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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.


July 2011

Jun   Aug


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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.

A big diff betw Google-Plus and Facebook Permalink.

A picture named dave.jpgThere are many differences between the two, but this one I haven't heard discussed before.

Facebook came from Harvard, and grew among college students on other campuses, way before anyone in Silicon Valley used it. Everyone from the tech industry feels like a late-comer, not an early-adopter. Something that makes all of them feel a lack of ownership.

Google-Plus is starting from Silicon Valley, the usual insiders have the most followers long before any of the usual Facebook users are allowed in. Probably before most of them are even aware there is such a thing as Google-Plus.

Things like this tend to matter a lot more than you think they should.

Nice ride, big wind, another plaque Permalink.

Huge cross-wind today so it was hard work in both directions.

Three consecutive days riding, can feel it in my legs and butt.

There are lots of plaques on the benches lining the Hudson.

Today I hung out on Richard M. Kossoff's bench.

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Who Finds Sustenance and Renewal in the Timeless Joys of this Park.

Map: 1 hour 3 minutes. 11.44 miles.

Yours in timeless joy,


Connecting Blork and the World Outline Permalink.

A picture named try.jpgI popped one off the bug list this morning. Since March 30, Blork had not been archiving my feeds as it's supposed to. How did I know? Well, that's where the archive stops.

So I went back to look at my change notes from March 30. Nothing obviously the cause of this behavior.

Started to investigate in the source, and found a bit of commented code. The comment explaining the commenting-out didn't match what the code did. Big clue. The date on the change? March 30! Heh.

That was too easy. So I had a bit of "extra" time. I had already swapped in all the reality surrounding archives, and figured -- I've always wanted my linkblog to appear in the World Outline. So I did the hookup.

Had it generate OPML for the RSS archive.

And then included it in my World Outline under My Sites.

Of course I gave it a nice blorkmark. Released the feature. Announced it on the respective mail lists.

This new system is starting to shape up. I think I should be looking for some new users.

The first people I'd like to work with are outliner people. So if you used one of my outliners, ThinkTank, Ready, MORE or the OPML Editor, and are interested in trying your hand at building a world outline of your own, send me an email. The address is in the blogroll outline, in the right margin at scripting.com.

Another in my series of wacko ideas Permalink.

I have a feeling I've written this up before but what the heck.

I get a fair number of people who leave comments that are basically complaints. I want them to know that I hear them, but I don't want them to feel offended if their comments don't appear on my site.

I'm much more interested in informed discourse. If you disagree, no problem, but give us some information to reward my readers for listening. Teach us something. Really. I'd like to act as a filter for my readers, to A picture named elephant.jpg make sure only stuff that offer really new perspectives are on the page. Or if they say something in a creative or zingy way. Let's not be prudes (so many are).

In the early days of Scripting News, we had something like this that worked great, the Mail Pages. People would send email responses to my stories (which went out via email, then appeared on the web), and I could respond personally, or add it to the site for that day. Or sometimes both. And often I would pin a short response in what was posted on the site. And I could select a paragraph or two, out of a much longer piece. Keep it peppy. (People sure can ramble.)

It worked socially too, people didn't expect their comments to be published. And generally they were happy when they were. It was switched around from the way things work today.

I'd love to have something that worked like that now. I'd try it at least for a while as the commenting system on Scripting News, so you'd have a good testbed.

Dropbox at (a jaw-dropping) $5 billion Permalink.

A picture named training.jpgWhen Dropbox started messing with the terms of service on the Friday before the July 4 holiday, it didn't seem very likely it was a random event. You know, one day the CEO woke up and said I know what I'll do today -- I'll screw with the terms-of-service. That'll liven things up a bit. That's not how life is for the CEO of young booming tech company. Usually they're too busy putting out fires.

It seemed equally unlikely that a lawyer who works for the company decided to stir up some trouble with the users. True, the FTC was giving them some grief. But on the other hand, they had just suffered through an embarassing security mess. The timing seemed strange, unless they were going public or getting acquired. Cleaning up the terms-of-service is a likely checklist item before either of those events.

I didn't believe it was a random event.

And it turns out, it wasn't!

Yesterday there was an announcement on TechCrunch that Dropbox is raising money at a jaw-dropping valuation of $5 billion. Hey I knew they were doing good, but.. $5 billion? That's really good. :-)

Also yesterday, a story on Hacker News asking how much is a user worth? Interesting question. Every user should read this, when you tihnk about how much you're worth to the company who's providing "free" service. When you have an issue, how much listening will you get? No more than what you're worth to the company, or else they're losing money.

This is, btw, the user-as-hamster business model. The one where you sit in a cage and make the wheels spin around. Either you're watching commercials while doing your workout, or you're generating information about yourself which is used to decide what commercials to show you. Either way, your value to them is a very very small fraction of your value as a human being. And quite a bit less than if you were paying for the service yourself.

The hamster business model has to be the way Dropbox gets to the $5 billion valuation. Unless a high percentage of their users are paying for the service. I kind of doubt they are. That means they have to be looking inside your box to get the data they're going to aggregate, to get to that astronomical valuation. That's why they didn't just go with the enterprise-y user agreements that Microsoft and Amazon use. They don't want your money. They want the advertisers' money.

What's inside your Dropbox says a lot about you. And that, of course, is what Dropbox users (like me) are afraid of.

Doc Searls wrote a great piece this morning on the commercial-ness of Google. He's in Venice now, with his family, and Google Maps will show him where the nearest McDonald's is, but doesn't tell him the names of the streets. Seems you're a hamster even when you're trying to soak up old culture in the former business capital of the world. There must be a joke in here about the Merchant of Venice, but I can't think of one.

The message is very clear. Learn how to set up a server. It's not so hard. And it's worth learning how to do so you can be more than just a hamster. The Internet is a very powerful communication medium, but if you depend on $5 billion companies to give it to you for "free" you're not going to be getting much of the freedom it has to offer.

© Copyright 1997-2011 Dave Winer. Last build: 12/12/2011; 1:29:22 PM. "It's even worse than it appears."

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