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Preparing for 25 Years (scripting.com)
184 points by mooreds 15 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 55 comments

I enjoyed a ton of Daves stuff. I've programmer using Frontier. I've used Radio. I've implemented RSS, XML-RPC, and OPML in languages that at the time barelly had a XML parser library. In essence it helped mold me as a developer back in Mac OS 9 (or was it 8?).

One thing that I always did when learning a new language was to implement a GUI blogging client. Blogging has always been one of the most fun parts of the internet for me and Dave has played a pivotal role in shaping this. Heck, I blame him for my love of outliners.

Still, it was bittersweet when he blocked me on Twitter after a disagreement opinion on the fundamental role of journalism in a democratic society. I wish there was a better exchange at the time, he posted an open public question about the role of journalism, I've answered truthfully as someone who is married to and walks with journalists. And poof, block.

That sucked but I still hold a lot of the things he created quite dear. I'm right now implementing blogging libraries for Racket and maybe even a new GUI client soon, and for that fun, I thanks that guy and his 25 years of blogging stuff.

> Still, it was bittersweet when he blocked me on Twitter

What was the sweet part of being blocked? Was there some stuff he posted that you really hated, or was he reading your tweets and launching personal attacks on you, or what?

Maybe I chose the wrong word. English is my second language. He just posted an open question on twitter and I answered. There was no hate or discussion. For me it was bittersweet because I was happy to interact, I thought I was contributing because I do have a ton of experience with the subject, but then when I was expecting a reply, he blocked. There was no interaction.

Let me be clear that people are free to block whoever they want. Dave is not required or expected to interact with me. It was for me unexpected because I thought that some conversation could emerge. Still, this is not a shame the guy session. Everyone has the right to block whoever they want for whatever reason they want. My comment was actually about how besides that bad day, I still value his work a lot and still am influenced and play with the concepts and technologies he created.

What's your Twitter handle so I can unblock. And thanks for being so reasonable about it.

Hey thanks a ton for all the work in these last 25 years. The account is https://twitter.com/soapdog

I just unblocked and followed you.

Thanks for the respect, much appreciated. ;-)

Here is a Dave story...

I once wrote an early web server using his Frontier Scripting platform which ended up serving up a large corporate website that my company built. Crazy early days of the web. So, I got to 'know' Dave a bit online.

One time I was at a bar (that no longer exists) in San Francisco at some MacWorld event in the 90's and Dave showed up. He and I had previously had some emails back and forth that were not necessarily pleasant, probably some silly flame war of some sort that I can't remember. I was definitely young and stupid and this was the .com 90's!

When he was near me, I jokingly said: 'Hey Dave, bite me!" and a bunch of my friends started laughing. Mostly because they knew his reputation for flame wars. He immediately got over the top furious with me, said 'Never say that to me again!', walked away and we never spoke again.

Anyway, I just want to apologize, I shouldn't have said that.

I like this in your profile --

"Important: If you are looking at this profile because you thought something I posted was wrong, dismissive, disrespectful, douchebaggish, what have you, I would really like to hear from you so that I could understand how you got that impression. I won't get mad, I won't "retaliate" I just want to hear what you have to say. It is important to me to communicate clearly and if something I said struck you that way then I failed and I would like to correct it. (Borrowed from another profile)"

Yes I feel you are being all that in this post. At the end you apologize, that's nice, but before that you said some insulting personal things about me, that I'm sure aren't true. Take responsibility for what you did and said and leave it at that. Apologizing for nasty behavior and then saying yeah but the guy was a dick, that isn't apologizing.

Anyway this is par for the course of Hacker News. The troll post always is highest ranked.

> Anyway this is par for the course of Hacker News. The troll post always is highest ranked.

:( HN is the platform on the net where you will read "RSS should be used more" and "Thanks Dave Winer for this great tech" most often. And here you have a comment of someone with no history of trolling (according to his most recent posts at least) who made himself very small ("I was an idiot") and apologized to you, and you insult not only him, but the whole platform.

Dave, you don't know me, but a lot of people here read you. And so many of the developers here build software with technology you like (i.e. I implemented a RSS feed for my blog software, a feed reader [with opml import!], a rss polling and pushing infrastructure, and a RSS focused SaaS pipes revival site) and share some of your ideals. Is it really necessary to be antagonistic to all of us? How is this a winning strategy?

