Okay, it was very funny that a blogger by the name of Dana Blankenhorn (who we’ve seen before) attributed Why Google Is Faltering on RSS and that “Google needs to bring in someone with a Clue.” He had no “Clue” himself that the person he was trying to roast left the company half a year ago and he’s now doing cool things with Odeo. Now it’s not worth mentioning or even surprising that someone made a false assumption and came to a silly conclusion because of it. What is interesting is how Corante’s response to the entry, or lack thereof.
As it stands the entry is inarguably factually inaccurate, yet only the comments point to that. Dana has not responded to the comments or updated the entry, even though he had time to write 8 more entries that day. It may seem obvious to you and I that the entry is wrong, but not everyone and the entry is still gathering links. What’s more interesting is that entry has disappeared from the front page. (Screenshot of where it should be here.)
Corante claims to be “a trusted, unbiased source on technology, science and business that’s authored by highly respected thinkers, commentators and journalists; read by many of the sector’s top entrepreneurs, executives, funders and followers; and is helping to lead the emergence of blogging as an influential and important form of reportage, analysis and commentary.” They’re not helping blogging or their trust by leaving that entry up un-corrected and covering it up by taking it off the front page.
So I’m playing around more with Newsburst today, and one thing that struck me was the organization of the defaults. Where in the world did they come from? You could do this with most any category, but let’s take a look at “Open Source”:
- Builder.com.com — not sure what the site is doing, but the feed does have two mentions of open source software, but it seems to just be re-branded stories from News.com, so I’m not sure what the point is.
- Linux Dell Blog — Frequently down but hardcore open source.
- jfleck — I suppose the connection is he contributes to Gnome. Okay… No posts about OS on the front page, and even the category they subscribe to looks to be updated about twice a month.
- Kuro5hin — A great site, but nothing about Open Source in the feed lately. It’s more tech-culture.
- Linux.com — dry, but valid.
- linux kernel monkey log — valid.
- Miguel de Icaza — Good choice.
- NewsForge — groovy.
- Lockergnome Tech News Watch — covers tech but not too much OS
- Scripting News — Many things, but not an open source blog. Besides, it’s listed several other places already.
- Slashdot — who would argue with this?
What would be cool if Newsburst let me tag a feed when I subscribed to it, then highlight popular tags and the most popular “sources” within them. Forget what they think “open source” is, I want the opensource tag.
The way to get people hooked on blogs has nothing to do with RSS feeds or river of conciousness displays or whatever, it’s all the fantastic content that’s being created out there by people in the trenches. If you had a passing interest in learning about open source, you would get 60+% junk if you subscribed to that channel group. Where is Blake Ross’ passion about Firefox, Mitch Kapor, ZDNet’s OS Blog, Sitepoint’s, Spread Firefox, or anything from the people that are creating the applications that are changing the way we live, work, and play? Are blogs that talk about open source that hard to find?
I’m a little late to this, but the word is that Six Apart is buying LiveJournal. Congrats to the 6A and LJ teams! Big news, however you cut it. However, the question is: what exactly are they buying? LiveJournal has about 5.6 million accounts, but only about 2.4 million of these are active. That’s still pretty nice though, considering I imagine it’s about 24x what Typepad/Movable Type have now. Is it the technology? That’s already open source so they would have access to that anyway, and it’s Perl (which is 6A’s core competency) so I’m sure they could find they way around. (I wonder what will happen to the Open Source project after the dust has settled though?) That leads me to think it must be the people and engineers at LJ that 6A is after. Is this enough to position them against Microsoft and Google, as many have been suggesting?
98.6% of LiveJournal users don’t pay a thing, but that still gives 6A ~93,000 accounts paying $25/year. That revenue will be nice, especially since 6A has so many employees, but I don’t think it’s the coup most people are expecting. Remember the people who invested $10M in Six Apart are expecting it to be a quarter of a billion dollar business. It’ll be interesting to hear what the official word is on this, if and when an official word comes out. I’m probably missing something obvious. (And where is Yahoo in all of this? They better hurry up and buy someone too.)
