NewsGator is cool

NewsGator 1.0 is released and its real cool.  It extends Outlook with RSS news aggregation feature.  Integration is really smooth without apparent seams.  I played around with something real similar sometime back, but got sidetracked into Python.  Its a mixed feeling to see my own idea realized by someone else, but I like NewsGator.

IHTML: Interactive HTML

Of late, I have been dreaming about IHTML.  IHTML is, as I define it, HTML for highly interactive web applications.  It defines new high-level tags for defining new interactive behaviors and for replacing all those custom DHTML+CSS+JavaScript-based widgets with 'native' components.  It also supports weblets, client-side web applications that extends browsers.

To make IHTML a reality, I have embedded Python and PythonCOM into Internet Explorer.  That was hard, but the hard part is over and the fun part begins.  Beyond replacing IHTML tags with native parts on the fly, I am playing with the idea of Persistent Page which are web pages with persistance and mutates over its lifetime: changes you make on the page are permanent.  Sounds weird, but is no different from writing on your newspaper.  The kicker is that these pages are smart and task-oriented.  Fun stuff.

In case you are wondering, I have little interest in what W3C might say about IHTML.

Editors gotta have balls

In a response to my Examiner related idea, Ben Hammersley wrote:

"It's an interesting idea, certainly, but I see one big problem. If this is to be a digest of the best the blogging world has, i.e. a sort of intelligently edited Daypop, then the editor is going to be stuck with an issue no other editor has to face: everyone can see his slush pile. We'd know just what was rejected, and I'd put money on the fact that no editor of any skill or experience would want to be second-guessed like that. Witness the continual harping at Slashdot about which stories are chosen and which aren't, and times that by a million, add in the question of who gets the surplus ad revenue, issues of editorial liability, and the nasty questions of bias, and you've got an impossible job for the editor. Editing by committee is not an option. I've done it. Not an option."

When weather gets cold long enough, body hair thickens and grows denser.  In other words, people will either adapt or freeze to death.  Editors with balls will step up and do what they have to do.  If nobody does, I'll do it myself even if I have to wear a bullet-proof vest.  Let them shoot off my middle-finger.

Holy Journalism, Batman!

Jeff Walsh revisits the question of blogging as journalism.

"In fact, bloggers tend to link to the news first as a means of context for what they are about to say, which on some level almost seems to substantiate that they are not putting themselves in the role of delivering the news." [Jeff Walsh's writings]

What is news?  Its just stuff I didn't know before.  When I tell my wife something she didn't know before, am I not doing what journalists do?  Do I have to write like Herb Caen or sound like Walter Cronkite to be a journalist?  I don't think so.  Quality may differ, but the nature is the same.  What I am saying is that, while journalism is important in a democracy, its the result of journalism that is important, not how it is done.

What a journalist does is no different from what a butcher does: one cuts meat, the other cuts stories.  Do I value news over my meat?  It depends on the meat.  I'll choose prime rib or fillet mignon over Iraq War news anyday.

Bloggers are Ants

"For instance, a colony of ants can collectively find out where the nearest and richest food source is located, without any individual ant knowing it. In experiments, a food source is separated from the nest by a bridge with two branches, one of which is longer. The shorter branch is most likely to be selected by the colony. This is because the ants lay and follow chemical trails: individual ants lay a chemical substance, a pheromone, which attracts other ants. The first ants returning to the nest from the food source are those that take the shorter path twice (from the nest to the source and back). Nest mates are recruited toward the shorter branch, which is the first to be marked with pheromone." [from Swarm Intelligence: An Interview with Eric Bonabeau]

Bloggers are ants.  Blogspace is a massive ant colony.  Like ants, bloggers roam the Web in search of information (food) and lay articles and links (pheromone trails) for other bloggers (ants) to follow.

Bloggers Examiner Revisited

I received great responses from fellow bloggers on my blog-driven Examiner idea.  If this really happens, then it will change blogspace also.  We'll have bloggers interviewing interesting people and moblogging crimes, accidents, and events with their cellphones.  Examiner frontpage will be meatspace equivalent of daypop, a battleground for bloggers.  Editorial columns can go to the most popular bloggers of the week or month.  Bloggers can drive the classified too.  News and comments as it happens from your peers.  Ages ago, newspapers printed articles contributed by ordinary everyday people.  We can make that happen again if bloggers take over Examiner or Palo Alto Daily News as Scott suggests.  At the very least, the first adventurous newspaper doing this will receive praises and cooperations from around the world.

Legoland sucks

Doc Searls is going to Legoland with his kid.  I was there with my kid when it first opened.  They had silly rides, lego sculptures, and stores selling lego blocks.  I looked closely at those sculptures and found that they were sawed and glued together.  Is that how lego blocks are supposed to be put together?  My son spent more time in the Legoland shop than outside, but we didn't buy anything there because price was higher than our local toystores.  And what do they charge for admission?  About same as Disneyland.