Scripting News for 3/13/2006

Hugh MacLeod: “I remember when God asked me…” 

Scott Karp: “If Dave abandoned Scripting News and started a new blog with a new name, would it be fundamentally different from Scripting News, even if it was still Dave? I think the answer is yes.” 

Kevin Burton announces a River of News view of the TailRank story flow.  

The 2006 weblog awards were presented in Austin today. 

Identity gurus hang out on the patio, catching some sun, talking politics. Guess who the guy with the coat draped over his head is. Kim Cameron from Microsoft said there isn’t much chance that they’ll disinvite Tim O’Reilly to Mix 06, but he might be able to talk Bill Gates into apologizing for inviting him, before Tim comes out on stage. I said I’d pay to see that! 🙂 

One of this afternoon’s presenters is Sounds very interesting. “VeriSign announced Monday that it plans to acquire Kontiki for $62 million, in a move to enter the broadband content services market.” This is an interesting and unexpected acquisition. Mike Graves from VeriSign is here in Carlsbad, I’ll ask him what’s up with this deal. 

Yahoo: “It’s a spiffy-looking module you display on your website to show off your series rating on Yahoo! Podcasts and encourage your listeners to rate and review your show on Yahoo!” 

Reporting from the PC Forum conference. Good Slow, free wifi, power strips under every table! No port blockage.  

Mike Arrington says I can’t quit blogging. A long-winded answer. My step-cousins in Jamaica used to goof on my uncle when he complained he didn’t want to do something. They’d say “But Ken, it’s goooood for you.” Try to imagine two little Jamaican kids saying this in their patois, giggling in sing-song. Mike it’ll be good for you. Maybe I’ll write for TechCrunch. Maybe I should sell Scripting News to you. Maybe I’ll do other things (I will). When a big tree falls, even a small big tree, it creates room for other things to grow. This will be one of those things. I could keep blogging until my blog had no life left, or I could quit while it’s still alive. Of course I’d choose the latter. If the West Wing can stop, if the Sopranos can stop, then so can a blog.  

It’s always interesting to hear which of my podcasts people like the best. I have a hard time picking. I think the best one was May 12, 2005. It’s also Julie Leung’s. By far it’s the best linear progression through all the steps that make up my version of Web 2.0, how all the technologies relate. Just 25 minutes. Then there are the thunderstorm “god-casts” where I figured out how to have a conversatioin with god (or simulate one, in all honesty) in a technique that could only work in an audio-only format. Or the one I did on my birthday with my parents at a New York diner. People fell in love with my parents, and that meant a lot to me. An incredible way to spend a big birthday. Dan MacTough, one of the bright lights in the OPML community, a New York lawyer who’s also a programmer, likes the interview with Janet, the New Orleans woman, struggling with the mortality of her city. He has a point. As pure journalism it’s the best one (except maybe the one we did walking to the Democratic Convention in July 2004). 

One of the things that came up is Goodmail. They asked for a show of hands of those who like it and those who don’t. No clear consensus. I said I like it. I don’t get what the argument is against it. Seems like it would totally clear out the biggest abusers of spam. What’s the problem? 

Pictures of Monday’s opening session. 

Todd Cochrane at Geek News is a long-time Movable Type user. He isn’t happy with how the product is evolving. The first comment is from Jay Allen, from Six Apart, the company that makes the product. Interesting back and forth between a customer and a vendor. 

It’s great to have the Sopranos back. The season opener was surprising, even for a show that’s often filled with surprises. 

Old folks boogie 

Last night’s dinner was pretty fantastic. They’ve changed something at PC Forum, the first night used to be the speaker’s dinner, but apparently not any more. The buffet was absolutely first class, I ate lamb, paella, a wonderful spinach dish, lots of great conversation, glad to see friends I hadn’t seen in some cases in 15 or 20 years! We’ve all aged, quite visibly, but it’s cool to reconnect after so long. Even the old rivalries have faded as the former powerhouses are either gone or faded (Lotus, Microsoft, Ashton-Tate, AOL, Sun, Oracle, etc).

