Dave 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.
My 40 most-recent links, ranked by number of clicks.
FYI: You're soaking in it. :-)
I wrote a too-short and too-cryptic piece last week that begs a more to-the-point treatment.
There was the web and then there was Web 2.0. The difference is dimension. The first version of the web, though it was never the intention of the designer, was one-way. Publishing was hard, very few people did it. Lots of reading, not much writing. Blogging changed all that, writing got very easy, then richer, to the point where lots of professional publications now use blogging software. Mission accomplished.
Texting was always a read-write medium, and very simple, but like 1.0 of the web, was one-dimensional. Texts were limited in how they could be combined and routed. Enter Twitter, a puzzle -- what the frack is it? We spent three-plus years puzzling it out, in the end it has a rather simple explanation -- it's the next version of SMS. You can do everything in Twitter you can do in SMS, and so much more. But essentially it feels very much like SMS, the same way blogging is very much like the web (so much so that that statement seems ludicrous).
If this is true, what can be done with this observation? I think a lot.
All of today's great handheld computers, the iPhones and Droids and Pres etc can do SMS as a very basic function. But what about a phone that's designed to do SMS 2.0 out of the box? How would that be different from the phones we're using today? A thought exercise, perhaps an opportunity for brain explosions. ">
If you've been reading this site you know I'm interested in future-safe archives.
In a comment on a recent piece, some guy named Mike offers that in the good old days when someone died, their relatives picked up a photo album or scrapbook, which then was left in a leaky garage or left outside, or left behind in a move. I certainly know what that's like. We've lost a lot of loved ones in my family over the years, and I've ended up with a fair amount of their stuff.
But... There's a difference between a photo album and a collection of some of the first weblogs on the Internet. Someday a historian may want to know how blogging got started. For that reason I care whether this stuff survives.
When I saw that UserLand was shutting down radio.weblogs.com at the end of the 2009, I sent a private email to the company and asked if they would mind if I found a place to archive it permanently, and they said it was okay. So I contacted Matt Mullenweg at Automattic, and asked if he would be interested in helping preserve the archive of the Radio weblogs. He said yes.
But then late last year userland.com went off the air. Like a lot of other people, I was pretty concerned that a big chunk of history had gone. As we approached the end of the year, and the theoretical shutoff date of the Radio weblogs, there didn't seem to be anyone there. My emails to the company went unanswered.
Then came an incredible email to UserLand customers from Jake Savin, who used to be part of our small dev team. Jake left to go to Microsoft a few years ago, where he's now a program manager. He's also a husband and a daddy. Even though every minute of his life is spoken for, he gave a huge amount of his time, unknown to most people, to keep the archive alive.
And he did a good job. The sites have been back on the air, temporarily, while we figure out how to make them safe for the future. In the rest of this piece, I'll outline what we plan to do.
1. Sometime before the end of this week, we'll switch over the DNS for radio.weblogs.com to the copy of the archive that's already stored on Automattic's servers. However we will permanently redirect to a new domain, radio-weblogs.com, so we don't depend on VeriSign to keep pointing to the site. At some point that seems likely to break. They've been very good at preserving the link, but we don't want to be dependent on them indefinitely. So, if you created a Radio weblog, as I did, it will now be stored, for the forseeable future, on Automattic's server. For example, here's my old Radio site in its new location. Since the URLs will be redirected, search engines will pick up the change and re-index the sites in their new location.
Important point: The sites are only being archived. They cannot be edited or updated.
2. Jake and I and anyone else who wants to help will statically render the sites at userland.com that document the functionality and history of Frontier, Radio, Manila and related projects. In that archive, which goes back to the early-mid 90s, is a fair amount of the history of the early blogging world. We will make this content available for free download. I will host a version of the content on my servers. Anyone else will be free to do so.
3. The remaining UserLand technology that hasn't already been released under the GPL as open source, will be released. The biggest piece of this is manila.root. I've been spending time in the last few days verifying that it works inside the OPML Editor. I have a dynamic site running, manila.thetwowayweb.com, and a static rendering of that site. It all looks good. We're using a snapshot of manila.root taken in June 2005.
At some point the userland.com servers will shut down. I don't know what will be done with the domain. What I care about are the items above. If anyone has an opinion about the other stuff, I don't know who you would call. I expect to refer to this paragraph many times in the coming weeks and months. ">
It's been a very long ride, but I think finally it's coming to an end. UserLand Software was founded 22 years ago, with the goal of opening up applications to be programmed by users. We didn't fully achieve that goal, but like many other things in life, the goal we did achieve was even more interesting. UserLand was where a lot of things happened for the first time. I'm glad we will finally able to close the book. At some point soon the motto of UserLand will no longer be "still diggin."
However, of course -- the open source project is a totally other story! ">