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Where's your data?

Sunday, February 01, 2009 by Dave Winer.

Craig Burton knows what that question means. Permalink to this paragraph

He was the CTO at Novell, the leading network company of the PC world in the 80s and 80s. Follow the link from his name and read what you should be thinking about your data and whether and how much you should trust companies to keep it safe. Permalink to this paragraph

However, pause when you get to this part: "I am still reeling from the transition to Wordpress. I lost years of data, links, discussions. No thanks to Dave Winer. Dave, I love you, but I think you left a ton of us locked into your silo with no way out." Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named silo.gifFirst, I love you too Craig, but you're totally wrong about that. At UserLand it was our religion not to lock users in. You could download your entire website from our servers, even the ones we hosted for free. We pleaded with people to do it, but most users either didn't understand, or didn't care enough to do it. We also provided a tool to convert those websites to folders of XML files, to make it easy to port it to other blogging tools. The only way we could have made it easier was to write the import routines for our competitors.  Permalink to this paragraph

Since we were one of the earliest vendors of blogging tools, we hoped to set a high bar for all to come. Unfortunately this didn't turn out, except in RSS aggregators where portable subscription lists are now the norm because Radio 8 taught users the value of being able to switch. Permalink to this paragraph

Pay attention to what Craig says, and don't store anything on anyone else's server unless you know how you're going to get it off when you need to. Even better, don't store the original on someone else's server, keep that in your space and share a pointer to the data. Permalink to this paragraph

We're headed into tough economic times and a lot of the for-free companies are going to go under. I think that's a virtual certainty. Further, a lot of them are cutting back, so their technical staffs are going to be thinner and more likely to make a mistake that costs you your data. Read the Terms of Service, they're usually not obligated to do anything to help you in times of trouble.  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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