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. :-)
A great gesture on the part of Google to strengthen the open web.
1. Donate one of your patents to the public domain.
Break new ground here. Establish a protocol for disarmament.
I'm getting all kinds of ideas just considering the possibility that Google could be a friend to the open web.
Here's a problem Google played a part in creating and could therefore play a part in solving.
Before the Internet, businesses had customers. And consumers had vendors. Same relationship. Goods and services flow in one direction, and money flows in the other. This practice had been going on for centuries, so all kinds of laws had developed establishing conventions and penalties. We all had a fairlly good idea of what we were entitled to, and what our obligations were.
Now we have a new kind of relationship, and we're totally in uncharted waters. That's a problem for free speech, imho. And whatever we can do to add strength and better definition to the legal relationship between users and companies would imho do a lot to support freedom on the net.
Quick ideas. 1. Create a for-pay email service that doesn't suck. 2. Become a registrar, and help people create new presences on the Internet. Again for-pay. No free rides. When a user calls someone answers. And if you don't pay your bill no service. 3. That registrar service could be used by Tumblr or Soundcloud to make their services better.
Obviously there's a lot to say about this. But it should be something we're thinking about, and every bit of progress in getting back to sensible relationships should be seen as a good sign. I think the more we do of that, the stronger we will all be in the future.
When I ask why Google isn't leading, this is the kind of stuff I'm thinking about.
He says that Google was built out of the open web. And this part he doesn't say, but is also true. If Google is going to continue to thrive, so must the open web.
However, Google is moving away from the open web. Most of its investments are going to create a competitor to Facebook, although they deny it's just a competitor. From the point of view of the open web their system is just as opaque as Facebook is. Just as problematic.
I'm not suggesting that Google shouldn't compete directly with Facebook. They can do what they want. But they're big enough and rich enough that they could make investments in the open web at the same time as they invest in their fortress. If they really put their hearts in it, and their checkbook, and make a commitment to support open formats and protocols that gain traction, no matter where they come from, I have no doubt that the open web will flourish, and perhaps that will mean their silo will founder. I suspect that this is why, as an organization, they don't want to make these investments. But Brin is independent, powerful, an imaginative and a skilled techologist, and frankly rich enough, to do what he wants no matter what his organization dictates.
Maybe he'll read this.
If so, since he is a computer scientist, as I am, let me put my advice in technical terms. If I need an API to access my data it's not good. If I hold my data in my own space, where I can do with it as I please, and at the same time it can be part of the structures Google builds, whether it is a search engine or a discussion board, then it works. Then we can try out a million ideas, and they can build off each others' momentum, and they all have a chance to be the next collaborative phenomenon. If APIs control access to the data, if my program logic has to flow through someone else's pipes, then there will be monoculture, and that never thrives. There are countless examples in the history of computers that illustrate this principle. If you want to know why it doesn't work, just observe how decisions are made inside Google.
Brin is one of the few people who really could make a difference in the battle for online freedom. I hope he takes the next step and in addition to noticing there's a problem, does something to solve it.