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. :-)
Following up on today's previous piece.
There's an assumption built into every Internet debate that anything that comes from Apple must be easier than anything that comes from anyone else. It's not true, of course. Ease-of-use isn't always a mystical or magical thing, sometimes it's mathematical.
Ease-of-use is inversely proportional to the number of choices.
Fewer choices ==> easier to use.
No, not always (anticipating that someone would say that). If you're really stupid at design, you can have fewer choices and still not be eaiser to use. Your classic lose-lose.
Take email for example. The iPhone email app has to allow all kinds of options that a Facebook device wouldn't have to, because I can use an iPhone with any email server I want to. And any number of them. This is great for people who understand how email works, but a lot of people don't.
It gets even more complex if you want to synch contacts. So complicated that Google had to put up a page explaining, in 13 steps, how to do it if you want to use their contact system on an iPhone.
I'm not saying choice is bad, it's not! I wouldn't use a phone that didn't offer lots of choices. But there are plenty of people who can't do the setup. They just can't wrap their minds around how these things work. (And if you think they're all old, think again. It's amazing to me how little at least some of today's college students know about how computers work. Yes, I took the time to actually find out.)
Ideally, to configure a Facebook phone, you would enter your username and password. All the other configuration data would be pre-determined.
PS: I put "phone" in quotes because that's how people are referring to these devices. It's anachronistic. Looking back from the future we'll wonder why people thought of these devices as phones. They are very little like their non-mobile counterparts.
PPS: I'm not saying this is good or bad, it just is.
Flip it around. What if someone told you they weren't working on one? They'd be nuts.
Just look at what Facebook is.
About the only thing it isn't is voice, and that's really not a big deal on today's "phones."
If you took the Facebook app for the iPhone and pulled it out through its umbilical cord and made it the operating environment instead of just an app, you'd have an awesomely simple mobile device. Just add an icon for Voice and you're good to go.
PS: It'll probably suck a lot less than Apple's social network.
PPS: Another way to think of it. For a major Internet utility like Facebook, doing a mobile device is like a major word processor doing printer drivers in the 80s, back when the OS didn't do them.
PPPS: There ought to be a strictly freeware non-corporate platform for mobile devices. Possible an Android distribution.
To get a feel for what blogging is like in the East Village, I started an aggregator at:
When I started at NYU, there was another project booting up -- a blog run by the NY Times and NYU jointly to cover the East Village.
But there wasn't much interest, so in May I turned it off. Sites like this fall into disrepair quickly. You have to watch for feeds that wander off topic, and there are always problems to take care of and one less site makes life a little easier. In this case, the aggregator was the last service running on an AWS instance, so by turning it off I was able to shut it off too.
Yesterday I got an email from Brooke Kroeger, the director of the journalism institute at NYU, wondering why the site hadn't updated since May. I offered to turn it back on, and she asked me to. So it's back on.
If you have any comments or questions, please let me know. It's a resource for anyone and everyone. There's an OPML of all the feeds it follows. You're free to run that through your aggregator if you like.