The software that was running the WordPress support forums was getting long in the tooth and was not handling the load of increased exposure terribly well. A PHP upgrade rendered it nearly unusable. Anyway, long story short, I wrote some forum software. It’s called bbPress and is similar to WordPress in a lot of ways, including being Free-as-in-Software. The things that WP does well—unicode, timezones, XHTML, speed–it does well too. You can read all about it on the new bbPress site and grok its philosophy, comment on the blog, join the mailing list, checkout the code, submit bugs, patches, et cetera. I have been putting this off for almost a year now, so it’s very fufilling to get this project rolling. It went so fast that I’m kicking myself that I didn’t do it sooner.
The goal of bbPress is to bring some weblog and WordPress sensibilities to forum software. It’s never going to have a tenth of the features of phpBB or vBulletin, but that’s a feature itself. My experience with those packages is they’re like a herd of elephants who evolved on a strange island in bizzare ways, and they tend to foster a type of community that is antithetical to I’m trying to accomplish. We’ve learned a lot in the past few years about how the interactive web works, why do most forums look and act the same they did in 2000? Why is it still so hard to integrate user systems or mesh designs? Why can’t I ping a thread like I can a weblog post? Why can’t I filter by XFN values?
bbPress is not and will not be right for everyone. There are open source traditional forum packages, like PunBB, that get a lot of things right and push the envelope in interesting ways, so that’s covered. bbPress is not going to have avatars, or put post counts next to your name, or give every user 80 options about how they want their dates formatted, and for some people (maybe most people) that just won’t work. However even if WordPress.org is the only site that ever runs this software, it’ll be totally worth it just to get the forum technology growing again and create a richer support experience for the WP community.
No street signs. No crosswalks. No accidents. A fantastic Wired article about how removing the artificial safety nets we set up for ourself actually makes us safer. The illusion of safety is a very dangerous thing. This is totally applicable to software design too. If you put up a big notice saying “Don’t do this” people won’t read it, you have to design the interaction to encourage people in the right direction.
(Also known as Announcements Two and Three. See part one.)
Matt Mullenweg may be underage, but he knows how to get into a bar.
That’s the opening line from the Houston Press feature called The Blog Age, subtitled “Matt Mullenweg helps usher in the real information revolution, one Web log at a time.” Modest, eh? It should be on newstands tomorrow so if you’re in Houston pick up a copy. Otherwise read it online.
Though it’s a little embarassing for me in parts, it’s a really good article that covers everything from Open Source to my fellow H-Town bloggers to political blogging at the national conventions. I’ve been talking to Cathy (the author) off and on since August and the strangest thing is how much has changed since we first met in a small coffee shop in Montrose. There are a few points I’d like to expand on or clarify but I’m exhausted from today’s travel right now.
The Other Big News
If you’ve read the article already you’ll notice that it breaks a juicy tidbit that hasn’t been published before: I’ve accepted a job with CNET Networks. That’s the reason I’m moving to San Francisco. There were a lot of ways things could have gone and honestly I wasn’t even planning on leaving Houston originally, but over the course of the past 3-4 months I’ve been talking to CNET and an opportunity came up I just couldn’t pass. As it says in the article part of what they’re paying me for is working on WordPress just like I do now. The rest of my time I’ll be working on various projects, most of them probably so top-secret I can’t breathe a word in advance.
The reason I’m excited about working with CNET is how what I’ll be doing meshes with my thoughts and ideals regarding Open Source, standards, and communities. My principles aren’t changing just because my paycheck is. You can expect the same sort of content here on PhotoMatt.net you’ve seen in the past — namely unfiltered personal thoughts, jabs, and observations not connected with any corporate entity. This is obviously a pretty significant move for both myself and WordPress so I’ll do my best to entertain any questions you may have in the comments.
The Best and Brightest, Glamorous Life #33. Who says Zeldman gets linked less?
Zeldman has had a profound influence on the way I think about the web. I started taking web craft seriously because of Zeldman. WordPress exists because of Zeldman. I am where I am today because of Jeffrey Zeldman. This isn’t hyperbole, just statement of fact.
I think now is an excellent time for people to take a walk through his archives and highlight their favorite articles, something I’ll do myself at least once a day every day this week. If you’re doing something similar leave a comment so I can follow along. It’ll be interesting to see what people were most influenced by from one of the most influential fathers of today’s web.