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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.


My sites
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My 40 most-recent links, ranked by number of clicks.

My bike

People are always asking about my bike.

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Here's a picture.


June 2012

May   Jul


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

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Dave Winer's

No bug reports on Twitter Permalink.

If you want to tell someone that something isn't working, do not try to do it on Twitter for the simple reason that it does not work. Invariably, you have to abbreviate. Leave stuff out.

And if the person you're reporting it to has a question, he or she has to ask it in 140 chars. And somehow anticipate your confusion when you don't understand their message.

If you have something to say, and it's important, then find another place to say it. 140 characters is brutal for bug reports.

Write a blog post, post something to a mail list. If the only way you can communicate the problem is via Twitter, then skip it because it does not work.

Show your feed visibly Permalink.

Important but simple message to people with websites with feeds.

The browsers are one-by-one removing information about feeds from the user interface, so it's become harder for people to find your feed.

To compensate, you should make your feed easy to find in your web content.

It just struck me as I was looking for the feed on the Rootstrikers site. I started to do a View Source and realized that of course most people wouldn't think to do that, or necessarily know how to find the feed in the source.

So if you want people to know about your feed, make sure you're showing it to them.

Update. I added the RSS Subscription Extension for Chrome, from Google, and it found a feed for the Rootstrikers site.

New discussion paradigm Permalink.

I have a new feature in the worldoutline that allows me to start a dozen comment threads in one post.

I tried it out with the various issues around bikes in cities.

I'd say it was a success.

One topic, "It's okay to ride on a sidewalk" has spawned a lively discussion. I just added a comment.

PS: Thanks to Disqus for providing an open commenting system that's so easy to experiment with, and to Daniel Ha for being so supportive.

Woz Permalink.

Jesus Diaz at Gizmodo asked if they could run yesterday's piece on Jobs, and of course I said yes. It's very much a Gizmodo type piece. I like to say yes when pubs like Gizmodo or Wired ask to run my stuff. More distribution for ideas. Good for business.

Then Woz commented, basically saying that Jef Raskin was working on the stuff I was writing about. That's what I love about Woz. He's so accessible, where Jobs was only occasionally accessible. I've seen Jobs show up at computer stores, and hang out just like a normal guy. I've even gotten phone calls from him, one-sided ones for sure. He was really good at talking, but not so great at listening. Unless he was stealing an idea. :-)

I wanted to say a few things to Woz, and figured I might as well write a post.

1. The insides of the Apple II were beautiful. I've written about that many times. Woz is the guy who made the insides work. Jobs is the guy who made the outside work. Both were necessary for Apple to triumph over the early hobbyist companies to become a juggernaut.

2. Woz is an enthuisast. I remember giving a talk at a MacWorld Expo around the time of MORE. My PR person, Kandes Bregman, alerted me that Woz was in the audience. I had never met him. I gave my talk as usual. Asked for a show of hands of people who used my earlier product, ThinkTank. His hand shot straight up. I don't know why it surprised me, but it felt great to know that the guy who did all that great work that I admired so much was using my software.

3. Woz remembers Jef Raskin was working on the innards too. And he wrote a testimony to Raskin. But like Jobs, Raskin is gone. If we want to make the innards of computers beautiful and functional and as useful as the packages they come in, we, those who are still alive, will have to do it.

BTW, to Nick Denton, who publishes Gizmodo and is very interested in discussion software. Look at the flow here to see how commenting can work, when it's cross-domain. Any forward-looking discussion system will have to anticipate this, imho.

Banking reform will be good for business Permalink.

Just heard a report on NPR about how risk-averse investors are. As someone with a small amount of money to manage, I think I understand what's going on, because the behavior they describe exactly matches the beliefs that are guiding my investment decisions.

Here's what's going on.

I was paying some amount of attention during the financial meltdown in 2008. Before that I had a vague idea about how banking works. But I listened to NPR, esp the Planet Money explainer, Giant Pool of Money. And then I read a bunch of books about the meltdown, and after a while I began to understand.

I remembered a conversation I had with a friend, Ponzi Black, who had been working in the mortgage refinance business. She quit, in disgust, at the kinds of deals her company was doing. Her story exactly matched up with what I was reading about. Then it hit me. Enron wasn't an outlier. The entire banking industry is corrupt. Once you realize that, you freeze in fear. What do I do with my savings? The answer I came up with, that so many others did too, is get as close to the safest thing around, the US government. They aren't honest either, but they can't be as bad as the assholes running the banking business. And in my heart I know they are the same people. But what are you going to do. If you can't trust money, how can you invest?

Then I heard on NPR that corporate money-managers from around the world are doing the same damn thing. Effectively hiding the money under the matress and hoping somehow we get our shit together again, so they can go back to investing in things that make money, instead of just preserving value. (I remember when Krugman figured this out, that investors were no longer investing, they were preserving. It was a big moment.)

I don't know why anyone is surprised, in hindsight. If it's legal to steal money, then people are going to steal money. And the people who are good at stealing, will squeeze out the ones who aren't good, or perhaps have an inkling that it's wrong to steal. It's actually even worse. Even if it's illegal, if the stealers think they won't get caught, or if they're caught they won't get punished, the same thing will happen. While I don't know for sure, even so, I'm pretty sure that's what happened here. We learned some big lessons from the banking meltdown of 1929. Put some rules in place. And then in the 80s and 90s we eliminated the rules. And the inevitable happened. And it keeps happening. And it will keep happening until we decide to fix it. And fixing it means more laws, and more enforcement, and people going to jail, and losing everything, because they commited fraud.

I've been watching a lot of basketball this year. And there's a Merrill Lynch commercial that plays a lot. They make a big deal about how their customers' interest comes first. Heh. That's so totally not true. The bankers were setting up their own customers to lose. They only made money if their customers lost! And this went unpunished. They went home with their billion dollar bonuses, and laughed all the way. (Except they must have the same problem, where do they store their ill-gotten gains.) The huge lie that the banking industry is built on is that you can trust them. Their only product is trust. And they screwed that up. No one in their right mind trusts them. And the funny thing is they must think they pulled a fast one and got away with it. They didn't. People know it's all bullshit. They blame everyone in power. And that's right. The blame belongs to the Supreme Court that made it legal for the bankers to buy the political system. It belongs to the President who won't prosecute the bankers, even though it is totally within his power to do that. He doesn't need Congress's help for that. When he blames the Congress for our problems, that's a fast one. And on and on.

I guess it's time for the bankers to decide what business they're in. They were in the business of fleecing the US economy. But that's almost over. What's next? There aren't any more huge economies to pillage. Maybe they want to really do some business. Or get out of the way, retire to their 20 mansions, fly between them in corporate jets and helicopters. Entertain each other at lavish parties. Talk about how clueless everyone else is. Write books saying how much the rest of us should worship them. And just get out of the way so we can try to reboot the economy. Or failing that, we could find them new accomodations in a Federal prison. You want to call it class war, that's okay with me. :-)

I know if I'm going to start investing again, we're going to have to make some very very big changes. Otherwise why the hell should I?

© Copyright 1997-2012 Dave Winer. Last build: 6/8/2012; 10:21:24 PM. "It's even worse than it appears."

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