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. :-)
First a few preambles...
1. I'm a big believer in the River of News style of feed reader. Reverse-chronologic. Scan all the feeds every hour or every ten minutes, and accept notifications that feeds have updated in realtime. When there are new items, rebuild the river.
2. For the last month I've been posting pointers to my personal river, so people can get an idea of how it works for a real person.
3. A few weeks ago I issued a design challenge asking designers to take a look at the River of News idea and see if they could come up with a better way to display it. I'm using tables. They suck. Make it nicer. There was some interest, but so far nothing to actually look at.
So... here's what's new: Now...
When I build the HTML version of my River, I also build a JSON river.
If you view the content of that file you'll see it's a series of updatedFeed elements, each of which contains a list of items that are new.
This is the raw data of my River, with none of the formatting. In a language that every browser understands at its core.
Now it should be simple to experiment with new renderings. And not in a mockup. This is a real river, for a real user, that updates at least six times an hour, and usually quite a bit more often. (There are a number of frequently-updating realtime feeds I'm subscribed to.)
One more thing...
I released this last night as a feature of River2, an app that runs in the OPML Editor. To get the rendering for your river, you just have to turn on the Dropbox preference that allows a static rendering of the river. I will eventually add a dynamic page to the site that makes this step unnecessary.
That's it -- that's the news. I'm pretty jazzed about this and hope to create some new connections.
PS: It isn't just new in that this is in JSON, it's the first time there's been a data-only rendering of a river.
Update: There is now a JSONP version of the river.
I'm a veteran of many free speech campaigns on the Internet dating back to the Communication Decency Act in 1996. I've been around this block many times. So when people say "I thought we were boycotting Amazon for their treatment of WikiLeaks" when I posted a link to Amazon's new programmable DNS feature (which I've been waiting for, thanks) I see it all coming around again.
First, there certainly are things worth going to the mat for. But this is not one of them. For a variety of reasons.
First, if I were in Amazon's shoes, and I have been, I'm not sure I wouldn't have done exactly what they did. They're running a business, not a government. They aren't the guarantors of anyone's rights, that's the government's job. There are plenty of choices for web hosting besides Amazon. And because they charge money for their services, they guarantee that there will always be. If Twitter had shut them off, that would be serious, because their pricing model, and lack of federation, more or less cuts off competition. There it would be really chilling. Here, not even slightly chilling.
Further, I depend on Amazon a lot more than most people do. For me it's not at all a casual decision.
And when I make a principled stand, I tend to stick by it. For example, I was a vocal critic of Twitter's Suggested Users List. When they put me on the list, I had to request to be removed. Painful thing to do, because millions of followers, like it or not, have huge PR value. No matter, I had put my stake in the ground.
I boycotted Amazon once before, for the one-click patent. It was when I learned that other open tech advocates were using (and loving) Amazon, years after I quit, that I realized my stand was pointless. I wasn't making a statement any longer, I was just cutting myself off from a convenient service.
We don't know all the facts about WikiLeaks. I see the press taking their side of the story and publishing it as fact. So maybe people who want a boycott are being misled. Maybe WikiLeaks didn't have to go to Amazon, maybe the DOS attack isn't severe. We don't know. I see, in WikiLeaks, a man and an organization that is very good at manipulating the public. They're not alone in that, the Republicans are good at it too, as are the North Koreans and Al Qaeda. Being good at manipulating us isn't good or bad. But then you have to ask "Do they really need my help?" And do they need it this way? And will everyone feel so strongly about boycotting Amazon in a couple of weeks, or will we all go back to business as usual?
All these things weigh in a decision as to whether or not to make a principled stand.
And it adds up to this, now, re Amazon: Not even a close call.