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. :-)
Over on Reddit a guy with terminal cancer posted that he was going to die in 51 hours and wanted to spend some of this time talking about it with Reddit users. Lots of interesting stuff in the thread. (BTW, it was a hoax. No matter, the ideas are valuable anyway.)
Someone asked if he was scared of dying. He said he was terrified. What a word. From there the discussion goes to the usual places, the things we have all thought of. But there's a new idea I have, at least for me, that I've never written about. So I thought I should.
Every animal has the instinct to fight death. I suppose there are occasional mutations, individuals that don't care whether they live or die, but they would get culled quickly. The more fanatic you are about not dying the more likely you are to reproduce. Evolution reinforces this trait.
I think that's where the terror comes from. If we lived in a totally benign environment, where our time of death was fixed, and nothing could change it, not even our disposition, we would never have developed the terror.
This suggests there may be a way to medicate the terror in the last days of life, so we shrug it off the way we wish we could and don't. And focus on closure the people and things we care about.
scripting.com is served by Apache running on Windows on EC2. It usually works pretty well, but sometimes, usually when there's more traffic, the server stops responding and won't reboot. Eventually, after enough reboots it comes back up, but every time it happens I think about how to get out of this situation.
I don't want to run Apache to serve static web content. I want to have that completely taken care of for me. S3 was frustratingly close to being exactly what I want. It just got closer but still isn't exactly what I want. I could run Scripting News from an S3 bucket, but it wouldn't be accessible at scripting.com because that must be an A record, and blah blah blah. It's such a well-rehearsed story now.
I subscribe to the no-www philosophy. The shorter the URL the better. I always redirect www.scripting.com to scripting.com. I've come to think of "www" as creepy.
So that's the downside of hosting Scripting News at S3. And I am so annoyed by www as a prefix I would use something like s3.
Try it -- it works. It's kept current. All I have to do is redirect scripting.com to s3.scripting.com and goodbye Apache.
I wish Amazon would figure out how to let us use the domain name itself for one of these spiffy static sites.
But I may go ahead and make the switch anyway. I think s3.scripting.com is kind of cool.
Two key facts about Twitter and Facebook.
1. Twitter's mistake was building a product they didn't really use. I've never seen it work out well when the top guys at a company aren't passionate users of their own product. They can be quirky, that just comes out in the product. Gates and Windows. Jobs and the Mac. Marc Andreessen and Netscape. Etc etc. When the people who run Twitter get on stage and talk about their product, it's very different from the thing we're using. You can feel the discomfort. It's distant. It also comes through in the decisions they've made re business models.
2. Facebook can only rise so far because they're hiring from the same talent pool as all the other Silicon Valley companies. They all think they're going to be different, and for a while they are. Until they grow so big that everything that was different about them gets diluted. Eventually the singular Silicon Valley Company takes over. I remember when Apple was young, their execs were the most wonderful people in the world. Almost as if "wonderful" was a technical term. They were thinking about taking over and running third world countries after their Apple options vested. Seriously (and I'm not making fun of them). But they all fall to earth, and become the foundations and plaster for the next upstart.
Are we in a bubble? Yes, this is a bubble. All the frenzied startup activity and still the VCs raise more money to invest. Not enough inventory. We need more young people to play the role of entrepreneur. It's so analogous to the real estate bubble where the only bad bet was to own the actual real estate because that was so real. The money was being made off the lies. In this bubble the people who are going to get hurt are the legions of young people. Most of them aren't entrepreneurs. As a percentage of the population, the people who really have the drive and fortitude to stick it out is infinitesmal. But that isn't the myth -- it's also like the housing boom where everyone could be a home owner. In 2011 every young person can be an entrepreneur, esp if he or she knows how to code. That's the bubble, right there.