The RSS Blog
Really Simple Syndication
 
Copyright 2003-4 Randy Charles Morin
The RSS Blog
Tue, 01 Feb 2005 04:54:45 GMT
Yahoo to Syndicate Financial Data

Yahoo!: Yahoo Inc. has agreed to take in data directly from stock exchanges to offer financial data to its users as well as other Web sites, the Internet media company said on Sunday.

Randy: Let's just hope we don't get another media RSS.

Mon, 31 Jan 2005 21:46:55 GMT
Yahoo! Blogs
Gen Kanai: Yahoo! Japan enters blogosphere.
Mon, 31 Jan 2005 21:40:03 GMT
How do you stand it?

Phil Ringnaldo: But last night, I must have been dreaming of RSS, because I woke up with the fully-formed idea of a documentary video of the history of RSS, with a straight voiceover, and the video being cheesy-effects with "action figures" in cars, full of sly digs at the history as we tell it: RSS 0.90 starts out as a Volkswagen van, then they get a cutting torch and turn it into a pickup for 0.91, Dave's hitchhiking so they pick him up but he gets in the driver's seat, RSS 1.0's a Ferrari that constantly breaks down, and every time a dozen people get out, run around it shouting, and then get back in without doing anything and drive off, RSS 1.1's an Apollo capsule that parachutes down in the middle of the road suddenly, Atom starts out as a good looking car, but 200 people are constantly working on it, even while it's driving along, building up and then tearing down enormous spoilers and scoops and weird things sticking out the sides that don't make any sense at all...

Randy: Phil and I seem to be sharing dreams, or should I say nightmares.

Mon, 31 Jan 2005 21:32:17 GMT
Browser-Friendly Now Subscriber-Friendly
David Ely: Bravo to the FeedBurner people for changing the browser-friendly feeds to make them more explanatory. I know whenever I accidentally click on an RSS button and get a dump of XML code, I hear a loud car crash noise following by a baby crying. People who know how to use a feed know not to click on them. People who don’t get punish by the face full of code. FeedBurner’s approach is a good one, explaining how the feed can be used rather than what it is. Most people don’t need to know what RSS is, they just want to know what it’ll do for them. Test out my feed here to see what I’m talking about.
Mon, 31 Jan 2005 20:13:50 GMT
FeedBurner Browser-Friendly

I was working last week with Eric Lunt over at FeedBurner on implementing USM. Eric's a smart guy. As of today, the FeedBurner Browser-Friendly page has a USM clickable button. The actual subscription goes thru my Website so that I properly format the RSS and HTTP for USM. I think I'm gonna spend a few hours cleaning that ASPX up. I doubt it works universally. It also has a link to the USM (What is This?) page. Thanks Eric!

Update: The RSS Blog now uses the FeedBurner Browser-Friendly mode.

Sat, 29 Jan 2005 19:20:44 GMT
USM and BottomFeeder

James Robertson: There's also mime level handling, as per the USM - I will be porting the code for that into BottomFeeder soon, just as soon as I acquire the energy the go back to registry hacking :)

Randy: Yet another RSS reader has USM in the plans. Thanks James, on behalf of all RSS users. The clickable Web is back.

Sat, 29 Jan 2005 17:05:57 GMT
CITA v1.8a
CITAThe latest release (v1.8a) of the CITA RSS Aggregator comes with a great USM client. When you click on an RSS link, CITA launches the subscription dialog shown on the right (click to enlarge). This dialog allows you to subscribe to the RSS feed with 20+ different aggregators. Great work Andy!
Sat, 29 Jan 2005 16:22:39 GMT
Random links on USM
Sat, 29 Jan 2005 15:53:36 GMT
More on One-Click Subscription

Danny Ayers does a great job of summarizing the 1-click opinions across the Blogosphere.

Let me add others...

Sat, 29 Jan 2005 15:30:48 GMT
Atom Link Construct

The Atom WG has decided to use 'self' in place of 'start' to denote the URI of the feed. I'll add support for 'self' in the USM specification when the work item is accepted for incorporation.

Sat, 29 Jan 2005 15:04:46 GMT
Tim Bray on 1-click Subscription

Tim Bray: But if the reward was one-click subscription, maybe we could get the world’s server operators to goose their config files and start serving RSS as application/rss+xml instead of text/xml.

Randy: Great idea. How do we make this happen?

Does Tim realize that Atom is almost always served with the incorrect Content-Type? Blogger serves their Atom as application/xml, not application/atom+xml. LiveJournal serves their Atom as text/xml. That's the vast majority (80%+) of existing Atom feeds.

Sat, 29 Jan 2005 14:01:55 GMT
Atom version 0.5
A new version (0.5) of the Atom format specification was recently made public.
Fri, 28 Jan 2005 21:11:38 GMT
Feed subscription utility

CITA: Up until now, clicking one of the or buttons displayed a page of goobledy-gook. You got to see the feed data written in XML. [cut] When you click one of the feed icons that implements a subscription method, you now see a window explaining that you have clicked a link that has identified itself as an RSS feed and that invites you to add the feed to the Aggregator.

Randy: The CITA RSS Aggregator is the first RSS aggregator, that I know of, that supports USM. Several other vendors have indicated they will be supporting USM in their next release. Forward!

Fri, 28 Jan 2005 20:27:26 GMT
What is This?

Because there's no default RSS handler in Windows XP, clicking on the orange buttons often produces very undesirable results. I often suggest that RSS publishes include a little (What is this?) link immediate to the right of the orange button, that links to this page. Confused users can click on the (What is this?) link and read about how they can use those little orange chicklets. Here's an example of what I'm recommending RSS publishers put on there Webpage.

RSS 2.0 (What is this?)

The (What is this) link could link to this page, located at http://www.therssweblog.com/whatisthis.html, but publishers rightfully should create their own (What is this) Webpage. Publishers may copy the content of this page without the permission of the author.

Fri, 28 Jan 2005 19:41:44 GMT
FeedDemon and USM

Bob Jordan: I haven't had a problem adding feeds recently, and I believe USM is to blame.

Nick Bradbury: The problem is that very few sites support the rest of USM, which involves adding a new element to your feed which tells aggregators the feed's URL.

Randy: What Nick suggests is simply untrue. Most every site that implements the correct Content-Type also implements Reflexive Auto-Discovery. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find one that doesn't. I guess FeedDemon user's will be frustrated, but that's because Nick isn't intent on implementing USM. Most other aggregators have told me they plan to support USM in their next release.

Fri, 28 Jan 2005 13:26:57 GMT
Blosxom USM Instructions

Thanks for Gustaf Erikson, we have instructions on how to modify your Blosxom blog for USM support.

To change the returned content type for any flavour of RSS, change the content_type.<flavour> file where <flavour> is rss20, rdf, etc. This file likely contains text/xml or similar. Modify the file to contain application/rss+xml.

