Should XML disappear into the background?

I agree with Dave Winer on this one. Even with the disclaimers about newsreaders and such, there’s still a pretty good chance that the reader will wonder why there are two versions of the blog homepage. At the opposite end are the readers who “think the link is broken” when they see all those angle brackets. Here’s my claim: it’s okay, people will figure out that all those angle brackets make their life better and will eventually forget about them. That is, they will disappear into the background, but not because we went out of our way to hide them.
Before dismissing me as technology-elite, take a listen to this talk by Malcolm Gladwell at IT Converations. He talks about peoples’ reactions to new products and ideas. Quote:

  There’s a class of products that are difficult for people to interpret. Some things really are ugly, and when we say that they’re ugly, they really are ugly and we’re always going to think that they’re ugly. Right? They’re never going to be beautiful. But there’s another class of products that we see and we don’t really know what we think. They challenge us. We don’t know how to describe them. And we end up, if we’re forced to explain ourselves, calling them ugly, because we can’t think of a better way to describe our feelings. And the real problem with asking people what they think about something is that we don’t have a good way of distinguishing between these two states. We don’t have a good way of distinguishing between the thing that really is ugly, and the thing that is radical and challenging, and simply new and unusual”

It’s probably a stretch to equate XML with the Aeron chair, but perhaps they’re not so different.

Props to Matthew Bischoff for executing the first GigaDial hack. He’s got a HTTP redirect that sends the /inbox url on his site to a GigaDial page where you can add podcasts to his inbox. Great work, Matt! GigaDial is the project I mentioned yesterday. It’s something of a remixing and recommendations system for podcasts. Here’s an overview page containing more information. I’ve been feeding my iPod with it for about a week now. Fellow Lemoner and GigaDial co-creator Martijn Venrooy sent me a nice Spanish lesson on Thursday. Anyway, if personalized broadcasting interests you, you might also want to check out Webjay.org, Potkast and the IT Conversations Program Queue.

Busy busy busy. I’ve had my head down coding nonstop all week. Oy, that’s what happens when your profession and your hobby are one in the same. Lots of cool stuff on all fronts. One of the hobby projects went up as a beta yesterday and has already gotten some really nice comments. Thank you! I’ll write more — or maybe podcast — about it over the weekend.