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What is Scripting News?

My name is Dave Winer. Scripting News is my weblog, started on April 1, 1997. It's the longest continuously running weblog on the Internet.

"There's no time like now" 

Scripting News has had lots of mottos over the years.

The current motto is "There's no time like now."

We've made it through the dot-com boom and the bust, and now what's left is ready to go the next step. Let's make the Web the fantastic free writing environment it was always meant to be.

Let's help each other create the revolution and fully realize the potential of the Web. No more fear. I love you guys. It's time to kick butt.

Theme song 

Now of course we have to have a theme song.

And that's got to be Sting's Brand New Day.

 Why don't we turn the clock to zero honey?
Ill sell the stock well spend all the money
We're starting up a brand new day
Turn the clock all the way back
I wonder if shell take me back
Im thinking in a brand new way

A bonus theme song 

By Annie Lenox, Money Can't Buy It.

 I believe in the power of creation
I believe in the good vibration
I believe in love alone yea yea

Previous mottos 

The previous motto was "It's even worse than it appears." Each time I do a new motto I also do an artistic collage to go with it. It's one of the ways I, a geek, have fun with PhotoShop. Don't ask me why. I just like doing this.

It's a line from a Grateful Dead song, A Touch of Grey. It goes like this. "I know the rent is in arrears, the dog has not been fed in years. It's even worse than it appears." It's a bitter but beautiful song sung by one of my heroes, Jerry Garcia. If you click on his picture, to the right, the song will play.

The New York Times has had a motto for many many years. "All the News that's Fit to Print." It's a good motto for a print publication, where flames are more controllable and the editor of their pub doesn't have to read everything everyone writes.

Other mottos of the past include "Ask not what the Internet can do for you, ask what you can do for the Internet." This was a stake in the ground during the dot-com lunacy, to say that we weren't here to extract a huge fortune out of the Internet. We like the way it works better without thinking about money all the time. Once the bust came, it was safe to change the motto.

At the first sign of the bust I did an interview with Fortune about the end of the dot-coms. Halleluljah!

Started April 1, 1997 

Now that you know that it's even worse than it appears, the archives are all here. The first day a site called Scripting News appeared at was April 1, 1997. It's just a coincidence that it's also April Fools Day. Maybe that's where the humor comes from.

Before Scripting News, I did a few other sites that would definitely qualify as weblogs. You can read about them on Weblogs.Com, which is another of my sites.

Using Netscape 4? 

We know that Scripting News renders slowly on Netscape 4. We want to move forward, and hope that Netscape can deliver a browser that renders our site quickly.

In the meantime, if you want a fast-loading but plain version of Scripting News, for any reason, check out the rendering for people with palmtop computers. It's always up to date.

Bucking conventional wisdom 

Some people say all the good domain names are taken, my experience is that *none* of the good ones are taken.

I was a math major. When I was in school people would joke about how we'd never use any of the stuff we were learning in The Real World. Well, my experience is that I use *all* the stuff I learned in school. I'm always surprised by this.

Other mottos 

Some mottos have been useful but have never been official Scripting News mottos. I will explain those in this section.

"Only steal from the best" is a motto I have stolen from some great writer whose name I don't know. It illustrates an important difference between writing and programming. In programming we tend to reinvent what others have invented, or even worse, patent things that other people have invented.

I have a different programming ethic. I look for programs written by other people that can inspire me. When I see a neat idea or a well-done effect, I remember it, and then when I see the problem show up in my own software, I use it. I contribute a lot back, in the way of new ideas, so this seems very ethical to me.

Monkeys and trees 

A recurring quote on Scripting News. An old friend of mine, Jean-Louis Gassee, used to say (maybe he still does) that the higher the monkey climbs the tree the more people can see his derriere. The more you expose the more people see. It's why there is no victory possible in this life. Conventional wisdom says if you become rich and famous more people will know you and therefore love and respect you. It doesn't work that way. If you're planning on being happy after you're rich and famous, perhaps this will save you some time and effort. Be happy now. Fame and fortune do not yield happiness. It's been proven.

What does a link mean? 

Very often I get emails that assume that I agree with something that I pointed to. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When I link to something on Scripting News, it does not necessarily mean that I agree with what the author is saying. I might totally disagree with everything the author says.

A link on Scripting News means that I thought that the story was interesting, and felt that an informed person would want to consider the point of view expressed in the piece.

Interesting days 

12/31/99. "That's it for this millenium!"

9/11/01: "Perhaps the Web isn't as dead as some say it is."


A while ago I wrote down two rules about integrity in public writing. It doesn't matter whether you're a pro or amateur. I think these two rules are necessary and sufficient.

1. Disclose all pertinent information about your interests.

2. Never state as fact something you know not to be true.

There's a lot of casual use of the term integrity, but to me, this is what it's about. I'm comfortable that my readers know that I'm a software developer and fellow at Harvard Law School. That I write publicly is my small contribution to what I see as a revolution in education and business. And if you ever catch me saying something that you believe is untrue, it's only an integrity issue if, when I said it, I knew that it was not true.

The sites I link to in my blogrolling list all, imho, have integrity. I think I know who's writing, and believe they would never knowingly mislead. But they're human, they make mistakes, they have lives (and interests), and most important, they have integrity.


One of the lessons I've learned in 48-plus years: When someone accuses you of a deceit, there's a very good chance the accuser practices that form of deceit, and a reasonable chance that he or she is doing it as they point the finger.

During-the-Day Edits Disclaimer 

I edit my weblog as the day goes by. At 10PM Pacific, the contents of Scripting News is sent via email to people who subscribe. At that point, unless something exceptional happens, I don't edit any further. This policy has been in place since the by-mail-subscription feature was installed.

My bio, pictures, etc. 

You'll find pictures of me and stories about my life as a software developer on my personal site.

I also write a column for Scripting News called DaveNet. It's one of the few weblogs that actually has its own stories. One of these days I'll put together a current list of my favorite pieces and then I'll link it in here.

Hey I recently became a Berkman Fellow at the Harvard Law School. To get the assignment I had to write a curriculum vitae.

Atsa me, Dave Winer, speaking witta Italian accent!

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