what have I left - and what am I returning to?


2005-10-18

It all seems to have started somewhere around the time Dave Winer released Frontier 5 for Windows.

P was reading Scripting News back then like a daily bible. That, and a lot of Jon Udell. Those two formed my early days of web coding. I started blogging on ETP and a lot came from that too. I did a hell of a lot of UserTalk coding, alongside my early days of Perl webshop-building.

I guess I had a falling out with the UserLand line of things when Radio came out and things went commercial. I had moved to my own domain and my own blogging engine anyway, so that tech was no longer really important to me. Taking up PHP seemed like a far more relyable option.

Oh yeah, and then there were the personality problems a lot of people seem to have had (and have) with Mr. Winer. It never really hit me peronally, but I opted to stay clear anyway. I stopped reading Scripting News around that time (Atom was just being born, and the formart wars were jung and personal).

Sometime around last year I also stopped reading Jon Udell. Now why was that? Thinking back today there really was only one reason: He was still inspiring me to no end. But my capacity for coding had eroded, I was burned out and frustrated. I didn't need to be inspired by things I had no real intention of caring for anymore.

So what has changed? My hiatus from tech-related blogging topics (active AND passive) has given me the freedom to look at the positives again. The fascination of personal publishing, aggregation, web-services even. I needed to get out of the trenches and see the big picture again.

Now that I'm moving back in again, I am constantly reminded of why I left. The format wars, the too tight focus on the one technology over the other. Who - the damn - cares if it's Atom or RSS or a m3u playlist? What's important is the content that it carries. The exchange of opinion it enables! Anybody remeber RSS 3.0? Ha, to hell with XML/RDF!

What counts is only what it lets people do. Formats are tools. Tools matter only so far as they are used.

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