Wed, 26 Jan 2005 18:40:29 GMT
USM Client Installer

I added USM capability for 20 RSS readers into the USM reference implementation client. Click here to download the installer. The installer will prompt you for your preferred RSS reader. The supported RSS readers are My Yahoo!, My MSN, Bloglines, NewsGator Online, Ampheta Desk, Awasu, Bot a Blog, Bottom Feeder, FeedValidator, fyuse, Headline Viewer, IzyNews, mobilerss, NewsIsFree, NewsMonster, nttp://rss, Radio Userland, Syndic8, Wildgrape, WinRSS. I don't spend much time debugging, so please send me feedback and bugs.

If you want me to add support for your aggregator, then please ping me with the instructions. The USM client is open source and public domain, so please feel free to copy and paste my efforts. Attribution appreciated, not required.

Wed, 26 Jan 2005 17:42:21 GMT
Architecture of the Web, V1

W3C: This document describes the properties we desire of the Web and the design choices that have been made to achieve them. It promotes the reuse of existing standards when suitable, and gives guidance on how to innovate in a manner consistent with Web architecture.

Randy: Must read!

Excerpt: If a URI scheme exists that meets the needs of an application, designers should use it rather than invent one.

Good practice: Reuse URI schemes
A specification SHOULD reuse an existing URI scheme (rather than create a new one) when it provides the desired properties of identifiers and their relation to resources.

Consider our travel scenario: should the agent providing information about the weather in Oaxaca register a new URI scheme "weather" for the identification of resources related to the weather? They might then publish URIs such as "weather://travel.example.com/oaxaca". When a software agent dereferences such a URI, if what really happens is that HTTP GET is invoked to retrieve a representation of the resource, then an "http" URI would have sufficed.

Randy: In other words, the feed URI scheme does not follow the Web Architecture.

Wed, 26 Jan 2005 02:16:51 GMT
Centralizing XML?

Dave Winer: Another reason to think twice before centralizing RSS.

Randy: Doesn't this say something about Dave's centralized subscription model? Has Dave connected these dots? Or, is he telling us something?

Wed, 26 Jan 2005 01:13:37 GMT
More Fun in Syndicationland

Eric Lunt: The other interesting "debate" that has flared up again recently is the "auto-subscription" issue: if you click on a little XML chicklet, what should happen? [cut] The MIME-type approach has found a recent champion in Randy Charles Morin, with his Universal Subscription Mechanism proposal. Both solutions have interesting technical challenges, yet neither approach helps a brand new user that doesn't yet have a client ... nor is it possible to really handle multiple clients ("I want most feeds to go to NewsGator, but my podcasts I want to go to iPodder ... oh, and Azureus should handle my television feeds").

Randy: I like the register this feed with X and this feed with Y thinking.

Tue, 25 Jan 2005 20:46:51 GMT
OPML has cloud?

Danny Ayers: Which brings me to the question: does OPML 1.1 have a cloud element or not? The text suggests not, the example includes one.

Randy: Danny, OPML 1.1 does have cloud elements. Unfortunately, Dave has never taken the time to clarify that.

Dave, this is half the problem. We have an RSS advisory board siting on their ass and OPML without an advisory board. Stick OPML and MetaWeblogAPI under the RSS advisory board and put some people on the board who give a damn (sorry Adam, not you).

Tue, 25 Jan 2005 17:09:26 GMT
The Yahoo! Problem revisited
When The Yahoo! Problem was first discussed, the problem was the proliferation of chicklets. Since then, it's evolved into "I can't export my subscriptions for Yahoo!" This one, I don't understand. We already have a mechanism for exporting subscriptions in OPML. If Yahoo! doesn't support OPML exports, then they are lacking an important feature. But don't let anybody tell you that exporting OPML has anything to do with The Yahoo! Problem, cause it doesn't.
Tue, 25 Jan 2005 03:58:30 GMT
RSS Subscription Central?

InternetNews: Winer's proposal has two parts: technology initiative and industry alliance. The technology, he says, already is in use on his own feeds.scripting.com. Under Winer's scenario, the "subscribe" icon would be linked to a central server that engages in a confirmation dialog, then adds a link to the user's outline processor markup language (OPML) file.

Scott Rafer, CEO of Feedster, a search service for blogs and feeds, doesn't like the idea. "The issue with Dave's proposal, both commercially and technically, is centralization," he said. Instead of a centralized service, he likes the idea of a cookie standard for aggregators.

And speaking of Yahoo, Jeremy Zawodny, the media company's blogging evangelist, responded to internetnews.com's query via his own blog, writing, "Dave's proposed solution sounds a bit complicated. In my mind, this has always been solely a client/side problem. The fact is that you click on an orange XML button and the browser does the wrong thing." "The obvious solution is to fix the browser(s) or provide a helper app that can do the job if there's no obvious way to extend the browser," Zawodny wrote.

Randy: A good summary of ideas to conquer the Yahoo! problem.

Tue, 25 Jan 2005 03:41:13 GMT
What Do Tags Mean?

Tim Bray: I’m almost convinced that this new Technorati Tags thing is important, but I’m 100% convinced that I don’t understand where it’s going or what the implications are. [cut] It turns out you can also just put <dc:subject>foo</dc:subject> in your feed (assuming you’ve declared the dc: prefix properly) which is shorter and (much & all as I love Technorati) arguably more open. Except for, as a Web-Architectural kinda guy, I like the idea of identifying categories with URIs. Except for, the whole point of that is that everyone can have their own, and Technorati’s setup only recognizes the ones beginning http://technorati.com/.

Randy: You can definately have a URI tag scheme that is open. Unfortunately, it won't be a URL, it'll be a URN. Tim?

Mon, 24 Jan 2005 22:27:14 GMT
People Like Me

I just ran across the People Like Me function on feeds.scripting.com. I hadn't ran across this feature since it was first introduced a year ago.  Here's the list of people who's OPML list most closely resembles my own.

1.  scott adams   4.0
2.  Amanda Murphy   3.4
3.  Jay McCarthy   3.4
4.  Tom Hoffman   3.0
5.  James Edelen   2.9
6.  Luke Reeves   2.9
7.  Chris Weiss   2.8
8.  Roland Tanglao   2.7
9.  Adam Hill   2.4
10.  jacob mojiwat   2.4

Cool, I found a public link to this information. I also uploaded a new version of my OPML, but the results didn't change. Hmmm! Must be a delay thingy in there.
Mon, 24 Jan 2005 19:23:35 GMT
Subscription Memory Service

Luca Mearelli: Here are outlined two examples of the flow for a web application in the lines of "The solution to the Yahoo problem" post by Dave Winer (I’ve called it subscription memory service).

Subscription memory service draft.

Randy: The deepest thoughts yet on Winer's centralized subscription service. My question: How are we to agree on the domain name (www.feeder.it), if we can't even agree of the method?

