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Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

New conference format: The unsummit Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named menwalk.jpgI've never liked the idea of conferences calling themselves "summits." Too often they are self-parodies. Too self-important. And often anything but summits, excluding people who would be at a summit if there ever were one.

Even with nations it isn't always obvious who belongs at a summit. If you want to have a summit of the most powerful nations on earth, you'd have to include Russia, China, the US. But what about India? They have more people than either Russia or the US, and they have nukes now, and a fast-growing economy (at least before Sept). But if you have India don't you have to have Pakistan? You see where this is headed. Maybe they should just call them meetings and be done with summitry even at the world level.

If they call something a summit it probably isn't one.

It's esp ironic to have pseudo-summitry in the world of Web 2.0, where the whole point of the technology is to decentralize and distribute power.

The other day at lunch a friend was talking about "the blogosphere" as if it were centered in San Francisco. I know other people who think it's centered in Washington. I wonder how many centers "the blogosphere" has.

I'm tempted, every time I hear a summit coming up, to have a parallel unsummit nearby. I thought I could reserve the domain, but someone else (smart!) had the same idea in a completely different industry.

When people have a summit they're assuming for themselves the right to say whose opinion matters and whose doesn't. As my mother used to say, if they have to do that to feel good about themselves, it's probably not worth it to be part of their little group. Okay mom, you were right about that one. ;->

I tend to mis-spell summits as submits, as if when saying it you had a cold. Submission, now there's something worth having an unsummit about! ;->

There's actually a lot to say about submission. It's one of those cool things you don't think is cool at first. I wrote a piece about submission in 1999. Young people tend to struggle against submission, but you're born to submit. You submit to gravity from day one. It's possible, with enough energy, to escape it, but in normal times we're quite happy to submit to gravity and have all our friends and belongings submit to it as well.

A picture named expired.jpgAnd of course that's just the beginning of submission. In the end we all submit to the grim reaper. That's just how it is. And I think the folk who have summits are fighting the inevitable as well, sooner or later no one cares what any of us thought, the world goes on. As a great French philosopher once said, "The graveyards are full of indispensable men." In much the same way, so are summits.

So the unsummit would begin with a word of thanks for the bounty of ideas and experience before us, and the doors would be open to all who wish to contribute.

Links for the day Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Charles Krauthammer on Obama: "A president with the political intelligence of a Bill Clinton harnessed to the steely self-discipline of a Vladimir Putin. (I say this admiringly.) With these qualities, Obama will now bestride the political stage as largely as did Reagan."

Yahoo user interface library. I must learn how to use some of these tools. They look very interesting.

PJ O'Rourke, a conservative, explains how "We Blew It." He's still blowing. Try self-deprecating humor, make fun of your own clothes. Explain why we shouldn't care about natural resources. You guys have some debugging to do, you've realized it, and that's a good first step. Now it's time to join the 21st century and start concerning yourself with some of the issues of today, not the version of today that Reagan envisioned. Turns out his vision wasn't all that accurate, imho.

China unveiled a $586 billion economic stimulus plan. Until now they had been stimulating our economy more than theirs. This is a big change.

Apache can act as a front-end for machines with a single IP address and multiple apps serving over HTTP. I knew it could do this, but I didn't know how.


Last update: Sunday, November 09, 2008 at 1:48 PM Pacific.

A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

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