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. :-)
The whole business about Twitter and its API was not big news last week when it erupted. Twitter had already clearly telegraphed the end of its developer program, to anyone who cared, a couple of years ago.
What they're doing with content though does much more damage to the open Internet. It's shameful for their stockholders and partners to profit this way. I hope by writing this to influence them to put pressure on Twitter to stop this practice.
What are they doing? Well, if you link to a story on one of their partner sites, you don't have to click on the link to read the story. It opens directly in the Twitter client. No context change. It's a feature users will like, and they will ask people whose sites don't do this, why they don't.
Problem is, only Twitter gets to say who gets this feature.
And by writing this piece, that's critical of Twitter, I'm pretty much guaranteeing that my software never gets this feature. I would be much smarter, as a business person, to praise them for their cleverness, and behind the scenes beg them to make me a partner.
So what does this say about the independence of news organizations that are viewed by Twitter as a partner?
It says they aren't independent.
I got a ton of heat from tech insiders and profiteers when I crticized Twitter for inflating the follower counts of friends of the company and its founders. The whole RSS is XXX campaign by TechCrunch was almost certainly payback for that (it didn't work, of course, TechCrunch still has an RSS feed, and RSS chugs right along).
Tech is a company town. VCs praise other VCs and the users aren't given a seat at the table. Critics are pushed aside. That is, until it blows up, as it surely will. You can't hold down the Internet, you can't capture it in your silo and milk it for all its worth. But short-term you can do a lot of damage. That's what Twitter and its VCs and partners are doing.
So if you see an article inside Twitter and think "oh that's nice" -- think again. The publisher of that article is compromised. It's a sign of dirty journalism if a publication is getting special treatment from Twitter.
They say if you raise taxes on "job creators" they will create fewer jobs.
So if you keep their tax rate at historic lows, as they are now, isn't that a Keynesian stimulus?
Hmmm. I'm sure they have a nice tapdance for that, and I'm not from Missouri, but I recognize a load of bull when I hear it.
A much more direct way to stimulate "job creators" to create jobs instead of pocketing the difference is to be totally direct about it. Give them a tax credit when they create a job. If they create a job for a black teenage male (their unemployment rate is close to 50 percent) give them a double credit. If they create a job for someone who's over 55, same deal.
If we're going to be Keynsian, at least be smart about it!
But the so-called "job creators" really aren't. They're just rich people who pay off politicians to spout bullshit on their behalf. Not very patriotic of them when the country is in such a deep economic hole.
After Katrina, Spike Lee did an HBO documentary where he interviewed New Orleanians, who asked why no one warned them that there might be a storm that the levees couldn't handle.
But they were warned. Many times over many years in many ways. When I lived there, as a college student in the 1970s, it was common knowledge that eventually there would be a big enough storm to flood the city.
The warning was repeated on 60 Minutes a decade before Katrina. It was a very stark and illustrated warning from a charismatic LSU professor and a US official. I would love to find a pointer to the piece. As with all great 60 Minutes bits, it was both frightening and highly entertaining.
Scientific American ran a story in 2001 that was equally stark and unequivocal. No doubt very few New Orleanians read that magazine, but it probably was reported on TV and in newspapers, or it could have been.
People were warned.
And the Bay Area lives under a similar sentence. Eventually there will be an earthquake so big that the US economy won't be able to absorb the cost of reconstruction.
The entire world lives under the cloud of climate change.
The human species has some strengths but taking warnings like this seriously isn't one of them.
It's pretty obvious that our numbers and lifestyle have grown to the point where it no longer scales. A lot of systems are overdue to collapse. Katrina was just an early warning.