Mon, 24 Jan 2005 17:43:39 GMT
Dan Sandler on USM

Dan Sandler: USM, the Universal Subscription Mechanism, is a pretty simple idea that aims to patch a hole in the current RSS/Atom subscription scenario. [cut] The alternatives are: (1) the feed:// URI scheme (a bastardization of the URI specification and usage model) and (2) what Dave Winer calls the solution to the Yahoo problem, namely a central web site which manages all your client-side subscription preferences for you (patently absurd.)

Randy: Dan makes a great case for USM. A must read.

Mon, 24 Jan 2005 17:35:39 GMT
Syndication Subscription Service

Syndication Subscription Service: A general syndication subscription service for RSS content consumers, RSS content producers and their middle agent: An aggregator.

Randy: This seems to be an implementation of Dave's centralized subscription service. Looks pretty good. I can't see people buying into this idea. Also, there's some great stuff on this page related to the URLs used to subscribe with various RSS readers.

Mon, 24 Jan 2005 17:05:25 GMT
Editorial about new Syndication Formats

Dave Winer: Recently a couple of earnest and probably well-intentioned developers proposed another format called RSS that's incompatible with all others. This is a bad idea. We should be going the other way, trying evolve incompatible formats into a unified format.

Randy: Amen! And why don't a bunch of RSS developers get together and start deprecating versions. RSS 0.90, 0.92, 0.93, 0.94 should be deprecated to start. In fact, I'm unofficially deprecating them, right now! They never happened. We only have five versions now, 0.91, 1.0, 2.0 and Atom 0.3 and Atom 0.4 ;)

Oops, fogot 1.1?

Sun, 23 Jan 2005 12:05:16 GMT
Reference Implementation of the USM Client

I enhanced the reference implementation of the USM client so that it works with My Yahoo!, My MSN, Bloglines and NewsGator Online. If you want me to add another RSS reader, simply give me the command-line substitution string for that reader. For example, the command-line for the four Web readers mentionned are listed here.

Of course, these need not be URLs. They can be simple command-lines.

To use the USM client, save the target executable (usm.client.exe) to your harddrive by right-clicking on it and selecting Save Target As from the context menu. Run it once, to register it. Then begin subscribing to USM capable blogs, there's over a million of them already.

I'll publish the full code from time to time, so we can all learn and move forward. You can already preview an earlier version of the code.

Sat, 22 Jan 2005 17:53:04 GMT
Can't Subscribe to Scoble

Scoble's new link blog, scobleizer.com uses the feed: URI scheme for subscription. This is the perfect example of why the feed: URI scheme doesn't work. I copied the URL to my.yahoo.com to subscribe to his blog.

We couldn't find the RSS file you asked for

A kludge is a kludge is a kludge. And users suffer. Scoble you need an "add to My Yahoo!" button to compliment the feed: URI kludge. And this is suppose to be the solution to The Yahoo! problem?

Now, had Scoble used USM instead, then copying and pasting the URL would still work. Why? Because USM doesn't create a new wheel, it reinforces proper use of the HTTP protocol, that's all. No re-inventing the wheel. I find it funny that people persist in re-inventing the wheel. Because we continue to put up with people who choose to re-invent the wheel, we now have RSS 0.9, 0.91, 0.92, 0.93, 0.94, 1.0, 1.1, 2.0 and Atom 0.3, 0.4. Ten formats and growing. Yet, some of us complain about this circle of re-invention, but promote others.

Please invent me a new wheel.

Dare Obasanjo: The value of RSS is fairly self evident to me but it seems that given the amount of people who keep wanting to reinvent the wheel it may not be as clear to others.

Sat, 22 Jan 2005 15:51:08 GMT
USM goes International

I tried translating that second page w/ Google translate. I didn't get much out of it. Any ideas?

Update: AltaVista Babel Fish produced much better results.

Fri, 21 Jan 2005 21:40:57 GMT
Dougal on USM
Dougal Campbell: It took me a few minutes to understand what problem this is addressing. Basically, the idea is that we want a more user-friendly experience when people click on RSS feeds in their web browsers. The problem is that if you set up an application to handle certain MIME types under Windows, the application only gets the content, not the URL that the content came from. So, there's not an easy way to add a feed to your RSS aggregator application by simply clicking the feed's link. But by adding a self-link to your feed, as suggested by USM, we get a standard way for a feed to specify a canonical URL for itself, thus allowing applications to handle the URL as needed.
Fri, 21 Jan 2005 21:18:42 GMT
Obviating this feed:// URI Nonsense

dsandler: essentially a call for (1) RSS/Atom MIME types to be adhered to, and (2) the URL of a feed to be in the feed itself somewhere, so that RSS readers may be correctly implemented as browser helper applications (obviating this feed:// URI nonsense).

Randy: Dada-da-dada. I'm loving it!

Fri, 21 Jan 2005 20:31:18 GMT
My Yahoo! Ticker

Scott Gatz: The Return of My Yahoo Ticker - this time with all the new good stuff. Today on Yahoo! Next we've put out a new beta version of My Yahoo! Ticker for Windows. It's pretty simple: just enter your Yahoo! ID and password and it will use all your personalized settings to scroll your headlines from Yahoo! and RSS feeds from around the Web.

Fri, 21 Jan 2005 16:55:28 GMT
peekablog

peekablog: Take a peek at the Blogosphere!

Randy: Referrer are a great source. This Website creates an image each blog as it would look in a browser with infinite length.

Fri, 21 Jan 2005 16:20:26 GMT
Sometimes the Solution is Staring us in the Face

Ken MacLeod: Literally, the XML chiclet. Get rid of it. [cut] Dave's right, it's not a technological problem. All of the necessary technology is already in widespread use — no central server, no 'feed:', no MIME necessary.

Randy: Ken is voting for the Dave Winer solution. Ken, like Dave are talking about magic. Why magic? Cause nobody has ever provided a working sample. USM works today! Dave's solution is a technical problem, because it doesn't work anywhere today. The technology still needs to be invented. USM is not a technical problem, it already works, you just have to use the Web properly; respond with the correct Content-Type.

Fri, 21 Jan 2005 04:48:13 GMT
The Orange Chicklet Problem

John Smallberries: I am having a bit of trouble using RSS on Firefox. Whenever I click on one of the little orange RSS boxes, I am taken to a page which states, at the top, "This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below." followed by a code listing that I presume is the document tree mentioned above. Am I supposed to do something with that? I suspect there is a real simple answer to this that will make me look like a dork, but I can cope with that if it results in figuring this out.

Randy: In the words of Dave Walker.

Dave Walker: Bright orange screams “click me”, right? What happens if the user clicks it?

Randy: I guess the user gets confused. This is gonna change. The sooner, the better.