And assume for a moment latchkeys story is genuine. You don't remember it, but so what, it was 25 years ago and you said yourself you had lots of bad interactions at that time. I'd be very surprised if some idiot kid acting badly is something you would remember. Your reaction now to his public apology would be devastating.

From your second comment:

> His memory of me, a guy who he says created software that he used and liked, is the time he treated me like an object.

To me it reads like he treated you like one of his friends, which obviously was a bad idea if you have a different age and cultural background, besides not sharing this strange feeling of knowing someone because you read his blogs for years, who of course never realized you exist.

Spot on, except the devastating part. I am not surprised by his response and I'm old enough now to just shrug it off.

My story was absolutely genuine and is in response to his request for stories...

"I wonder what it looked like from the other side of the net connection."

That's good to hear :)

I stopped coming here a long time ago because trolls dominate. These days we understand why and how that happens, and HN is wide open to that kind of abuse, with no moderation tools.

So what changed, if it's true that now it's a place where people are respectful of other people? And where are those comments in this thread (spoiler: they're at the bottom of the list).

Anyway PLEASE let me know when the tech I have participated in is discussed here and if there's some way I can help.

For example, I'm getting a new version of the XML-RPC website ready, based on a new JavaScript implementation. A lot of people still use XML-RPC, after scripting.com it's my most popular site.

My email address is dave@scripting.com.

I'm always shipping new projects on GitHub. I have a new one I'm working on that I'm really excited about. ;-)


If Hacker News is a good venue then I want to participate. I'm skeptical but will try to keep an open mind.

Oh, but there is not no moderation. There is a moderator team, a system for shadowbanning is in place, and posts get downvoted or flagged. We just still seem to disagree whether the comment here was disrespectful or not.

XML-RPC is indeed something used in the wild, and something I have contact with via blog software. In my case for remote editors and pingbacks basically.

For the discussions, I'm gonna send you a mail :)


latchkey's story presents himself as being in the wrong, and presents you as overreacting. Then he closes with an apology.

Your response makes it pretty clear that you do indeed match the description of you provided in latchkey's post.

The person isn't trolling, though. It's a fun anecdote that makes you both seem more human, and you didn't come across as a dick in it.

EDIT: For the record, most of us probably revere your blog.

Here's how this works. Imagine you don't recall this event. And then he says about you what he said about me (I don't remember the words, and I don't want to, but sounded like I blew my top). Now further imagine that having lived with yourself a long time, you know that isn't how you react to things like that. How would you feel?

You're only telling me how you feel. But you're forgetting that I am not you. And I got a lot of that kind of childish BS. You wouldn't believe how people project on you.

One time at a party in Menlo Park, I had to go take a leak. So I walked to the bathroom, relieved myself and went back to talking with my friends. Sounds pretty ordinary right?

The next day this guy blogged about how I WALKED RIGHT BY HIM without even looking at him. He got all kinds of empathy. I had no idea who he was. I guessed that I mustve walked by him on the way to piss.

It got to the point where people would video me in parties, conversing with me with a camera in their pocket. Or when I went to a meeting at Blogger, and they video'd that, live. We were there talking business. And I got visitors at my house, that was fun. Knocking on the door wanting to know if I lived there, saying shit like this guy was saying.

As a result I pulled back and traded my influence for a bit more normal life.

I haven't even told you the worst of it. It was pretty fucked up.

So this little story here is a reminder of how fucked up people are. His memory of me, a guy who he says created software that he used and liked, is the time he treated me like an object. Sad for him, and also sad for me. And sad for the world that there are limits on how much you can do before they start hurting you for it.

That's messed up. Nobody should have to put up with that. The only thing I knew about you before this was your history of outliners http://davewiner.userland.com/outlinersProgramming It was more interesting than it should have been.

> And then he says about you what he said about me (I don't remember the words, and I don't want to, but sounded like I blew my top). Now further imagine that having lived with yourself a long time, you know that isn't how you react to things like that.

Dude, that is definitely a common reaction on your part. You're famous for flipping out at people. Anyone who read your blog for any length of time saw it happen online a few times; anyone in the tech scene in the 2000s had you flip out at one or more of our friends in person. I'm sure you often don't react like that, but you do react like that enough for it to be very notable.

