Tag Archive for ‘Dave Winer’

HTTPS Is a Barrier to Entry ➝

Nick Heer, in response to Dave Winer’s piece on Google HTTP:

I also agree with Winer on another key point: enforcing a pseudo-mandatory policy on HTTPS makes it that much harder for someone new to this stuff to even begin to understand it. As Frank Chimero recently wrote, building stuff for the web has become vastly more complicated since even five years ago. I’m happy to keep learning new skills and growing my understanding of what the web can do, but I don’t know where to begin on this modern web. I don’t intend to hold myself up as a barometer of the complexities of modern web programming or anything — I just don’t know what’s going on any more. I’ve been doing this stuff for nearly twenty years. I don’t know how someone who is eight years old could start digging into React, or Node.js, or any of the other modern JavaScript-based ways of writing <h1>hello world</h1>.

I’m sure the kids will figure it out — they always do. However, I worry that introducing more requirements, even something as simple as HTTPS, can be discouraging. That’s the last thing HTTP/HTML web should be: discouraging. It is one of the greatest enablers of communication in human history. Let’s not allow its future to be dictated by browser vendors.

Google and HTTP ➝

Dave Winer, on Google’s push for HTTPS everywhere:

A lot of the web consists of archives. Files put in places that no one maintains. They just work. There’s no one there to do the work that Google wants all sites to do. And some people have large numbers of domains and sub-domains hosted on all kinds of software Google never thought about. Places where the work required to convert wouldn’t be justified by the possible benefit. The reason there’s so much diversity is that the web is an open thing, it was never owned.

I think the move to HTTPS is good for most websites, but it’s unfair for browser makers to punish owners of simple webpages that haven’t switched to the encrypted protocol. Maybe we just need a longer transitionary period. Or perhaps browsers should only warn users if the webpage they’re viewing includes text fields and forms that request user data. That’s far from a perfect solution, but dismissing large portions of the web because they aren’t HTTPS seems like a bad idea too.

Twitter’s Not a Lost Cause ➝

Dave Winer:

When people say Twitter, the company, is a lost cause they are out of their minds or don’t understand systems. Twitter works. There’s a company behind it that makes it work. The service has a lot of value, not just as servers, but that it’s all together in one place. If that were to break it could never be replaced. Look at the void left after Napster’s demise for a clue. Set us back 20-30 years.

But it’s not just the system, the employees, or the company itself that has value. There’s also a great deal of value in having all of these users in one place. Not to mention the identity aspect of Twitter — every athlete, journalist, and celebrity has a Twitter account. And that’s where fans are pointed to if they want to learn more about them. Nobody gives out their URL anymore, it’s always their Twitter handle.

Where Should You Put Your Ideas? ➝

I’m with Dave Winer on this. I’ve been writing on the web for nearly a decade and I can’t imagine putting my ideas anywhere other than on my own weblog. Don’t get me wrong, I tweet a lot, but anything that I feel is truly important and that I want people to read, I publish here.

‘iPhone Is Vulnerable to a Device That Just Works’ ➝

I’ve read this thing three or four times. Can someone point me to the part where he explains how or why his iPhone doesn’t Just Work?

On Apple’s Discussion With Podcast Producers

Remember when iOS 9 came out and all the major publishers complained about how ad blockers were going to kill online publishing? Many of us reacted by proclaiming that ad blocking was inevitable — publishers needed to adapt or die. Over the past few days, I’ve noticed another community complaining about a recent Apple decision. This time, the outrage in my Twitter timeline is from podcasters and centers around a recent New York Times article.

Aside from the fact that ad blockers actually shipped on iOS, this situation is very reminiscent of what I saw from big-name publishers after iOS 9 shipped last September. If you were to believe the podcasters I follow on Twitter, you’d think the entire podcasting ecosystem was collapsing in on its self.

The NYT piece revealed that seven “leading podcast professionals” met with Apple to discuss “several pressing issues” — listener tracking, promotion within iTunes, the ability to charge subscription pricing for shows, etc.

Marco Arment wrote a fantastic reaction piece that does a great job explaining what Apple’s role is in podcasting. But I think it’s important to highlight this bit toward the end about the likelihood of Apple providing these changes for podcasters:

And if that ill-informed New York Times article is correct in broad strokes, which is a big “if” given how much it got wrong about Apple’s role in podcasting, big podcasters want Apple to add more behavioral data and creepy tracking to the Apple Podcasts app, then share the data with them. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.

I’m in agreement with Marco. Seriously, what has Apple ever done that would lead these “podcast professionals” to believe that Apple would do this? I can’t imagine Apple following up their stance on the San Bernardino iPhone case by tracking users listening habits with their podcast app. It isn’t going to happen.

Go ahead and re-read the NYT piece. Never does it say that Apple is even considering these changes, simply that they exist and that Apple allowed a small handful of podcasters to share these concerns with them. That’s all the article says.

I think it’s important to remember that as long as the current crop of successful indie podcast producers continue to make shows that people want to listen to, they’ll have an audience. It doesn’t matter what Apple or any of these “leading podcast professionals” do, quality content will survive. Apple isn’t going to kill the business.

And any new podcasting initiative or service that they launch is far more likely to grow the total number of podcast listeners than ruin the medium entirely. Everything’s going to be fine.

You and I will still be able to listen to shows like Accidental Tech Podcast, The Talk Show, and Connected. They’ll continue to earn advertising revenue for their producers and we’ll still be able to use our favorite podcatcher for playback. Podcasting platforms have come and gone, but all of this has remained true since Dave Winer and Adam Curry first invented the medium in 2004. Things might change and evolve over time, but that tends to happen with technologies. And it’s okay.

The HTTPS Mystery ➝

Dave Winer publishes a short, 10-minute podcast episode discussing the push toward HTTPS everywhere by Mozilla and Google.

Anywhere but Medium ➝

Dave Winer shares his thoughts on the popularity of Medium and its impact on online publishing.