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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.




My sites
Recent stories

Recent links

My 40 most-recent links, ranked by number of clicks.

My bike

People are always asking about my bike.

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Here's a picture.


June 2011

May   Jul


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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.

Please ask support questions in public Permalink.

A picture named accordianGuy.gifIf you send me a support question via email, I'm very likely to ask you to post the question on a mail list or discussion group. I know this will upset some people sometimes, but it's the right thing to do. Here's why.

If you ask the question publicly one of two things can happen that can't happen if you ask it privately:

1. Someone else might be able to answer it.

2. Even if I have to answer it, now there's a record of the answer, in public where search engines can find it. So maybe next time someone else will find the answer without having to ask anyone.

And by the way, #2 might already have happened -- so did you check a search engine before you asked a human to be your search engine? You'd be surprised how many times people ask people for help where much better answers are available in writing. This is where the acronyms RTFM and LMGTFY came from.

For me, answering questions about my software is work. But I want you to be successful using my software. So we answer questions to help people get going, and hope they will do the same for others.

It's a price you pay for being generous and giving away your software. But why should there be a price for being generous? There's another motto that goes with this. :-)

See also: Writing good bug reports.

Super-early bike ride Permalink.

A picture named bikesmall.jpgPeople keep saying I should keep blogging my bike rides no matter how much each is just like the ones before.

But today's was different. I was up really late or really early depending on how you look at things. At 5:45AM, the sun was up, I looked out the window and saw no cars, buses or trucks on the street and I said Yeah let's do this. It was actually cold, but the roads were empty, the casual strollers for the most were still asleep. This being NYC, there were some people out there just to be out there. But it was great. The morning light, fresh air, light breeze. And emptyness. Delightful.

Got caught behind a bus on 10th St so I detoured via Bleecker and up Sullivan to 4th.

Map: 1 hour 1 minute. 11.0 miles.

Opting-out of Google Plus Permalink.

A picture named elephant.gifA few hours after writing my last piece on Google Plus, I got an invite, from Scoble. Didn't know it actually was an invite until I read a NextWeb piece that clued me in. So I gave it a try.

As with Google Buzz, there are some awfully sneaky things about it. They got me to invite people who weren't part of their network, people who were in my Gmail contact list. They appeared to have already been part of it, and also appeared to have requested contact with me. Only later did I find out when I got an email from one of my friends thanking me for the invite that I had been used virally. I bet this is how Scoble came to send me the "invite."

Later, as I was doing my normal surfing on my iPad, a lot of which involves looking things up on Google, which is so much a part of my routine that I never even think about what I'm using, I kept noticing the black bar that now has Facebook-like stuff in it. The bar is new, and this Facebook-like behavior is even newer. I found this horribly intrusive. I said later, in my opt-out message, that Google, to me, has always stood for minimal and simple user interface. That they stay out of your way. This goes all the way back to the beginning of our relationship, in 1998, when I -- like a lot of other web users of the day -- chose Google over their competitors because the others were getting loaded down with the kind of crapware that Google is loading up on now.

It was after seeing how they had inserted this into search that I decided I had made a mistake by opting-in. Remembering that it was impossible to opt-out of Buzz (I still accidentally click on the link from time to time, as a Gmail user, you can't get rid of it) I figured that it would be similarly impossible to rid myself of Google Plus. I tweeted at that moment that they had led me thinking about how to eradicate Google search. I had just read an article about a massive bot-net, and how the Republicans have infected the US govt. My mind was on infection, at that moment. I have a feeling this decade is going to be about fighting financial, political and technological infections.

One of my Twitter friends sent me a link to the opt-out page. Thankfully, it gave me the choice of not deleting my Google profile. I seem to recall that opting-out of Buzz made it seem that I'd lose my profile. Maybe that's why the links never went away. I forget. Anyway I was grateful that at this moment, they chose not to blackmail me. Maybe they heard that if you make it hard to get out, that will eventually get around and will keep people from trying your product? It's not so important how a company learns to treat its users with respect, though I would prefer if it came from a set of principles, from self-respect, rather than expedience.

1. A screen shot of the "downgrade" confirmation page.

2. They asked why I opted-out, so I told them.

I see Facebook as a virus too. All those buttons on all those websites. I know why they're there. I don't put them on my sites, though wordpress.com put them on the sites I host there, of course without asking me. Another asshole company. At least Facebook doesn't have the power to put themselves into the search engine that I use 100 times a day. So they have earned a spot in my browser chrome. That's how Google should constrain themselves. Don't force your latest megalomaniac power-grab on your users. Let your designers earn their linkage, instead of giving it to them. Your users aren't as dumb as you think. They know when they're being used. Sure, some of them like it -- but the ones you want to keep, imho, are the ones who don't.

Anyway, I have opted-out. In theory. I'll let you know if it worked. :-)

PS: I wish they didn't use words like "downgrade" and "deleted" in the opt-out process. That's so super-dramatic, self-important and one-sided. And makes me want to not try it again, even if you make some of the changes I'd like to see. I don't see it as a downgrade, I see it as restoring sanity. And I didn't delete anything because I never created anything in your stupid social network. Lighten up. The term for what I did is opt-out. That's what you should call it.

© Copyright 1997-2011 Dave Winer. Last build: 12/12/2011; 1:29:51 PM. "It's even worse than it appears."

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