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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.

"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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July 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.

Apple products have flaws Permalink.

Update: Title change explained below.

A picture named ronaldMcDonald.jpgApple gives special early access to a small number of favored reporters, among them David Pogue at the NY Times and Walt Mossberg at the Wall Street Journal. I'm sure both Mossberg and Pogue would swear that this consistent early access doesn't buy Apple favorable press, and perhaps they believe that, but I don't.

I'm pretty sure Apple wouldn't seed their products to people who didn't consistently say their products are virtually perfect game-changers.

At TechCrunch, Devin Coldewey says the race to get reviews out first keeps the truth from getting out until Apple products are in users' hands. There's some truth to this, but it's not the whole truth. The desire to be favored by Apple certainly keeps the reporters and their reports friendly.

It's a really good time not just to clean up the way Apple explains their products, but also to root out the game of footsie the tech press, and that includes people who call themselves bloggers, plays with Apple and to a lesser extent, other vendors.

On Friday Apple will hold a special press conference about the iPhone 4. Prehaps they expect to turn to their friends the reporters to help them clean up this mess. And maybe the reporters will play along, and a fresh series of puff pieces will come out saying it's much ado about not very much. And maybe if all that happens, this time, it'll just blow over. Or perhaps the reporters, sensing that reality is distorted differently now, will try to represent the interests of their users, and to hell with access -- and cover the story the way it presents itself, not the way Apple wants it to be presented.

It's better, imho, long-term, for Apple to insist on the independence of the press, and it's certainly best that the press be independent and represent the interests of their readers, and not the industry. If it doesn't happen now, it will happen soon.

Update: Some people say Mossberg caught the iPhone 4 problems in his review. I don't see it that way, for a number of reasons -- but I'll yield, and have changed the title of the piece. The point isn't about these two specific authors. It's why do we always wait to get the bad news about products until after the reviewers get their hands on it. There's no argument in this case that the initial story about the iPhone 4 was "great stuff, game-changer, Apple rules." Turns out the real story was quite a bit different. And I'm more writing this piece for the rest of us who aren't inside, to remind us to wait until a few weeks after rollout before deciding whether a product is fit for the masses.

Apple's brewing shitstorm Permalink.

A picture named apple.gifI've been lucky to be in the middle of a number of Internet shitstorms in my life. They've been absolutely surreal, unfair, cruel. No one will listen to your side of the story. People you thought were friends join the pile-on. Etc etc. And then it passes, and eventually you go back to life as it was. I don't want to re-litigate any of them, please -- but I just want to say I know what it's like.

Now Rex Hammock, who I admire as a friend and as a pundit, wrote a piece about Apple and the crazy situation with the iPhone 4. He's right, but he doesn't quite go far enough in his analysis.

I don't think the problem is with the iPhone 4. I think what we're seeing is Apple's charm wearing off. The Reality Distortion Field bubble is about to burst. Their run as the Exceptional Company is about to end. And they're going to be the last ones to figure it out. And it's going to be the ugliest shitstorm you've ever seen.

Why will it be so ugly? Because Apple's hype has been steadily inflating since 1997 when Steve Jobs returned, and it's never taken a dip. They've risen from being written off to being worth more than Microsoft.

A picture named bp.gifIt's also going to get ugly because we're fed up with corporations. It was remarkable that there were no ads for oil companies on the World Cup broadcasts (at least the ones I watched). Can you imagine listening to a pitch from Exxon or BP saying they are working for our energy independence, or to clean up the planet or all the other lies they were telling us while they were taking huge unnecessary risks with the ecology of the oceans? They're smart enough to know now is not the time to be spouting bullshit at us.

It will be ugly because Apple is going to let it get ugly. Because unlike the oil companies they have no experience with PR disasters. When I read their first public response on July 2, the one that said the problem was the meter measuring the strength of AT&T's signal, I couldn't believe this was meant to be taken seriously. It's the kind of story The Onion might have written on a bad day. Or Jon Stewart. That a corporate PR team wrote this says how unseasoned their people are. That they thought this answer was going to satisfy anyone says how out of touch they are with the world they are in.

