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. :-)
This post began as a comment on Fred Wilson's blog.
I find it ironic that Fred finds fault with Facebook's strategy which does to the web what Twitter is doing to the web. We could have a long argument about the subtleties, but they'll all be hair-splits. Fact is we're repeating a loop the tech industry has been caught up in for a few generations. We're about to enter a phase when one vendor tries to break out from the rest, the way DEC did in the age of mini-computers, the way IBM did with the PC, the way Microsoft did in graphic operating systems, and the way Google did in what we may come to refer to as the web. We're now headed into new territory, and Facebook is making a bold bid, maybe the boldest one ever, to dominate. But it won't work, it can't, they're up against forces that are inexorable. Every time through the loop the bidder gets a little further, only to fall to earth once again.
My gut says the winning strategy will be this -- a company gets within striking distance of taking it all chooses, instead of betting the company on the unlikely event that they'll win, bets on the jungle. Sees itself more as an investment banker than a hotbed of innovation.
I urged Microsoft to do this, before they bet the farm on Vista. I said the investment they were making of billions of dollars per year on programmers was a bad bet. Of course they didn't hear it, kept on going, and now they're right back where they were before Vista. They never figured out where you want to go today (bad joke).
Some of the stuff in Facebook's proposal is good and worth supporting. Starting with the page-level metadata, that's totally harmless, and if it's widely implemented represents an upgrade to the web that everyone can take advantage of, including their competitors. We need to see more stuff like this.
The next level isn't quite so harmless -- their implementation of the graph -- because all the data resides on their servers, and as with Apple and their iPhone/iPad apps, they could shut anyone off at will. This is not acceptable. (BTW, quietly Twitter has acquired the same power.) Even so, the API is admirably simple, and worth using -- but it should also be available in XML. There's lots of XML code out there, tap into it. Facebook not saving any money by not offering it and they're showing they're picky about who develops for them -- not good for trust. And regardless, their offer is unacceptable. It must be federated, the data must live in lots of places. Show us they get that by integrating the other way, have Facebook feed off graph.scripting.com, graph.us.gov or graph.twitter.com. We could all relax a bit then, knowing they're still thinking web, not vacuum cleaner.
Any other approach is doomed. Facebook is hot now, but history has shown that being a hotbed doesn't scale. That eventually these companies have to tap into the general talent pool and they end up achieving the same level of mediocrity as the previous dominant one. It happened to IBM, the minicomputer companies, IBM again, Microsoft, now it's Google's turn, and soon it will be Facebook's.
Zuckerberg is riding a rocket, and no doubt he's brilliant, but he won't make it. What he'll do is wake up his competitors, and one or more of them will get a little bit of their shit together, and will break out of complacency. Who knows it might be Twitter. If you see Google give up their religion and start to say no to their programming gods, and start doing things to win markets instead of glorify their genius, that'll be all it will take to put up a big brick wall that Zuck won't be able to get around. Microsoft and Oracle are still out there and either of them could create a pool of hundreds of millions of dollars to finance an open alternative to Twitter or Facebook. Even IBM is large enough to make a difference.
At least Twitter has some ears out there. Fred and Bijan go to their board meetings. Hopefully at the next one they'll consider hitting reset on the go-it-alone strategy they outlined at their conference. A lot of the advice I gave Microsoft 15 years ago would play well for Twitter today, as well as Google, or for that matter, Microsoft.
First let me explain what I mean.
This is an on-off switch:
If you press the top part, whatever it's connected to turns on.
If you press the bottom part, it turns off.
On, off, on, off, etc etc.
If you forget which part does what, they are conveniently labeled to remind you of their function.
Anyway, looking around my desk I see lots of things that have switches that work exactly this way. 1. Printer. 2. Lamp. 3. Power strips.
But lots of things don't. 1. Scanner. 2. Router. 3. Modem. 4. iMac.
I seem to remember that my first Apple II had a simple on-off switch. Did the IBM PC? Not sure. The Apple III? Not sure. Pretty sure the first Mac did not have an on-off switch.
Let's compare notes. Does your computer give you a clear and simple way to turn it off? If not, should it?
Well, this one has a happy ending.
The solution was very simple.
I have a Bluetooth mouse and a Bluetooth keyboard.
If I turn off the Bluetooth mouse before going to sleep, I can leave the computer on all night and the screen saver will kick in, and then the Energy Saver setting for the monitor takes effect, and in the morning the screen is off. Pretty sure it stayed off all night (evidence -- not being woken up by it).
There is a setting that tells the Mac to not be activated by Bluetooth devices, but I'd rather not have to attach a non-Bluetooth mouse to the computer to activate the screen in the morning.
So if you're finding that you can't turn off the screen of the Mac, and have it stay off, try turning off your Bluetooth mouse if you have one.
And maybe Bluetooth mice should go to sleep and stay asleep if no one is moving them.
I wanted to add a photo feed. Went looking for a way to just enter the address of the feed, but instead found a page where I could create a gadget from a feed.
I tried clicking on it.
It worked but it didn't do anything special with the pictures.
Changed the presentation style to Slideshow, with a very nice result.
BTW, here's an iGoogle button for Scripting News.
PS: It would be great if Google supported Realtime RSS. I updated my feed 45 minutes ago but the change still hasn't been reflected in iGoogle. (I know, they want me to support their proprietary way of doing notification, I want them to do it the open way. You'll know that Google has become a serious competitor when they take advantage of every open format and protocol in the interest of making their product work better.)