Fri, 21 Jan 2005 03:58:17 GMT
Nick Bradbury on USM

Nick Bradbury: But other solutions have been proposed, such as the Universal Subscription Mechanism (USM) authored by Randy Morin. I've spoken with Randy about USM, and he knows that I have a number of issues with the "reflexive auto-discovery" mechanism. However, part of his proposal includes convincing feed producers to provide the correct Content-Type header for their feeds, and I'm 100% in favor of this. Although having the correct Content-Type doesn't entirely solve the problem, it would take us a big step in the right direction.

Fri, 21 Jan 2005 03:51:07 GMT
Feed Subscription Detente

Danny Ayers: So I'd conclude, for a start, that there's no need to panic. There are strong reasons in favour of what Randy's suggesting. The feed:// approach runs contrary to good practice, though may be ok as a stopgap. If Dave can offer something more tangible than "vote for me" then perhaps it too could be considered more seriously. But I doubt whether the "Yahoo Problem" will be best solved by any single approach.

Randy: Let's all do are things. We'll meet at the finish line.

Thu, 20 Jan 2005 14:09:17 GMT
USM works today

Today, I decided that it would be nice to get all the major blogs to support USM. A quick visit to feeds.scripting.com to find out who already supports USM and who needs to get their ass in gear.

The following blogs support USM by default.

All the top known "make software work" gurus?

This is a great experiment. I am amazed how many blogs, in the top 100, that are broken. Common found mistakes.

Thu, 20 Jan 2005 13:18:11 GMT
Dave Winer on USM, Part Deux

Dave Winer: Randy, USM is a "boil the ocean" app. It's easy to get the vendors to agree to it, I suppose (personally I don't want anything called Atom in my feeds, but that's just a personal preference). But that little app installed on the user's machines, let me know when you've got Microsoft and Apple not to mention all the Linux distros on board, and then wait five years for their installed base to upgrade. I'm only posting this out of courtesy to you, btw, I'm totally not interested in debating supposed technical solutions.

Randy: There's no wait five years for the install base. A USM enabled RSS aggregator works today on many blogs. Microsoft does not need to distribute anything. Tomorrow (a few months). USM will work on most all blogs.

Thu, 20 Jan 2005 08:36:26 GMT
How should USM work?

I've been thinking a lot tonight about how USM should work. I know some of you don't like the orange XML icon, but it's never a good thing to fight with a tornado. So, let's start with a little orange icon. If you click on that icon, then USM is launched and you will be asked to subscribe. But is that really enough? The user might not know to click on that stupid chicklet. What if we complimented the chicklet with a little bit of user friendliness. Now, if the user wishes to find out about this little orange icon, he clicks the what is this link and I give him all sorts of instructions on where to go from there. Sound good? I have a placeholder URL that's 404 while we all think further.

RSS 2.0 (what is this?)

Thu, 20 Jan 2005 06:43:50 GMT
Dave Winer on USM
Dave Winer: and apologies to Randy and other non-aggregator developers, this is a commercial problem, as noted by Phil and Seth, not a particularly interesting technical problem.
Thu, 20 Jan 2005 04:45:52 GMT
Blogger USM

Steve Jenson: I expect that we will switch to serving our atom feeds as application/atom+xml sometime within the next 6 months.

Randy: And Blogger is moving to USM too! Thanks Steve.

Thu, 20 Jan 2005 04:26:23 GMT
Tribe USM

Tribe is changing their Content-Type to support USM. They are moving the code into testing, as per Brian's post.

Do you support USM? If not, then I can't subscribe to you or with you.

Wed, 19 Jan 2005 22:32:28 GMT
Feedster Provides Resource for Job Seekers
Beverly Parenti: Today, the Company announced that jobs.feedster.com is operational and ready to deliver search results from its database of constantly updated RSS job feeds.
Wed, 19 Jan 2005 19:26:26 GMT
JournURL

Roger Benningfield: With that said, it costs little to add support for USM, so I've done just that.

Randy: Forward. Thanks Roger!

Roger sent me the following email (excerpt only): I went ahead and updated JournURL's default RSS templates to support USM:

http://admin.support.journurl.com/?mode=article&entry=2288

And here's a list that should give a hint as to how quickly various aggregators could support USM:

http://admin.support.journurl.com/?mode=article&entry=924

After talking to the various authors about RSS+Atom last year, it was clear that there will be significant resistance from at least a couple of them, while Brent and Nick will just follow the market.

Wed, 19 Jan 2005 19:17:42 GMT
Dave doesn't GET IT!

Dave Winer: For once Phil Ringnalda gets it, when the rest of the gear heads are still looking up their own butts for the answer to everything. Never has scratching your own itch been more the wrong thing to do. Aggregator developers wake up before you're a "third party" -- I actually heard an employee of one of the big three refer to you guys that way yesterday. Here we go, can anyone spell RSS Wars? Guess who loses.

Dave Winer: BTW, the bigco's will whisper sweet nothings into the ears of their "third parties" but as they're doing it, you're being guided into the trunk of the car, while they ride up front. The clicking sound you hear is the lock engaging. The whooshing sound is the air supply being cut off.

Randy: Sorry Dave! This time, you're looking for the vendor solution and I'm looking for the vendor neutral solution.

Wed, 19 Jan 2005 16:42:10 GMT
RSS 1.1 is Forkifying

Christopher Schmidt, one of the developers of the RSS 1.1 specification, asked me over on Uncooked, "Where do you feel it's forkifying from, and to?" My answer...

It's a new format, it's not like RSS 1.0. If I wrote an RSS 1.1 feed, then how many RSS aggregators do you think will accept it? Very close to zero. So, we all have to write new code to support your fork of RSS. If it was unifying, then you'd already have support of the RSS advisory board and the RDF working group. Since you did this without their input/knowledge, it's forkifying, not unifying. MHO.

Wed, 19 Jan 2005 15:01:03 GMT
Feedburner to USM

I just finished using FeedBurner to make my RSS feed USM compliant. Anybody can do this, as long as your blog supports auto-discovery. The steps are as follows...

Note that your auto-discovery link on your blog homepage can still point to your original RSS feed, it does not need to point to the FeedBurner burned feed. Unless, of course, you want to take advantage of FeedBurner's other services, in which case, you should also update your auto-discovery link.

Update: You also have to make certain that Browser-Friendly Burner is unchecked.

Wed, 19 Jan 2005 02:47:15 GMT
Preventing comment spam

Googleblog: From now on, when Google sees the attribute (rel="nofollow") on hyperlinks, those links won't get any credit when we rank websites in our search results. This isn't a negative vote for the site where the comment was posted; it's just a way to make sure that spammers get no benefit from abusing public areas like blog comments, trackbacks, and referrer lists.

Randy: Awesome! And check-out the list of supporting software vendors. Sam Ruby has posted instructions on Intertwingly for adding rel="nofollow" to MoinMoin.

Kill SPAM dead!

