often get do-overs.
  • She can run for president again, maybe she'll win, but it would be a sign of weakness and ignorance, even naiveté for Biden to choose her. There are so many other possibilities.
  • He may just have to weather the nonsense from Harris supporters, and there are many and they are vocal, and pushy (not her, her supporters, some of whom I consider friends), and then we can tell the people who are trying to raise hell that they're playing with our lives and their own lives, and they should just let it rest.
  • That said, she's also from California, which won't get you a lot of votes in Iowa or Wisconsin.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-09 19:54

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-09 13:39

Poll: Where do you get most of your links to news stories?

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-09 21:19

A day after buying the Pixel 4a, I drop my iPhone XS/Max, which is usually OK because it's in a case, but this time the display cracked. I can't be without a phone, and the 4a won't get here until the end of the month, so I bought a new iPhone SE. I'll be comparing the two low-end products from Google and Apple. Weird timing, eh.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-09 15:03

I wrote this as a comment on Instagram, worth repeating here: When I was young I was afraid of what women my age would look like when I got older. I wish I could have told myself back then that they only become more beautiful with age.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-09 16:15

New package: davesql.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-09 14:00

Krugman: "Payroll tax cuts are the hydroxychloroquine of economic policy."

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-09 13:39

Trump struggled to contain the virus as a PR thing, while the actual virus roamed freely through America.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-09 13:20

A friend writes: "A Pixel 4a? Wow! I thought you were a big iPhone fan!" To which I respond: "I'm not particularly wed to either iPhone or Android. I have pretty much always have had both. In the last couple of years I have not had an Android because they didn't make a phone that interested me, considering the price, but the 4a is a new product, it seems sweet and it's a nice price." Note I bought it on pre-order like everyone else. I never have liked the iPhone as a product, I think Apple blew it. I couldn't make my beautiful scripting system work on it. They wouldn't allow it. I'm just a user. I think it's kind of a bleh product, honestly. As is Android, btw.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-09 13:51

Humanity 101.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-08 15:17

Today's album: Eat A Peach.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-08 14:56

BingeWorthy 2 tease #1: A friend wants to watch something. They ask friends on Twitter or Facebook what to watch. You put together a short list of your favorites, the ones you can think of right now. There's got to be a better way, right?

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-08 15:16

I bought a Pixel 4A with Google Fi.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-08 17:28

As I work my way through Schitt's Creek, the characters are so fascinating and Moira may be the most, since we already knew the actor as Delia Deetz from Beetlejuice. It's hard for me to see the connection between the two. In one episode in Season 2 Moira is frantically looking for nude pictures of herself taken when she was younger. For most of the show you think she wants to find them so she can take them down, but no. She wants to be sure they're there. She wants to still be, in some sense, the actress we knew as Delia Deetz (Moira plays a former actress, btw). Her advice to Stevie, a super cute young supporting character, is to make sure to take lots of pictures of herself now when she's young. No matter how you think you're not very beautiful, when you're older you will see all the beauty you can't see now. I'm about the same age as Catherine O'Hara, the actress, and I want to say I totally concur. I can't believe how beautiful I was when I was younger, but of course I didn't see it then.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-08 15:18

Briefly discussed WordPress on Twitter last night with Don Park, long-time friend, ex-Automattician. I said I don't think they understand blogging there. Don says "members of WordPress community and employees of the company behind it use blogs all the time." I don't doubt it, yet I could never do what I do with Wordpress. Far too clumsy. Not fluid. Not designed for writers. Really weak product.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-08 13:42

We spend trillions on defense, but it doesn’t protect us against Russia or the virus. Humbly suggest perhaps we‘re spending all that money preparing for the wrong war.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-08 14:22

Trump's failure of a "border wall" didn't protect the US from the virus or tunnels.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-08 14:40

I heard yesterday on Clubhouse that people stopped reading my blog because of RSS. Interesting story. They subscribed in Google Reader. Stopped reading on the web. Then they shut down Google Reader. The people who were reading my blog and others before RSS, lost track of the feeds they were reading in Google Reader. There were other choices, but that doesn't change what happened. We are rebuilding slowly, because blogging is still a useful form of communication. My nightly email is the best way to get it, probably always was, even in the heyday of RSS. I have to admit reading this blog in RSS was never a great deal. I write one day at a time. I'd prefer if you read what was on the home page at midnight. That's how I write it. Since RSS is something I'm well-known for developing, I didn't want to say this too loudly. But RSS should have had a chance to grow, and it didn't. So it got stuck. Not really a surprise.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-08 14:43