Moreover, your offended and condescending response makes it clear to anyone reading the thread that—unless there was some major provocation edited out of the original comment above, the way you used to do with your blog—you’re at least sometimes hypersensitive and prone to overreacting.

Spot on.

My story wasn't projecting at all. It was simply a story for background and an apology. But you seem to have turned it into more than that. Treating you like an object, what? I also used your software, I didn't say I liked it.

I read a good post on this subject: https://medium.com/@soatok/friendship-and-the-furry-fandom-4...

People who are well-known are people a lot of people want to get to know, but they remain human with human limitations and human priorities.

I've found the best way to get in touch with well-known people is to have a genuine interest in talking to them about mutual interests.

And talk to them like they were human beings, which they are. ;-)

I'm really sorry, but I upvoted your comments, and his, because I thought they were interesting. And wow, Dave Winer is commenting, and a guy who has a story about you from the 90's.

And that pushes his comment to the top, and yeah, here we are.

But a lot of us are very happy about your 25 years. And we know you aren't a bad person, but a human who had a human reaction to an asshole comment in a bar.

There is this famous scene from Howard Stern's movie Private Parts -

Howard: In a way that I gotta figure out what I'm gonna be. I mean, I don't want to be one of these disc jockeys that runs around the country, you know, looking for work all the time. I don't want to end up like that. It's so sad. It's so apparent to me now what I should be doing. I should be talking about my personal life. I've got to get intimate. And every time I feel like I shouldn't say something, maybe I should just say it, just blurt it out, you know? I just got to let things fly. I got to go all the way.

Alison: You didn't go all the way before?

Howard: No. I mean...No. A lot of times, I'm just holding back.

Alison: Then I guess you should go all the way.

When blogging first came about, lot's of people had the same realization. Because it works, in terms of connecting with people.

I've enjoyed reading Dave's writing for most of that time. His email newsletter DaveNet used to include the email addresses of a few random subscribers to each person. It was fun to see the addresses of famous people occasionally. Dave's always had interesting ideas. Looking back in my old email, I have some DaveNet's from 2003, but I read it back to the mid '90's or so.

For many years I read everything on scripting.com. I still check in now and again. Thanks for everything Dave.

(Dave seems to be one of those people that can't be discussed rationally on HN, much like Stephen Wolfram.)

Thank you Dave Winer for creating RSS. For a while there, it seemed like we were on a path of making all data free, a truly decentralized web of information. I wish the internet would have continued on that route.

I use RSS multiple times a day through Feedly and Reeder. It is anything but dead.

Uh, sorta, kinda, I guess... It is a lot less alive than it should and could have been. Sure, you can set up your own web-server, install RSS reader on your phone and use RSS as a protocol to get updates of your cat coming in and out or whatever. But essentially all the major services heavily discourage its usage for the majority of users.

You're both right.

Sure, you can use Feedly quite easily and a lot of sites, blogs, etc. still generate RSS feeds.

On the other hand, it's not really a first-class citizen, it's not available on major services that want eyeballs, subscription fees, etc. And, frankly, a lot of us have just mostly gotten out of the habit of using it because we figure we'll learn about most interesting or important stuff on social media in some manner.

Perhaps we need to splinter the internet.

A second-citizen only internet.

A separate internet with strict open web considerations, federated protocols, rss, irc, or new updated things.

Isn't that kinda what we have?

You can write web apps rather than mobile apps, publish on open source publishing platforms, use IRC, use RSS, etc. Yes, there may be discoverability and other downsides but nothing is actually preventing you from avoiding walled gardens for the most part.

The problem is there's an arms race on web browsers and constant upgrading of OSes and software and hidden centralizing effects. So even if some group of people are using IRC and RSS, probably many of them are getting caught up in google, chrome, and the current centralizing trend of the current "Web"

IRC is not in the same situation as websites. Plain HTML pages work fine in mainstream browsers. The web server does need to be upgraded to do encryption, but there is good open source software available for that.

I've reading 74 sources via Feedly, including Hacker News, multiple newspapers, etc. That's a bit more than "my cat."

