Friday, October 29, 2004


This is the simplest choice in over twenty years of voting for President. At the most fundamental level our leader must be smart. It is not just enough to sound bite the right words after the right photo op. I mean Rhodes Scholar, book smart. As much as we voters would like to see issues as binary (yes or no, black or white, good or evil), both domestic and diplomatic issues are not so simple. That's why people write issue papers and not issue choices. This nation's and the world's future requires an intelligent leader.

Our vote though is a binary choice. And for me there is clear cut evidence that George Bush Jr. fails this smart test. It is not his pauses during the debates or his Bushisms. It is this simple: No WMD, No Bush. I'm not in the "intelligence business" (eg CIA) or the like. I'm a common citizen who reads the news and prior to the war I was suspicious of the WMD claims. He should have been too. After the Cold War was over, analysis showed that the CIA estimates of the USSR weapons was overestimated. Therefore, anyone should have expected that the estimates of WMD would also be overstated and that this administration would be certain not to be misled by weapons "intelligence" again. It is clear from the 9/11 report, time-lines about 9/11 and senior administration officials hatred of Iraq that Bush was not smart enough to be certain about WMD. Not only must a President must be certain before leading America into war, but he must do enough homework to get to the truth.

If it were as simple as No WMD, No Bush this choice might be harder. There seems to be many other items that lead me to this conclusion. While Bush is a Yalee, it does not mean anything. He was a legacy so his grades did not have to be anywhere near his classmates and professors have indicated he was not a great student. Bush has avoided news conferences as President which is unacceptable and leads me to believe that he is unprepared on the issues. If he is unprepared then how can he be trusted to make the decisions a President must make. Recent stories show that Bush did not want aides preparing long issue papers in the White House or when reviewing death penalty cases in Texas. In both one debate and at a news conference, Bush failed to admit any mistakes of his administration. While you might consider these items to be weak, I believe the overwhelming evidence is that while this President maybe intelligent, he is not intelligent enough to lead us forward.

Is Kerry intelligent enough? I believe we have enough evidence to believe so. His law degree. His Yale record. His work and re-election in the Senate. His bravery in Viet Nam and his decision after the war to not just be silent. His ideas and presentation during all three debates. This is not to say he is perfect. He struggled to find his voice about Iraq. As the campaign has gone negative, his campaign has occasionally jumped too quickly. But he has recognised his mistakes in both the primaries and the general election and brought in more help when he needed it. So Kerry, in my view, Kerry passes this test.

Some may argue that Kerry is a flip-flopper. While I do think that Karl Rove did an excellent job of tagging Kerry, I don't believe that it stands up. First, as many commentators pointed out during the primary, any Senator has a nearly impossible record to defend. There are so many procedural votes and bill containing a multitude of items that an aye or nay vote is not so simple. Second, I believe that Bush is the bigger flip flopper given the 9/11 Commission and the Department of Homeland Security. How can he claim credit for creating the department when he opposed it as much as possible. So flip flopper is a non-starter for me.

So, Kerry for President of the United States.

FeedDemon 1.5 Beta 2

Nick Bradbury is updating FeedDemon to 1.5. The beta is available. I'm going to be very interested in seeing what he and his users thought was important to add.

Already noticed that I need to get my favicon into my blog so it shows up in FeedDemon. And working with BlogLines looks to be great - I'll have to see.

PS Nick is also supporting BloggerCon III

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Decided to try out Feedburner.  As soon as Boogler gets their site back up, I'll update my template. Just felt I need to know about this service since bletter also provides an RSS service.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Podcasts - Rise of Radio

Ten years ago George Gilder wrote Digital Dark Horse - Newspapers. Prior to the popularity of the web or or he argued that "newspapers will prevail in the Information Age". In a time when television was the primary new source, this was a radical forecast for the emerging Internet.

With podcasts, we'll see another media that was relegated to a secondary status be retrieved. Radio companies, including public radio, will become the primary sources for podcasts. In just the few short days since iPodder was released, we are seeing WGBH and Minnesota Public Radio are already podcasting. And KOMO from Seattle.

Video Killed the Radio Star, but podcasting retrieves it.

Podcasts - Old Media as Content

Every new medium uses old media as the content. For example, radio programs were some of the first successful television programs. Brochures became some of the first web sites. CDs are still called albums. New media retrieves old media.

But some old media works better than others in the new medium. For example, people still want to load all of their CDs onto their iPod. There are even iPod service companies that will do this for you. In this case people want to put their old media that they love, understand and own into their new medium. Old media content helps people adapt to the new medium.

