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In Berkeley

Tuesday, June 09, 2009 by Dave Winer.

Over the weekend I started a new site with my longtime friend and fellow Berkeleyite, Lance Knobel. The site arose out of a dozen conversations with friends and neighbors. "Does Berkeley have a site that's just about Berkeley?" The answer, always: "I wish there was one." Lately the conversations have been more urgent. Why don't we get off our butts and start one already. Permalink to this paragraph

So we did. Permalink to this paragraph

http://inberkeley.com/  Permalink to this paragraph

We all agree, we hope, that Berkeley is a great place, but it means different things to everyone who lives here. To some it's a great university town. To others it's a place to live, or a place to work. To others it's a cultural center. There's a huge freeway that passes through town, and a train line that goes to Chicago, New Orleans, New York, Seattle, Canada, probably everywhere else in the country. We have poverty and wealth. A new shopping district and an old one. Manufacturing, a winery, car dealers, biotech and computer firms. Some of the best public transit in the world. We have artists, scientists, great thinkers, journalists, many of the smartest people on the planet are our neighbors. We voted for Obama but we saw some McCain signs on front lawns. We have strong opinions, but we also value tolerance. Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named presto.jpgFor me, Berkeley is a refuge -- it's a place to live because you have to live somewhere. I tried a lot of places. I spent 20-plus years in Silicon Valley, it was the right place for me when I was an ambitious young man determined to prove his worth. I liked living in Cambridge, the people were great, the intellectual life fantastic, but it was cold. I liked Seattle, but people worked so hard. I loved the beach in Florida, and the people were nice, but their politics were too different from mine.  Permalink to this paragraph

I tried living on the road, but I needed a permanent place to sleep, write, and a consistent set of friends to hang with day in and day out. I could have had that in a variety of places but I chose Berkeley because it's beautiful, the politics are a good match (not in the cliche sense that rightwingers think) and the people who live here are intelligent, friendly, not pretentious and they don't work too hard, as a rule, so they have time to play. Permalink to this paragraph

Tom Hunt, a longtime Berkeley resident said it well. If you take out the university, Berkeley is a small place. The day he said it I ran into three people on the street who I knew on my daily walk. But over time I've given it thought and realize that it's not a small place, but it feels that way, it's approachable.  Permalink to this paragraph

Now there are things not to like about Berkeley. And I suppose each of us has our own list. For me, it's the black hole that downtown is. I don't like going there. I don't understand why a great city like Berkeley doesn't have a thriving and bustling downtown. With the great public transit and the world-class university, located in the middle of one of the most dynamic metropolitan areas of the world, why isn't the downtown a place more people want to come to, not just from within Berkeley but from all around the Bay Area, the state, the country, the world?  Permalink to this paragraph

To me, having lived here only three years, most of what I know about Berkeley is how much I don't know about Berkeley. But having a blank page to fill in is one of my favorite things. With my good buddy Lance, and hopefully with a lot of help from friends in and around this great place, I hope InBerkeley.com will become a place to learn and share and grow a greater Berkeley. Permalink to this paragraph

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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 54, 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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