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The right and wrong way to do tech

Saturday, August 15, 2009 by Dave Winer.

Consider these two examples: Permalink to this paragraph

1. Amazon: "Using a workflow similar to the one you'd use to import data, you prepare a manifest file, email it to us, receive a job identifier in return, and then send us one or more specially prepared storage devices. We'll take the devices, verify them against your manifest file, copy the data from one or more S3 buckets to your device(s) and ship them back to you." Permalink to this paragraph

2. Apple: "Rising Card is a magic application developed by Theory11. The reason it was initially rejected after a long period of hearing nothing from Apple was that they felt the app would be confusing to customers. Of course, that was the point of the app as it's a magic trick meant to confuse people. The developers wrote Apple to explain that to them, but heard nothing back. They figured all hope was lost as this was hardly a high profile application, and Apple clearly didn't seem to care too much about it." Permalink to this paragraph

Amazon creates a service for developers, charges them money, and never asks what you're using the service for. They're happy to help, as long as you pay your bill.  Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named coke.gifApple hires people who do the best they can to follow the orders from the top, and end up rejecting a magic trick app because it confuses the user (which of course is the point). Because there's no money in rejected software they can't afford to spend time with the developer to figure out whether they made a mistake. Permalink to this paragraph

Apple would do well to throw in the towel on this system, they're in a no-win situation. They're spending money to lose money. Amazon is making tech, and money, and their VPs are enjoying their weekend while Phil Schiller is hearing tales of woe from developers (and presumably from people inside Apple as well). Permalink to this paragraph

I wish Amazon would make an iPhone-like device that ran the same software as EC2. No, it wouldn't replace the iPhone, at least not right away. But what a test-bed for innovation it would be. Get down to the metal with a platform and distribution system that delivers software to users for pennies (if that much) integrated into the world's largest online store, that takes no stake in the products you're offering. Geez that sounds a lot like the PC or Mac market. Of course that can't work. A picture named sidesmiley.gif Permalink to this paragraph

BTW, Joe Moreno of Adjix may have found a breakthrough in URL-shortening that solves all the issues we covered in Thursday's Bad Hair Day podcast. I mention it in this piece because it's the incredibly flexible S3 architecture that makes the solution possible. If it actually works, and I believe it will, I'll write it up next week.  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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Last update: 8/15/2009; 6:26:46 PM Pacific. "It's even worse than it appears."

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