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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.

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scriptingnews2mail at gmail dot com.


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April 2012

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

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Dave Winer's weblog, started in April 1997, bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

Study English and Computer Science Permalink.

When I was a kid going to Edward Bleeker Junior High in Queens I had a math teacher, Mr. Brickman, who said there were only two subjects worth studying, math and grammar. And he wasn't so sure about grammar. :-)

He was wrong, and I knew it. Because I didn't love math class. I did however love English.

I remember sitting down for the first day of high school English and thinking "I bet we're going to have some great discussions here!" I was a kid. Kids get enthusiastic about things they like. I liked English. I didn't feel that way about math. BTW, my English teacher was named Miss Dragnet. In my mind she's a lot like Sarah Palin. She didn't lead really good discussions, unfortunately. But my History teacher, Mr. Goldman, did.

My freshman college English teacher taught me that in writing it's better to remove words if you can. I don't remember her name, but I remember arguing with her. I thought flowery English was good. Now I know she was right. And guess what, the same principle applies to programming. How about that.

My belief is that you'd be crazy to study one or the other given the world we live in today. It's not enough to understand how computers work, because you have to understand people too. And you'll be taken advantage of if you don't understand how computers work, by people who do.

To get a good education you should study both.

PS: Check out this piece that says if you study computer science you'll end up working for an English major. Perhaps another good reason to study English.

PPS: Miss Dragnet was mentioned in a Village Voice article by Nat Hentoff about a famous event that happened at Bronx Science when I was a student there. Now I remember why she makes me think of Sarah Palin! :-)

Where is VolksMail? Permalink.

I love the idea of minimal apps.

Pick an application category and start building a product with just enough features to be useful for a newbie. One that might last a non-demanding user forever.

For example, the way I use a text editor, I don't need a lot of features.

A picture named beetle.gifYou can see the need for this if you're one of the people who was just switched to the new shell for Gmail. All of a sudden all the stuff that faded into the background comes to the front, demanding attention. Because you have to wade through all that to find the commands you need. The ones you used to be able to find with just the intelligence at the base of your spine. No need to involve higher brain function. You can see the need for a bare-bones email interface because you're looking at the bloat of a mature product that's been hitched up with all kinds of sales jobs. It has to sell all the other Google stuff. But all I want is email. I thought maybe I'd switch to Yahoo Mail, but it's worse. It actually has the new style ads with obnoxious and deformed people dancing and looking weird, to draw your attention to their message, selling whatever it is those ads sell.

What are the basic operations in email?

What else can't you live without?

Maybe I'm missing some stuff. This would be the subject of debates and conferences. There might even be a professional standard set of features that must be in an email client in order for it to get the "minimal" seal of approval.

In 2012 there should be a healthy set of minimal web-based email clients. I don't think there's a single one.

What other categories could be successfully minimized today?

Anything that's been around 20 years or more, it seems, could be.

Think of it this way. A minimal app would be to apps like the VW Beetle was to cars. A volksmailer.

Actually there was an early word processor called Volkswriter. It was a response to feature bloat in early WP apps.

© Copyright 1997-2012 Dave Winer. Last build: 4/24/2012; 7:37:52 AM. "It's even worse than it appears."

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