I'll be moderating the ambitiously titled "Beyond the Blog: The Future of Personal Publishing" panel at this year's South By Southwest Interactive Festival.
The official panel description:
This session explores emerging technologies in the field of online publishing, including weblogging and moblogging through wireless devices, nascent desktop applications, and digital identity. The panel will also examine how these trends relate to traditional site feedback mechanisms.
Despite the Movable Type tilt of panel participants, I, as moderator intend to make this panel at vendor-neutral as possible. If you have any questions or topics you'd like us to consider beforehand, or if you'll be attending the conference and panel, let us know.
Interwoven has been granted a patent for using versioning systems to create web sites. In other words, the sort of thing people have been doing with CVS for 5-6 years. (via Slashdot)
The Question: What stops unpolite individuals from just deleting whole bunches of pages? Can they be restored?
The Answer: There's always the previous version of a page available, and edits from a single IP are rolled into a single change, so one person from one IP can't by themselves irretrievably delete material. There are also backups, which are very rarely necessary. This subject is discussed all over the place on the wiki, so you can find more details elsewhere.I'm far from being a wiki expert -- in fact, I'll be the first to admit that I really don't know enough about them to form a educated opinion. My big question for all you wiki proponents out there: How can wikis thrive on a less-than-Utopian Web? And can we really trust our visitors and readers?
As some of you may have been able to tell from your referrers, Kevin Burton has released a beta version of the massively ambitious (this is not neccessarily a bad thing) NewsMonster.
I'm still playing around and trying to get past the fact that Mozilla on OS X is just so much slower than either Chimera or Safari. (This has nothing to do with NewsMonster, of course).
(Via Ben Hammersley)
Danger to release beta form of SDK via ~stevenf (hiptop.com)
"With the hiptop SDK, software developers will be able to use industry-standard development tools to create new applications for hiptop devices."
EspressoBlog 2.1 (interalia.org)
Phil Ulrich has released ExpressoBlog 2.1, which utilizes the new features in 2.6. New changes include: Older post editing and deleting, ability to add multiple categories to a post, support for metaWeblog.newMediaObject, improved speed and support for keywords.
The death of the "Comments" section. R.I.P. (oreillynet.com)
Steve Mallett writes: "People don't like to make comments on websites like they used to. Instead they make comments on their own website where they have a voice...Personally, I feel this is a case of the pendulum swinging all the way to the other side...Voices are heard just fine in conversations taking place in a moderately sized community and only become unruly when the number of participants climbs to the point of creating more noise than signal (150?)."
My Commentary: To a certain extent I agree that there is a magic number -- usually the number of visitors a site receives -- for when a mechanism like TrackBack makes the most sense. But I also believe that the attraction of the remote comment is partially due to the forced accountability. You're not going to want to mar your own site with the sort of comment that you may leave anonymously in someone's comments.
Google Goes Blog-Crazy via Scripting News (forbes.com)
"Those who last year had never heard of it will start handing out personal blog Web addresses alongside with their e-mail addresses. And that means that along with nearly everything else about the Internet, the mild cachet that came with being among the first to publish a blog will quickly evaporate with the mass stampede that follows."
Amazon Associates Beware (kottke.org)
"There's no documentation on the Associates site that says anything about how to properly link to an item using the second style, so the solution is to modify your links to the first URL style if you have it wrong."
Frugal Oddpost is a Downturn Baby (wired.com)
"But some say Oddpost's odd timing, coinciding with the San Francisco area's worst economic decline in a generation, could become its biggest advantage. Entrepreneurs willing to work on a shoestring may be more successful than those who start when times are flush, business experts say."
In other news, Six Apart, LLC acquired a fax machine Saturday.
Most of the weblog conversation since Dan Gillmor broke the news has been rightly congratulatory of Pyra and expectably inquisitive of Google's strategies. While at this point in time we're all still only speculating (the key word is speculation) based on our own assumptions and opinions, it is only natural to consider what Google wants out of the deal.
Let's just make the obvious assumption that Google wants Blogger's content.
