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. :-)
I didn't ask for a link to my Stallman piece to be posted on Hacker News. But it was linked to anyway. And the idiots over there (not all of them, but they dominate) repeated all the bullshit that the bullshitters used to say about me that I was talking about in the piece. Kind of ironic and totally predictable. Some of them were even the original bullshit artists. Spouting their well-rehearsed BS. Amazing lack of self-awareness.
I just want to say the stuff they say about me is bullshit. They should be asked to substantiate their accusations, but it never happens. I'm not going to get into arguments with them. I'm just going to say that if you asked them to back up their vitriol with some actual citations they would be hard-pressed. These people are as competent at arguing tech as the idiots on cable news are at arguing politics (which is to say there's no substance, just optics and perceptions).
But I want to say what I always say about RSS being invented. It wasn't invented. There was a constant adoption and refinement of ideas that were out there, some came from others and others came from (sorry guys but it's true) me. And the arguing didn't stop until we got the NY Times on board. Because what matters is not who invented a simple low-tech format, which RSS certainly is, what matters is who got the arguing to stop. And for that I look to the NY Times. So if you want to blame someone for making your arguments irrelevant, that's who you need to talk to, not me.
Of course the Times has no clue that they made RSS work. They support it as if they had nothing to do with its adoption. And that is such an elegant statement about the power of people working together instead of pissing on each other.
On Twitter, I posted a link to a story about NY Mayor Mike Bloomberg. He says that the banks weren't responsible for the mortgage meltdown. It was the government's fault. As if there were some line separating government from the banks. Come on Mike. New Yorkers aren't stoopid. And you gotta know we don't like it when you lie. Makes us think you're a puss.
I always used to say that NY got a good mayor. He's doing good things for the city. It was true. Finally we had an adult in there, someone who is smart, and because he's super-rich, didn't have to sell out to win his office. He could stay grounded in the truth. Sure, he made mistakes. Everyone does. But for the most he was doing a good job of running a very complicated place.
But now this OWS thing has really sent him for a loop. He's lying. I gotta believe that's what it is. Because I just can't accept that he is so stupid that he actually believes the Republican bullshit he's saying.
I wish he read this blog so I could say to him direct -- Mike -- you're fucking it up. If you don't like what they're doing, say it. And explain why. And tell the truth. New Yorkers won't despise you for disagreeing with them. But they will tar and feather you and run you out of town for lying the way you're going about it.
A former fan who would like to be a fan once again,
A software lesson I learned in 1984.
First a bit of chronology.
1. In 1983 my company shipped ThinkTank for the Apple II.
2. Then we ported that codebase to produce ThinkTank for the IBM PC, shipped it early in 1984.
3. Later that year we released our first Mac product. It was called ThinkTank 128. It was a completely new codebase, based on a new simpler data structure. I hoped to get a fresh start, with a completely memory-based product. It would be fast, and eventually support more features because the new foundation was cleaner and simpler. However this had the unfortunate side-effect that it appeared to users as if we had removed features from the product. Because ThinkTank 128, which was only available on the Mac, came after #1 and #2, it was called ThinkTank and it had less features than the previous releases.
I didn't expect there to be any overlap in users. I don't know why, but that was a big mistake. Many of the people who bought our Mac product in the first few months were people who had already bought our Apple II and IBM PC products.
And they were pissed. They paid the same amount of money, later, and got less.
And then the product just died. Sales disappeared, until we could get out a version of the product that had most of the features of the other two, and added some new twists. Even then the product didn't get on a good footing until a year after that, when we came out with a product that did a lot more than any of our previous products. But I learned a lesson I would never forget. Even when you aren't actually taking features out of a product, you can't appear to the users to be doing that. They will make you pay for it.
Here's a strange idea. Stories can have source code, just like apps can.
I edit my articles in an outliner. I can use the structure to control how it's rendered. But once you're reading the story you don't care about the structure so much, you just want to read it.
However, if I ever want to edit the story, I want the structure I was working with last time I edited it.
I wanted this feature so much that I had to write my own blogging software. The existing blogging software simply didn't thave this concept.
This "in situ" thing is going to be big. The next thing after curating and link blogging. Think of it as insitublogging (doesn't actually roll off the tongue does it).
Here's how it works. There's a new element with every item, in the microblogging namespace, that links to the OPML source of the story it's pointing to in the link element. It's called <microblog:linkSource>. Screen shot.
If you're reading my feed and see it there, and want to show the full text with structure, go right ahead! That's what it's there for.
I've known Bill Gross since the 80s when he was working on a product for Lotus called Magellan. He's gone on to become a big man in tech, but a renegade, a guy who bucks the current. Someone who challenges assumptions.
So Bill is doing a service called chime.in that's competitive with Twitter.
I like that he's trying to attract people with interesting content to his service. That's the only way to boot one of these things up. Otherwise they become ghost towns. But Bill is a smart guy and wouldn't be launching and promoting if he didn't plan to iterate over this. His plan includes cultivation of people who are serious about creating a flow of interesting links.
He's doing what Twitter hasn't yet been able to do -- viewing the stream as a product. They're still thinking of the users as the product. But we're not all doing the same thing. That's the really big thing that's going on, just below the surface. That's what I spend my time thinking about.
I consider my linkblog feed a product. It's not a river, it's just a tributary. I look for ways to improve it, and to connect it up to other services. Google won't even let me play! Amazing. I don't want to be part of Facebook. And Twitter has enough of an API to let me bake my own connector.
But Bill was willing to connect my feed directly to chime.in.
Thus, here's my chime.in account.
There are some obvious glitches, but for now this is the most glaring.
1. My items don't have titles. They're for some reason displaying the description where they would place a title. If so, their system is too rigid. They must allow for items that don't have titles. Prior art is Twitter, where items don't have titles.
Anyway, you will certainly see a link to this story on chime.in. So welcome to our world, chime.in users, and welcome to chime.in, Scripting News readers.
PS: Unrelated idea. Wikipedia could become the indentity system we're all looking for. I routinely link to people's Wikipedia pages when referencing them for the first time in a story. See the Bill Gross link above. If they had a metadata format, they could be a behind-the-scenes distributor of information about Bill Gross that could plug directly into web apps.
PPS: Key message, not all streams are equal, or doing the same thing. They are differentiated. Anyone playing in the shadow of Twitter and Facebook must be aware of this and take advantage of it.
I am part of the Internet. Because you're reading this, so are you.
But I am not part of the "Internet Industry" and they do not speak for me.
I think Congress should go ahead and pass the law that Hollywood wants. Give the government the tools its asking for. Let them shut down sites they don't like. Let the users of the Internet see, fully, how vulnerable they are.
I don't doubt that there will be a quick route-around. And the tech industry, which is a much better name for the group of people claiming to speak for the Internet, will end up making a bunch more money, which is what they really want. And the rest of us will have to fight for our freedom, which is reality.