Apple has no concept of what's it like to be disbelieved, untrusted, seen as an American corporation and nothing more.

A picture named heyPC.jpgI wonder how Apple is going to deal with their first serious virus. Microsoft, when they had to deal with malware, was in denial for years. They thought it was the users' problem. Until they finally saw people switching to Macs (as I did) just to get away from all the crazy shit that was attacking Windows users.

In 2007, I couldn't believe Apple, a company that was selling itself as the more secure computer, wanted to keep my failed hard disk, one I had paid full price to replace, insisting it was theirs to refurbish. I couldn't accept that they would let all my personal information fall into the hands of who-knows-who, but that's what they proposed to do.

Apple is a company that desperately needs to grow up and wipe the smile off its face, and roll its sleeves up and start to appreciate that they're no longer the upstart, the underdog, the Crazy One in the Richard Dreyfus ad. They are The Man, the Boss, the one who, from now on, everyone is going to be taking shots at and shits on.

I use Macs. I'm typing this on a new 27-inch iMac. I stood in line to buy the iPhone, in the sweltering summer New York heat. I was pleased when Apple people came out to bring us bottled water. More of that Apple. More care and concern for the people who give you not only their respect and adoration, but also their money. The rules that apply to The Rest Of Us are about to apply to you. Time to get ready for it.

BTW, I am an Apple shareholder.

Update: Apple is having a press conference on Friday about the iPhone.

$38.5 million for Squarespace Permalink.

A picture named mrPuck.jpgYesterday Squarespace, a NYC-based developer of blogging software, announced they had raised $38.5 million in venture capital. That's a huge amount. This is a company that competes with Automattic and SixApart.

What a shocker, so totally from left field.

It seems to me they have to be doing more than blogging software. Wouldn't it be cool if they were launching a competitor to Twitter and/or Facebook, from a NY base? It would be really cool to have an aggressive tech company based here.

What is that much money good for? Seems it must be for buying servers and people to keep the servers running. It's the kind of money you use to fund a rapid expansion. It's the kind of money that creates the need for $100 million in a year, or less.

Anyway, I don't know very much about Squarespace, but now I want to know more.

BTW, I was walking along Houston St yesterday and took a picture of an interesting building with a distinct gold statue on the side. I even uploaded the picture to Flickr and pushed it to Twitter. Turns out that's the building where Squarespace is headquartered. Energy vortexes and all that! :-)

Update: I just heard privately that a lot of the money went to the founder. Gulp. That's a lot of cash. Not confirmed, at all.

Unwanted Google ads on wordpress.com blogs Permalink.

A picture named minion.gifI just noticed that there's a Google ad on a recent story on my mother's wordpress.com blog. Here's a screen shot. Every story that I clicked on on her site now has an ad. This is new.

I called to find out if she had done anything to have these ads appear, and she said no.

Then I went to my Droidie site, and it has ads now. Oy.

But not on Unberkeley.

Thankfully not on the memorial site for my father.

No ads on Frontier News.

Maybe I missed something, maybe there's an opt-in that we checked off by accident on the sites that have ads.

If there's some kind of revenue share, it would be nice to get the money, but as I've said before, many times, I don't want ads on my sites.

What's going on??

Update: There is a disclaimer on wordpress.com. "To support the service (and keep free features free), we also sometimes run advertisements."

Update #2: There's more. See item #2 on this page. If you're using Firefox (I am) you won't see the ads. So there's a bug. But actually I'd rather they not hide the ads from some users. That's probably why I wasn't aware they were showing ads to some of my readers, because I've been using Firefox for years.

© Copyright 1997-2011 Dave Winer. Last build: 12/12/2011; 1:41:56 PM. "It's even worse than it appears."

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