Monday, May 09, 2005


To Dream the Impossible Dream
Lifetime to-do list:

  1. Writehands-on tutorialfor beginning Java programmers who want to teach self language in no more than 21 days
  2. Successfully predict next pope's name
  3. End TV news segment with segueway back to anchors
  4. Be insulted in no less than five languages by total strangers
  5. Do more to helpworthy charity
  6. Become a professionally ranked tennis player.

My uncle Paul wanted to become John McEnroe as a teen, and we've disagreed for years over whether I could become ranked if I devoted myself to tennis instead of web surfing and fatty foods.

I figured if the rankings went low enough -- the ATP Tourgoes to 1307-- I might have a shot.

Paul thinks I'm an idiot, but I haven't given up the dream. At the very least, I might draw a match somewhere against a ranked pro who had to withdraw due to injury or illness.

Nestor Bricenowatch your back!


I tookBuzzword.Comoffline for several hours this morning to compact the databases and perform some other server maintenance. I'm tempting fate by saying this, but so far, so good.

We're nearing the one-year anniversary of the server, which became the home for 3,000 longtime Weblogs.Com bloggers last June. I have some ambitious plans to mark the occasion, but for now my priority is to keep theactive bloggersrunning smoothly and bring all of UserLand'supgradesonline.

UserLand has a new version of Manila, the software hosting these weblogs, inbeta release. There are a bunch of new features, among them a better way for bloggers to manage visitor comments and trackback.

Scripting the Future
Dave Winer turned 50 today, and he asked for links toScripting Newsin lieu of presents.

I've had a chance to get to know Dave in recent years, first through his work and then through his visits to Northeast Florida, an area he prowled as a kid with his uncle, theGreat VavaVoom.

VavaVoom lived in Crescent Beach, a laid-back town south of St. Augustine, back when it could still be described as a"hippie commune."Today, suburbanites like me are scaring them off, subdividing the bucolic area into the kind of well-manicured, community covenant-ruled neighborhood that the feds shipped Steve Martin to inMy Blue Heaven.

Dave's had a unique impact on the technology that drives weblogging, creating or cocreatingRSS,XML-RPC,OPML, and theMetaWeblog API; developing the web content management softwareManila,Radio UserLand, andFrontier; and evangelizing the strange idea that millions of people would be blogging.

I can't decide whether he's prescient or he just makes his predictions come true by dragging the rest of us along. A May 1999 post he made to theXML-DEV mailing listshows how far ahead he saw this stuff:

RSS is an XML-based format that represents what we in the Frontier community call a"weblog". It's frequently updated site that points to stories on and off-site, that identifies an audience and feeds links to them. Until RSS came along the only format people were using was HTML. RSS changed that. ...

We're doing easy to use software to develop and maintain weblog sites, and of course they will all aggregate using the next generation of RSS and today's RSS. Who knows in what perverted ways this content will flow around the net? I'm totally looking forward to the creative chaos that's coming!

Back then, I thought weblogging was a fad that would receive aWiredcover story and an ignominious fate, likepush technology and the Zippies.

Shows what I know. Here's to another decade of perverting the flow of content around the Internet. Happy birthday, Dave!

I'd Buy That for a Dollar
A stamp machine at the post office gave me dollar coins back as change -- five Sacagaweas and two Susan B. Anthonys. I gave some to my kids, who had to be convinced they were legal tender, and freaked out a clerk at an Arby's by using one.

"Are you sure you really want to spend this?"he asked, marveling at the golden coin honoring a woman so obscure there'sno record of her appearance. A coin can't be doing very well when people think you spent one by accident.

Last week the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill to crowd out Sacagawea withnew dollar coinsfor each president, beginning in 2007 with the first four: Washington, Jefferson, John Adams, and Madison. I'm setting a task in Microsoft Outlook to corner the market in 2010 on Millard Fillmore, widely recognized as our least accomplished leader.

The earliest a Hillary Clinton dollar will be available is 2017.

Everybody Carl Jung Tonight
Avoicemail messagereceived last week:

Hey, it'sMancow, we're trying to get you on the radio show here. It's an Illinois guy, he probably knows this show. But he got the pope's web site. And the story is he's going to turn it into a porno ...

I didn't get this message soon enough to return his call. I suspect that if he heard my actual plans forBenedictXVI.Com, I would have been a great disappointment to him.

WashingtonPost.Com reporter David McGuire wrote afollowup storyyesterday about how the domain has been donated to the charityModest Needswhile we await the Vatican.

I'm glad that Modest Needs founder Keith Taylor was able to put something together so quickly April 21 -- 90 percent of the 410,000 visits to BenedictXVI.Com were made by Sunday morning, and traffic has slowed to around 9,000 visits a day. (Taylor may be seeing more traffic directly on the charity'sBenedictXVI.Com page.)

Jacopo di Trani, the owner ofBenedict16.com, offers aJungian analysisof why he seeks financial reward and I chose the approval of my Catholic grandmother:

I think that C.G.Jung will say that Cadenhead primary function are his"thoughts", and his last function are his"sensations", and that my primary function is my"intuition", and my last function are my"feelings". I think (do you agree?); so it's very predictable that from all this popedomain-story I'll earn more and more cash than he will ever get . Even if he was the first (he registered his domain the 1st april, against my 14 april), even if he is the most famous (but not in czech sites!), and even if search engines give more traffic to his domain than to mine. I have only a better brandable domain and more real hair - but I'll get more cash than you, Rogers. It's only logic.

I can't address his theory. I majored in journalism -- the only way I would've learned about Jung was if I interviewed him for the school paper. In retrospect, I should have spent less time skipping classes in college to watchGeneral Hospital.

But I will concede the point about his hair.

Boy Meets Girl, Girl Seeks Bob
An e-mailer asksWorkbenchfor relationship advice:

... it's me and my boyfriends anniversary coming up and he always seems to somehow mention it and say how he wants it and I thought it would be a great thing to give him, no matter how weird it sounds. But I think it would be something he would enjoy, or like at least. I've looked around in all shops that could have a chance of selling older software but there aren't many where I live, I've looked around on eBay too but have had no luck, do you know where I could get it?

I don't know who's luckier -- the guy whose girlfriend would hunt down a copy of Microsoft Bob for their anniversary, or the woman whose boyfriend has such great taste in social interface software.

I'm one of the only people who has gone on record with my love forMicrosoft Bob, the mid-'90s product that has unjustly come to be known as one of the greatestdisastersin software history.

The only place I can find him iseBay, where a few go on sale each month and usually can be nabbed for under $25.

Over the last eight years, I've used eBay to find the original software, the Bob Plus Pack,Great Greetings for Boband the only two computer books written for the software:At Home With BobandMicrosoft Bob. A third book,Microsoft Bob for Dummies, was cancelled by Wiley prior to publication, robbing technical literature of a book that would have been an enduring classic.

I also acquired some great swag on eBay -- a Bob coffee mug, key chain, long-distance card, T-shirt, pin, and baseball cap -- and nearly talked a former Microsoft freelancer into selling me the documentation for companies developing Bob add-on products (he feared, perhaps correctly, that it would constitute industrial espionage).

The swag auctions higher than the software, because I am not the only imbecile willing to blow as much as $50 on Bobabilia.

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