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We Make Shitty Software, and other long tales

Saturday, March 29, 2008 by Dave Winer.

A picture named fujiFilmCamera.jpgWe're having a bit of rain this morning in the Bay Area. It's the best thing this time of year. All the plants, bushes and trees are in bloom, but they could all use (it seems to me) one more good soaking. One last rain before the final bloom, then we settle into a long period of beautiful sunny days that will last till late fall when it starts raining again. Permalink to this paragraph

In the news, violence is up in Iraq, and Bush is making speeches about it again. First thought that popped into my head -- I wonder who he's going to blame this time. It's never the people in Iraq or even the insurgents, certainly not the military, and absolutely not the DOD or god forbid, the President. It's almost always liberals, even though he doesn't use the word (possibly because it would seem so insane). It seems if we're not taxing and spending we're running away with our tails between our legs, on behalf of Bush and his team of super-heroes. Permalink to this paragraph

Is this really a question of guts and determination? How much determination does it take before you get the idea that it isn't working. Are the people who think this is a waste of two countries, ours and theirs, really weak people who won't rise to a challenge, cowards who want to cut and run. We've been hearing for a long time that nirvana is just around the corner, but it's a long road ahead. I heard a Republic spokesperson actually have the gall to say that again on Face The Nation last Sunday. A long road ahead. I think they misunderestimate our interest in long roads in Iraq. Like the last rain of last winter, one can only hope this kind of idiotic double-talk will soon be behind us. Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named littlebuddies.jpgOne more thought. The Republic is a guy named Lindsey Graham, Senator from South Carolina, one of two little guys often seen behind the little guy running for President, John McCain. The other is "Little Joe" Lieberman. I wondered what's inside Graham's head. He can't be stupid, I never believe people are stupid until there's no other explanation that fits the facts. So I wonder why he's so hell-bent on us staying in Iraq even though it's still a long road (though we're just about to turn the corner). What's his story? When they talk about it between themselves, the little guys -- Joe, John and Lindsey, I can't imagine they say the same bullshit they say on TV. What do they really think about this? Permalink to this paragraph

On to the next seemingly endless war... Permalink to this paragraph

As I've written here, a number of times, there was a pretty bad scene at Gnomedex last August, and foolishly, I got myself mixed up in it. I apologized for doing so, and I stick by that apology.  Permalink to this paragraph

There were two versions of what happened, and I'm happy to say that Chris Pirillo, the organizer of the conference, finally spoke up and told his version of the story.  Permalink to this paragraph

For the most part I agree with what Chris said. I think he should have spoken sooner, it would have saved me a lot of grief, for sure. Perhaps next time you hear another version of this story, you could tell the person telling the tale to give it up.  Permalink to this paragraph

I've been told by lots of people that they like it when these blowups happen, they find it entertaining. I understand, but I don't like being part of these things. So much so that I don't go to many conferences. It's just not worth it.  Permalink to this paragraph

The whole point of the blogosphere was that we flatten things out, that we're all just people. I'm a creative guy, in that I like to create things. I don't wake up every morning thinking who I can pick a fight with. I know other people do, and sometimes they try to engage me in those fights.  Permalink to this paragraph

On the other hand, I also hate being lied to and I want to buy products that I admire, and expose products that are scams. That's another important function of blogs. Sometimes that means there's a fight coming, because people with dishonest proposals usually don't want to be exposed. I get that. And sometimes they respond to honest criticism with personal attacks, hoping to shred the critic so other people won't notice the defect in their pitch. That will lead to fights.  Permalink to this paragraph

I used to admire Microsoft for their willingness to be criticized. It was really something. If you said their product sucked, they drew you closer to find out why you thought that. Every so often you see that culture in a company and you know you've found a winner. People who are willing to work with you to make your product better are like nuggets of gold, you just need a few of them to guide you to success. Permalink to this paragraph

I've long thought that newspapers should have the same approach. The NY Times public editor shouldn't be a journalist, he or she should be a member of the public, a user of their product. Point of view is everything. You'd think the editors of a great paper would understand that. They have long had disagreeable people on their op-ed page knowing that there's much to be learned from what they say, even if you don't agree with their conclusions (though I wonder wtf Bill Kristol is doing there). Permalink to this paragraph

I said recently to Chris Anderson, the editor in chief of Wired, that they should have some bloggers on staff to critique their work from a reader's point of view. The thought went nowhere, he says they already have bloggers (I know many of them, and they're fine people). I wonder what they think a blog is? I imagine it has something to do with the tools. To me it's so much morePermalink to this paragraph

As we approach the 11th birthday of Scripting News, I had a little free time the other day and cobbled up a dynamic page that says how many years old the blog is, with 10 digits precision. http://age.scripting.com/  Permalink to this paragraph

Looping back to my disclaimer of being a racist, a bunch of people said I'd catch hell for it, but I haven't, at least not yet. There's proof that change is possible. The other day Condoleeza Rice, our Secretary of State, a black woman, said that our country has a birth defect about race. Here's another first -- who ever thought it would be possible for me to express admiration for Ms. Rice, one of the most shameless liars and double-talkers of the Republic Party. She must be running for something. ;-> Permalink to this paragraph

Haven't done one of these morning rambles in a while. Thanks for listening. Now I have some work to do, fixing bugs, creating new ones, etc. Permalink to this paragraph

Update: Comments on an earlier version of this post. Permalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, 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, 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 Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

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.

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