The success of iPod can not be separated from iTunes. RIAA furor about Napster and others was that sales of old media, CDs, were hurt. The beauty of iTunes is that Apple figured out the best old media for the iPod was not CDs but songs. (They also then worked on the details to make it a business.) iPod's interface is built around selecting songs. It is songs, not CDs, that are the best old media for iPod or any digital player.

Podcasting is a new medium and so it too takes old media as its content. Look at the Pioneers of podcasting and you'll see that they adapted the format of a radio program. Dave Winner commented in his Morning Coffee Notes of October 21, 2004 (mp3), that Adam Curry made his Daily Source Code program a perfect length of 40 minutes. This is the length of an hour long content without commercials that we understand from classrooms lectures, documentaries, interviews and public radio. It is no wonder that Adam Curry, a radio broadcaster with success in radio as television content (MTV), is the leading figure in podcasting. The familiar format of radio is making it easier for people to understand podcasting and is a key component in its rapid spread to early adapters.

However, the radio program format is not necessarily the best old media format for podcasting as it evolves. Just as iPod crossed the chasm to popular adaptation with songs instead of CDS, so it will probably take a different format for podcasting. A microcontent format will evolve.

Microcontent is the direction we are seeing in all media. Eric McLuhan in Electric Language shows the long term change in writing to paragraphs that are a single sentence. Look a Power Points - paragraphs without sentences. Look at how blogs are different than standard (brochureware) web sites. A blog produces RSS feeds which breaks a single web page into microcontent. Consumers want small blocks of content to make their own playlist, their own digest, their remix. People will create their own "radio programs" with microcontent podcasts.

So where is the microcontent for podcasting? Instead of long playing records (LPs) expect to see more and more 45s. WGBH is podcasting Morning Stories weekly which are short audio stories. Radio station KOMO is doing podcasts of individual news stories. And we are starting to see remixes and poems and other shorter formats of old media.

As the podcasting software, devices and producers move beyond the early adapter, look for better support of microcontent and remixes. Look for the 45s, not the LPs. Look for the tunes, not the CDs. Look for the blog, not the web site. Look for the elegantly design of TiVo or the iPod. It will all be there. The content of podcasts will be many different old media.


Friday, October 22, 2004

Sing Along

Can we comprehend Billions of Dollars for war? We are we going to spend Billions of Dollars for Peace?

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Is a Lie Okay?

After listening to the outright false statements by Bush and Cheney the last few weeks, I'm beginning to believe that lying is now okay. Is it the constant bombardment of product commercials which promote nearly non-existent benefits? Is the sitcom settings that depict "middle class" American homes as perfect and more spacious than most of us live in? Is it just the information glut where we just don't know what to believe anymore?

Marketing products or candidates should not be about lying. Period.

(Or is this just a liberal view?)

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Red and Blue: It's Local, Stupid

Washington Post ran a story with a detailed analysis of Democratic and Republican voting in the DC area. At first glance, Republicans gain as you moved further from downtown DC. However, if you looked at the two wealthy inner counties, Fairfax and Montgomery, you find a different pattern.

I think what you really are seeing that the established political party has the upper hand as the suburbs and exurbs grow towards them.

Even if you don't agree with that analysis, it sticks me that for the country to move off the red-blue divide the effort will have to be grassroots level. People are going to have to get involved with their local political parties, attend political meetings and act locally. It may start with you school, your newspaper or your blog. Maybe there will be something like Regan Democrats in the near future, but I doubt it. It's local, stupid.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Podcasting: Don't need an iPod

Added a button for iPodder to my blog. While the name suggests you need an Apple iPod, you certainly don't. However, you'll probably need iTunes to start. I just use iPodder and iTunes myself. Give it a try.

There is directory of podcast available. I'll recommend Trade Secrets to find out about the fast moving world of podcast. But look at the directory for a wide variety of content.

Blogging on the Metro?

Has anyone figured out how to blog on the Metro? I could bring my laptop, but the keyboard is a little too big for the crowd during rush hour. Anyone have suggestions on how to use a Palm?

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Polls Are Wrong: Secret Ballot

The secret ballot is the keystone of democracy. I believe that this fact will be the November surprise.

Friends in two battleground states tell me they feel fear. It is as if rational discussion is not allowed. The right is so embolden where they live that you have to be careful who knows that you don't support Bush. Since that is the case, I wonder how many people in those circumstances even tell the pollsters the truth. So I believe that when people cast their secret ballots at the polls that the results will be different than the current polls.

Friday, October 08, 2004