For a moment, I will try to think as a weblogger or weblog observer and not a weblog developer with a slight conflict of interest.
If I were Google, getting access to the weblog content of Blogger users would be just a start. To truly integrate weblog metadata, Google needs to expand that content base. And in fact, Google's acquisition of Deja, and subsequent creation of Google Groups, may provide a model for that: When Google acquired Deja, they only got access to about 6 years of Usenet history. But with the help of Usenet archivists they were able to piece together the entire history back to 1981. Of course, that's a slightly different situation -- there they were working with old, never-changing content, whereas in the case of weblogs, they'll need continuing access to new content.
Cory raises similar points in an essay on boingboing.net:
If Google is able to index every Blogger post (and, one presumes, every message-board post, once the feature is integrated), that's great news for Blogger users, but it won't be as powerful as the other blogmining tools until and unless it can do the same for anyone who publishes something that is self-identified as a "blog."
This assumes Google's chief preoccupation is to trek deeper into the blog mine instead of pursuing different ventures such as a GoogleID system. That is not to say that they aren't interested in doing both.
Regardless, the purchase has made an already active space even more exciting and we can only imagine that there will be a flurry of developments in the upcoming months.
Kung-Log 1.3, the OS X client that you can use to post to your Movable Type weblog has been released -- and, by no coincidence, it supports version 2.6. While the full changelog can be found in the readme included with the distribution, you can get an idea of what has been added in this release by reading this entry.
The ultimate Movable Type plugin resource, the MT Plugin Directory has launched. Kristine Beeson (our support board's Kadyellebee) put a great deal of work into this project and, as a result, has created a extensive directory of plugins sorted by a variety of categories. The MT Plugin Directory will also be home to David Raynes' MT Plugin Manager. Thanks to all the plugin developers who made this possible.
The introduction of topic servers like the Internet Topic Exchange and Reversible started me thinking about TrackBack, and how to make it easier for sites like these to gain traction and be used by non-technical users. Currently, the sites are not autodiscoverable--you have to know about them in order to use them. This limits usage to a certain set of technical people and tinkerers, generally; but the idea behind these sites--that of providing a centralized topic/category repository for distributed content--is one that would benefit the entire community.
So, the question is: how can we make these services transparent to users?
NetNewsWire 1.0 has been released with a $29.95 introductory price. I'm posting from its weblog editor and am incredibly happy to see that it appears to support categories in Movable Type -- which is very neat.
Update about Categories: It seems as if the category assignment does indeed work but is not reflected in the editing display of Movable Type itself. This might just be a bug in 2.6 (the version we're running right now). We'll look into this.
Earlier this week, Ben Hammersley reprinted part of an email in which Brent wrote:
There will be an introductory price of $29.95 for NetNewsWire Pro. After a month or so the price will go up to $39.95. Setting pricing is *very* difficult -- far more difficult than programming -- and I'm sure I'll hear from people who think it should be less or more than what it is.
I hope he doesn't hear from too many of those people. Either way, the price is set and he shouldn't have to constantly rethink his decision.
(And I'm not projecting here. No, not at all)
Pricing software -- especially software that has previously been free -- is a pretty taxing task for the independent developer. It's an incredibly difficult game where you have to put your personal feelings aside and consider what people will be willing to pay.
I wish Brent the best of luck with this release and thank him for the software that makes my news and weblog reading a whole lot more enjoyable.
I really like Erik Benson's take on the link sidebar:
I've created here a very simple mechanism for me to record links that have effected me (positively or negatively), for my own amusement. I've basically got two bookmarklets in my browser (+ and -) that, if clicked, pull the current page's link and title into two text fields that I can modify and submit quickly (almost without thinking).
Alex at slackerbit.ch came up with a mail2blog script that uses PGP signatures to securely authenticate the sender. Specifically, it uses the GnuPG.pm perl module to interface with gpg--after you've added your public key to the keyring used by the mail2blog script, signing your email messages provides all of the authentication necessary. Very cool, particularly the bit that assigns categories and pings TrackBack URLs.