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. :-)
It's a glorious day for a ride.
Bright sunshine and warm. Over 60. No wind to speak of.
Embarking from my Hell's Kitchen apartment, I headed up Central Park West to 77th St and across to Riverside Park. Up a few blocks, under the Henry Hudson Parkway over to the river and up to 130th St. Turnaround. Cut back east on 95th St, and south through Central Park and the teardown of the finish line of the marathon. A lot of maneuvering for not much advantage. I think the next ride will be a couple of laps around the park.
But like I said, what a day!
Map: 9.5 mi, 1 hour 8 minutes.
PS: I made a mistake and Cyclemeter thought I was walking not riding, though you'd imagine it could tell the diff somehow. I ride pretty slow. Do some people walk that fast? Probably!
A quick note of appreciation for Martin Nisenholtz, who is leaving the NY Times.
The Times will of course tell the story of what he did for them. But he also made a very large contribution to the web, through RSS 2.0. It was his decision, to license the flow of NYT stories to UserLand Software, in March 2002, that made it possible for us to provide their huge story flow to users of our product.
We also decided to make this flow available to our competitors, most of whom didn't exist yet. That was when the arguing stopped in the tech world, and we all got busy developing software. And the publishing world had a leader to follow, and that's what they did. This was made possible by an act of faith by an exec at the Times. That person was Martin.
So I think it's important to note that the man has not only contributed to his organization, he also made a serious contribution to the open Internet.
The NYT has always been a supporter of the First Amendment. In print. For itself. But its record of supporting it for writers on the web has been spotty. And when the chips are down, when we need a friend the most, you can be pretty sure the Times will be on the other, wrong, side.
It happened in the very early days of the web, with the Communication Decency Act. The Times, and many politicians of both parties, including the President and Vice-President (Clinton and Gore) wrote, passed and signed legislation that basically said the First Amendment doesn't apply to the web. Their apologists say they knew the courts would overturn the law (they did) but that's not a good answer. What if someday the courts are just as cowardly as the other two branches. It won't go down easy among web users. But it would be nice if those people who always heap praise on themselves for their courage, actually delivered when it counts.
And it's happening with WikiLeaks. Obviously, the role they played was exactly the same role that the Times played. And if the Times deserves protection so does WikiLeaks. That's not just me saying it. James Goodale, their own lawyer who fought for them in the Pentagon Papers case in 1971 says so as well. Yet the Times keeps attacking WikiLeaks, in some pretty undignified ways, trying to draw a distinction between what they do and WikiLeaks, where no such distinction exists.
It happened again this weekend in a piece by David Carr, their media columnist. He asks if WikiLeaks is over. My answer, for what it's worth, is this. If WikiLeaks is over then the NY Times is over too. Because the NY Times is WikiLeaks and vice versa. No one needs a publication that only prints information that the government wants them to publish. It's as pointless as a road to nowhere. The Times only has value as long as it's willing to do things that create trouble in government (and of course elsewhere). The Times knows this, they brag about it. But for some reason they don't see themselves when they look at WikiLeaks. What's the difference? (See the subtext for my response to the usual arguments.)
I don't think either of them are over. I think the Times will live to leak again. And maybe WikiLeaks the organization is over (thanks to the banks who won't let us contribute to them, and the press that ignores that huge story, and the British and Swedish governments, obviously acting in consort with the US, in incarcerating Assange). But the reverberations of WikiLeaks are still very much being felt. And of course the net is going to be used to subvert secrecy of corrupt governments in the future. If I didn't believe that would continue, then I would feel there is no hope for mankind.
The Times doesn't have an exclusive on intellect. Their readers have quite a bit of it, and can get the information they want even if the Times doesn't want to provide it. The Times is on much more precarious ground than internet leaking is. Because they are still depending on a Maginot-like set of barriers to entry to keep the hordes away from their bastion. Sad that they still view the world this way. Because it changed a long long time ago. And WikiLeaks is the ultimate reminder, that we don't, any longer, even need them to expose corrupt government.
I love being a user, and I love myself, so therefore I can't help but love users.
On the other hand, most users insist on being cared for as if they were customers, and this is a mistake. If you aren't paying for the service you get, then you are not a customer. Lots of cliches go with this one, but the best one I've heard so far was in this piece by Steven Poole, published on Nov 3.
"If you're not paying for something, you have no reason to expect it to be there tomorrow."
Dear users, please tattoo that on your forehead so you can read it every morning while you're brushing your teeth or shaving or putting on your makeup. If you're not paying for it, you're a hamster in a cage, spinning wheels that propel someone else's engine.
The Google Reader users got a wakeup call on that last week. And bless Google for doing that, because it happens to be in an area where we, developers who care about user choice, and user power, and open systems, and services as commodities, can do something to help.
But in the meantime, users, please, seriously start thinking about where your data is, and how you can get it somewhere that you can care for it. And the data of members of your family and workgroup.
Each time around the loop we create users who wake up from this dream to realize the tech industry hasn't been taking good care of them. Just as I wish that one day the tech industry would overcome the short-sightedness of this approach, I wish users would have a memory from loop to loop, and not get complacent. But I guess that's just human nature, eh? Probably so.
Anyway, now is a good time to start thinking and acting.