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 had lunch yesterday with David Galbraith, a British friend who lives outside Geneva in France. He's a programmer, like me, so we talked about technical stuff, but we also talked politics, as we walked through the upper west side of Manhattan. He talked about American individualism and how much better that was than the European way. I thought he had put his finger on the bug. If you want to understand America, or any country, don't focus on the individual. We don't live long enough, as individuals, to matter. Think of the populace as a series of waves. No individual locust matters, but the wave does. It can devastate the terrain. And that's what humanity, the wave, is doing.
I've just finished watching the BBC series Frozen Planet. The first six episodes showed you how the polar regions of the planet work in all seasons. These are huge areas of Earth that I admit not knowing a whole lot about except that there's lots of water trapped up and down there in the form of ice. I knew where they were going with this, and in the seventh and final episode they showed vividly, how quickly the polar regions are changing, and what effect that change might have on the rest of the planet.
If all the polar ice were to melt, and that's a tall proposition given how much ice there is in the south, it would raise the sea level by 180 meters. That's a stunningly huge amount of water. The Empire State Building, currently the tallest building in NYC, is 381 meters. That's the end of every city on the planet. Good news is scientists aren't sure the southern ice cap is going to melt any time soon. But they aren't sure that it isn't, either. And that's not such good news.
As individuals we have no power over this, so none of us change anything we do, in any material way. But we can change if we can have any influence over the wave of humanity. And this is where American politics is leading us in exactly the wrong direction, by attending to the individuality of Americans. We need to care about the wave.
The super-rich are able to influence how the wave moves. That's the power of being one of them. I am not one of them, so all I can do is write about this, and hopefully influence what they do. So far the money has been invested against the interest of the planet. The lie they tell all of us, and probably themselves, is that they're going to live forever. Even people like the Koch brothers and Shelly Adelson, who are in their 70s and 80s. These guys, no matter how rich they are, have a life expectancy measured in single digits. They aren't thinking about the future, really. They don't personally have a stake in it. They have an opportunity at this point in their lives to actually try to do some good. But they're acting like the Individual that Galbraith mentioned, and the myth that so many believe in.
A friend tells the story of her father's death. He died in a hospital. She wasn't there when it happened. She was the only one of his children to show up after he passed. All that remained of this man was a brown shopping bag with clothes, a wallet, false teeth, keys. That's it. That's what's left when you die. There's no individual in sight. Just a bag with some junk in it. That's what we, as individuals, are worth. To the extent that we understand our role as part of a wave of humanity, do our lives have significance.
I saw Microsoft making the mistake that Apple is making now. This isn't one of those mistakes where there's any "maybe" to it. It's an absolute 100 percent thing they're doing that they will regret. It will force their users to look for alternatives to the Mac unless they nip this one now.
When there is an outbreak of a virus on the Mac, and they have a fix, that fix must go out immediately. If there is no fix, then resources must be devoted to finding it. As soon as there's a fix, the press must be notified. A press release must be issued, that clearly gives users a way of determinining without installing any new software, whether their machine is infected. The communication must come from Apple, so there's no confusion among users and press. It would be smart to have a press event around security the same way they have press events to launch new products.
They appear to have broken most of these practices in the response to today's steamy infected mess.
There is now a fix, it's installed by the new system update that came out yesterday. But there has been no communication from Apple to users about this issue, or the press, and the only test for infection has come from independent analysts.
Microsoft made the mistake of seeing themselves as merely a supplier of software, not a guarantor of good user experience. When Windows was inundated with malware, in the early-mid 2000's, users were left to fend for themselves. Apple was the beneficiary of this, as smart Windows users bailed on MS and switched to the Mac. Where the vendor boasted that they didn't have malware, as if there were some technical reason they didn't. There is so such technical reason. Macs are just as susceptible to malware as any other kind of computer. They just hadn't been targeted yet. Why it's taken so long is anyone's guess, but the honeymoon is now over. It's time for Apple to take this seriously. The way they do this is every bit as important as they way they operate their stores, do user testing, or industrial design.