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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.

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"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.

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April 2010

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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.

Verdict after one day Permalink.

After an intense day of play and exploration and question-asking, some conclusions on the iPad I bought:

1. I will carry it with me on the trip I'm about to take to California.

2. I will also bring my netbook. When I watch movies on the airplane, it'll be on the netbook. I'm right now working my way through an excellent series about World War II, produced in 1974. I have AVI files. It isn't worth the trouble to re-process the files so I can watch them on the iPad. (I may buy a movie in the iTunes store to see what it's like. Thinking of getting Fantastic Mr. Fox, which I saw in theaters, three times. It's one of those movies, like Fargo and The Big Lebowski that gets better as you watch it more times.)

3. I love the way maps work on the iPad. Much better than on the iPhone. In some ways not as good as on the Droid (after all that's a Google product and the maps are from Google).

A picture named espresso.jpg3a. I could have loved the way news works on this thing, if the NY Times and been willing to ship a beautiful reverse-chronologic view of their whole news stream. They chickened out with a little mini-dip-into the stream. It's like sipping the news from an espresso cup when I want to be inundated by Niagara Falls. (I said to Derek Gottfried this evening that the motto of the Times is "All the news..." not "A teentsy taste of news..." A company whose mission was news and who was clear on that mission could never have shipped so little news. But then Apple is supposed to be a company that loves computers. See the next section on iTunes.)

4. iTunes is a crazy way to connect something as powerful as this device to local resources. A nightmare. Whoever thought up this way of doing things hates users. It's as mean as anything Microsoft ever foisted on its customers.

5. As explained in the excellent Engadget review, I am one of those people who use a few apps in my work. They all run on my Asus, most of them don't run on the iPad. And even if they did, they can't run at the same time on the iPad, so for my work, the machine isn't a fit. The usual fanboy rebuttal is that it is not designed for what I do. Absolutely correct.

6. However, I have a mind and a lot of experience using computers, and designing software for them, and helping people use them. I also work with people who are not very deeply skilled in computer technology, exactly the kind of people this product is supposedly for. It won't work for them, because they need to multi-task too. We learned a long time ago that inexpert users don't use less resources, they just use them differently. The argument that the Mac wasn't a serious computer was nonsense. I was there when all these arguments were fresh. This is not a replay. Keep dreaming if you want, but if you give the iPad to your mother expect the light to go on for you. At that exact moment you will realize how poorly prepared it is for that.

7. I'm going to demo it for my mother tomorrow. I expect to wow her with the map application. But in so many ways it could not replace her Mac, although her Mac is terribly inadequate and confusing, with so many layers of contradictions. Too bad this product is so far from being able to replace it for her. I am, however, going to keep trying to get her to try an iPhone.

8. I promised a verdict, so here it is. With the caveat that it's after one day and I reserve the right to change it at any time: Today's iPad, the one that I just bought, is just a demo of something that could be very nice and useful at some point in the future. Today it's something to play with, not something to use. That's the kind way to say it. The direct way: It's a toy.

My iPad is here Permalink.

A picture named ipad.gifUnboxing it now.

The first thing you have to do after turning it on is connect it to iTunes. Here we go with the synching, the part of iPhones that I totally hate. It's why I use a Sony Walkman and a Droid. Ugh.

Hmm. I thought I downloaded iTunes 9.1 last night. Quitting and relaunching. No good. Going to itunes.com.

Meantime I'm wondering what'll happen when I connect up the iPad to my desktop Mac in Berkeley (where I'm going on Monday). I'll do what I do with my iPhone, I won't change anything till I get back to NY.

First glitch, it says an iPad has already been synched to this copy of iTunes in May 2009. Hmm. Good trick! <img src=">

Okay so the iPad has a problem that lots of software has, when you finish the basic setup -- now what? There are no movies, newspapers or books on the device, and no clue as to how to get them on there. Those are the first things I want to do, see how it plays stuff. Maybe I'm wrong about that. I should disconnect and see what I get.

Okay, so the first thing I did was bring up the maps. Yes, this is the way the maps app should work. Lots of room, more room than I have on my laptop. And lots more room than I have on my phone. Now you gotta wonder -- when you're looking for something as you're walking around, which will you pull out -- the phone or the pad? What do you think?

First conclusion: I love the way the Maps app works. Love is not too strong a word. You know I'm very circumspect, and I think Apple is just too precious. But this is how maps should work.

I just checked out the web browser, and set up email. I don't remember how to synch contacts with Google, I have to do that.

My review in one tweet.

Next I want to upload some pictures to the device, and Fargo (although I'm not sure which version, probably the big one). Maybe instead this time I'll go for The Big Lebowski (just for a small change of pace, always go with a Coen Brothers movie, cause you can watch them a million times without getting bored).

Where can I get a book to try out for $0?

I also have to get Netflix. And the NY Times. What else?

Okay I want to copy bigLebowski.avi onto the iPad. How? (I'm going to try copying it into the folder I'm synching pictures from.)

Well I couldn't figure out how to play the movie, but I did get it to play via Netflix, but that isn't going to work on the airplane.

Time to upload some pictures and get on with my day.

I figured out how to upload movies. It's not in the Movies tab at the top (and these guys have the gall to lecture on UI design) it's in the Movies section in the sidebar. No matter, it won't take an AVI file, saying you can't play it on this device. So much for the idiots who told me it would play the movies in my collection (when I said I was pretty sure it wouldn't -- guess I win that bet, eh). My guess is that the movies must be MP4s.

BTW, I thought I should mention that my netbook has no trouble with AVI files. It runs VLC, an open source app that plays anything as long as it isn't DRM'd (and some stuff that is DRM'd).

So far, the only thing the iPad does better than my netbook is maps. There probably are other things. I don't read books on the Asus, or on my Kindle, so maybe the iPad works better. I hear the Scrabble game is great, but I hate Scrabble (love crosswords though).

PS: They do give you a book to get started with -- Winnie The Pooh. Wish they had thought of something a bit more adult.

© Copyright 1997-2011 Dave Winer. Last build: 12/12/2011; 1:45:40 PM. "It's even worse than it appears."

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