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

A link back to the beginning Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I just did a quick read of an academic paper about Jorn Barger's contribution to the development of blogging written by Rudolf Ammann, and presented at Hypertext 09 in Torino, Italy.

I really liked the paper, and I plan to go through the it and read all the citations. A trip down memory lane.

One thing I liked about this treatment is that it is dispassionate. He doesn't take sides and lets our words speak for us. For both Barger and myself, linkrot has not claimed our work -- it's all still there, many many years later.

It was also gratifying to see the Frontier community get the credit it deserves in laying the foundation for the blogging world that followed, including (in no special order) Michael Sippey, Peter Prodoehl, Steve Bogart, Brent Simmons, Daniel Berlinger, Andy J. Williams, Chris Gulker, Cameron Barrett and Jorn Barger. There were so many others, I'm sure I'm leaving people out who I both appreciate and have great affection for.

Ammann credits Barger specially, as do many others. For me, all these people made important contributions.

BTW, the software we were using then is an ancient predecessor of the OPML Editor, which is still, in many ways, light years ahead of any other content management environment. Perhaps that will be the next thing people dig up. It's GPL-licensed open source.

Back then I said, and still say now..

Still diggin!

PS: I'll keep saying it until I'm not diggin anymore. ;->

PPS: Docs on the NewsPage suite, the software that defined the community.

PPPS: I found a copy of Frontier 4.2.3 on my hard drive, and uploaded it. This was the April 1997 release. I also found a copy of the NewsPage suite, which is the lizard brain of everything that followed in the blogging world. I may release it so that every copy of the OPML Editor has this bit of history, so it never gets lost, fingers crossed, Murphy-willing, IANAL, my mother loves me, etc.

New features in FF and Twitter Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named mirror.gifYesterday while my poor addled brain struggled to cope with jetlag, Twitter released a small feature with potentially wide implication, and FriendFeed released something new related to search that I thought they had already released. I don't think my confusion in the latter case had anything to do with jetlag.

New Twitter feature: It now hots-up hashtags.

So when you refer to #iranelection in a tweet it links to a search page with the results of a search for that string in the twitstream. I've hotted it up the way Twitter would have. Nice to have for sure, seems it should have always worked that way. They probably didn't do it earlier to lessen the load on the search servers.

And FriendFeed now has real-time search. Maybe the feature is totally new. It seems I've seen it before. But I still don't get it. Let me try to explain.

FF has a lot of stuff flowing through it, including part of the Twitter firehose. I think they just get the tweets of Twitter users who are followed on FF. So if I have it search for "davewiner" it returns a subset of all the occurences of my Twitter handle. Steve Gillmor says that they've now got his much-fabled feature -- Track -- implemented. How so? Unless they're getting the whole firehose from Twitter.

It's nice that they track sources other than Twitter, like this blog's RSS feed. But apparently they don't poll very often, and they don't support pings (I know they invented a more complicated protocol, why am I not excited about that) so you can hardly call that "real-time." (BTW, this item first appeared in the feed at 7:52AM. It showed in FF at 8:28AM.)

A picture named mirror.gifAll this hype about real-time is welcome (but hardly new). The ideal of having search be up-to-the-minute accurate is an important one. It's just that no one is there yet. And 140-char tweets all repeating the same thing over and over and then retweeting those same things, well that hardly counts as information. After a while it's more interesting to watch Wolf Blitzer. And that's really saying something. ;->

So, while I'm glad that FF is reaching out beyond Twitter, their interface is impossible to use. Sit someone down off the street and have them try to watch the flow of tweets and comments rush by. No doubt FF's interface would make an impressive display for a mad genius in a scifi movie about the end of the world, but for more ordinary folk? Back to the drawing board.

BTW, talking about new features that should be sent back to the labs -- Microsoft announced that they are including results from selected Twitter users. The relevance criteria is follower count. Might have worked last year, before the SUL, but now follower count is more a reflection of how much you are pwned by Ev and Biz, not how the net values your opinion. I'm sure Larry and Sergey are having a good laugh. Try again Microsoft. Use some other algorithm, follower count is meaningless.


Last update: Friday, July 03, 2009 at 12:42 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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