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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
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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.


August 2011

Jul   Sep


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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 balanced budget amendment Permalink.

I heard House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on the radio today say we can't spend money we don't have.

Eric flunked the test. There is no such thing as us not having money. The United States has as much money as it wants.

Here's how it works.

A picture named pie.jpgThere's a file somewhere on some computer that contains the amount of money in the US checking account. Ben Bernanke has write access to that file. It's up to him and the Federal Reserve Board to say what number is in there. If they have a meeting and decide the US should have twice as much money, then here's what Dr. Bernanke does:

1. Sits down at his laptop.

2. Opens the file.

3. Changes the number.

4. Saves.

Eric Cantor also "thinks" we should balance the budget, again based on the fiction that there's a number of dollars that we have. Okay, technically, if both houses of Congress voted for it and 2/3 of the state legislatures, they could have the amendment. It would make as much sense as passing an amendment to say that pi is 3, instead of the irrational number that it is. They could have the amendment, but I'm fairly sure the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter wouldn't change.

Some things, sad to say, are not subject to a vote of Congress.

We could pass a law that says none of us have to die. Oh wouldn't that be nice! :-)

The Republicans are "simple folk" and all this complicated elite nonsense is too damn complicated. Too. Complicated. We think life should be simpler. We decided that it is. And we're right! How do we know? We read Atlas Shrugged. Ayn Rand told us we were right.

Ohhhh kayyyy.

A ride to Rockaway Permalink.

A very unusual ride today.

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Map: 1 hour 32 minutes, 14.51 miles.

Why inflation stimulates the economy Permalink.

I've been hearing economists say this, and I wanted to say that as an individual with some assets to manage, I understand what they're saying.

Here's how it works. As long as inflation is low, as it is now, and the future of the economy is uncertain, again, as it is, you're inclined to use dollars to hold value. Where else would you put it?

But if there's inflation, all of a sudden, the cost of storing value in dollars becomes higher. The more inflation, the higher the cost. So as inflation goes up, or even the prospect of inflation goes up, money tends to move out of dollars and into real things that will rise in value with inflation. Like houses. Or into anything you've been putting off buying because you're scared. Because one thing you know, with inflation, it will cost more tomorrow.

Our problem right now is deflation, which makes you even more likely to store value in cash, where it isn't stimulating anything. If the car I would buy today is going to cost less tomorrow (that's what deflation is) I'm better off waiting to buy it.

Another benefit of inflation is that it makes debt easier to pay off. You pay back pre-inflation dollars with post-inflation dollars, the latter which are easier to come by.

This economics stuff actually is fairly easy to understand. :-)

A good post to give some background is Ezra Klein's piece on how we got out of the Depression. It wasn't, he says, as many people think, because of World War II's stimulative effect. Roosevelt devalued the dollar by getting us off the gold standard, which increased demand for our products, and therefore our workers, and by threatening Europe, Hitler caused value to flow into the US, as money there sought safety here.

Re comments, please keep them responsive to this post. Your own differing opinions about inflation belong on your blog. If you have some fact or idea to illuminate this, stated briefly, that would be on-topic. Thanks.

SLIde spec Permalink.

Early this week I wrote a piece introducing SLIde.

I thought I would write a couple more pieces before the end of the week, but here it is Thursday, and I find that I've said all I needed to say to introduce it.

So without any further ado, here's the spec.


I'm using this to build my network of apps. It may prove useful to you, or not. If so, please consider using it. If not, may the force be with you, live long and prosper, and have a nice day! :-)


Firefox's About window Permalink.

A picture named eggMcMuffin.gifI love to follow Hacker News, and I have an RSS feed for it that you're welcome to use. I love it because it's a mix of eclectic, esoteric and important links. Where TechMeme is centered on the wars between the tech giants, and the personalities of the mega-rich, Hacker News wanders into the nooks and crannies of tech, and sometimes far off-topic into areas of human interest. As a human being who loves tech, Hacker News hits a very sweet spot.  Permalink.

And then there's the occasional glimpse into the communities that make the products we use.

Like this link to an newsgroup thread about whether Mozilla should remove the version number from the About window in Firefox.

The thread includes some hard data about the rate of adoption of the new versions of Firefox.

Here's the deal as I understand it. Firefox wants you to think of the browser as if it were a web app, where you have no control over what version of the software you're running, and therefore have no need to know the version number. The Mozilla guys cite GMail as prior art. As a GMail user, I can testify that they are correct. I don't know the version number, and have never felt a need to know the version number.


Firefox is not a web app. It's installed on my Mac and Windows machines. They put code on my machine that could possibly broadcast all my private info anywhere they want, or destroy it, or install keyloggers that capture every keystroke I type, etc etc. It's an attack vector that GMail never will be. Now I've never not installed a version of Firefox because I believed it contained malicious bits, but I am aware that it could contain them. I even talked about this in a podcast I did yesterday. Sooner or later it's going to happen, one of the companies I trust to install bits on my machines will get hacked and their entire user community will get infected. Could be Microsoft, Apple, Google, Mozilla -- even Growl. It's going to happen someday.

A picture named firefoxAboutWindowSmall.gifThe question I kept wanting someone to ask on the mail list is this. You've given us all the reasons why it's not a problem to remove the version number, but why would a user want you to remove it? It's information you used to provide, and now you don't want to provide it. When a government does that, alarms go off. Same thing with big companies. Your goals and your users' goals here are not necessarily aligned. I don't find that the version number in the About window in Firefox is in my way. So if I have a vote (clearly I don't, but let's play What If) -- I say it stays.

Anyone who supports users knows that information like this is pretty important. When users click OK to installation dialogs they never should, you get malware on your LAN. Sure the malware is going to patch whatever it needs to (like version numbers), to fool the user. But removing the version number is something a bad actor does, not a company you're supposed to trust.

Reading the thread, and seeing how the Mozilla people address people in their community makes me want, more than ever, to not be using Firefox. I see it's not just me that they dis, it's pretty much everyone. I think what Firefox needs more than anything is to find a good role for itself in the community. Clearly they're scared of Google. So are many users. There's a natural affinity. But being more of a bully than Google is a good path to marginalization. If I have to choose between bullies, I'll choose the one that isn't changing the rules on users seven years into its product life.

A suggestion that perhaps they might want to ask people who support users about this, not just "UX experts." It's there for support, not necessarily as part of the user experience or to meet Mozilla's competitive objectives.

I've left comments on for this post, but will ruthlessly delete comments that are personal or argumentative. If you question my right to have this opinion, you may state that -- on your own blog. And Mozilla employees should not post in this thread. They always say they're speaking for themselves only even when it's completely obvious that they're speaking for their company. I see their comments as spam and will treat them like I treat all spammers. So don't bother. :-)

Update: This is what the Firefox 6 About window looks like.

© Copyright 1997-2011 Dave Winer. Last build: 12/12/2011; 1:28:04 PM. "It's even worse than it appears."

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