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. :-)
I thought I was getting pretty good service from Time-Warner with the regular $34.95 per month plan, so I upgraded to the $99 wideband plan, thinking it would be even better. Not so. The new service is much worse.
It takes a minute for pages to load sometimes. Other times the Internet is just out completely, with no service at all. The DNS is unreliable.
A few minutes ago it waited a minute before failing to locate psychologytoday.com.
Sites like Google and WNYC, usually very quick to load, take minutes. I've resorted at times to using my Verizon Mifi to access the Internet.
It can take a minute to upload a 30K image.
Sometimes when I search for something on Google, they can't find it (i.e. they can't find Google), so instead they take me to a helpful page on Roadrunner that can help me look up something, you know, like Google does. :-(
In other words, the "upgrade" is actually a disgusting awful downgrade.
It. Doesn't. Fucking. Work.
One of my neighbors has Optimum on a wifi router without a password so I tried using that a few times instead. It's pretty zippy. Should I have them install service here? Can I get out of the Time-Warner deal without a penalty?
Net-net: A huge honking thumbs-down on Time-Warner "wideband."
Note: My theory is that far more of my neighbors have made this upgrade and that I was virtually alone on the cheap circuit. Regardless, the net-effect is much worse service for almost three times the money. A shitty deal.
Update: Someone from Time-Warner got in touch via email. Totally beats going in through voicemail. I'll let you know how it goes.
Life is a series of comings and goings, moving on, letting go, graduating, commencing, marrying, separating. If we're not in the act of moving on, we're thinking about the last time we did, or planning on the next one.
But what about the last time you move on?
They asked nurses if they would prefer to go quickly, or have a few months to prepare for the end. Think about it for a moment, before reading on. I was surprised to learn they would choose to go slowly. They know something many of us don't, that medicine has become good at making the last weeks of life comfortable. I'm sure there are exceptions, and this is mostly an exercise, most of us don't get to make this choice.
The New Yorker has an excellent article in the current issue about the choices we make and how they determine the quality of our last days. Too many people choose to fight, when there's no chance of survival, and as a result spend their last days in agony, and never get to say a proper goodbye to those they are close to. As far away as you might think this is, it's probably a good idea to read this piece. You may be called on to help a friend or family member make this transition. It's better in this one case not to rely on on-the-job training. It's one of the things you don't get to do twice.
When I was 47, being prepared to go for heart surgery, I got a visit from a social worker who wanted to discuss end of life issues with me. About me! I politely told her it wasn't my time yet, although in retrospect, knowing what I know now, it would probably have been smart to have the talk anyway.
All this is prologue to some news I got this weekend about a former colleague, Chris Gulker. We never officially worked together, but in an unofficial capacity we got some amazing stuff done, back in the very early days of blogging, although we didn't know at that time that's what it would turn out to be.
Chris was the systems guy at the San Francisco Examiner, and a user of my Frontier software. For a few years he had used it in prepress work, to automate layouts of the news in Quark XPress. I watched this from a distance, with interest -- but without participating myself. I didn't have any applications for such high quality publishing work. He shared what he learned with the community at Seybold, led by another friend, Craig Cline.
Chris's work led to a project we did together in the fall of 1994, when the San Francisco newspapers went on strike. I saw this as an opportunity to get hands-on experience with the web. I signed up to work on the strike paper. Chris was on the other side of the picket line, he was doing the website for the management paper. Didn't matter that we were opponents, we shared what we were learning, and the pace of learning was, at that time, incredibly rapid.
I wrote about the work we did together in DaveNet, a blog-like website I did before starting Scripting News.
Chris went on to work at Apple and is a prolific blogger, but on a personal level, we lost touch over the years.
This weekend I got an email pointing to Chris's website where he posted in mid-July that he has been dealing with an incurable form of cancer that has now moved to its final stages. He has, at best, a few months to live.
I read his subsequent posts, and based on what I learned with my father's final struggles, last year at this time, that Chris is, imho, approaching this exactly as I would. And as the New Yorker author recommends. There comes a time when the odds are so stacked against a recovery, your chances are so slim, that it's better to give up on the miracle cure, and instead try to get the most out of the time you have remaining. There's nothing easy about giving up, about preparing for the final move-on. I imagine you feel not ready to give up on living, but you're ready to give up fighting to live. Or almost ready. Or so close to ready you might as well take a deep breath and get ready.
I don't know the answers. And I don't know what I can do to help -- other than tell this little story about a very small slice of Chris's life from my point of view. He did some great work, that yielded great results. He can be proud of that, and I for one am grateful that he was part of my life. There are lots of other people who believe that sharing what you have, as Chris did so easily, is a foolish thing to do, but Chris chose to lead instead and we all benefited.
Beyond that, I can say that I'll see you soon enough. And until we meet again, I'm going to keep pushing on the dream we both shared so many years ago.