Dave Winer, 56, is a software developer 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.
scriptingnews1mail at gmail dot com.
My 40 most-recent links, ranked by number of clicks.
FYI: You're soaking in it. :-)
There's a new thing going on in the web world that really sucks.
Two of my primary communication tools, Twitter and Gmail, recently forced all their users to upgrade to new user interfaces. As far as I can tell neither of them gave me anything in return in the form of new features, or streamlined functionality (fewer steps).
I have no idea why we were forced to do these things. Neither company had anything to say to me, as a user, about it. Twitter held a press event where they explained somewhat why they wanted the changes. But nothing in the form of an explanation of why a user would want them.
The Gmail upgrade happened today, so I'm dealing with the burnt braincells right now.
I had developed neural pathways that allow me to scan my inbox without even having to think. My lower brain functions were able to spot new things I needed to pay attention to, things that were out of the ordinary humdrum of mail list updates, spam that made it through Google's filters, etc.
Now I'm getting constant interrupts as I scan, as my higher brain functions have to get involved to figure out whether an item requires my immediate attention or not. To have to think about things I didn't have to before, slows me down and takes my focus off things I need to stay focused on. My problems fade into the background as the problems of managing the mechanics of Twitter and Gmail take over.
And the Twitter changes are well-trod now, I know how the new version works, and I can see clearly the new overhead they introduced. The things you can't tuck away that you have to repeat over and over. I'd love to have at it myself and reduce Twitter down to the things I need it to do. But they made that so hard, I gave up on that idea long time ago.
Can't wait for the next thing to come along. I'm tired of these bigco machinations. I'm sure these changes are tied to strategies of the companies to grow even larger, or to punish their competitors.
It's at moments like these that I feel like the pawn that I am.
For years I've been trying to figure this one idea out, and early in 2011 I had the breakthrough I was looking for. Unfortunately, when you get those ideas, you don't actually know yet how to implement it. So you flounder around for a while in a fog of war, trying to find your way out of the place you worked so hard to get into in the first place!
I've been here quite a few times. With outlining first, then with the idea of making PC software, and onward. Presentations, system-level scripting, interapplication communication, web content management, blogging, syndication, podcasting. When you're done it seems obvious how you should have done it in the first place, but it doesn't seem that way when you make the initial leap.
The problem was this. I want to edit all my websites in one document. I don't care if there's a boundary that readers see, even a very big one. As the author of the documents, I don't want any boundary at all. I want to get an idea, navigate through an outline to the place where it lives, make the change and quickly return to what I was working on.
I had that working, as I said, early last year. And then I kept writing, and slowly something happened -- the document got very big.
And then I moved from an apartment with FIOS to one with lame-o Time-Warner cable. My upstream bandwidth went from 20-plus MBS to less than 1. Often quite less than 1. All of a sudden my saves, that were starting to get too slow, were unacceptably, ridiculously slow.
I didn't see this as a problem, because the conceptual overload of having my worknotes co-resident with my photos and howtos and the archive of my blog going back to 1997 proved too much for my mind.
Fog of war!
I needed some way out of this corner. And I knew what it is, but I dreaded doing the actual work. Because it meant pulling out the engine of my new CMS and replacing it with a new kind of engine, one I knew nothing about.
That's what the period between December 15 and January 4 was made for.
The world gets pretty quiet except for the days right around Christmas, which were wonderfully chaotic thanks to friends who were visiting from out of town. New York is great that way. Lots of people come here over the winter holidays.
Anyway, I'm now emerging out of the fog. And I have an incentive to hurry up. I want to scoot up to New Hampshire for a couple of days to witness the hooplah around the primary. I did it in 2004, and it was fantastic. I have a car, and am looking forward to a road trip to decompress.
But first I have to finish this little war of mine.
PS: Here's what a blogpost looks like in the new regime. Nothing fancy, but that's how I like my blogposts. The user can tart it up any way you want.