Wired on Weblogging

Wired has an article out about weblogging. If we all clap our hands and think happy thoughts will the mainstream journals that psychoanalyze weblogging to death go *POP*, do you think? I’m willing to give it a try.

My special thanks to Rogi, Dave D., JulianTomJustin, and Chris for expressing curiousity and interest about what I’m discussing within the TechBlog. Particular thanks for folks who question the ideas I’m throwing out, and suggest other approaches or technologies.

There is nothing more discouraging than to become excited about something and then receive silence. Dave in particular caught it — dozens of comments for Radio, zip for discussions about smart web services.

If my ideas are full of horsepuckey — tell me! You may find that the ideas are good, but my expression of same lacked clarity. Of if they are a case of been there, done that — tell me! You may find that I’m taking a different approach than one you’ve tried. If you think the ideas have been implemented elsewhere — tell me! I’ll learn, they’ll learn, dammit we’ll all learn.

You don’t have to be nice — I can take “you’re full of little green beans”, and return it share for share.

We could really have some fun.


Weblogging Feb 18 2002

Chris, otherwise known as Stavros the Wonder Chicken (Waeguk is not soup) counts me as part of his virtual neighborhood.

After reading today’s posting I feel priviledged and honored that he would say so. Not many could face such early losses and come away with such inner strength as Chris has. And we’re richer for his sharing his life with us.

Chris, I regret that the neighborhood is virtual and that you’re on the other side of the planet, because I bet sharing a brew and a chat with you would be a highly rewarding experience.


Well, I’ve managed to snap at two of my favorite weblogging people tonight. I should quit now before I antagonize the rest.

To those who’ve been the recipient of bites today — my apologies. To those others who managed to avoid the bites — lucky yous.


Jonathon responded to my note on nobility and death.

One clarification: I am not taking away from the nobility of the actions of a person in how they face death, or the actions they take before death. I consider these to be the last acts of life.

But to use nobility in reference in death in order to somehow make the act acceptable or more palatable — for newscasting or for politics — is wrong.


Steve talks about our current “war on terrorism” and its impact on the language we use today. For instance, we say “hero” instead of “dead” when referring to a dead soldier.

There is no nobility in death, only in the lives we lead. Trying to make death pretty or noble hides what it really is — the loss of a life and the hurt and the pain and suffering of those who are left behind. The unfulfilled potential.


One person somewhere in the Universe will really hate my new color scheme. One person somewhere in the Universe will really love my new color scheme. The rest of the Universe will fall in between.

I can live with this.


Reasons to own a cat — from NJ Meryl:

It’s a little disconcerting to think of yourself from a cat’s-eye-view. But then again, it’s a lot comforting to be followed from room to room by a small, purring creature who only wants to stay within arm’s reach because he loves you so.


Updated Mike Sanders is continuing the discussion began here this weekend about weblogging and introspection. I missed the fact that Anita Bora also weighed in on this issue, as did From the Treetop (who happens to be listening to U2’s All that You Can’t Leave Behind, as I am at this time).

I like Mike’s comment: It is interesting how a “Do Your Own Thing” response can sound so authoritarian. I also caught that, and for a moment this weekend I was ready to burn brightly into the velvet black of a weblogging night (fried Rogi, anyone?). But then my foot hurt and my mind went in other directions.

Thoughtful commentary and what I would expect from Mike. Even though he’s not had Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream.

I’m OK. You’re OK. Weblogging is OK.


Browser breakage

NJ Meryl has been having some interesting challenges accessing a specific web site so she tried accessing it using an older browser – Netscape 3.x to be exact. Well, as she found out, Burningbird breaks with Netscape 3.x.

My reaction? No offense to the world, but I could give a flying squirrel (this is a polite euphemism you understand) if a 3.x browser can’t access this site. And the person trying to access the site with Lynx might as well give up now, too.

I’ve been working the cross-browser and cross-version issue since the first release of IE in the 1995/1996 time period (can’t even remember specific date any more), as shown in this old article at Javacats that I had to pull from the Wayback Machine, Netscape Navigator’s JavaScript 1.1
vs Microsoft Internet Explorer’s JScript
. And this is only the start of articles and two books on the subject of cross-browser and cross-version problems. Long before XML, XHTML, CSS and the like. Back in the good old days when we got excited about the FONT tag, and wanted to lynch the idiot that invented BLINK.

