Scripting News: Saturday, February 4, 2023


Saturday, February 4, 2023

I had to turn off while I work on the new version that uses email for identity and is accessed through HTTPS. It would take too much time to try to keep both versions running at the same time. So I have redirected it to a temporary placeholder site, and when the new site is ready, it will redirect to that site. We will then have to figure out how to have your data meet you on the other side. So this will happen in several steps, of which this is the first. And in doing this I will learn how to do it for other sites such as Radio3, BingeWorthy, etc. If you have questions, see this thread. Please don't ask when will it be ready. This is still seat-of-the-pants unfortunately due to the randomness of the changes at Twitter. Also, your data is safe.#

I was getting "invalid token" errors from Radio3, from Twitter. I tried logging off and logging back on and am not being allowed to. I see in the log that other users are getting that error as well. It could be Twitter's system has failed, or they turned us off.#

Thread: Twitter was sitting on an AWS-size opportunity. I tried to clue Jack into this, but he was always dreaming of really cool shit, and all we want is a simple package of services that work and have no patience for science experiments. Identity and storage that the user pays for and grants access to our apps. We'll do the creative stuff. Storage and identity has to be boring and reliable, and not subject to having the rug pulled out from us. It's something we need to build on, at the very lowest level of the stack.#

BTW, yesterday's problem with my Android phone was solved quickly by a number of readers. Thank you all very much. It was right there in the screen shot. Somehow Do Not Disturb mode got turned on. I never would have done that on purpose. This is a phone I use mainly for listening to podcasts and audiobooks and for 2-factor identity. Why does it turn off media? What kind of sense does that make. And from a UI standpoint, there should be some clue somewhere near the slider as to why that it's disabled. I tried to find the answer on Google and ChatGPT before broadcasting the question. Neither had any good advice about this. #

Speaking of audiobooks, Amazon's service,, which I used to subscribe to, is a huge ripoff. You have to be an active member to listen to the books you bought. So you can't, if you have too many unread books, suspend the service so you can start to catch up. For the most part Amazon is pretty good at not keeping money it isn't entitled to. If something goes wrong and you jump through all the hoops, they give you your money back. They want a long-term relationship, it seems. But this policy of Audible's seems to be the exception. As if they don't give a shit what you think of them. How very un-Amazon. #

I'm not a "coder"#

  • this started out as a mastodon post in this thread but i went way over the 500 char limit, so I just posted it here instead.#
  • i develop whole products as does marco.#
  • a funny thing happens when people think you do much less than what you actually do, they hire people to replace you.#
  • that's what happened with adam curry and myself back in 2005. he had no idea what i do, he and his partner ron bloom thought they could save some stock and they thought i was being "difficult" (I guess) by not taking orders from bloom, so they hired a couple of programmers to replace me, and guess what happened. nothing. they wasted $100 million in vc money, and barked up the wrong tree. if they had worked with me they wouldn't have done that, but they would have had to listen to a mere coder. #
  • same thing happened when RSS became a VC thing, none of them wanted to work with me, so they hired "software engineers" and they created products that somehow weren't up to the opportunity. all the companies failed. none of the VCs had the vision or just common sense to bet on the only developer who had proven he knew what was actually going on. #
  • all my career people have been minimizing what we do with disastrous results. go back to my first silicon valley gig, with personal software in 1980. the ceo of the company told me to my face he could do a better job writing the software i was doing, but was too busy to do it. he was full of shit. you had to be really motivated in ways few "coders" are to get a 256K program to run in 48K. (which is what the app turned into when we ported it from the apple ii to the ibm pc) Not to mention invent a new freaking category of software. (To his credit the CEO did think of doing outliners before he met me, though his idea of an outliner didn't amount to much more than a start down the path.)#
  • you can't make things better by giving into the bullshit money people and marketing people and people who took a few college classes in comp sci impose on our craft. #

Scripting News for email

05 Feb 2023 at 05:00

Scripting News: Friday, February 3, 2023


Friday, February 3, 2023

The first big project I'm undertaking in the transition away from Twitter is Drummer. In the new world, Drummer will manage identity for itself using email addresses, and thus it will use HTTPS. So the first step in the conversion is getting rid of all the hard-coded http URLs in the app. I'm sure they're not all gone yet, but the app does boot up without errors now both on a test server (which uses HTTPS), and the same code runs on the current Drummer site (which uses HTTP). You can help test it out by using Drummer with the JavaScript console open, and note any errors that have to do with HTTP and HTTPS and report them here. #