BTW one of the problems with the name Clubhouse is that it's impossible to remember. At least for me. I never had a problem like that with Twitter, and I was a very early user, as I am with CH.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-07 14:07

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-07 14:11

If I were running an American news org, and I saw the CDC being silenced by the government, I'd boot up the equivalent of the CDC as part of my news org. I'd hire former CDC officials and tell them to say what they'd say if they were still at the CDC. Big budget. #savemylife

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-07 16:01

What Trump is doing now is worse than dropping an atomic bomb on the US. That's how it should be reported on the news. We need some scientists we trust to say that and to make that the news. Because it is the news.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-07 16:38

What can be gleaned from Thighland and Yo Semite. Trump has a reading comprehension level of a child.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-07 14:15

In hindsight it seems like this was an especially bad time for the UK to withdraw from the EU.

Schools are like nursing homes

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-07 15:29

Schools are like nursing homes only worse.

A virus's success at infecting targets depends on a lot of factors, one of which is what it does to most of the people it infects.

  • If it quickly incapacitates or kills most of them, they can't easily pass on the infection, so the virus grows slowly. Ebola is like that.
  • If it kills none of them, and if they don't get symptoms, they just go on as normal, everyone gets infected and the virus dies quickly, running out of targets to infect.
  • The worst case is if the virus, when it infects people, has few symptoms at first, and a relatively long incubation, like Covid-19.

The more people the infected people come in contact with, and the more transmissible the virus, the faster it grows. Schools, like nursing homes are excellent distribution centers. Indoors, crowded, proper distancing is impossible. Even worse if they're not wearing masks, as in Georgia.

In nursing homes most of the targets are old or sick or they wouldn't be in a nursing home. The workers come and go so they distribute the virus out of the home. Just like a school. In a school everyone goes in and out. And a lot of them don't get sick, so they are excellent distributors, unlike the sick and old people in nursing homes who don't move around much.

It's basically math at that point. The more infected people there are in the population, moving around, doing stuff, the more people will become infected. Not just their parents and grandparents as they say on CNN. Everyone.

We've been so careful to keep kids from congregating, but that's over now. We might as well open the bars 24 hours a day, because compared to what the schools will do, people should be allowed one final bender before this wall of virus hits us.

People act as if it's only the people in schools and their immediate families that will be hurt by this. Wrong. Everyone will be hurt. Even going to the supermarket with the kind of density we'll be seeing will be chancy.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-06 15:10

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-06 18:57

They're pouring gasoline on the raging virus fire in Georgia. They don't get something simple. The virus is everywhere. You may think for some reason it isn't in that empty school building, but as soon as you fill it with people, it's there. It's the NYSE of virus transmission. It's the Atlanta airport of virus transmission. The kids and adults are walking into the fire, doused in gasoline. What do they think will happen?

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-06 14:30

I think I've finally run out of things to do with the new BingeWorthy. I have a lot of writing and communicating, but programming? Other than moving the prototype to a real server, not much.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-06 12:41

Dead-head friends will want to know that there are now Dead sneakers from Nike.

Money for news

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-06 13:36

I started a thread on Twitter yesterday, one more time practically begging news orgs to support what I call an EZ-Pass for News. Not much response, but a handful of people did give the usual response, the one The Atlantic and other pubs want to hear -- that they bought a subscription to show support for journalism. I don't think this helps journalism, it just gives them false hope that there is a future for viewing journalism as a cause rather than as a product.

If journalism is to thrive, the paywalls have to go away. It's the wrong user experience. It forces a question at a time when it's virtually impossible that the user is going to buy your pitch. Much better to get the money incrementally, then when someone is spending too much per month, upsell them a subscription as a way of saving money.

The TV world is about to discover this. All of a sudden there are a dozen different Netflix-alikes. There isn't room for that many, yet more are coming. They're going to have to find a way of doing an EZ-Pass.

