Home >  Archive >  2012 >  February >  12

Previous / Next

This site contributes to the scripting.com community river.

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 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.

Contact me

scriptingnews2mail at gmail dot com.


My sites
Recent stories

Recent links

My 40 most-recent links, ranked by number of clicks.

My bike

People are always asking about my bike.

A picture named bikesmall.jpg

Here's a picture.


February 2012

Jan   Mar


A picture named warning.gif

FYI: You're soaking in it. :-)

A picture named xmlMini.gif
Dave Winer's weblog, started in April 1997, bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

A reporter's address book Permalink.

A picture named microserfs.gifNick Bilton at the NY Times writes: "Lawyers I spoke with said that my address book-- which contains my reporting sources at companies and in government -- is protected under the First Amendment. On Path's servers, it is frightfully open for anyone to see and use."

It's a wonderful piece and the first time in memory that any news organization has made the Silicon Valley buddy-net the issue. There really is an adversarial relationship between today's technology suppliers and the users of the technology.

The mainstream press is breathless over the money, but look past that to what they're selling, and your adoration might turn to anger and fear. It's you and me that they're selling.

I'm glad that at least one reporter at the Times has the guts to go in there.

Ebert is right Permalink.

Roger Ebert writes on Twitter: "Each and every change to my Twitter page is a Bad Idea. Did they go berserk?"

I'll paraphrase in terms that software developers will understand. "It burns my braincells when you guys move stuff around for no good reason."

A picture named brain.gifHe's totally right.

For example. I use a new version of a famous browser on one of my servers. No choice, because I deployed the server after the old version expired. They moved the Refresh icon. Seems like a little thing. Perhaps they user-tested it with web newbies and found it made more sense to them to separate it from all the other icons. But I don't think when I reach for Refresh. I don't have to. My brain commands the browser to "Refresh" and the base of my spine instructs my fingers to click the icon. The "howto" of this never reaches my intellect. Until they move the icon.

They're always moving stuff around in software like this. This is a lesson every generation of developers seems to have to re-learn. Little things like this break users. So what. Once you have competition and look into why people switch, you'll find that "it just works" or "it works like I think" is a highly valued non-feature. It's not something that you can put on a comparison chart. To users it's a subjective thing. It has to do with whether they like you or not. To you however, it's engineering. This feeling is created from hundreds of little subjectives they don't even see, that Ebert would totally understand. In film it's called suspension of disbelief. We don't yet have a name for this in software.

An analogy. I like driving cars with a steering wheel in front of me, a brake pedal on the floor and radio controls on the dashboard. Sounds silly when you put it like that. But computers aren't such new things anymore. Time for them to settle down and become the utilities they are. Tools for guys like Ebert to inform and entertain.

When Twitter moves things around gratuitously, true, Ebert has no choice but to continue to use Twitter, at least for now.

© Copyright 1997-2012 Dave Winer. Last build: 2/12/2012; 1:45:17 PM. "It's even worse than it appears."

RSS feed for Scripting News

Previous / Next