Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Dan Gillmor came over to my house yesterday and we were going to talk about the book he was writing, "Making the News". He asked me whether I had read the outline... no... Oops. Sorry! We ended up making another appointment and spent the rest of the time geeking out. Anyway, that's not the point I want to make.

I felt really guilty, and came up with a great idea. I opened my mac in my car and got it to start reading the outline to me using text to speech. This is the first time I really tried it and it worked well. (Although the woman's voice reading Dan's words was a bit weird.) So then I thought about this some more. What I really want is a text to speech to mp3 converter that took my RSS feed and dumped it into an mp3 file that I could listen to my iPod on the way to work.

The other thing I could do is make my blog available in mp3 format. Has someone already done this? Is there a text to mp3 tool somehwere? Is this a stupid idea?

Update: Dan just blogged about yesterday. He writes about our geeking out. What we did was get ssh and port-forwarding running on his Mac. I totally don't understand why more people don't use ssh port-forwarding for mail and sftp and scp for file transfers. Welcome to the society of ssh lovers Dan. ;-)

So I updated my birthday script. It sends me mail when it's someone's birthday and creates a daily birthday roll for my side bar. I've added a field for nicknames and url's. If you already entered your birthday, but would like to add a nickname and/or a url, please fill out the form again. I'll merge the data properly. Also, if you would not like to show up in my birthdayroll, please select "no" for "show up on birthdayroll".

I finished my script today. If you look at my sidebar, you will find a list of blogs that Technorati says have linked to me in order of freshness. I wrote it in python using the xml.dom module. Once I got my head around it, it all made sense and was very easy. Thanks again to Dive Into Python. Other than the fact that you should all be very impressed by my programming skill, I think Technorati inbound links is probably the most timely and comprehensive way to see who is linking to you.

My biggest problem with trackbacks right now is that since my site is heavy, trackbacks time out and people end up sending lots of them thinking they didn't go through. Also, since people can put just about anything in the trackbacks, I end up with long worded URL's in my trackback pings which screw up with width of my sidebar.

So, trackbacks will now be listed at with each entry and Technorati will be take the position in my sidebar.

Now I have to bug David Sifry about trying to identify the permalinks better and filtering out the false positives...

So here's an example of how Linkedin can be useful. Rebecca, the Tokyo bureau chief of CNN had emailed me asking for information on the moblog conference because she was interested in possibly covering it. I had been meaning to get around to introducing her to Adam. Then I received a Linkedin request from Adam asking to be introduced to Rebecca to see if she wanted to cover the conference. I clicked, typed something like "you guys should talk" and... done. It was a very easy way for me to add value and I ended up helping to friends without taking much of my time.

I've been getting a steady flow of requests now and about half of them are just tests, but I really do think that Linkedin will help me manage requests for introduction. I get SO many of them via normal email and many fall through the cracks. Intros are such an easy way to help people and add value, but they are really a pain to keep track of. It's usually just a matter of searching through my email to find the email address of the person that needs to be contacted, but often I'm too busy to do that. Linkedin solves that problem. It also forces the introducee to write something focused, rather than, "I wonder if you might be able to introduce me to..."

UPDATE: Discussion has moved to the wiki

Adriaan, who I lunched with awhile ago, is the developer of Kung-Log, which is the client I use to post to MT. He writes about his thoughts on the MetaWeblog API. He is a good example of someone who actually has to use all of the API's to try to allow his users to post to the variety of weblogs. We REALLY should try to keep the API consistant so that people like Adriaan can continue to write tools for blogs. As the blog software folks start their feature race, the trick will be for the API to keep up with everything. I think the API is great because unlike unweildy standards like bluetooth that tries to design in every single possibility from the beginning, the MetaWeblog API has evolved and stayed simple. I guess the question is, can the current process keep up with the increasing diversity and feature race? Any thoughts Dave?

Here's Adriaan's suggestion.

What is my suggestion? Use the MetaWeblog API, BUT complement it with the MovableType methods, and possibly any new Blogger2 API features.