I don't want to repeat all I've written here before. It's really very simple. If I use a freeway here in the eastern US, I don't have to stop to pay a toll. I just drive through what used to be a toll plaza, and an electronic device reads the chip behind my rear-view mirror, and deducts the money from my account, which it replenishes from credit card as-needed. Not that there was ever a whole lot of pain associated with this, but it's nice that the transaction is smoother now.

News needs that much more than freeways do. The world has changed, it isn't the 80s, the last time it made sense to buy news via subscription, and even then you could buy a single issue without entering into a long-term relationship with the pub. It's all been unbundled, and like it or not news orgs are competing on a somewhat level playing field. The Atlantic is doing well, I observed, at making me want to read their articles. But not enough to get me to subscribe. As I've said before, I don't even like subscribing to the pubs I subscribe to now, and I consider them essential, but I consider the deal they offer a ripoff, that some of that money should go to almost-equally deserving pubs. The Atlantic is good enough to serve as an example for why the paywall doesn't work for readers. And they were visionary enough and entrepreneurial enough to join up with Scroll. So in some part they buy into the paywall-less version of news.

How many pubs do you sub?

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-06 19:28

The result from yesterday's poll matches what I thought it'd be.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-05 19:44

Poll: How many online publications do you subscribe to?

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-05 21:19

With our civilization on the cusp of collapse, insider culture, career building, getting ahead -- the puffery and backslapping, it's so wrong. It's time to be smart. Ruffle feathers if you have to. Mean well. Get it done.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-05 15:58

Schools should not be open anywhere in the US. Any person with any math, science or medicine background knows this. Step back and think. Politics gets you to the wrong answer if it says to you that schools should open. Save lives. Be a good human.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-05 14:23

It doesn't surprise me that kids do well without school. I remember as a kid being really pissed off that so much of my youth was wasted sitting in rooms with my hands foldeed, with my mind anywhere but in school, learning nothing and being bored out of my mind. I thought of school as very lazy, unimaginative, typical of adults. It wasn't really until grad school that school started working for me.

More about opening schools

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-06 00:36

They aren't correctly analyzing the opening school situation on CNN. A couple of points.

  1. We understand very little about the virus. Can't be sure it doesn't affect young kids. It might just manifest itself in different not obvious ways, and it might not manifest immediately.
  2. Opening schools is like opening a gas station in the middle of a wild fire. Adding more virus-infected people, regardless of their age, in an out of control virus fire is as stupid as it gets.

We have to think in terms of the big picture and not just short-term, and with humility. The president is an idiot, but that doesn't mean we have to be too.

Mussolini vs a second chance for America

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-05 16:20

Heard Jim Clyburn on the BBC Newshour on WNYC this morning. He correctly said we're desperately trying to get rid of Mussolini right now. That really is the only thing. Anything that takes us off the path to getting rid of Trump decreases the odds that it'll happen.

We need the biggest landslide win this time. It needs to include every possible voter of either party. A black man decided that. And he was right.

You always have to think about what you're trying to accomplish in the big picture before going into the weeds. Do I really care, right now, whether X is the VP choice. Not if you want to live in a relatively free America, one that responds to the challenges we face, instead of trying to paper them over with lies and bluster.

It's Mussolini or a second chance for America. That's what's on the ballot in November.

Clubhouse first impressions

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-05 14:48

Clubhouse is a new social network that seems to be gaining traction. I just got an invite a couple of days ago from Francine Hardaway. I had been aware of it before, but wasn't very interested, but I should have been.

These are just some first-day newbie impressions.

I'm @davew on Clubhouse.

First, what it is.

  • It's audio only. No text, no images, no video.
  • There are users. You can follow them, they can follow you. As far as I can tell it's very close to Twitter's model.
  • Any user can start a room. Other people can join the room. There's a stage. At least one person is on stage, the person who started the room by default is that person. Other people can be added by the founder, by dragging their icon onto the stage.
  • People on stage can speak without permission. People in the audience can raise their hand, and must be granted permission to speak. I imagine that if someone becomes abusive, or veers off-topic, they can be silenced by the moderator.
  • When you're a newbie you have a special icon so people can see that you're new. It's a little emoji party hat. I've been told people are nice to newbies, that's part of the developing culture.
  • The rooms have a Leave Quietly button at the bottom. I like that. It suggests you don't have to give a big speech before you leave.

