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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's Black Friday Permalink.

A picture named tryHarder.jpgThe more it settles in, the worse it looks for Apple.

Rex Hammock swears it's his last piece about the press conference, but why should it be? We've been immersed in the Reality Distortion Field, he and I, for our entire adult lives. And neither of us are spring chickens. Now that's it's fluttering in and out, and mostly out -- why not spend some time appreciating it, and trying to find a better way to talk about Apple's products.

What became clear on Friday is that Apple does great as long as everyone is fawning, oohing and ahhing with every new feature. But when there's trouble, even just a bit, the charm is gone.

The first clue that the iPhone 4 was going to break the mold was when he announced it on stage at the WWDC and the damned thing wouldn't connect to the Internet. They blamed it on the people in the audience.

Then we saw Jobs at the D conference, lecturing a questioner about how they were going to take more control of the apps so that people couldn't look at the browser IDs of people coming to external sites from the Cupertino campus. This had the charm and charisma of Captain Queeg testifying in the Caine Mutiny.

Then one gaffe after another on Friday, each more ridiculous than the previous. He asks if they could get the benefit of the doubt. Oy he's been getting nothing but the benefit of the doubt for his entire career. He says they built all those stores because they love their users. Really. It kind of looks like they sell products there, for money -- you know -- profit.

Then he commits the biggest sin for Apple, he says the iPhone is just like the others. Oooops. That one is going to be hard to walk back. It wasn't in a random email that could be blamed on someone else. The boss said it, in slides for everyone to see. The iPhone is like all the others. It's just a phone.

If I had any advice to give the folks at Apple it's this.

1. Read Rex's piece.

2. Read JLG's piece.

A picture named gasee.jpgThere are ways to communicate about problems with products -- be direct and honest. And when you design them, assume that every flaw is going to be examined in great detail. Like it or not the users have great communication tools now. That's the actual world you live in.

Instead of saying how you are just as awful as your competitors, praise them to the hilt and say you're aiming to do even better. Everyone loves an aspirer. No one loves a sore winner. Coach Bill Walsh of the 49ers had this down. Johnson & Johnson did a voluntary recall of Tylenol at the first hint of a problem. Avis is Number 2 so they try harder. There are so many examples of people respecting the hell out of their competition, and taking product failure seriously, seeing things from their customers point of view. Not merely talking about them or to them, but hearing them and reflecting back to them what they say, in policies and features.

Rex says: "The Friday fiasco displayed also that when the management of 'the message' doesn't go according to the way they want it to go, they stop being insanely great and just start being insane."

The reporters were caught just as flat-footed as Apple was. To blame the media, as Apple has been doing, isn't realistic. It's despite the media that we find out what's really going on, without very much help. They do carry Apple's water, but lately they've been hearing that things have changed and maybe they're starting to respond.

To think that the Reality Distortion Field was intact last Friday is not to understand the RDF. That was the one of the first press events where the field was not in force.

Realtime XML-RPC API Permalink.

To restart the Instant Outliner, I needed the equivalent of FriendFeed's realtime update functionality.

It's really elegant, but I couldn't make my software depend on another service for update notification. I started to do it in REST and realized that I was reinventing a lot of what XML-RPC already did.

So I put aside the REST approach and went with XML-RPC.

A day later I had it working and a day after that I had the Instant Outliner converted. Unlike previous implementations this one works perfectly, is instantaneous and requires no polling. The long-poll approach works perfectly.

I wanted to document this for the programmers who are testing the Instant Outliner, because the realtime updating functionality is more general, it can be used to connect our workgroup together in more ways than through I/Oing.

There are two entry-points, one to get the next set of updates, and one to push an update to the workgroup. Both assume there's an identity system in place that can independently determine if a username/password is valid. (The identity function hooks in as a callback.)

Users can connect from more than one location at a time, each instance gets a complete set of updates. So I can leave my I/O app running at home and stay connected from a classroom or Starbucks.

You can find the source for both the client and the server at builtins.realtime in opml.root.

Here are the two entry-points:

1. realtime.getUpdates (username, password) returns array of struct

2. realtime.pushUpdate (username, password, htmltext, type, data)

A mosque at Ground Zero Permalink.

A picture named battr.gifThe big Tea Party controversy in NYC these days is whether or not to build a mosque at Ground Zero.

Not sure who's advocating it, but I know who's against it -- the know-nothing, down-home T.P. country folk who don't live in or particularly like NYC. I wondered why they were so upset about the WTC bombing on 9/11. I thought they hated NY and the pinko liberals who live here. I would have thought they'd be happy to see a big piece of it go up in smoke. I guess they don't worry too much about consistency.

Gotta love how they tell us to MYOB when it comes to country life, but don't mind meddling in the way the Big City works.

Ride the subway some day and tell me there aren't a lot of people who go to mosques living right here in the Big Apple.

"Islam is an American religion," said Daisy Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement. Amen to that.

And check out the history of our great country, and how we were a haven against oppression, and how there were always ignorant people who said America is just for the people who are here and the rest of us should go back from where y'all came. But the greatness of our country, and esp this city, is that it welcomes people from all over the world. It's what fed the idea of American exceptionalism.

So yes, we should build a mosque where the World Trade Center used to stand. Because it's consistent with our values, and because it's the most arrogant and territorial thing we could do vis a vis the assholes who blew up the WTC.

It's like going over their head to their god and saying hey you get to hang out here too. Along with Jesus and Moses.

Can you imagine the meeting at Terrorist HQ when they're thinking about blowing up whatever we build at Ground Zero. And you know they're going to be thinking about that. Some bright young terrorist guy will point out that they'll be blowing up a mosque if they do it. They probably won't think twice, but they sure won't make any new friends in the Muslim world.

If anything I'd think it would be Muslims who would protest building a mosque at Ground Zero.

Anyway, I think we should build nothing but shrines there. One of every kind of church. Spare no expense. I thought they should move Shea Stadium there. That's another kind of shrine. No serious business at Ground Zero from now on. Just contemplation, prayer, reflection and baseball. When they try to blow it up they'll seem like the spoiled sports and sore losers that they are.

© Copyright 1997-2011 Dave Winer. Last build: 12/12/2011; 1:41:43 PM. "It's even worse than it appears."

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