Here's your idea in a different metaphor: How many die hard fans does it take for a musical band to exist; for the business machine to be self sustaining by die hard fans that will consume your material when released?

There are lots of bands that have exited the mainstage of public notoriety that are still thriving in various ends.

It's been burning in my mind to build an RSS server that runs on your local machine with a single binary and you just add whatever sources you want.

1. It uses RSS where it's available.

2. It scrapes the content kinda like outline.com but local copies.

All data saved to your local machine, as flat files so you can use whatever backend mechanism you require.

I want to find some time this year and build this. Would anyone actually use this though?

I kinda sorta use a local rss client myself, based on a screenshot I saw on someone's website: https://git.sr.ht/~japanoise/feedbag

I'd be interested in other folk's take on this.

Isn't this what Dave's River pieces are about, e.g. https://github.com/scripting/river5 ?

Thank you for the kind words. RSS is still a robust format with lots of news flowing through it, so we did accomplish something. And the pendulum is always swinging, so I think we may find the open web useful still, esp when the big tech companies like Google move on. ;-)

We can still get on track provided we do not get fascinated with Data Silos in the name of Social Media.

Unfortunately "data silos" are very convenient to end users, and also allow them to easily discover new content - which solves the main problem of the distributed content, the bad discoverability.

HTTP hyperlinks FTF. Vannevar Bush hypothesized much a higher-level “mesh of associative trails”, with relationships formed directly and largely automatically. The closest today’s WWW has gotten to this is search engines, but again these are centralized, controlled, and first and foremost in service to vendor, not users.

However, I would argue a far greater problem was the early lack of editability; Berners-Lee originally conceived of his WWW as a network of editable documents, where every user could read and write with equal ease. His prototype web browser was, to use a desktop analogy, a “Word for the Web”; a true web editor, Opening and Saving documents stored online, just as Microsoft Word directly opens and saves documents stored locally.

But Tim got lazy and impatient, and shipped his first public browser as a cut-down web viewer. Which Mosaic then copied; and, before anyone knew any different, the web was recast as a read-only medium of the masses, with web editing the exclusive domain of technical and corporate elites only.

A single thoughtless corner-cutting mistake, creating an artificial bottleneck upon which trillion-dollar global empires have now been built. You can still see the remnants of the original direct interaction model in HTTP’s PUT and DELETE verbs, like the hindlimbs in a blue whale, rendered just as powerless from the ignorance and avarice of this new web’s Intelligent Design.

Tony Hoare named NULL his billion-dollar mistake, but that’s a rounding error on the scale of TBL’s fuckup. As for Dave Winer? Best and worst, maybe a couple of Benjamins.

Very underrated pioneer in a lot of areas.

I find it sad that people would down-vote this. Regardless of how you feel about him personally, it'd be a different and far more silo'd internet without him.

I think his dust up with Google re HTTPS rubbed a bunch of people the wrong way. On one level, he's of an age where good intent was assumed on the web, so security wasn't a big concern.

(On that note, ask John Siracusa how it felt to have TTYs @ BU be "world-writable" in 1993)

On the other hand, that world is largely gone and the web is much more fraught with peril these days.

In case anyone is wondering, this is the FAQ on Google and HTTP.


As far as I know they've never responded.

Firefox doesn't make it's decisions based on the same criteria as Google, but: https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2019/07/18/still-not-using-...

What are your thoughts on that?

I think this is the problem with letting the tech industry take ownership of open formats and protocols.

Great writeup!

Do they have a block command on Hacker News??

They do not, sorry.

Thanks. Imho if they had one it would create a more civil environment here.

I feel bad for Dave. He was so early to the table on so many occasions yet he was left behind and never really made it big monetarily. He is the definition of missing the boat.

Please don't feel bad. I was never trying to make a lot of money from the web. I had lots of opportunities to sell out. I did that once, in the 80s, and that has funded my creative work ever since. Money isn't that useful, I learned, pretty early-on. Here's a piece I wrote about that recently.


Aren't we all. I've had an online presence since 1995 and had a blog at times. Put all my eggs in one basket making shareware games and only got out of debt at 40.

Nobody tells you this, but the thing isn't the thing. It's the living expenses you need to generate to get to the thing.

Still the biggest open problem on the internet IMHO.

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