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How newspapers tried to invent the web

Tuesday, January 06, 2009 by Dave Winer.

A picture named thinktank.gifFascinating Slate article about how Newspapers "tried to invent the web." A lot of it absolutely true -- I thought I was in the "videotext" industry when I started out in tech in the early 80s, so much so that I named my company Living Videotext. I made countless trips back to NY to meet with people at CBS and Dow Jones, to try to anticipate the kinds of authoring tools we'd need, and how news would flow in the new system we were anticipating. That's why I wrote ThinkTank, I thought of it as an environment for authoring and reading news.  Permalink to this paragraph

I became a netizen on Compuserve's CB radio, and wrote my own bulletin-board software, LBBS, which then became TankCentral, a way for ThinkTank users to share outlines. When we merged with Symantec, I was still hung up on the idea of the outliner as the way of modeling online discourse, that's why I pushed for us to merge with Think Technologies, and also another company which we didn't get a deal with, who went on to become Microsoft Mail. I felt that MORE was the best way to do networking.  Permalink to this paragraph

Had Sidhu done a halfway decent job with the Mac networking APIs, I am sure the web would have happened on the Macintosh in the mid-late 80s. We spent countless man-months trying to get MORE to network. When it finally happened, Unix was the central OS for our communication future, and low-tech interfaces took the place of Apple's much more sophisticated networking.  Permalink to this paragraph

You know it would be great to have a conference someday with all the people who tried to make the web happen before it happened. I'd see a lot of old friends there. ;-> 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.

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