This is a screen shot of the Sounds panel of my Android phone. Note that the Media slider is disabled. This means that while the speakers work, I can't listen to any podcasts, audiobooks or music. How do I get the slider to be re-enabled? I've already tried restarting the phone a few times. #

Starting to do small things for the corner-turn away from Twitter. We no longer have RT icons on items on the Scripting News website. And there no longer is a button in the upper left corner that lets you log on and off of Twitter. Watch this space for more updates, and I'm also adding notes to the thread about changes people are making. #

When you build on corporate APIs you have to know there's a fair chance the owner will pull the rug out on you, as twitter is doing now. The only APIs you can trust are open APIs that aren’t owned by anyone -- like the web -- http, html, rss. You have to watch out because the bigco’s will try to own those too. Journos are oblivious. Can’t get their attention. To a large extent Google already owns the web. And they are throwing their weight around in much more consequential ways than twitter. But Google is invisble to the press. That will end some day.#

So journalists, there’s nothing surprising about twitter screwing with their api. But we should be nailing Google for trying to steal the open web.#

Do you have an app that runs on the twitter api? What is your plan for next week? I started a thread on the Scripting repo to gather comments. Let's not use Twitter for this one. 😀#

Scripting News for email

04 Feb 2023 at 05:00

Scripting News: Thursday, February 2, 2023


Thursday, February 2, 2023

In 2001 downloading an MP3 song took 328 seconds. #

Twitter pulling the plug#

  • Over night Twitter announced that they're cutting off free access to their API, which we depend on in all my products. They made the announcement in a vague way and with just seven days notice. I think there's a good chance they'll realize that this is a shitty way to do it, and will take it back, on one hand, but on the other hand, let's get out of here now. This is not a good place to develop products. I hoped they would leave this part of their API alone, and I expected more notice, but it didn't turn out that way. It is what it is. #
  • A disclaimer, all of what I write here today is seat-of-pants. I don't know how this is going to turn out, but right now I want you, if you use my products, to prepare for a complete shutdown, just in case. #
  • In some cases, esp for products that were designed only to enhance Twitter, they will not come back. For example, It only works with Twitter, so when the API is gone, I will just shut it down.#
  • The two products I care about most are Drummer and FeedLand. I will do everything I can to transition them.#
  • Little Outliner which I have left running even though Drummer is a better version of the same product, will not transition. #
  • Both Drummer and Little Outliner have commands to download all your outlines. You should do that now. There's no excuse for you losing any data, and I will not help get your data after Twitter shuts off the API. Take care of yourself. Download your stuff. Now.#
  • For FeedLand there's nothing to worry about. All your data is public, so even if for some reason you cannot log onto FeedLand, you will still be able to get your data because you don't need to log in to get it. #
  • Follow Scripting News for more notes about the transition. #
  • Finally, I am just one person. I won't stand for people treating me like a corporation with a staff of people working on this. I am not more powerful than you are, so remember that when you ask for help. There will no tolerance of abuse. #
  • And if you have questions, here's a place to ask. #

Better to have loved and lost#

  • Re my experience as a Twitter developer, now coming to an end.#

Finding yourself#

  • I wrote this eight years ago. #
  • I have a friend who's going thru a familiar struggle. I have some advice that's imho worth sharing.#
  • Go some place natural. Alone. Where no one knows you or who you know. Subtract everything that defines you as a pundit or friend of the rich and famous. No gadgets.#
  • Swim. Get massaged. Try being quiet. Talk about your childhood. Find yourself, the person you've been hiding from.#
  • Just be another random person, one of seven billion, because that is the truth. That is who you are. Who I am. Who everyone is. When you really feel it a weight comes off. None of this shit matters.#

Scripting News for email

03 Feb 2023 at 05:00

Scripting News: Wednesday, February 1, 2023


Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Introducing the shortest podcast ever. #

I can now settle the age-old debate about what is and isn't a podcast. If at the end of your show, and in promos, you say "Available where ever you get your podcasts," then it's a podcast! If you don't say it, then it ain't a podcast! To illustrate, here's the shortest podcast ever.#

