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

Where is Twitter's WordPress? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Blogger is a centralized free hosting service created by Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan. It suffered from many of the same scaling issues in its early days as Twitter, but now that Blogger has been owned by Google for a long time, the scaling issues are gone. But it's not the only blogging service -- there are many others. And I can if I want, host my own blog on my own server, using software like WordPress or Movable Type. I've written my own software for Scripting News.

I use Twitter, but I also remember fondly the days when Twitter was smaller, when I followed 50 people instead of 800. And I knew most of them. I still like Twitter, but it's way different, and I see a role for a smaller blog-sized Twitter, a companion to Scripting News, like Leo's TWiT Army. A clubhouse where we work on stuff that's of interest mainly to this community, where I follow 20 or 30 people and am followed by a hundred. This isn't a job for Yammer, because it's not a private application. But it isn't a job for Twitter either.

A picture named picasso.gifThis weekend there was a furor about Facebook's terms of service -- people figured out that when they publish stuff on Facebook they lose control of it. Facebook put that in writing in their terms of service, but anyone who follows Technorati knows that our content is spread all over god's creation. People copy and paste whole blog posts, you wish they'd just link to them, but everyone has given up the fight on this, it's completely out of control, and has been for a long time. I think Facebook did the right thing by spelling out in black and white the reality of the Internet. Once you hit publish, it's gone.

No matter what happens, some of us will never be happy with only the centralized service a corporation like Facebook or Twitter provides. Eventually we don't need the training wheels -- it's time to take off down the street in our own car, driving where we want to go, without asking for or waiting for the parent to give it to us. Now, after two years of using Twitter, I know exactly what I want. I've tried to communicate it privately, that hasn't gotten me what I want, so I'll try publicly and see if that works.

1. Ideally, I'd like Amazon to implement a back-end service that does what Twitter does, with a web service API that builds on the S3 API, like SimpleDB (for example). Then I'd spend a little time slapping together a bare-bones user interface and turn it over to my friends here at Scripting News to produce a variety of different interfaces for, browser based and desktop clients. That's the kind of stuff readers of this site love. I think we could bootstrap a community within weeks, and of course everything we create would be open source, so cloning it wouldn't be a problem.

2. Almost as good as #1 would be an EC2 AMI that installs, the software that runs A fair number of programmers already know how to start up an EC2 instance (I do, it's easy -- just took me a few hours and the docs were less than optimal). The idea is that I have to do nothing to have a basic microblogging system running. I want to configure it via web browser. And obviously I need to be able to customize it, but that's not a prob since they already support the Twitter API.

It's time for a thousand Twitters to bloom. The mother ship will do great, but we need a path that's independent of the corporate entity that runs Twitter. We've learned this time and again, let's not learn it one more time.

OAuth is working here! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Q. Define "working."

A. I made an authenticated call to Twitter and it responded with the correct answer instead of "Invalid OAuth Request."

Q. How did you do it?

A. Joseph Smarr patiently worked through the process with me, first making sure it worked with Plaxo and then coaching me on getting it working with Twitter.

Q. Is there anything you'd like to say to Joseph at this time?

A. Yes! Thank you thank you thank you. Thanks! ;->

Q. Is there anything you'd like to say about OAuth?

A. OAuth isn't so hard once you got it working, but there are too many docs, too heavy on theory, and there is no validator. Everything Joseph did could have been done in software. I offered to help get the process systematized by remembering what it was like to be a newbie, which I still am, totally.

My work at is done Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named blowfish.gifAs you may know I participated in the intial design and rollout of the URL-shortener. It was one of the most instantly successful projects I've ever participated in, up there with the release of Radio 8 in 2002 and MORE 1.0 in 1986. Sometimes the time is right for a product, and the execution is great and the communication is crisp. Everyone gets it, and it takes off like a rocket. is one of those phenoms.

They're getting ready to grow a real business around it, and I want to go on to do other things. So we worked out a deal that leaves me satisfied with how things turned out and am no longer a shareholder.

I wish the company and the team the very best.

Onward! ;->


Last update: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 8:10 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.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.

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