Update: I added rel="nofollow" to my referrer listings.

Wed, 19 Jan 2005 02:14:48 GMT
Content-Type Burner

Cool! I just discovered that you can enable USM for your feed using FeedBurner. It's the bottom most feature when burning a feed, called Content-Type burner. Enable this option and change Select Content-Type to What the most appropriate type is for the feed. I'm about 5 minutes of free time away from using Feedburner.

Wed, 19 Jan 2005 01:53:55 GMT
Pheedo is USM

Adam Kalsey: We’ve also added support for this to Pheedo, so in addition to inserting ads into your feeds, you can also easily USM-enable your feeds.

Randy: Adam's the first mover. 999 million bloggers, hosting services and clients to go. Adam also sent me a bunch of great ideas to improve the USM client. I'll add new aggregators. If you want your aggregator added to the USM client, then send me an email.

I also discovered that Pheedo has an awesome RSS marketing blog. Subscribed.

Tue, 18 Jan 2005 23:40:18 GMT
The Yahoo! Solution

It works! I wrote a Universal Subscription Mechanism client for My Yahoo.  It was surprisingly easier and better than I thought. You either need the Atom link construct extension of USM or auto-discovery via the channel/link element. It works with any RSS file that responds with applicaton/rss+xml, application/rdf+xml or application/atom+xml Content-Type. Sorry, my blog uses text/xml. But you can test subscribing to the RSS Blog via this URL. Download the Yahoo! USM (Save Target As...) to Program Files or something like that. Run it once to self register. Click away. Click on those orange chicklets for subscription with My Yahoo! You don't need add to My Yahoo! buttons.

The code usm.cs and discovery.cs.

Tue, 18 Jan 2005 21:26:32 GMT
Universal Subscription Mechanism v1.1

A lot of the feedback I received for the Universal Subscription Mechanism was to use the Atom link construct, rather than the RSS link module. As such, I've made the switch official and released a new version of the protocol.

Tue, 18 Jan 2005 20:17:58 GMT
MyMSN Supports RSS

Dare Obasanjo: It had to happen sooner or later. MyMSN now supports adding RSS or Atom 0.3 feeds as content sources for your home page.

Randy: MyMSN seems to be reporting the RSS results from 3 days ago for most blogs. I added a handful and other than Scoble, the results are dated.

Tue, 18 Jan 2005 15:36:19 GMT
Yet Another Version of RSS

Sean B. Palmer: On behalf of an independent group of RSS 1.0 users, I'm pleased to announce the following specification and toolset for the consideration of RSS-Dev WG members and interested mailing list participants: http://inamidst.com/rss1.1/ - RSS 1.1 Specification.

Randy: Awesome, another RSS format to confuse developers with. Just what we need.

Mon, 17 Jan 2005 22:19:23 GMT
Yahoo to acquire Six Apart?

The Internet Stock Blog: Six Apart, the owner of hosted blogging service TypePad and publisher of blogging software Movable Type, just acquired LiveJournal. Within six months Six Apart itself will be acquired by Yahoo!. Here's why.

Randy: Can Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft buy everything?

Mon, 17 Jan 2005 22:10:23 GMT
Google to Put Kibosh on Blog Comment Spam

Steve Rubel: Several bloggers have reported that Winer was testing a new Google linking mechanism that might put an end to blog comment spam by omitting all links from its PageRank calculations that have a rel="nofollow" attribute tag.

Randy: Another attempt to stop blog comment spam. I have to wonder if this one will work. The problem is distribution. If less than half of the blogging software giants (Typepad, LiveJournal, Blogger, Radio) implement it, then blog comment spam will continue.

Mon, 17 Jan 2005 19:03:08 GMT
Technorati Launches Tags

Dave Sifry: Tags are a simple, yet powerful, social software innovation. Today millions of people are freely and openly assigning metadata to content and conversations. Unlike rigid taxonomy schemes that people dislike, the ease of tagging for personal organization with social incentives leads to a rich and discoverable folksonomy.

Randy: Tags, tags, everywhere.

Mon, 17 Jan 2005 18:56:10 GMT
Romanian RSS
A list of Romanian RSS feeds.
Mon, 17 Jan 2005 01:15:02 GMT
Spec the feed link already!
Ken MacLeod: Another go-round on the "one-click subscribe" fire-drill. Most everyone agrees that a MIME-type plus a link back to the feed source is the "right" way to do it, but once the fire-drill is over no one ever follows through on speccing that link and so it comes around again to temporary or partial solutions like the 'feed://' scheme or centralized servers.

Randy: Ken also likes the MIME-type solution.

Sun, 16 Jan 2005 21:10:32 GMT
Why Schwimmer Asked Bloglines To Remove His Blog

Martin Schwimmer: It was brought to my attention that a website named Bloglines was reproducing the Trademark Blog, surrounding it with its own frame, stripping the page of my contact info.  It identifies itself as a news aggregator.  It is not authorized to reproduce my content nor to change the appearance of my pages, which it does. 

Robert Scoble: Martin Schwimmer sure opened a can of worms.

Randy: We did the same thing 2 years ago at Dude Research and we got a few complaints. Martin Schwimmer is definately correct. The biggest mistake Bloglines is making is the removal of the copyright. All RSS aggregators MUST redisplay the copyright notice. That's why it's there and that's the law. And Bloglines has already been told such months ago.

For more, see the Technorati Cosmos.

Sun, 16 Jan 2005 15:42:55 GMT
MSN Ready to Expand RSS Support

eWeek: The company's MSN unit is planning to release a beta of a Really Simple Syndication aggregation feature for users of its My MSN personalized home-page service, an MSN spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday.

Sun, 16 Jan 2005 15:37:30 GMT
LiveJournal is back!
LiveJournal has returned from its grave. We can cancel our LiveJournal aid relief concert, as all 5.7 million blogs were saved.
Sat, 15 Jan 2005 23:45:56 GMT
LiveJournal is down due to power failure

Temporarily Unavailable

LiveJournal: LiveJournal is currently down due to a massive power failure at our data center. We'll provide updates at /powerloss/ as they're available.

Randy: Yikes! Can't wait to learn from the post-mortem. Reliability of scalable systems.

Sat, 15 Jan 2005 21:05:39 GMT
Feed, know thyself?
Reading the Atom mailing list, atom is moving in the direction of adopting Joe's subscription mechanism based on Mime-Types.
Sat, 15 Jan 2005 20:56:52 GMT
HowTo Subscribe Poll
I created a poll on the syndication Yahoo! group. Please vote. This'll give me an idea where public opinion lies.
Sat, 15 Jan 2005 20:41:01 GMT
Safari does feed: URI scheme

Jens Alfke: Safari RSS (coming soon in Safari 2.0) uses the feed: protocol pretty heavily.