Is this the best moment in Goodfellas?#

End of month archive. Here's the backup for January 2023. #

Eli Pariser: "First thoughts on Artifact, the new news reader from the Instagram guys. Right now it feels like a slick, maybe more personalized rewrite of Apple News. But not much serendipity—it’s all pretty narrowly tailored to what I indicated as my tastes, and I haven’t discovered much that’s surprising or interesting there."#

Artifact is like a new version of OS/2 after the web and Mosaic already existed. Kind of beside the point. We've moved beyond that.#

This week's 500 songs podcast is about the Monkees. I was right in the middle of their demographic when the TV show aired between 1966 and and 1968. I watched every episode. I had all their records. There was kind of a stink around them, perceivable even to an 11-year-old. People would say they weren't musicians, they weren't playing the instruments, and they were the kind of act only teenie boppers (like me!) could like. But Andrew Hickey in this episode dispels all that, explaining how they were a really important good musical group. They were friends will all the musicians of the day who we do respect. All but one of the Monkees is gone now. They were nice people apparently. It gives me a warm feeling to know they were better than who the cynics said they were. #

Today's song: Joanne. #

Slavery is who we are#

  • We must teach all American kids of all races about slavery the same way German kids learn about the Holocaust. #
  • I regret that we didn't learn about slavery in public school in NYC when I was a child in the 60s. #
  • I only found out by reading books about slavery, which I did over the last few years after listening to the 1619 Project podcasts, which were eye-opening.#
  • The new underground railroad.#

The Monkees#

  • The Monkees.#

Scripting News for email

02 Feb 2023 at 05:00

Scripting News: Tuesday, January 31, 2023


Tuesday, January 31, 2023

To journalists (and others) who are trying to figure out how podcasting was born, I suggest listening to the podcasts in Morning Coffee Notes starting at 6/11/2004. Work your way up the list. Those were amazing days, lots of firsts and imho lots of fun. I kept the archive because I hoped at some point someone would want to know how it happened. Maybe grad students will do a thesis on this stuff? This is a new medium being born. I tried to keep good records. Also recommend looking at Scripting News archives for 2004 as well. #

2001 was also a big year in podcasting. The first program to download podcasts was MUOTD, in January 2001, in conjunction with the Grateful Dead experiment.#

It's HTTPS week for FeedLand#

  • I have a group of testers working with me on getting the open source release of FeedLand ready to go. And this is the week we're working on HTTPS support. One of my friends thanked me for doing this work, and I thought my response deserved to be public, so here it is.#
    • Supporting HTTPS in FeedLand was the plan all along. The rule is if you're giving your identity to a service, you gotta have HTTPS. My commitment is to the web. I think HTTPS is shitty technology, I'm sure Google if they tried harder, or asked me, could have come up with more of a win-win. But it is what it is. They're a shit company, but HTTPS is not Google. I know that. Some people can't seem to get that I get that. Not everything is a political cause. I think they're accustomed to Republican politics where they'll burn the world down to assert their will. I'm genuinely in this for the good of everyone, not just me. And -- I don't blame HTTPS for Google. #
  • My profile on Twitter is something I think every technologist should agree with, like the doctors take.#
    • I work for the betterment of the network we all share. I'm not trying to get rich or famous, just fix the stuff that's broken. I hope you are doing that too.#
  • It's okay to want to be rich or famous, btw -- I like having money, and if you succeed at being famous I want to warn you there's a downside to it, but more power to you. #

Diego Rivera#

Scripting News for email

01 Feb 2023 at 05:00

Scripting News: Monday, January 30, 2023


Monday, January 30, 2023

Still listening to You Don't Have To Cry. Maybe the best song ever.#

To anyone who cares about ActivityPub, Peter Zingg provides a great roadmap for what's needed to get serious adoption.#

