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. :-)
Twitter pressed a button tonight, and not just the one marked "Kill."
They sent two wakeup calls to their users:
1. Hey it would be safer to use our client to access Twitter.
2. We will kill your use of Twitter if it suits us.
Just when people were starting to think that Twitter could be used for serious stuff, you know -- like news, and revolutions.
When Amazon kicked WikiLeaks off, without adequate explanation, they did far more damage to their own rep than they did to WikiLeaks. Everyone knew WikiLeaks is a hot potato. What we didn't know is how little heat it would take Amazon to dump one of their customers. It would be one thing to stand up to repeated court orders and finally cave. But in this case, there wasn't even a judgment against WikiLeaks. They kicked them off because it suited them. And that killed Amazon as an environment for journalism. RIght there. If they ever want to get that back they have a lot of explaining to do.
Now this one tweet from ABC's Jake Tapper puts it all in perspective. "Twitter killed my ubertwitter." He got the subject and object of that correct, and the verb.
What if, just saying -- one of the revolutionaries in Cairo or Bahrain or Tripoli was using UberTwitter or Twidroid. Not impossible you know. What if they went to send a message, one that might save lives, and found out that Twitter had shut them off.
Mark Suster, a venture capitalist, commenting on Quora says: "As a long-time user of UberTwitter I find this kind of platform behavior offensive. Not as a VC or as somebody who loves Twitter and always has. But as a user of a product Twitter chose to punish. It sure would have been nicer on your users if you issued a public warning and had given them 72 hours to respond. Who you fucked was me. Your loyal user."
When President Obama met with the leaders of Silicon Valley last night, do you think he asked how they could keep a lid on WikiLeaks? If he didn't bring it up, do you think one of the tech luminaries did? While they were meeting was Dick Costolo, Twitter CEO, dreaming of his own kill switch?
All this is theoretical, but what isn't is that today Twitter pulled the switch on two high volume Twitter clients, UberTwitter, the leading Blackberry Twitter client, and Twidroyd, which was the leading client on Android until Twitter shipped their own. Both are part of the newly formed conglomeration of Twitter client software in a $17.5 million tech/media company called UberMedia founded by Bill Gross.
I used to boast how Twitter was creating a coral reef which would support a thriving and diverse ecosystem. That was then, but now they're running a stalag or gulag (a Russian variety of stalag). We don't know what Bill Gross and/or his team of developers did to piss off Twitter, which is itself a problem (the not knowing).
Not a happy time if you've built or hope to build a business on Twitter. Time to look for an exit. Quite possibly it's past-time for that for the independent Twitter clients.
Update: It's about the users, dummy.
A frequently heard complaint is that Google Reader doesn't do nice things with my linkblog feed.
To me this is a feature, not a bug. You know how Steve Jobs took Flash out of the iPad to try to get people to change their ways, this is my small way to encourage Google Reader to dig into the RSS 2.0 spec, and recognize that feed items do not have to have titles.
Observe the mess that Twitter made in their feeds, trying to make them look okay in Google Reader (presumably, hard to understand why they borked them so badly otherwise). Their workaround is to repeat the tweet text in both the title and description of the item.
We want to use RSS to do what Twitter does. Maybe for some reason Google doesn't want us to do that. But RSS doesn't care what Google wants. I asked it, and listened. They should listen too.
If Google Reader wants to be the dominant consumer of RSS, then it needs to be a better parent to RSS.
Anyway, there's such a simple way to deal with it.
If you wish an item had a title but it doesn't, see if it has a pubDate, and if it does, use that in place of the title.
Simple rule, and it works. It's what my RSS outliner in the OPML Editor does. A very simple bit of code that's only useful in checking out OPML subscription lists. If a little bit of throwaway code can allow for this, surely the great and mighty Google Reader can too.
Here's a screen shot of how my outliner displays RSS items without titles.