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Scripting News -- It's Even Worse Than It Appears.

About the author

A picture named daveTiny.jpgDave 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.

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scriptingnews1mail at gmail dot com.


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January 2012

Dec   Feb


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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.

Solution to the Apple design problem Permalink.

A picture named beetlejuice.jpgBTW, there is a good and consistent fix to the alarm-interrupting-the-Mahler-symphony problem. When the user chooses to mute the iPhone and there's an alarm that's going to ring in the next three hours (a reasonable upperbound on the length of a performance, a concert, play or movie) warn the user that the alarm is going to ring even though the phone is silenced.

It's like advising the user that saving something will overwrite an existing file. It's just good manners to let the user know about possible negative consequences of their actions.

I'll miss the Republican debates Permalink.

A picture named comedyCentral.gifWhen the Republicans eventually choose a candidate I assume the debates will stop, and that will be a sad day for me.

Maybe, if the Republicans lose the election and wither as a political party, they can form a TV network for political debates. Or at least do a Sunday night HBO or Showtime series.

I bet the Comedy Channel would pick it up! :-)

A bunch of white male guys in suits, with a token female (short and spunky!) and a token black guy (9-9-9) get up on stage and tell jokes for an hour while political moderators from the networks take turns at trying to catch them saying something that can be understood and therefore fact-checked. The judges rate the candidates by the color and humor of their gaffes.

It would (already does) make great TV!

Apple design vs "It Just Works" Permalink.

A picture named beetlejuice.jpgI went to a Broadway play yesterday, Relatively Speaking.

It was actually three one-act plays written by Ethan Coen, Elaine May and Woody Allen.

The middle one, which starred Marlo Thomas, was the best. All were comedies, with lots of laughs, but the middle piece was also poignant, human and sad. The suspension of disbelief was complete. As you sit in the dark theater, with a few hundred others, you forget you're there. Instead, you're drawn to a small apartment, where the actors enter and exit. Your emotions go up and down, left and right. The designer in this case is a team. The playwrite, the actors, and the director, John Turturro, who you never see, but if you know him as an actor, later you realize the gestures were very much his.

You could say the play "Just Works" -- as Apple technology is supposed to. But they don't make the claim. Each of us decides for ourselves how well the story-telling works.

The NY Times has a two-part story about design run amok. It takes place in Linclon Center, where a few hundred people were watching a Mahler symphony, performed by the NY Philharmonic. Toward the end of the performance, from somewhere in the first row, a phone starts ringing. And it keeps ringing. So the conductor does something unusual. He stops the performance.

You could think of the conductor, Mahler, the orchestra, and even the ushers as the designers of this user experience. The iPhone was not supposed to be part of the design, but it was. The user had silenced the phone, but it has a rule that under some circumstance being silent meant playing the Marimba ringtone. Over and over.

Now there are reasons why the iPhone rang even when it was told explicitly not to by its user. That's not the point of this piece. Not whether they were right or wrong to design it this way. The point is there are other designers at work in the world the iPhone lives in. And their choices matter too. Not just to other designers, but to the users. Who, coming to a symphony, and at least some of them not being Apple customers, expect to have it "just work" too.

© Copyright 1997-2012 Dave Winer. Last build: 1/15/2012; 1:57:38 PM. "It's even worse than it appears."

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