I have a set of cross-browser DHTML objects that have successfully ported from the 3.x browsers to working with Mozilla, Netscape 6.x, Opera, and IE 6.x. That’s a lot of time for one set of objects. Want to see them work? Try the Adobe PhotoShop Demos, the Dr. Dotty Games and the very popular Match Game.

Here, I don’t want tech. Here I want everything in the world but tech. Not that I don’t love tech — I do. But I need a break from it. You can get tech at my other web sites. Here, there be nonsense. Unreadable in 3.x nonsense.



Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

In reference to the last posting, Julian mentioned that perhaps Kazaa and it’s supernodes have more of an aluminum core because the cloud that supports the Kazaa P2P network is still mallable — the Supernodes that provide the cloud services are fluid and can change as well as go offline with little or no impact to the system.

I imagine, without going into the architecture of the system, that more than one Supernode is assigned to any particular subnet, others to act as backups, most likely pinging the primary Supernode to see if it’s still in operation. Out of operation, the backup Supernode(s) takes over and a signal is sent to the P2P nodes to get services from this IP address rather than that one. The original Supernode machine may even detect a shutdown and send a signal to the secondaries to take over.

Or perhaps the Supernode IPs are chained and the software on each P2P node checks at this IP first and if no response occurs, automatically goes to the second within the Supernode list and continues on until an active Supernode is found. This would take very little time, and would, for the most part be transparent to the users.

Again without access to any of the code, and even any architecture documentation (which means there’s some guesswork here) the algorithm behind the Supernode selection list looks for nodes that have the bandwidth, persistent connectivity, and CPU to act as Supernodes with little impact to the computer’s original use. The member nodes of each KaZaA sub-net — call it a circle — would perform searches against the circle’s Supernode, which is, in turn, connected to a group of Supernodes from other circles so that if the information sought in the first circle can’t be found, it will most likely be found in the next Supernode and so on. This is highly scalable.

So far so good — little or no iron in the core because no one entity, including KaZaA or the owner’s behind KaZaA can control the existence and termination of the Supernodes. Even though KaZaA is yet another file sharing service rather than a services brokering system, the mechanics would seem to meet our definition of a P2P network. Right?


What happens when a new node wants to enter the KaZaA network? What happens if KaZaA — the corporate body — is forced offline, as it was January 31st because of legal issues? How long will the KaZaA P2P network survive?

In my estimation a P2P network with no entry point will cease to be a viable entity within 1-2 weeks unless the P2P node owners make a determined effort to keep the network running by designating something to be an entry point. Something with a known IP address. Connectivity to the P2P circle is the primary responsibility of a P2P cloud. KaZaA’s connectivity is based on a hard coded IP. However, small it is, this is still a kernel of iron.

We need a way for our machines to find not just one but many P2P circles of interest using approaches that have worked effectively for other software services in the past:

We need a way to have these P2P circles learn about each other whenever they accidentally bump up against each other — just as webloggers find each other when their weblogging circles bump up against each other because a member of two circles points out a weblog of interest from one circle to the other.

We need these circle to perform a indelible handshake and exchange of signatures that becomes part of the makeup of each circle touched so that one entire P2P circle can disappear, but still be recreated because it’s “genectic” makeup is stored in one, two, many other circles. All it would take to restart the original circle is two nodes expressing an interest.

We need a way to propogate the participation information or software or both to support the circles that can persist  regardless of whether the original source of said software or information is still operating, just as software viruses have been propogated for years. Ask yourselves this — has the fact that the originator of a virus gone offline impacted on the spread of said virus? We’ve been harmed by the technology for years, time to use the concepts for good.

We need a way to discover new services using intelligent searches that are communicated to our applications using a standard syntax and meta-language, through the means of a standard communication protocol, collected with intelligent agents, as Google and other search engines have been using for years. What needs to change is to have the agents find the first participating circle within the internet and ask for directions to points of interest from there.

Standard communication protocol, meta-language, syntax. Viral methods of software and information propogation. Circles of interest with their own DNA that can be communicated with other circles when they bump in the night, so to speak. Internet traversing agents that only have to be made slightly smarter — given the ability to ask for directions.

Web of discovery. Doesn’t the thought of all this excite you?