Sat, 15 Jan 2005 15:37:58 GMT
Feed Playlists versus feed:// URLs

0xDECAFBAD: Phil makes a suggestion that seems ideal to me. Don't link to feeds directly, don't use a funky protocol, link to a "playlist" of feeds.

Randy: Leslie Orchard makes a case for Phil's application/feedlist+xml. Now that I see this a little more thought out, I don't like the need for a new XML. If everybody just returned the correct media type and added one link element to their RSS channel, then we don't need another XML format.

Sat, 15 Jan 2005 15:27:21 GMT
Handling RSS in the browser

Adam Kalsey: Feed readers need to do the same thing. When I install a desktop reader, the reader should (perhaps optionally) find all the browsers installed on the system and configure them to open files with a content type of application/rss+xml in the reader. The reader then does whatever with it, perhaps showing it to the user and allowing them to subscribe.

Web based readers would need some sort of small install that would redirect that request to them, just as web based mail clients like Gmail need a small program to get mailto: links to open the web mail composition widget.

Of course this would also require that everyone serve RSS as the same content type or for the readers to handle multiple content types. Unfortunately the RSS spec doesn’t specify which content type should be used, so people have made up their own, often different, content types.

Randy: Adam Kalsey is another believer in the Universal Subscription Mechanism. Phil, that always thinking guy, makes a case in Adam's comments for application/feedlist+xml. Something to watch and another great idea.

Fri, 14 Jan 2005 22:01:34 GMT
Life, the Universe and Feed Subscription

As usually, Danny Ayers has some great thoughts on the Feed Subscription debate. Here's my response, which I'll trackback over to his blog entry.

This has nothing to do with icons, although it would be nice for the user to be able to recognize the button. You could put an anchor around the text "Subscribe". That anchor points to your RSS file and has the correct media type. For RSS to cross the chasm, all the i's have to be dotted and t's crossed.

Autodiscovery is definately the way to go. But it's only part of the solution. Returning the correct media type is another part of the solution. I really like your XSL solution. That's definately another part of the solution that I hadn't considered. But, consider that most users will be terrified to find 20-30 subscription mechanisms to choose from. The mundane user would move on and you'd have one less subscriber. On the other hand, if there was exactly one subscription mechanism, then you'd have yourself a lot of subscribers.

Fri, 14 Jan 2005 21:33:21 GMT
Universal Subscription Mechanism, Draft
In order to push Universal Subscription Mechanism forward, I have created an early first draft. Please send feedback, either in the comments section of this blog entry or my email. This is a living document and it will change. I have specific example sections in mind already.
Fri, 14 Jan 2005 19:49:46 GMT
Universal Subscription Mechanism, Part Deux

Further to my Universal Subscription Mechanism posts earlier, I have created a URL that allows anybody to return the correct media type with the RSS link module extension to tell the client shell extension where to find the subscription URL. Here's my RSS feed, with the appropriate HTTP header and RSS link module element.

Note two relevant changes from my original feed.

  1. The returned Content-Type is application/rss+xml. instead of text/xml. You can view the headers with RSSSpy.
  2. The channel level RSS link module element.

You can see how your feed should look for Universal Subscription to work. Simply replace everything after the xml= in the following URL with your own feed URL.

http://www.therssweblog.com/Usm.aspx?xml=http://www.therssweblog.com/rss.xml

Also, I'm looking for feedback, typos, blatant errors. Thanks!

And here's the code that does the transformation. I'd love to see this in Python and PHP.

System.Xml.XmlDocument doc = new System.Xml.XmlDocument();
doc.Load(uri);
if (doc.DocumentElement["channel"]["http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/link/", "link"] == null)
{
   System.Xml.XmlElement element = doc.CreateElement("l", "link", "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/link/");
   element.SetAttribute("rel", "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/link/", "http://www.therssweblog.com/usm.html");
   element.SetAttribute("type", "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/link/", "application/rss+xml");
   element.SetAttribute("title", "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/link/", "Subscribe");
   System.Xml.XmlAttribute attribute = doc.CreateAttribute("rdf", "resource", "http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#");
   attribute.Value = uri;
   element.SetAttributeNode(attribute);
   doc.DocumentElement["channel"].AppendChild(element);
}
Response.ContentType = "application/rss+xml";
doc.Save(Response.OutputStream);

Fri, 14 Jan 2005 16:12:17 GMT
RSS Stock Ticker
Walter Higgins sent me this link today. Very cool! Here's a stock ticker RSS feed of my past employers. Here's a stock ticker RSS feed of my current portfolio.
Fri, 14 Jan 2005 02:33:39 GMT
Universal Subscription Mechanism

I've been blogging a lot about the recent movement to settle on a universal subscription mechanism. Everybody should know that I'm in favor of returning a proper media type. Let me explain a bit why I have settled on this decision and what stands in our way of adopting this universally.

I think it's important to point out that autodiscovery of RSS is a must. Most all of us agree that any blogging system lacking autodisco is incomplete. The question is, "How do you subscribe otherwise?" What should happen when you click on the orange XML icon?

Currently, there seems to be three schools of thought.

You might be wondering what happens when you click on a feed (w/ the application/rss+xml media type) on a freshly squeezed XP Home box. Exactly the same thing that happens when you click on a PDF file (where no PDF reader is installed). Exactly what I'd expect to happen. No PDF reader. No RSS reader. Same message. Goooooooooood!

A side note: Just as SixApart got it right, as usual, before anybody else, Blogger got it completely wrong. Their feeds return application/xml. You can try my Blogger atom feed.

There are two problems with the application/rss+xml media type.

We need to address these two issues and quickly.

Thu, 13 Jan 2005 20:41:04 GMT
Amazon Wishlist Syndication
Xanadb: Got an amazon wishlist that you want visitors to your homepage/blog to see?
Thu, 13 Jan 2005 17:25:08 GMT
Really Simple Subscription

Nick Bradbury: So I have to point out that the feed:// protocol (aka: feed URI scheme) was created to resolve this problem. Is it a perfect solution? No, it's not (there's no such thing). Past discussions about this idea have devolved into arguments about MIME types, but I maintain that it's the best one we've got because it works right now.

Randy: I have to disagree. It doesn't work right now. Take a look at my right sidebar. It's full of chicklets. Nothing there works right now. Adding feed:// will only confuse the user. He'll click on it and his browser will barf.

Thu, 13 Jan 2005 16:20:41 GMT
RSStress

Werner Vogels: The increase in the number of feeds will leave many users frustrated, as there is a limit to the number feeds one can scan and read. Current numbers suggest that readers can handle  150-200 feeds without too much stress. 

Randy: The problem is that most all aggregators have taken on the Inbox UI. Another paradigm please. Subscribed. Subscribed.

Thu, 13 Jan 2005 15:38:30 GMT
RSS Feeds for Search Results

Jeremy Zawodny: RSS Feeds for Search Results: damn! I wanted us to be first...

