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About the author

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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November 2010

Oct   Dec


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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.

Design challenge: River of News in HTML Permalink.

I'm a big believer in designers, programmers, writers, artists, news people all working together.

So it's in the spirit of a programmer looking for help from designers that I ask the following question.

What's the best way to display a River of News in a browser?

A river is a strict reverse-chronology of news items that conform more or less to the elements of a RSS 2.0 <item>. So you could have a title, link, description, publication date, link to comments, categories, or enclosures. There are a few other elements that can be in an item. For a full list, check out the RSS 2.0 spec. It's written so that a designer can make sense of it.

Here are some examples of rivers:

1. nytimesriver.com -- designed originally for Blackberries.

2. Arc90's rendering of the 2006-era river thanks to archive.org.

3. A screen shot of the Radio 8.0 river, in early 2002.

4. east-village.org, produced by River2.

5. Twitter is a river.

7. Les Orchard's news page (the descriptions would have to be initially expanded to make it fully a river).

8. Glowdart is very interesting. I'd like to experiment with a UI like this, but one where the user could give it any number of feeds to follow. In other words it's a nice start for a generalized RoN aggregator.

The design challenge is this. GIven the latest HTML techniques, do a mockup of a great River of News. If it's really something new, I'll put the software behind it and make it live.

Earmarks, deficits, pfui! Permalink.

A very simple observation.

When the Republicans are in power and running up huge deficits, the issue of deficits is nowhere in sight.

During the last Bush presidency we should have been talking about deficits and the national debt and what we were passing on to future generations.

We were fighting two wars and had tax cuts at the same time. A very unusual confluence, and a really powerful way to accelerate debt. Usually wars are times of sacrifice, with rationing and high taxes, compulsory service. Even so we emerge from wars usually (if we win) with huge debts to pay off.

Now when the Democrats are in power, and the issue is (finally!) investing in America, all of a sudden the deficit is the big issue.

And who's making it such a big issue? The same deficit-loving Republicans (when they're in power).

Reality: No matter who's in power, what we as a country spend money on should always be an issue. Whether we go into debt or not is moot. There will be times when we will go into debt. It's as natural as the ebb and flow of the tides.

If the decision is spending our grandchildren's money on blowing up Iraq, or making them healthier or better educated -- I don't think it's much of a choice -- do you? Yet the Republicans seem to spend freely to kill Iraqis and fight against investing in America. We build new infrastructure in Iraq, and then blow it up, but we won't build new infrastructure in the US, at all. This is lunacy. We are collectively out of our minds if we let this happen.

Meanwhile our competitors invest in the health and education of their grandchildren. The next generation of Americans won't thank us for not investing in their future, they'll be the menial labor of their generation -- they will curse us.

"Running a deficit" is just another way of saying "investing." The hype is that we have to balance our budgets at home, so the government should too. But that's not true -- most of us run deficits, esp when we're young. If you have a mortgage, you're "running a deficit." And it's a good idea. When you're young you haven't had the time to accumulate enough money to buy a house, so the financial system lets you buy it a little at a time. Really, there's nothing imprudent there. If you're young and you're against debt, and don't have any -- you probably had rich parents. :-)

Student loans are also a good idea if it means you'll earn $120K instead of $30K per year. You can pay off the loan with part of the higher salary. If you don't invest, the only way to grow is by windfall -- and our windfall in America has run out. We don't have great natural resources, we're a resource-importer. That means unless we want to spiral downward, we must invest. And that's why we have deficits.

We grew up thinking it was our birthright to run everything and own everything. The truth is, that was a bubble that had a lot to do with geography, and our advantage is largely over. That's not any party's fault, much larger forces are at work. Now we have to think to keep going, and think very well. And at just this time, thinking is something it seems people don't want to do.

PS: As with deficits, there's nothing wrong with earmarks. If the government decides to spend money, either the executive branch or the legislative branch decides how to spend it. (Occasionally the judicial branch makes spending decisions too.) If it's the legislative branch deciding, that's an earmark. If it's not an earmark that just means an employee of one of the departments, likelly not even an elected official, is making the decision. To campaign against earmarks, as the Republicans are preparing to do, is to assume the people have no idea how government works, and that no one (i.e. the press) is going to clue them in.

PPS: Love this story about the newly-elected Republican from Maryland, who campaigned to repeal health care reform, pissed off that his health care (free with his new job) doesn't start for a month after he's sworn in. It's okay for the rest of us to pay for his health care, but if we want help with the insurance companies, that's too expensive! These Republicans are such greedy hypocritical and heartless assholes.

© Copyright 1997-2011 Dave Winer. Last build: 12/12/2011; 1:37:28 PM. "It's even worse than it appears."

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