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 and NYU, 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.
scriptingnews2mail at gmail dot com.
My 40 most-recent links, ranked by number of clicks.
FYI: You're soaking in it. :-)
This is too funny not to say something.
A few days ago I installed a widget that makes it easy to follow me on Twitter. When I looked at it in Firebug I was surprised at how they did it. They basically framed the whole page, just to get a tiny little thing in there. What are they doing? I have no clue. I don't like it. It looks nefarious. I like technology that, when I lift the hood, looks simple and understandable.
But what the fuck. Everyone else is doing it. I'll let it be for a while.
Then this morning I saw this where it's supposed to show the number of Twitter followers.
I clicked, and sure enough I could type some text.
Hello. How did that happen?
And how is that even possible?
As I said, I'm laughing about this because it's funny. We've been to this place so many times. Conflicting plug-ins. It's a sign of an architecture that people are pushing farther than it was capable of going.
Maybe it's because they don't like my browser? I have no idea.
But maybe it's time to get rid of all the hitchers, and just stick plain old HTML.
I don't often use this space to condemn a person or company. I try to be understanding, see an issue from all sides. Or accept that it's just in the nature of big tech companies to be monopolistic and arrogant and closed-minded, and know that things will run their course, and eventually whatever they try to control will end up obsoleting them.
But this bit about Google being sued for age discrimination, with some horrific quotes from Google people, goes too far.
"Some observers say much of this language is just code for age discrimination. They point to the case of Brian Reid, a 52-year-old manager who was fired by Google in 2004 -- nine days before the company announced plans to go public -- after his supervisors, including the company's vice president for engineering operations, allegedly called him a poor 'cultural fit,' an 'old guy' and a 'fuddy-duddy' with ideas 'too old to matter."
Google doesn't deny or retract these statements. If you were to change those words from age to race, or gender, they would be ashamed. And they would apologize. But because it's age, the one ism that's socially OK, they don't even admit that they were wrong.
Even an open-minded person has to say this is over the top. Not only is there something wrong with the people who say these things, but there's something deeply wrong with a corporate culture that tolerates it.
If one were to try to understand it, the story might go something like this. Big companies hire people who occupy seats, and their job is, as they see it, to keep the company from doing anything that might endanger their seat. They will use any irrelevant excuse to disqualify an idea they find threatening. Instead of finding the future exciting, these people, whatever age they may be (and they often are very young) try to hold back the future.
The people who should be fired are not the people they are talking about, but the people who did the talking.
PS: One thing's for sure, when I meet a person from Google now, I'm going to have a fairly good idea what they're thinking about me as I speak.
You hear this a lot -- I don't seek out the news, I assume that if something is important it will find its way to me.
The other day I heard a famous VC say he gets most of his tech news from TechMeme. Add in a smattering of news from Twitter, and that's it.
The problem with this approach, as I'm sure you know, is that you've given gatekeeper-like power to others. And they have their biases, conflicts, goals and business interests that keep some stories from getting to you.
And you've allowed them to define what "tech" means. Like most conferences these days there isn't a lot of actual technology on TechMeme. Again, not their fault. If you want a real tech river, we can create one. But TechMeme is what it is, and it's not technology-heavy.
I don't blame anyone for being a gatekeeper, just as I don't blame Twitter for bending to the will of governments that want to censor ideas that reach their people. So who or what is to blame? No one really. It's just that if you want to be informed, it involves more work than just accepting what the most powerful gatekeepers are willing to give you.
Another example to consider is Facebook. No one outside Facebook understands how their algorithm works. How do they decide which stories you'll see and which aren't important enough for you? I suspect it has something to do with what will make them money, both short-term and long-term. How they decide is completely opaque.
Here I practice what I preach. Of course, like everyone else, I delegate my reading to gatekeepers. But I have over 400 of them! When any of them pushes a story it shows up in my river. I'm sure you've seen this, because I point to it all the time, as a way of enticing you to create your own river, and share it with others.
If you want to get one set up, you can do it for free for a year on Amazon EC2. Just follow the EC2 For Poets tutorial, and then install River2 on the server it creates. The whole thing takes about twenty minutes. And it's a unique experience, not like anything you've likely done before.
I'd love to see tech pubs create rivers that include not only their stories but the stories of their competitors and individual bloggers. Remember the old adage, People come back to places that send them away. It's still true, and it works!