Randy: I guess we can infer that RSS search at Yahoo! is already in the pipeline.

Wed, 12 Jan 2005 23:22:52 GMT
Yahoo! Finance RSS Feeds Return

Jeremy Zawodny: You may remember me as the guy who tried to launch RSS feeds for Yahoo Finance a couple years too early. :-) Well, good news. They're back and they're better.

Randy: Wow, this has been quite a week for bigCo RSS releases.

Wed, 12 Jan 2005 20:02:25 GMT
The Dave Winer Problem

Jeremy Zawodny: If Dave can call something the "Yahoo Problem" then I can call it the Dave Winer Problem. It's good way to make sure we see each other's stuff, huh? :-)

Randy: Jeremy seems to agree that the application/rss+xml mime type is the solution. Here's the problem.

Wed, 12 Jan 2005 18:58:59 GMT
MSN Riposte to MyYahoo RSS Coming

John Battelle: A birdy with an abiding interest has told me that MSN, through its MyMSN service, will tonight "quietly launch several new features for MyMSN, one of which is the ability to discover, read and search through blog and RSS content." You will also be able to add RSS feeds to your MyMSN page, just like MyYahoo.

Randy: Microsoft is pushing RSS. Ready to ride?

Wed, 12 Jan 2005 16:51:47 GMT
Technorati, Bloglines Citations and Feedster Shootout!

Jeff Sandquist: Robert talks about Technorati and Dare mentions in Robert’s comments that he’s seen a degradation in the Technorati Service. [cut] Lately Bloglines Citations seems to have the best results, next Feedster and finally Technorati. Want to see what I mean? Try the Blog Search Shootout for my weblog..

Randy: Jeff and I agree. Bloglines Citations is winning the RSS live search war.

Wed, 12 Jan 2005 16:36:56 GMT
The Yahoo Problem

ReallySimpleSyndication.com: Please only comment here if you support the proposal, if you have a different approach, hold on to it, or better yet, read through the archive of various syndication mail lists to see if it's already been discussed.

Randy: The general consensus is that the solution won't work.

Rick: But, the solution he suggests doesn’t really help.

Wed, 12 Jan 2005 16:18:58 GMT
RSS Feeds for Search Results

MSN Search Weblog: We’ve been experimenting with RSS Search results on our live servers and we’ve been found out by Greg Linden, Gary Price & many others.  [cut] here are some step-by-step instructions:

Randy: Finally, a reason to use MSN Search Beta. Lookout Google, for the first time in 5 yrs you've got competition.

Wed, 12 Jan 2005 04:19:55 GMT
Who is the fairest aggregator of them all?
Robert Scoble: Another browser-based news aggregator. A beta of Lektora was released yesterday. Anyone up to doing a comparison between this and Onfolio's beta?
Tue, 11 Jan 2005 23:27:40 GMT
New Draft of Atom Format

The latest draft of the Atom format spec. No significant changes from the last draft.

Tue, 11 Jan 2005 23:02:00 GMT
Accessility Rant

Fawny Blog: Movable Type and TypePad, like all blogging software, fail to meet the Authoring Tools Accessibility Guidelines. The difference here is that Six Apart has known about it for years and claims to care, yet has done nothing.

Randy: I think we can point the fingers at pretty much everybody. Six Apart is one of several dozen, maybe hundred major Web companies that have ignored accessibility for too long. Let's all reblog this rant and get a message out.

Tue, 11 Jan 2005 19:32:17 GMT
WebMD does RSS

WebMD: Would you like to receive news articles as soon as they are available from WebMD Health? With our RSS feed, you can, and it's free!

Randy: Subscribed.

Tue, 11 Jan 2005 16:37:54 GMT
Blog Resource

Paul O'Flaherty: Set up your blog, increase your traffic and find new blogs to read. All in one place, all free.

Tue, 11 Jan 2005 14:58:09 GMT
HowTo Subscribe

Dave Winer: Yahoo sends emails to bloggers with RSS feeds saying, hey if you put this icon on your weblog you'll get more subscribers. It's true you will. Then Feedster says the same thing, and Bloglines, etc etc.

Randy: Dave talks about the proliferation of subscription buttons. I think the solution is to get everybody to use the application/rss+xml media type to serve their RSS. Then, we can write browser helpers to process clicks on such hyperlinks. It's the way the Web works.

Mon, 10 Jan 2005 23:55:17 GMT
Feedcount
FeedBurner: FeedCount is a promotional graphic (commonly called a "chicklet") that displays your feed's circulation — our measure of your daily readership in syndication — that you can use to promote your feed on your site. The circulation number displayed is calculated based on the previous day's circulation total for the feed. Feed count can be static , or animated , and you get to decide what colors it uses.
Mon, 10 Jan 2005 23:37:02 GMT
RSS Reader Market Share

Dick: Top 20 RSS clients across FeedBurner most highly subscribed 800 feeds as of January 6, 2005.

Randy: Dick compiles a list of the top RSS clients. Note that #1 is a Web-based RSS reader; Bloglines. Since the stats are based on "unique combinations of user-agent and IP addresses within a single 24 hour period", then Web-based RSS readers should be penalized; report low results versus number of actual users. So, how does Bloglines make #1 and by a longshot? Does this mean that Bloglines is a badly misbehaved aggregator? Looks like the start of a great blog. Subscribed.

Mon, 10 Jan 2005 20:25:08 GMT
Patent RSS Feeds

RSS-Specifications.com: This custom hack creates RSS feeds to monitor the USPTO patent application process. The pre-made feeds will monitor major player's patent applications. [slightly edited]

Mon, 10 Jan 2005 16:12:52 GMT
History of Podcasting
Adam Curry: The History of Podcasting in a podcast.
Fri, 07 Jan 2005 05:17:27 GMT
More Invalid Atom

Tantek: Speaking of progress on resolutions, I've hacked up an Atom feed of my posts.

Randy: Unfortunately, like most every other Atom feed, it's invalid.

Fri, 07 Jan 2005 04:48:50 GMT
Get your keyword watchlists here!
David Sifry: I'm proud to announce that Technorati has just launched our new Keyword Watchlist service, which now allows you to track and subscribe to live searches on keywords and phrases.
Fri, 07 Jan 2005 04:03:50 GMT
IE has Lost 30% of Market

Brainstorms & Raves: There’s no time like the present to begin developing Websites based on W3C Recommendations first and foremost. Once your markup and CSS validate, then test in the most standards-compliant browsers first, such as Opera 7 and Mozilla. Once your pages work well in those browsers, then test in Internet Explorer, and then test with older browsers and assistive technology devices.

Randy: This sounds like IE bashing more than a reasonable solution. The real solution is to validate using the W3C validators and test on major browsers based on your target users' preferred browser. If that's IE, Moz, Opera, Safari or a combination of, then so be it.

