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

The Times attitude Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I don't know why I remembered this story last night, but that's when it happened.

When I was a kid, in sixth grade in PS 32 in Queens, there was a deal where we could get the NY Times for students. It was a special edition, with some of the big words edited out, or perhaps explained. I got it even though I had been reading the full adult version for a few years.

We also had a weekly quiz that was written by someone at the Times. It was multiple choice and it indicated (I guess) whether or not you had read the Times that week. There was one question on one test that really caused me trouble. What's the largest state in the US? There were four choices, and two of them were Alaska and California. That's a nightmare because they didn't say what the criteria was. Is it largest by area or population? So I chose Alaska, because I felt if you didn't say, it must mean area. Well that's not what they meant and I got the answer wrong. I protested to the teacher, who must have thought: Here's a teaching moment. So she asked me to write a letter to the Times, which I did. She mailed it for me.

A picture named mwom.gifNow here's the part that taught me a lot about the Times, and how adults can be ridiculously rude to children. I decided at the time to remember this so when I was an adult I would treat children with respect, which I really try to do.

The Times response came to my teacher, not me. They didn't like something about how I wrote my letter. And they didn't respond to the substance of the challenge. You may think it was a small point, but I was small then, and I wanted to know.

To this day, the Times has remained consistent and so have I. They generally talk over our heads, and respond to the manner in which the challenge is raised, not to its substance. I still keep trying to find new ways to approach this. I guess what I've been trying to say to the Times since sixth grade is this -- We are real people out here. Just like you. And we're smart. So let's talk, without the attitude.

An afterthought: Everyone is inside some things and outside everything else. I have a funny story to go with this. In 2004, I was at Harvard and Scoble was at Microsoft. I don't know how it came up but my longtime friend threw a bit of tech industry FUD at me, so I threw some Ivy League FUD back at him. I said that Harvard has been around since 1636 and pretty likely would be around long after Microsoft was gone, so don't try to push me around bud. We had a good laugh. (I think I also boasted that we had more cash than Bill Gates, but on reflection I doubt that was actually true.)

I also became friends with Chris Lydon, who had been a Times reporter in the 1970s. He clued me into some of the culture from an insider's point of view. I also got to know Rebecca MacKinnon who had been a reporter for CNN in Japan, Korea and China.

Rebooting the News 1-10 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A lot of change is coming in the Rebooting The News podcast series.

The last episode was so good, it seemed a shame there wasn't a site specifically for the podcast. So I bought a domain and spent a couple of days creating a site for it. (Along the way creating some interesting new desktop software for managing podcasts.)

There's a new feed just for RTN podcasts.

They will continue to appear in the Scripting News feed, so if you're subscribed to that, no need to change anything.

I also made a package of the first ten episodes and uploaded a torrent to Mininova.

So if you've missed any episodes, or would just like to have a complete collection through last week, please go get it. BitTorrent is such a rational way to distribute content, and it's under attack by the entertainment industry. This is a perfect non-infringing application of BT, Jay and I want you to have our recordings, so go get em! A picture named sidesmiley.gif

If you're new to BitTorrent, it's really easy. On the Mac, I recommend Transmission and on Windows, I use uTorrent. Just follow the instructions on the site to install, then click on the link above and click on OK to the prompts that appear. It may take an hour or two to get all 135MB, so just leave it running in the background. Once it's finished, leave it running a little longer so that the next people can download it from you. It's a peer-to-peer system.

And don't worry -- I'm allowed to do this -- I created the podcasts (along with Jay).


Last update: Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 5:39 PM Pacific.

A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 54, 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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