Saturday, March 27, 1999 by Dave Winer.
It feels like forever since I wrote a DaveNet. Such a foreign thing to do. But it's the right time to do it. I've been busy this week doing all kinds website work for the new version of Frontier that's coming. I've also been arguing with myself about taking a vacation. Some part of me is resisting. But most of me knows it's long overdue.
Even if my goal is merely maximizing productivity over the next few months, a couple of weeks away from the keyboard would do me good. And I'm itching to hit the road, so I'd say there's a good chance I will break away for a bit during April.
First a song. A loosener. A dancing tune by Huey Lewis and the News, the master of brass and bass and predictable almost-too-pregnant pauses. I know they're corny, but I like it anyway.
"I can see you've got your motor running. But don't you think you're moving kind of slow? If you feel the way I feel let me get behind the wheel. We don't need any destination baby, anywhere you want to go. So give me the keys and I'll drive you crazy. Give me the keys, I'll drive you out of yourrrr mind! We don't need no registration and we don't need no license, so let me in the driver's side, and we can take a ride. Give me your hand.. I'll drive you insane!"
Now *that's* music! ;->
Hey. I've been thinking about submission lately.
Submission. Compliance. The act of submitting, surrendering power to another.
A few weeks ago a friend said that I didn't do it. It's true. Submission is not my nature. In a way I live my life to prove that I don't have to submit to anyone or any thing. As I look at my values from this perspective I realize that everything I do is circling around this issue, on both sides. I wasn't even aware of it.
In Earth's Website, 11/20/98, I said: "I believe in science, and I think there is a science of humanity. We're the puzzle. We can't explore the depths of space, but we can explore the depths of ourselves."
So there's a clue, this is deep within me, the resistance to submission. And then I wondered if everyone else was the same, and I realized they are not. In fact, the vast majority of people submit every day. They have jobs! They take orders. Most of them, most of the time, do their best to submit. But guys like me resist.
But submission is inevitable, even for people who hate to submit. Why? Because we die. And that's the ultimate act of submission. Wheeee! That's what I imagine death is like. You take your hands off the rail, unbuckle the seatbelt and go for the ultimate ride.
So, following this trail of logic, using my intellect, it makes sense to start submitting as soon as possible. This is the mathematics I believe in. If you've got a losing strategy, the best tactic is to admit defeat asap and get on with it.
I offer no other further conclusion at this time. I don't know if I recommend submission. I'll let you know how it goes.
In my last piece, Everyone's Equally Nasty, 3/18/99, I talked about Netscape and RSS files and promised to let you know when we got our syndication/aggregation site, My.UserLand.Com, on the air. It's up now.
If you have a news site, a weblog, I encourage you to put up an RSS version of the content so we can flow it thru our templates and out to readers' desktops.
There's no legal agreement, I see the inclusion of a channel on our site as equivalent to pointing to a website from Scripting News. It's not that big a deal. You're letting us know where a publicly accessible resource is located. It's no more significant than signing a guestbook, or sending me an email pointing to a site you just put up. That's always welcome. You never know when a Dancing Hamsters site is going to pop up (or what kind of music they're going to be dancing to). I like to look at new sites and I like to point to them from my site. It's just that simple.
On the other hand, at any time, I can disconnect the link. And you can opt-out simply by removing the file or sending me an email from the account you were using when you registered. We keep our distance. What you choose to say to your readers thru my interface is between you and them. But it's also at-will. Either of us can opt-out at any time. That's the fairest formula in my opinion. It allows us to relax and try out a new idea and be prepared to learn from the experience without risking too much.
So that's my proposal. If you run a site with a news flow, consider producing a RSS version and link it into my.userland.com and sites that are compatible, such as my.netscape.com. This is how updraft is created, how we make a new standard happen. Along with Netscape we've taken care of one side of the equation. Competitors are welcome. Now let's get the content sites working on this stuff. They're the other side.
All this comes under the banner of XML. When it gains critical mass we will also link these sites together in a search engine. We will also offer web hosting for people who do news sites, with a high-level writer's interface, and scalable flows on the other side (broadband, palmtop, XML, plain old HTML). We're now entering the commercialization of XML. I'm still optimistic. Let's go!
All this and more will happen when I get back.. Let's leave the bookmark right here.
In the meantime, I'm going to do some more writing, so expect a couple more DaveNets in the next few days.