Fri, 07 Jan 2005 03:41:25 GMT
Mena on LiveJournal

Mena: I've seen LiveJournalers worried that we're going to turn around and start charging, close the LiveJournal source, own the content on LiveJournals, force the users to use TypePad/Movable Type and plaster their sites with advertisements. (We're not going to do this). I've seen our licensing changes in May cited as proof that we're capable of doing this. We did make some mistakes when it came to the changes in the licenses. But, I also believe we fixed them in our revised licensing.

Randy: This is great news. Thanks Mena for your reassuring words.

Fri, 07 Jan 2005 00:18:26 GMT
RSS Popper

RSS Popper: RSS Popper is an RSS/ATOM/RDF news aggregator that delivers news to Outlook.

Randy: Another Outlook-based RSS reader. I don't use Outlook, so I can't really give you much detail. Check it out!

Thu, 06 Jan 2005 13:16:24 GMT
CNN RSS

Steve Rubel: Paul reports that CNN.com now has RSS feeds.

Tim Bray: Via Paul Beard, I hear that CNN has launched some RSS feeds. They seem to work.

Steven Cohen: Paul Beard notes that CNN has finally dolled out their own RSS feeds.

Randy: Finally!

Paul Beard: CNN.com has RSS feeds.

Wed, 05 Jan 2005 15:30:21 GMT
Attention.xml

Release 1.0: Attention.xml is an exciting potential standard that could help the Web become more "alive."

Randy: I've been hearing more and more on the Web about attention.xml. I keep hearing that it's going to do all these things, but when I ask what things, I find out that it's simply a re-invention of OPML. Why do people persist in re-inventing the wheel?

Tue, 04 Jan 2005 19:52:21 GMT
Bloglines, Flickr, and del.icio.us make RSS delectable
NewsForge: Everyone's talking about RSS feeds these days, but sometimes it's unclear how you can use RSS to do anything useful. I've been experimenting with RSS for quite some time, and I've discovered an interesting combination of tools that let you become productive with RSS.
Tue, 04 Jan 2005 15:43:11 GMT
Why There's No Escaping the Blog

Fortune: Freewheeling bloggers can boost your product—or destroy it. Either way, they've become a force business can't afford to ignore.

Randy: A pretty amazing article on the blogosphere and how it works. It's quotability factor is right up there with Plato.

Mon, 03 Jan 2005 22:14:25 GMT
Atomic Titles
<title type="text/plain" mode="base64">SGlzdG9yeSBvZiB0aGUgPGJsaW5rPiB0YWc=</title>

Think!

Mon, 03 Jan 2005 21:52:08 GMT
Uploading Mayhem: We feel your pain!

Flickr: Several things have conspired to clog the queue for uploading photos and slow it down to a near crawl.

Randy: Gotta love it when you have too many users.

Mon, 03 Jan 2005 21:48:50 GMT
VOG Browser

Not sure what the VOG browser has todo with Feedster, but I guess they are tying in on the back-end somewhere. But as Scott Johnson points out, this is a clear winner. The UI is crude, but this could be a killer application. Overall: Super cool!

One word: Colavision.

Mon, 03 Jan 2005 21:34:23 GMT
RSS Zeitgeist
Today I decided to take a look at the other Feedster Developer Contest winners. My first view is RSS Zeitgeist. It responded "Warning: error retrieving or parsing" to various queries before I almost gave up. Finally, I got a good answer and it produced a graph of the result for the search term over time. It seems to fail on most searches. Overall: Kinda cool!
Mon, 03 Jan 2005 20:51:19 GMT
CompleteRSS

CompleteRSS: With CompleteRSS, search and subscribe to thousands of RSS feeds.

Randy: I gave CompleteRSS a test drive today. The visual appeal of the Website is much better than Feedster. It's very nice to look at, but beyond that first look, there isn't much here at all. I did some searches on some pretty common Blogosphere search phrases; Dave Winer, Feed Validator and many more and got zero hits. Seems they have very few feeds indexed.

Mon, 03 Jan 2005 17:48:29 GMT
The Social Bit Takes Care of Itself
Dave Walker: You know that guy at the office, the one who’s always trying just a little too hard to be your friend? Most “social networking” sites remind me of that. They try to force the issue. What Flickr and del.icio.us get right is that the social nature of the software is a side effect of the software’s ingenious construction. Unlike a Friendster or an Orkut, you don’t build great goofy clouds of contacts and then rank them, like ice cream flavors or something. You do something fun — you show off your pictures, share your links, give them clever keywords so other people can find them, and — the social bit takes care of itself. Your friends find you, find your pictures, subscribe to feeds of all the arcane trivia you’ve surfed over this week, all without the venture-capital-trying-to-find-an-exit-stategy flop sweat that pours off the Friendsters and Linked-Ins of the world.
Mon, 03 Jan 2005 06:50:51 GMT
Best of 2004

Maybe a little bored, I decided to make my own 10 best events in the blogosphere of 2004. By best, I mean good best, not just big news. So, bad news events don't qualify, no matter how horrifying.

  1. iPOD Platform
  2. Six Apart Series B Funding
  3. Feedster Funding by Omidyar
  4. Technorati Funding
  5. Howard Dean blogs
  6. John Kerry blogs
  7. David Sifry on CNN
  8. MSN Spaces Launched
  9. My Yahoo RSS Launched
  10. Live Message Alerts Launched

Any other suggestions?

Mon, 03 Jan 2005 05:47:01 GMT
Feedster Bug Report

Just a bug report for my friends at Feedster. If you put quotes around your search string in the search text input field, the returned page has a backslash in the search text input field instead of the quoted string. Installation is IE6 and Moz1.6 on XPSP2.

Sat, 01 Jan 2005 18:25:48 GMT
Andy's Q&A, Part Deux

Andy had this follow-up to our previous Q&A session.

Andy: Let's say a channel is published in New York and is maintained during the working day.  Currently - with no daylight saving - say, 1pm to 10pm GMT.  Singapore (with no daylight saving) is always 8 hours ahead of GMT.  So the working day might be 12pm GMT to 9am GMT.  If the feed has skipHours set for: 0 and 10-23, the Singapore user's Aggregator might never poll it for updates.  I guess the answer is to to add some code that polls at least once during skipHours if the Aggregator has not received a response from the feed during the previous polling period.  But I guess you can see why I am concerned that there might be insufficient justification to add complexity that might disrupt other parts of the program.  Right now I'm still thinking that implementing skipDays and skipHours might cause more problems than it solves given it is rarely used.

Randy: Let me re-iterate that skipDays and skipHours are syndication hints. They are not rules that must be followed, but a well behaved RSS reader will honor them.  The concern that skipHours adds complexity is legit. The best RSS reader will figure out a way to respect these hints without causing more problems. The run-of-the-mill RSS reader won't. It's a choice. Do you want to write the best RSS reader or just another run-of-the-mill RSS reader?

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