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. :-)
Twitter made a change in the last few days that's going to contort the web outside of Twitter in a whole new way. Not that Twitter hasn't done that before, they have. The 140-character limit forced everyone to use URL shorteners. After years of experimenting, I felt I finally had something that was fun and interesting, for me and for people who follow my links. Only to have Twitter nullify that by hiding my URLs and replacing them with the long and often very ugly URLs behind the shortened URLs.
To be clear, in the design of the web, the URLs were meant to be visible, but not in your face. Twitter changed all that. The URLs became the primary user interface for accessing web content.
Now they display my stories with the full URLs, even though they still route through my URL shortener, so I get the click counts. But I can see them changing that again, and replacing my URL-shortener with theirs. They now use theirs and mine. So there are three URLs in the mix: 1. The original URL. 2. My shortened URL. 3. Their shortened URL. What a contortion of TBL's invention. And I'm sure there are more twists and turns coming.
To be clear, none of this should ever have happened. The URLs should not have been in the 140-characters of a tweet. They should have been transmitted as metadata, with all the other metadata that accompanies a message. We've been through all the arguments over and over, and that's what it comes down to. They made a mistake, and the result was an ugly scar for the whole web.
Now, when I look at how Twitter is displaying my messages, I think I'd better change the way my CMS works, so my natural URLs are very short. All this movement, just to stay in place. The web, as an open platform, was much better without Twitter contorting it. I've been writing about this since the inception of Twitter, and they never respond. It just gets worse. If Twitter breaks, huge portions of the web will break with it. That was never the idea of the web.
Like a lot of people, I've become an NBA addict this spring. It started with Jeremy Lin, but it didn't stop there. I've become a fan of the sport, and specifically the Knicks. This isn't new. I went to Knicks games with my grandfather in the sixties and seventies. I was there for the great team that won it all. But you aren't a fan because your guys win. You're a fan because of love. Because you see things from the same perspective of other people who love the same team. It's visible evolution. We have a need that's unmet by the world we live in, to be part of a warring tribe. We live and die together. So we invent something to satisfy that natural urge.
At times this season I felt the Knicks should clean house and just go with the rookies. It's still a great fantasy, but after all the ups and downs of the season, I now really feel intense admiration for Carmelo Anthony. He's not quite the Last Man Standing in the Knicks battle, but it's pretty close.
In the last few games of the season you could see Knicks coach Woodson tutoring Iman Shumpert, a wonderful young rookie, trying to toughen him up for the playoffs. It was going to be something watching this young guy with all that great energy get schooled by the Great Miami Heat, but he was stopped in battle before the first game was finished. And of course Jeremy Lin is injured. And in the first game whenever Carmelo Anthony was about to take a shot, two intense Heat players would block him out. That was when you knew that the Knicks would pay the price for having no real Plan B. The Heat were saying, you guys can score any other way, but you can't use Melo.
Somehow, for at least three more games, two of them at the Garden, the Knicks are going to have to find a way around that block. It's going to be a tough remainder of the series. I don't want to say exactly how bad it looks. But I do want to say that Melo has my admiration. He got the booby prize and he's taking it like a man.
Can you imagine that someday you will be able to say to a computer: "I want to follow the NBA playoffs very closely. Find me a great feed, or create one, subscribe to it and when playoff news has slowed down or stopped, unsubscribe."
Can you imagine that that day won't come soon? Or that it isn't already here?
I posted a thread question yesterday about the existence of a great feed for news about the NBA playoffs. I'm pretty sure what I'm looking for doesn't exist. But it really should. After all, RSS was discovered to be a wonderful way to distribute news over ten years ago. Ten years. But there's been very little improvement since then, and I'm afraid I include Twitter and Facebook in that appraisal.
So why doesn't this feed exist?
Because there are two dominant products in RSS, Google Reader and iTunes. Good luck getting any new features into the base in any meaningful way.
And Twitter and Facebook are not the answer for news. Neither are First Amendment platforms, and you can't run news without the basic protection of free speech. And they are not open to new software, so we would be just as stuck waiting for them to invest as we are with Google and Apple.
If news is going to work on the Internet we need a lot of suppliers, both in technology and in feeds. No way around that. No one company is going to clean it up, because if that happened, it wouldn't be news anymore.