Comparing Broadband and HTML
Tuesday, March 2, 1999 by Dave Winer.
First a little rebutting to a columnist with a big heart who I've butted heads with a few times over the last couple of years. The columnist is Chris Nolan, who last week took some shots at me in her Talk is Cheap column in the San Jose Mercury-News. http://www.sjmercury.com/svtech/columns/talkischeap/docs/cn022599.htm
I'm not mad at Chris even though she trashed me in her column. It's spring and a full moon. My feelings of love are genuine. She doesn't like the idea of a big man who has a heart and doesn't mind sharing it. That's one of her problems. I'm an uncle, a team leader and community leader and a CEO. The people I relate to with my heart seem to like it. That one columnist in an important paper has trouble with this has to be OK, because she's just one person, an important one, but still just one person.
Chris also said that my stories are sales pitches and marketing presentations. That's true. They are sales pitches and marketing presentations. This doesn't condemn me as a dishonest writer, as she would have you believe. It speaks the truth that I have spoken myself many times. I am a product developer with a voice. That's one of the great things about the Internet, it's like the op-ed pages of newspapers like the Merc, there's space for people to talk, alongside disinterested employees of publishing conglomerates, such as Ms. Nolan.
Anyway I've never been a journalist and never have claimed to be one. I run a small company and I make software and I carry those interests with pride. They color my writing, they even at times provide the substance of the writing. I think everyone who reads DaveNet knows this, and if they don't, they do now.
Last night, to celebrate spring and the full moon, I ordered myself an early birthday present -- a dual-CPU 500Mhz Pentium III with 512MB RAM and a 19GB SCSI hard drive.
By my math it should be about 8 times faster than the top-of-the-line "honker" I bought 1.5 years ago. This is going to allow me to dig some new holes, it's going to make quite a nice Fractional Horsepower HTTP Server.
I'm going to use the SuperHonker to develop a new kind of content management server, one that serves a small set of friends who are running weblogs, as I do. The new machine arrives on March 18, until then I'm counting the days.
On to a different topic, some new ideas relating to where the Internet is going. Here's a snapshot of a development process going on between two companies, UserLand Software and Broadband Mechanics.
Another way we connect is thru my longtime friendship with Marc Canter, who is the lead developer at Broadband Mechanics. Our friendship goes back to the early days of the Macintosh when I was doing outliner presentation software and Marc was bringing videogame technology to the desktop in the form of (what's now become) MacroMedia Director.
Today we want to give you a window into that power, a window that's visible in any browser. Later this week we'll open up a live demo of the new stuff, which will only be usable in MSIE 5.0b2/Win.
The pictures show that you can have a much more software-like experience if you access a server thru the highly graphic interface that Marc and his team have developed. This is the way the world is going. The Excite and @Home merger show that Kleiner-Perkins and TCI and AT&T are ready to make a bet there. Cable modems are becoming commonplace as are xDSL connections, and many corporate Intranets are also high bandwidth environments. So if you have the extra bandwidth, what would you use it for? That's the question Marc and I are answering.
We're still in development, working on a prototype, our goal is to build a much more interactive, customizable and participatory workspace in the web browser. It'll probably still be a few months before our content developer portal will be ready for public use, but when it is, I think it will turn our industry around.
Right now we want these screen shots to be topics of conversation in board rooms, analyst and product planning meetings. Our bet is that as the industry turns this corner we can launch some new services and develop productive relationships with other companies that are investing in higher bandwidth net connections.
PS: According to WordNet, a honker is a "beak, honker, hooter, nozzle, snoot, snout, schnozzle." In American slang a honker is a souped up sports car. I think it derives from the horn honking that proud owners of such cars like to do. Honk is a great word too, it's "the cry of a goose or any sound resembling this." Someone long ago, hearing the sound of a car's horn, must have mistaken it for a goose!
PPS: Oooops! My face is red. Bryan Green points to three DaveNet pieces where I *did* claim to be a journalist. 1 , 2 , 3 . So I retract the statement I made today about never claiming to be a journalist and apologize to my readers for not having done a thorough search of DaveNet back-issues before making the statement. (This was posted after the email release of this DaveNet piece.)