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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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People are always asking about my bike.

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March 2010

Feb   Apr


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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.

A nice boost for rssCloud Permalink.

A picture named santa.gifIt's been a while since we could announce new major support for rssCloud, but today is one of those big days we'll remember for a long time.

Status.net has now enabled rssCloud support in the RSS 2.0 feeds for all its users.

This means that identi.ca, the server operated by status.net, has the feature, as well as all other sites they operate. I assume it will be baked into a subsequent open source release (status.net is GPL software).

What does this mean? Well, when I post an update to my account on identi.ca, any cloud-aware aggregator will receive an update notification. River2, the aggregator I've built for Frontier (it runs in the OPML Editor) has support for rssCloud.

For a demo here's a screen shot of an update I posted to identi.ca. Note the time of the update. I immediately refreshed the home page of my River2 server, and there's the update. Elapsed time ==> 12 seconds. That's what real time means. <img src=">

This is my feed. A source screen shot shows the <cloud> element.

It's also a holy grail for the idea of a distributed loosely-coupled network of Twitter-like services, linked together in real time using RSS. (What a mouthful!) It's very elegant and lightweight and it works today.

18 interesting firsts Permalink.

A picture named crumb.jpgI stumbled across this very interesting list of 18 firsts on the Internet. It's a good way to look at things. You could argue who invented what first, and you often get nowhere that way, because "invention" is such a poorly understood concept. Everyone's work builds on other people's. The guy who invented the car used a lot of other people's work to create something with four wheels and an engine. Did it have to have a steering wheel to be a car? We could argue about that, and that would change who the inventor was.

It may be more useful to say who had the first car. Who drove it, and where did they go?

And on the Internet, there's no doubt, for example that Tim Berners-Lee had the first website. Unless someone else says they did. (Haven't heard anyone say that, btw.)

I was glad to get credit for creating the first podcast.

Who wrote the first blog post? They give credit for that to Justin Hall (and mis-spell his name).

I wrote in the About page for weblogs.com that the first blog was also the first website. TBL's info.cern.ch was a reverse-chronologic list of new websites. That's how central to the web I think blogs are. But if that wasn't the first blog, let's see Hall's first post, and decide if that really was the first one.

A picture named typewriter.jpgWho had the first feed? That's going to be an interesting debate for sure. I can show you mine, it was first published on December 15, 1997. But what makes something a feed? Can you have a feed with no aggregator? Is it the aggregator that makes something a feed? If so, we'll have to figure out who wrote the first aggregator and when, and what feed(s) it read.

One of the criteria for being "first" is, imho -- Did your work lead to other people imitating you? That test says whether or not your work commercialized or popularized the concept. The implies "hitting the spot" where being the only one seems, somehow, less significant. That's one argument against Hall as the first blogger, but in favor of TBL. As far as I know there were no bloggers that formed a community in the aftermath of his Links from the Underground.

Pretty sure the first blogging community, in the sense that we think of blogging today, was formed around Scripting News. Most blogs today can trace their roots back to Scripting News, if you go back far enough. I suppose some communities are disjoint. Did LiveJournal spawn out of a blog that spawned out of something that came from Scripting? I have no idea. But I do know that most of the early bloggers were readers of this site, and many participated in the discussion group here. There was a website that traced the lineage, called BlogTree, and it verified that the root of the tree was Scripting News. This is something I'm proud of, I think justifiably.

One of the reasons I'm proud of it is that blogging was created without the lock-in you see in systems like Twitter, Facebook and though they'll argue for sure, Buzz. Even Posterous, Tumblr and Wordpress.com don't give you easy ways off their servers. Blogging started without the concept of a single server, so there was no place to get off of. The whole point was to be as distributed as the web itself, to give people independence, to let billions of websites bloom. This is such an obvious feature of blogs that people don't usually see it. But it's there, and it's hugely important.

There are a lot of very vocal people who work to remove credit rather than give it. I'm sure some of them will comment here. As long as their comments are respectful they will stand.

Promising competition Permalink.

Several interesting half-developments in the competitive landscape from non-dominant tech entities. I believe in supporting the second and third tier companies and startups, when they offer alternatives to the BigCo's. I like the little guys because they have an incentive to listen to and please users, without the strategy taxes almost always imposed by the big guys.

A picture named loverss.jpgFirst, there is Mark Fletcher's SnapGroups. It's basically a threaded discussion group with a modern browser-based UI. It's perhaps a framework that something like FriendFeed can develop from, although it's just a framework. There are no feeds in either direction -- you can't subscribe to feeds from within SnapGroups, and it doesn't generate feeds, so I can't subscribe to stuff from SnapGroups in other RSS-aware environments. But it does look nice, and Mark is the author of Bloglines, so we know he understands feeds. These days, you can't even get into the game without basic feed support. I'd of course also like to see him support rssCloud so the connections in and out can be real-time.

Second, I just got an email from Zach Copley at Status.Net saying their software, which is an open source Twitter workalike, now supports rssCloud. That is very welcome news. I tested it with River2, and while the initial handshake worked, I'm not getting the realtime updates. I expect we'll figure out the glitch quickly and then we'll have another realtime connection. What can we do with it? We'll have to explore that. Meanwhile, it's nice to have a reason to get reacquainted with Identi.ca, which is the mother ship of Status.Net. And thanks to Zach for sticking with it.

Finally, Marshall Kirkpatrick, who writes for ReadWriteWeb, says the big players in his market, TechCrunch, Mashable, AllThingsDigital, don't pick up stories once RWW has covered them. This gives vendors an incentive to give exclusives to the big pubs, assuming they want coverage from them. Vendors who buy that are making a mistake. The news will find the people who need to know it, more now than ever. Pick a reporter who you think will understand your product and give them enough time. That's one approach, if you think you can get the attention. Otherwise, just write your own blog post, and send the links around to all the reporters, and hope they find it interesting. I know this isn't the standard advice, but the gatekeepers figure you need them a lot more than they need you, and act accordingly. It's hard to get insightful reporting from them, and I think the readers have figured that out. All pubs should follow this simple rule: write up whatever you find interesting, whenever you discover it, no matter who has already written it. Anyone who plays it differently will eventually pay a penalty. And these days "eventually" is a lot sooner than it used to be.

Remember: "People come back to places that send them away."

© Copyright 1997-2011 Dave Winer. Last build: 12/12/2011; 1:46:33 PM. "It's even worse than it appears."

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