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. :-)
I would probably not attempt this post if I had comments because of the hoots it would get from some of the 12-year-old minds that occupy the comments of tech blogs.
One of my favorite movies of all time is As Good As It Gets.
I like it because it's like an inkblot test. Depending on whether you're male or female, gay or straight, young or old, even black or white, you see something different. For each of us the story revolves around a different character. Even though the story is, imho, how they really aren't as different as you might think.
My point of view. Women tend to look at men in a very superficial way. I know because, like Melvin, I've been having this conversation with women my whole life. They think we do things "because" of other things, and when you find out what those other things are, you find out how low an opinion they have of us.
We all look at Carol the Waitress, at first, and see a saint. But if you look at it from the man's point point of view, you see that she's not really giving Melvin a chance to be himself. I like her, but I want her to be nice to Melvin! And despite herself, she actually likes the part of the guy she thinks she doesn't. Or whatever. It's soooo confusing, which is the best part of the movie, because all this stuff, when you're in the middle of it, is very very very confusing (in a wonderful way of course, or we wouldn't bother).
I thought of this movie today because the Republicans are reminding me of Melvin Udall, the character played by Jack Nicholson. Carol Connelly would, it seems, have a question to ask the Republicans about this vaginal ultrasound law they want to have in Virginia for women getting abortions.
"Do you have any control over how creepy you allow yourself to get?"
I'm sure the Republicans, as a party, somewhere inside their collective, tortured soul, think they're doing something good here. But.. I don't know where to begin, so I won't.
You may have read here or elsewhere that comments are no longer part of Scripting News. I looked at it this way. We could either try to fix the problems with the existing comment system, or we could revisit the whole idea of relative writing.
The first option was not actually an option because I don't have the ability to change Disqus, the commenting software we were using. And while I have written commenting software, and even have debugged source code available for download (it's part of manila.root), I don't have any interest in trying to fix commenting software. We know where the problems are. And Disqus and the others have done a good job of taking these things to their logical conclusion. From here on it looks like they'll be refining, adding features, debugging and scaling. Not taking a fresh look. (If they are, we can hopefully connect our efforts. I love working with others on open formats and protocols.)
Now, relative writing. WTF is that.
Start off by what is not relative writing.
I had a sandwich for lunch.
That's about me and my sandwich. It's not about someone else's writing. It's not relative.
Joe wrote a wonderful essay about the sandwich he had for lunch. I thought it was very expressive and colorful. He really captured the flavor of the sandwich. And he expressed a vision for the future. Tomorrow he's planning on having tuna salad. And on Thursday he expects it will be hot pastrami.
In that example, I'm writing about someone else's writing. That's relative.
The first bit doesn't need to be connected (or related) to any other writing, although I might want to link to a story about sandwiches or food, or maybe someone reading it doesn't know what lunch is, so I might link to a definition of lunch. But you can understand what I'm saying without reading someone else's writing.
I'm of the opinion that the best, most powerful, most useful writing is non-relative. That too much relative writing is of the form: "I have an opinion about something like this." They don't often express the opinion very well. And quite often it's confused with the person writing it. For example, when I say hackathons are nonsense, a lot of people respond as if I said you are nonsense, or the hackathons you love are nonsense. Obviously my experience is colored by the hackathons I've been to or heard about. And my view of them is based on who I am, not who you are. A lot of what people had to say about it helped me see how they view the world, and how different it is from the way I view the world. That's good! But the confusion isn't so good. It's why people try to hurt others, because they've confused the other person with their own feelings. But I'm rambling.
Let's say I see something on Twitter that I'd like to do some writing about. That of course would be relative. Somehow I want to attach my writing to the tweet. They offer almost no good way of doing that. Same with Facebook and Google and whatever. Same with the comments I had here on Scripting News.
What I'm hoping is that we can develop good ways of connecting writing, on a consensual basis. I'd like to team up with people whose writing complements mine. People who have ideas that I would like to see gain more exposure. Without opening it up to spammers and emotional thrill-seekers. That's the challenge, to strike a balance, to create something new and better.
Once a long time ago I wrote about how when a big tree falls it creates room for lots of new growth. It's always that way. One door closes and another opens. Carmelo Anthony is injured -- and -- Jeremy Lin! Just one example. I actually had a big tree fall near my house in California right around the time Jerry Garcia died. It helped me understand that this is the way things are and it's neither good nor bad. But comments going away here immediately gave me ideas on what could take their place. That, to me, is purely good.