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.
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.
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. :-)
If you've been reading Scripting News for a while you know that I was searching for a DNS API for a few years. That problem has, as far as I'm concerned, been solved.
Amazon's Route 53 works. Like all their API's you have to learn all that it can do before you can do anything. But once you climb on top of it you can put a nice port or two on it so it's simple to do what you need to do, and then forget the complexity.
I used it for about six months without thinking about the cost, and then I looked at the breakdown a few days ago and was surprised to see that it's much more expensive than I thought it would be.
They charge a lot per domain and per name, when I thought they would be free. I don't understand why a CNAME is more than a record in a database. How much could it cost to store the fact that 12.mediahackers.org is a CNAME for pensacola.scripting.com. That's a single row in a two-column table.
But I'm going ahead assuming that either they will fix their pricing, or someone will compete, and make it easy to migrate.
I think I should be paying for lookup traffic, and perhaps paying to update the values of names. Why should I pay any money in for a name I defined a year ago that got zero hits in a month?
Abraham Vegh asks if I've written a blog post that explains the benefits of my blork.ly URL-shortener and the DNS-based approach I took. I haven't but it's time to do that because I have enough experience to be able to tell the story.
Identity is the holy enabler, the door we're trying to unlock so we can build more interesting systems. It's one of those areas where it looks like the problem hasn't been solved, but it has. Big corporations have no problem identifying us. They can do it using a variety of inputs, like where we're tweeting from, what sites we visit, what our IP address is, what times of day we go to what kinds of places. They're really good at this, there's even a marketing name for it, Big Data.
More hamsters spinng wheels we can't see and don't deliver any benefit to us, as hamsters. They don't make us healthier, give us nice movies to watch or food to eat, they don't get us laid, or take us to fun places. They don't do anything for hamsters that a hamster would want to do.
But we haven't solved the identity problem for ourselves, in an open way.
Or have we?
It's one of the great stories of all philosophies and religions. It comes in many forms and flavors. You can't see what's in front of your eyes.
Hiding in plain sight.
Ask a fish to describe water and he looks at you puzzled. Water? There is no such thing. What are you talking about.
You might be able to describe the weather, but how do you explain air? For most of the existence of our species we weren't even aware that there was such a thing.
We do have an open identity system, it's called DNS. Of course.
But it's hard and expensive. A name costs a lot, and creating one is complicated. Nothing that "our mother" could do. But does it have to be that way? The same things were said about web publishing. Now if you said a neophyte couldn't write a blog -- well look at all the people who use the Twitters. There really aren't many limits there. Same simplification process could be applied to DNS.
So that's one reason I love blork.ly. It's helping me learn about DNS. It's helping me make it easier.
Another reason I like it is that it's mine. So if I want to do something with all the URLs I'm collecting, I don't have to ask for an API. The data is sitting in a Frontier object database. Ready for me to do anything I can imagine with it. That's how I like my data. Where it's easy for me to get at it.
And why not use DNS to distribute the pointers. There's got to be some decentralization advantage lurking in there.
It makes up funny names and they sneak up on me, and make me laugh. Just the other day it created a link named my.blork.ly. Or om.blork.ly (wish I had thought to use it to point to an Om Malik piece). Just after that -- oy.blork.ly! That was fun. Somewhere along the line it must have generated a ly.blork.ly. And soon there will be a yl.blork.ly.
I noticed that blork.ly is a lot like Berkeley, a palce I used to live. How did that happen?
My URLs are shorter than what would come out of bit.ly, even though blork is longer than bit. And that ultimately is what we love about URL-shorteners, they make URLs shorter.
Finally, it got people to think about the word Blork.