What it's good at.

  • It may evolve into a celebrity performance platform as Instagram has.
  • It's a kind of podcast. I like it. I hope they support open feed formats, but I suspect this is a silo, not a publishing platform. Something to beware of.
  • I was also bummed to realize I couldn't incorporate this into my apps. Again, VC-backed means this probably won't change.
  • I tuned into a chat about cancel culture at first. Does it exist or doesn't it. Heh. As a meta-thing, it clearly does exist. You're talking about it right now. I didn't say this of course, though I was tempted to. I was pretty sure if I did I would get grief.
  • I saw a comment by longtime friend Michael Gartenberg. He has a good speaking voice. I love radio btw. It's my second favorite medium. I wanted to chime in, to expand on what he said, but I also saw he wasn't the founder of the channel, so I opted not to. He was talking about how these platforms might involve if rich individuals started them as pet projects. Thinking of Benioff and Time, or Omidyar and the Intercept, Bezos and the Washington Post. Also the cautionary tale of Thiel and Gawker. He basically bought Gawker with a lawsuit, then destroyed it. I wanted to add it could be even worse, there are a fair number of super-rich individuals who could buy Twitter. Its stock is cheap. How that would rock our world.
  • I had a one-to-one chat with Gartenberg, and it quickly started to feel private, even though it was public. It was liking riding in a chair lift with a friend while skiing.
  • I could see it being used for running commentary on a sports event. Hosting a roundtable discussion about a popular TV show, as they do on Salon and Slate. Anywhere a podcast might include more than one person. Election returns on November 3.
  • Also why not use it in place of Zoom. I don't need to see your face while you talk. :-)
  • I noted that Tiffany Haddish is already there. I followed her. There's a schedule of upcoming events. Think of it as a radio station or a venue like an arena or stadium. I'm sure that's what their business plan calls for. And also probably proprietary rights for all of it, i.e. no competition allowed unless you have good lawyers.
  • Back in the 90s my friend Sylvia had a series of Cybersalons, open discussions for random Silicon Valley people. It was funny how every discussion very quickly became How Do Artists Get Paid? It was the only issue that ever got discussed. At BloggerCon, a few years later, the question was How Do Bloggers Make Money? I'm guessing something similar will happen here. But what will the subject be. It'll have something to do with people getting paid, probably.


  • I started a thread where you can correct any mistakes I've made, or important insights you'd like to share.

Screen shots

  • Event calendar.
  • A room I can join.
  • Inside a big room.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-05 02:27

I watched an NBA bubble game this evening between the Houston Rockets and the Portland Trailblazers. I didn't realize how much I missed live sports. It's good but I think they should get rid of the fake things. I’d like to hear what the sport is like with just the player sounds, no simulated fans. The screens with fans supposedly reacting to the play is pointless. I remember that high school and college basketball had charm, because the fans weren't so much a part of the action. Please put the player names on their uniforms. And.. When Melo scores the announcer has to say Carrrrrrrrrrmellllllllllllo Annnnnnnnthony. Please. Also Melo must wear a white headband. How else can I find him on the court?

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-04 16:42

We were inundated with rain from the hurricane with the funny name this afternoon and early evening. We were smack in the middle of the path. It was a pretty bad storm. Lights flickered a bit, the cable modem rebooted a few times, and the wind was freaky, but all's good now.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-04 16:38

I'm reading the book about the 1918 pandemic. And it's amazing how much the 2020 pandemic is a replay. The president at the time, Woodrow Wilson, did nothing about the outbreak. Cities were on their own. People said Oh it's just the flu. Then they got it and died.

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-04 12:07

The founders obsessed on things the president could not do, but they didn't consider what we must require the president to do. He must defend the country against attacks. Trump is exploiting that loophole. Not defending the country against the virus. It's running wild. And without help from scientists the people don't understand it. If it were a fire burning in their neighborhood everyone would understand that it must be put out. No time to waste. But people can't feel that. Evolution didn't teach us to fear a virus at a primal level. So here we are. We have these great communication tools. What's next?

Permalink - Posted on 2020-08-05 02:38

I like the way they talk about Trump on CNN. Everything he says is a lie and that's what they say. I think they should only run pictures of him that look like this. Only discorporate heads of Trump looking foolish and/or nauseated.