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Scripting News -- It's Even Worse Than It Appears.

About the author

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.

Contact me

scriptingnews2mail at gmail dot com.


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May 2012

Apr   Jun


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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.

A simple proposal for discussion software makers Permalink.

This protocol could be implemented by services like Quora, Disqus, Livefyre, Wordpress, Stack Overflow or Drupal. I originally wrote it up as an idea for Quora, but realized it should be made more general.

1. Let's create a very simple document-oriented API with pub-sub. I use OPML for this purpose, but would be willing to support other formats if others want to. You like JSON, okay no problem.

2. People can use your web interface to create and edit public documents, with a twist. Users can also provide the URL of a document, and you provide me with an endpoint that I can ping when it updates.

3. Also support the flipside of the protocol as well. Provide a URL for the document, and are willing to ping a subscriber when it updates.

5. This is recursive. Documents can contain other documents each of which supports this protocol.

This allows the content to be stored where ever the author wants to store it, but for readers of your site, there's no difference. This would be the beginning of the bootstrap of a document-oriented Internet. No one captures or controls anyone's content. You don't have to export documents, because they never were imported. There are a lot of places we can go from here.

Another way of thinking of it -- a peering protocol at a much higher level than any existing peering protocol. Directly tied into the user interfaces of editorial tools. There would be an explosion of creativity among authors and developers. It's as big an idea as linking was when the web was introduced.

This really isn't speculative. We've been using the UI for this approach to editing for the web since the late 90s. I'm doing my third iteration fo it now. You just enable the feature if the user has an editor that can serve contant at That's how you display the Post In Editor button. The editor can fully handle the conversation with the server. No spectulative technology here.

I'm just about to implement this myself in my new publishing software, so it would be a really good time to collaborate.

New York tech Permalink.

Sometimes you have to get out of town to gain a perspective on the place you live. When you visit a tech scene in another country, it helps you see where you come from. In my case, the United States of America.

For sure, tech still emanates from the US. I don't see any other country or culture ready to lead us in any direction that isn't coming from the USA. If there is such a place (please read my whole post before saying so) I'd like to know where it is.

Is New York tech different from California tech? There might be some slight differences, but you could take a tech conference from California, plop it down in NYC, and not only would the same ideas be discussed, from the same perspective, but most of the people would be the same. The APIs are corporate APIs, the CMSes are silos, the business model is hamsters generating less money with each turn of the wheel.

I'm still looking for a home that wants to begin at at different place. That we accept competition, embrace it, as a way to keep us on our toes, and to keep the flow of ideas strong. To keep Moore's Law thriving not just in hardware, but in software, networking, humanity. Instead we've got a culture that divides us up into smaller and smaller tranches, and sells us to Wall Street, for our ability to read ads, not our ability to solve problems. My point of view is this -- I make tools for people who are really smart and motivated. I make the tools then I get out of the way and I learn from them, learn how to make those tools better, and learn which new ones need to be made. I get paid a fraction of the money my customers make using my tools. This incentivizes me to make more. My customers are Nobel Laureates. They cure diseases. Solve crises. Lead our culture. They are anything but hamsters.

New York and California tech interfere with that process. Their model is still hopelessly rooted in the 20th century industrial model, of media and entertainment. Elite inventors, stars, personalities with millions of followers and passive consumers clicking on Like buttons. Very little crossover (though there is some, like Kickstarter).

Evan Williams and Biz Stone get a lot of stock, but the users who were there at the beginning get bupkis. Zuckerberg and Moskovitz, Palmer and Savarin, they become billionaires, the users aren't even goldfish in a goldfish bowl.

These models, to me, are no-ops. I don't care if they happen, but I do care if they crowd out the forward motion, and they sure do that. So to me, New York is no different than Silicon Valley. Both are poison to the creative process. Eventually, I hope the market will stop valuing the hamsterism they encourage and start looking further afield, so we can start creating those tools for people to solve the problems we have such an abundance of.

No deference from me Permalink.

I remember talking to a friend, many years ago, who mentioned that one of his cousins had been elected to the US House of Representatives. "You must be very proud of him," I said, which seemed quite reasonable to me at least. He said, with irritation, "I have more money than he does." Obviously that struck me as odd, because I remember it, over thirty years later.

Why did he see it as a comparative thing? Could you not be proud of someone and also be proud of yourself?

How is money comparable with political achievement? I don't say it's easy to make a lot of money, but it's also not easy to get elected to such a high office.

We were young enough at the time so that such high achievement of someone of our generation was pretty exceptional.

Over the years, I've made it a point not to care how much money someone has. I feel like I'm doing both of us a favor. Because who wants to be seen as merely a bank account. They already must get a lot of that. I'm going to be the friend that sees past that, and remembers who you were before the money happened. Also, I think it's fairly pragmatic, because their money really has no meaning for me. It's not as if they're going to give me any. It's their money. If it makes them happy, then I'm happy for them. But I don't see why I should defer to them.

Then I read this Paul Krugman column a few days ago, that explains that what the super-rich want from us is not only for us to be poor, but also for us to defer to them as if they were more than human. To the extent that it's true, it gives the rest of us a lot of power that they probably shouldn't want to give us. There's no law that says we have to defer to them. If they think they're entitled to deference, they live in the wrong country. If anything, a request for deference is likely to get me to say something offensive about rich people. :-)

See, I know the truth. Rich people need to sleep, eat, drink plenty of fluids and exercise. They will get old and die. Their children give them grief, as do their siblings and parents. They feel insecure. And they are human.

Bill Gates, once had an appreciation for this, and I assume still does. Someone asked why a guy who's worth billions flies coach. He said the coach section gets there at the same time the first class section does.

For that, more than all his software accomplishments, he gets my respect. Because is what he said is true. It's a truth that's available to everyone, rich and poor. But not many people realize it.

Tagging offensive drivers Permalink.

A picture named yellowPaint.gifAs a walker and cyclist, I'm often left standing in slack-jawed amazement at the incredible asshole-ness of drivers, wishing I had a paint gun so I could tag the car. Something that might wash off eventually, but would signal to others that this car pissed a pedestrian so much that they got tagged. One tag wouldn't mean much, of course -- there are plenty of asshole pedestrians too. But if your car was starting to accumulate a lot of yellow, your family might not want to ride with you. Or when a cop pulled you over he or she might not be so easily talked out of giving you a ticket. Or taking you to jail. It would give some power to people who have no power, when compared to the driver who's encased in tons of steel with many tons of bone-crushing and skin-ripping momentum.

On the long drive back from Toronto yesterday, I hit a bit of traffic going through Syracuse. The signs said Left Lane Closed Ahead. And 99.9 percent of the drivers lined up as soon as the traffic slowed down, leaving the left lane open. I'm sure you know what happened. The other 00.1 percent, mostly driving huge pickup trucks, come barreling down the left lane, passing all the people waiting their turn, and then, when they can't go any further, try to merge with the adjacent lane. Of course at that moment I thought of the yellow paint. But then I thought of something else. How about getting out my phone and taking a picture of their license plate and uploading it to a special site. Tagging the assholes. Again, one tag wouldn't mean anything. But hundreds of them, that would make life interesting. And might get a few more people to line up and wait their turn.

Bill Seitz suggests using a paintball gun. Wonder how the NYPD would feel about citizens walking around with big guns like that! :-)

I started a thread on the zipper merge, which believe it or not is faster, according to the Minnesota DOT, than the wait-your-turn method.

© Copyright 1997-2012 Dave Winer. Last build: 5/27/2012; 8:02:07 PM. "It's even worse than it appears."

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