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About the author

A picture named daveTiny.jpgDave Winer, 56, is a visiting scholar at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and editor of the Scripting News weblog. He 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 New York City.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

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

"Dave was in a hurry. He had big ideas." -- Harvard.

"Dave Winer is one of the most important figures in the evolution of online media." -- Nieman Journalism Lab.

10 inventors of Internet technologies you may not have heard of. -- Royal Pingdom.

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.

8/2/11: Who I Am.

Contact me

scriptingnews1mail at gmail dot com.




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January 2010

Dec   Feb


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FYI: You're soaking in it. :-)

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Dave Winer's weblog, started in April 1997, bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

RSS is the universal language of realtime Permalink.

A picture named rss.jpgEvery so often I get a question -- do I "still" use RSS. Yes I do. Very much so.

Today I watched myself very quickly use RSS to glue a new web app into my flow, and be the first to catch the links about a hot news story through a realtime RSS feed. Yeah I still use it, and I love what it does for me.

Earlier today I was talking with Scoble, he was raving about Plancast. The conversation ended when he discovered the Google-China story. In the next hour RSS played a huge role in me getting informed on the Google story, and sharing what I learned with all my Twitter followers. That was the realtime part of what RSS did for me (I use a hacked-up version of the fastest NYT feed, more on that later).

But I was also able to add Plancast to my workflow without knowing in advance how much I would be using it. Because they provide an RSS feed of the updates for the people I follow on Plancast. And because it's the standard format for flowing updates, I could hook it into River2, and it "just worked." This way I get a chance to have its updates flow by me even if I don't remember to regularly visit the site. (In a followup one of the developers told me the API is one of the next things on their list, and they're planning on being compatible with the Twitter API. Good move. I also suggested they could add more data to the RSS feed. That might mean more to their success, in the short term, than a full API.)

Anyway -- I get news faster than anyone else. I share it on Twitter of course. So guess where they're getting the news from? It's RSS, dummy. (Might have been a good title for the piece, but I decided to be more serious.)

How did I hack up the realtime feed for the NYT?

Well, the Times is slow and bureaucratic. They don't want to take the risk to go realtime. Not enough of an installed base. But I desperately wanted a realtime RSS feed, so I went ahead and hacked it. It's really brute force and ugly, but it works. Those, of course, are the best kind of hacks. <img src=">

They have a great feed, it's all the newest stuff from the Times, all sections, in reverse-chronologic order. It's a gold mine of news. I have a script running on one of my servers that reads it every minute. If the feed updates, the script reads the feed, hacks in a <cloud> element with string substitution, and writes it out another of my servers. That's the feed I follow in River2. The back-end that relays the updates is running on another of my servers. If you have a realtime RSS reader, you're welcome to follow it too:


Point is, RSS is the universal language of realtime updates. The Plancast guys know it, they do UI and systems. The Times guys know it too -- they do news content, the other side of the equation. And everyone in both their industries knows it too. When you have something that's working so incredibly well you celebrate the fact that while no one was looking everyone was compatible. It's a fracking miracle.

End of rant. <img src=">

PS: I'm davew on Plancast. And it looks like a very promising service.

© Copyright 1997-2011 Dave Winer. Last build: 12/12/2011; 1:48:10 PM. "It's even worse than it appears."

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