My work address once was 117 Easy Street, not in Anytown, USA.#

A stunning realization#

  • Having done it with FeedLand, I was starting to think about how to wean Drummer off Twitter identity, and had a stunning realization -- it may not be necessary, since (I believe, haven't tested yet) it might be possible to host Drummer from a FeedLand instance. #
  • I would actually have to do it to be sure there aren't any roadblocks I haven't foreseen. But they're both running the same server software, daveappserver, and once you've established an identity in FeedLand I don't see why it can't be used with Drummer. #
  • Ken Smith was tripping out on the synergies between Drummer and FeedLand. This, if it works, would blow the doors off that. They would be storing their data in the same place. You would be able to open your FeedLand bookmarks menu in Drummer, to start. #
  • I figured something else out. I was wondering what would happen if Twitter broke their identity with developers like me as they did with the clients, how would we transition Drummer then? I don't want people to have to start over. I could ask them to do what I asked FeedLand users to do, is make a connection between their Twitter identity and an email address, as a backup. But this would have to be done before any outage. Something most people probably wouldn't do. #
  • Then I realized we would be able to do what we do now when we want to associate an email address with a domain, ask the user to post something to their Twitter account, some magic string. When we see it in their timeline, voila, we know they are who they say they are and we can move the files to the new server. So we can relax. Users shouldn't have to lose data if Twitter pulls the plug.#
  • One more thing, when Twitter was blowing up, I was getting harassed by idiots (no other word for it sorry) who didn't understand that you can't unwind a connection just by snapping your fingers. Identity is baked into an app at a deep level. And, when it already has users, and has gone through a ship cycle, you can't just flip a switch or everything you worked so hard for would just fall apart. It would be like, for example, making the NYC subway system run on a different track gauge. Sure you could do it, but it might take a few weeks. 😄#

Only on Twitter#

  • There are still some things you can only learn on Twitter.#

Scripting News for email

31 Jan 2023 at 05:00

Scripting News: Sunday, January 29, 2023


Sunday, January 29, 2023

Poll: Would you get rid of Google or the web?#

BTW, all who think Musk/Twitter is the big problem, you're falling for a smokescreen. A much bigger problem is the brain of Google. It's the nightmare of science fiction. We have no clue what it wants. It has unfathomably immense and unchallenged power. #

Today's song: You don't have to cry. I can't tell you how much I love this song. And it turns out this was the first CSN song. It was first sung in Joni Mitchell's Laurel Canyon living room, or Cass Elliot's kitchen, or John Sebastian's house. Crosby and Stills were tripping out on their harmonies. Cass brought Graham Nash with her to meet them. After hearing the song twice, he joined the harmony. Imagine the discovery that this kind of music was possible, and that it was coming from you! BTW, the song was written by Stills about Judy Collins. #

ChatGPT is a godsend to people with aging minds who sometimes can't find the right word. It's in there, in my brain, but I can't quite get at it. It's amazing how it nailed this question. Bravo! #

I like HTTPS, but...#

  • I won't be forced to use it, I won't give in to blackmail.#
  • However, FeedLand will support HTTPS. I am working on that now.#
  • That's why I'm in such a foul mood. I feel completely manipulated by a big company I despise.#
  • It's as if the biggest music label also owned all the players and refused access to music written by individuals and independent publishers with some made-up bullshit about "security." You have to pay them their tribute or be shut out. I choose being shut out. #
  • If your browser requires HTTPS, you won't be able to read my blog. #
  • Also, to lawyers -- if this isn't antitrust, I don't know what is. #
  • The day is coming. Get ready for it. I am ready. I am doing nothing. 😄#

I like Masto, but...#

  • I like Mastodon, and like Twitter. I've been on Twitter since 2006, and on Masto since 2017, but didn't start using it until late last year. I think Masto is an improvement over Twitter, but the limits I list below matter more than all the improvements.#
    • No titles (they must be optional).#
    • No linking.#
    • No styles.#
    • Posts are limited to 500 chars.#
    • No enclosures.#
  • Yes I know some instances don't have these limits, but what matters is the LCD. What can be exchanged with all Masto systems, and the list above applies to the vast majority of instances. #
  • Think about it this way. This is a simple post, expressing a simple idea. Yet neither Mastodon or Twitter can transmit this message. When we really get out of this bottleneck we'll be able to send messages like this one, and we'll wonder why we put up these limits for so long. #
  • Also, I've heard all the arguments. At one point 140 chars was the limit that mattered, if we went over that then it wouldn't be any good. Then we went over it, and communication got better. I don't want to argue about this. Just want to point out that we're still waiting to be set free from the limits imposed by Twitter 17 years ago. #

Scripting News for email

30 Jan 2023 at 05:00

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