I spent a long time talking with Bret Fausett, who Mike Arrington describes as the “Dave Winer of ICANN.” Brett is a longtime Scripting News reader, who I had never met face to face, but whose blog I read regularly, and whose circles have regularly intersected mine over the years. Not surprisingly we had a lot to talk about, and had both figured a lot of the same things out. Now if we could just get everyone else on the same page! 🙂

Sat next to Jeremy Allaire from Brightcove, and confirmed that I do understand that they’re seriously re-inventing television in the context of the Internet.

And while I missed Esther’s opening remarks, people say that there were a lot of ideas from the Unconferences manifesto in her talk. She’s going to try to include the audience more in the discussion. It’s good to see she’s feeling the influence, but I think they could go farther, faster, by having a session or two that’s done totally unconference-style, to give the community (she has one too, even though the talk here is of other communities) the experience. This would give everyone a data point to think about in the coming year, the minds could accomplish a lot, with the information and the time.

It’s been ten years since I was at a PC Forum, and while the onstage conversation is as ungrounded as ever, the place is humming, there’s thriving going on, once again. I came back last, at the height of the dotcom mania, to find the river was flowing somewhere else. It was quiet here, not many people, not very much to talk about, and what was being talked about seemed to be covered better elsewhere. Today, more than ever it’s the social events that are the pulse, and luckily we have a lot to talk about, and old friendships to renew. It’s a sweet event, so far, and that’s a surprise, a pleasant one.

Why I will stop blogging 

I can do it, folks, I have already, in some sense, stopped one of my rivers, and soon, probably before the end of 2006, I will put this site in mothballs, in archive mode, and go on to other things, Murphy-willing of course.

It’s been a long time coming. When I started blogging, depending on how you look at it, either in 1994, 1996 or 1997, I had different goals, and happily the goals have been accomplished. Billions of Websites now no longer seems an outrageously ambitious goal. We’re pretty close to a billion, I suspect. The goal was also to create tools that would make it easy for everyone to have a site, and then more specifically a chronological one. That’s done.

I wanted programming to turn upside down, to have the Internet be the platform instead of Microsoft and Apple. That worked too. APIs on web apps are now commonplace, and a basis for comparison between offerings. While user interfaces have gotten better, of course, there’s been a steady flow of new ideas in how my work connects with yours, and vice versa, and we’re doing it without a platform vendor controlling it.

I wanted decentralized news. We can do for ourselves what the pros haven’t been doing. And politics — I don’t doubt that the House of Representatives will be filled with bloggers, if not in 2006, then surely in 2008. There’s no turning back on any of it. The 20th Century is fading and the new century is going strong. There really was a big shift as the calendar rolled over, and I’m totally glad to be a part of it.

So there’s the first part of my reason. Blogging doesn’t need me anymore. It’ll go on just as well, maybe even better, with some new space opened up for some new things. But more important to me, there will be new space for me. Blogging not only takes a lot of time (which I don’t begrudge it, I love writing) but it also limits what I can do, because it’s made me a public figure. I want some privacy, I want to matter less, so I can retool, and matter more, in different ways. What those ways are, however, are things I won’t be talking about here. That’s the point. That’s the big reason why.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Lee on March 13, 2006 at 10:00 am

    > Blogging doesn’t need me anymore.

    but will you need blogging?


  2. […] Dave Winer announced that he will be stopping blogging. After the shock dies down one reads on and it seems a reasonable position. Hopefully he will find a new way to write that suits his needs as his insights will be missed. Lately I have been aware of the shift of early adapters or in Dave’s case  – inventors – sharing the stage with a growing number of others. This is not absolutely true of course as some early voices have been that of pure content provides and not technologists – but I predict that the technologists who have specialized in this arena – will become less important as more and more people adopt blogs. COnferences will become more and more content oriented AND the beauty of the blog space is that writers will emerge – fade and be replaced by exciting new voices. I don’t think it’s just a passing fad – and I think that is becoming clear now. It is not a passing fad because writing and thinking are not passing fads. […]


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