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

My buddy Rex Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named river.jpgThese days my blog posts are always essays, but it wasn't always so. In the beginning they were all links, with pointers to articles both on this site and off-site. Example.

Then it became a hybrid, at the top of the page were the links and at the bottom were articles. Example.

Then in early 2007 (Jan 6, to be exact) I went all essays, and then a few weeks after that, started using Twitter. It's funny how one event followed another.

Anyway, this article by Rex Hammock is so lovely and so vindicating, I'd do a special post just to link to it.

Rex Hammock: Facebook goes River of News.

And one little thing, I'm going to have a linkblog up in the not-too-distant future. Again. Everything is new again, every few years, it seems. ;->

Also it's sad that my friends, people like Rex, have to hedge so much because of a handful of stinkers who follow me around on the web. I'd like to encourage my buddies to just go through it, and say what you want to say and let the stinkers stink up some other place. Life is too short. With much love, Dave.

Testing BuddyPress Permanent link to this item in the archive.

When Matt told me that WordPress was going to support rssCloud that got me started using WordPress with new purpose. I've been learning to use the product through I haven't yet started my own installation. My attention is focused elsewhere. ;->

Anyway, the point of this post is to get help learning how to use BuddyPress. I don't want a huge hosting obligation. Ideally I want a freemium deal like the one at However, it doesn't seem to exist anywhere, yet.

I just came across a site that says it lets you test BuddyPress.

I was expecting to have to create an account, but it (apparently) found me on Facebook, and I'm already leaving a trail there. Totally not happy about that, but I suppose my gripe is with Facebook, who somehow has decided that they own the web and can give access to my account to anyone who asks for it? I was never asked to opt into this. Unless I'm missing something this seems just plain bad.

Anyway, I thought BuddyPress was supposed to be like Twitter. It doesn't look anything like Twitter. There's no box at the top of the page that asks What Are You Doing? Without that it's not Twitter-like.


Update: I found my "wire" page -- and on that page, there's evidence that I had been here on April 30. So that lets Facebook off the hook. I must have created the connection then.

Update: Some free advice for the BP designers. The home page of my site has to look more or less exactly like the home page of the Twitter site. Any difference is going to equal pain for users, and pain for users means slower adoption. Later, when and if you achieve dominant market share, you can slowly evolve the UI, if you really feel you must. Users are less interested in innovation in the UI than you would think they are.

Our all-you-can-eat lifestlye Permanent link to this item in the archive.

First thoughts on our San Quentin field trip.

I went for a late lunch in Sausalito with Scoble after spending most of the day inside the walls at San Quentin state prison. We were sitting on a quiet beautiful street with healthy, well-fed people walking by, driving in to eat at the Indian restaurant, riding bicycles and stopping to ask for directions. Scoble entered our location into Foursquare and a few minutes later a clean, friendly young man showed up with an infant wrapped in a blanket. He greeted us with a smile, Scoble instantly knew he was. We didn't in any way at any time feel we were in any danger. I was pretty sure most of the people with us there had never killed anyone.

That may strike you as an odd way to describe a lunch in the center of high-tech land, because that's our normal reality. We expect so much, and we get it. We live the all-you-can-eat lifestyle. But just a few miles away reality is very different.

We met a man who had never used the Internet, had never seen a cell phone, had no clue what Twitter is, and probably a million other things we talk about all the time. He's been in jail since 1987. He talked to us for a while in the courtyard just inside the entrance gate. He's in a "program" and my guess from the way it sounded, will be paroled in January. He murdered his little sister when he was 18. Blew her head off with a shotgun. He did it because she and her brother and mother hid his money and drugs. He told his brother that he'd kill his sister if he didn't tell him where the stash was. The brother said he'd never kill her. He did.

He didn't tell us this, Rudy Luna, the assistant warden who was taking us on a tour, did.

The warden said that, ironically, that prison is a revolving door for people who commit minor crimes, but for murderers like the guy we were talking to, sometimes they get out and stay out. He says there's a point, usually at 11 years, where they realize that they could change. The guys who get sentenced for smaller crimes don't get there.

The guy we were talking to might not commit another murder, but I don't see how he can live with himself.

Everwhere we went we were being watched.

By everyone.

That may have been the oddest thing. I am accustomed to leading what I think is a fairly anonymous life. Sometimes on BART a stranger is staring at me, I imagine they recognize my face from my blog. But most of the time I move around without anyone paying much attention. Not inside the prison.

And it's not just us they're watching, they're all watching each other, all the time. Because prison is a dangerous place. Everything they do seems to be about keeping from getting slashed or beat up or killed.

We saw thousands of people in tiny cages.

We saw the outside of a building where people are locked up all the time, their crimes so heinous or infamous, or they attract so much attention, or they are people who will try to kill anything that they possibly can.

It's the contrast that is so striking. And what it tells me about who I am.

Having just lost my father, I'm thinking about what death means in a much more real and present way these days. Our guide tells us at one point that most of the people we're looking at, and there are hundreds of them, killed someone. And they're walking around like you and me in a park. Except it's nothing like the way we walk around in a park. Everyone is watching everyone. All the time.

I'm sure there will be other insights. Coming out of it, I think none of us knew what to write. That's the sign that we were doing something very different, something very very outside our normal experience.


Last update: Saturday, October 24, 2009 at 3:39 PM Pacific.

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Leon Winer

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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