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Reading the web in your way is the future even if RSS readers fail

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2013-06-25 21:45

You ain't seen nothing yet. Low tech small "a" AI, blah blah there is so much we could do to improve our personal Internet reading experience that hasn't been done *yet* by Google Reader or Flipboard or anybody else.

QUOTE from an amazing article that brings up almost everything that you'd want to consider if you read the internet: "Feeding our Reading Habits"

"Don't feel guilty about not reading the millions of pieces of information that pile up on your door everyday. Just don't. Half the battle in this modern era of information overload is learning how to not care about all the information. We call them feeds, or streams for a reason: they never end. Your only goal should be to build a better net. It's not to worry about unread counts or friend requests, or virtual corn fields.

Take your net, dip it into the stream, and see what comes out."


Sick and tired of the whole Google Reader extended good-bye "intellectual masturbation" :-) ! Let's move on and build something better that makes Internet reading more awesome for those who care about it and ignore those who don't care!!!! Good-bye and good riddance Google Reader, I won't miss you!!!!!!!!!!

Switched shared items from Google Reader to

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2011-11-27 09:52

For the two of you besides Boris and Richard who subscribed to my Google Reader Shared items, I have switched to RSS Hero (made by Kalv with vision by Boris, thanks guys! Where I do pay? I don't want ads, I want to pay now). WARNING: RSS Hero is alpha software for thrill seekers only :-) but the ride has been smooth so far and is going to be great!

My Shared item feed is here:

User generated web aggregation aka Russell Beattie is right again!

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2010-08-08 22:05

Just like users control what content they generate on blogs and websites and which urls they surf to, why shouldn't power users (initially it's going take some geekiness and some type of user generated aggregation software development but it won't look like JavaScript, or Ruby or C++ or any of the "secret priesthood of computing" software technology so for a few years it won't be for "normal" users) be able to control what web content they read without worrying about portals, scraping, RSS,Atom, or any other technology underneath. In other words user generated aggregation and user defined agents that give the people what they want how they want is something that can and will happen. In other words, Russell is right again :-) !

Russell Beattie is right about the future of web aggregation when he writes:


Essentially, it's becoming more and more work to separate signal from noise, and it never seems that everything you want to keep track of has a feed. I can't imagine what it must be like if your job is to parse news for a living. Imagine being an analyst for a bank and having to wade through the cruft you'd get in a news reader every day, not to mention the monthly publications, etc.

What I think is going to happen is that both browsers and aggregators services in the cloud are going to start enabling a lot more logic and customization. We see the start of it now with Grease Monkey scripts and browser plugins and extensions, but I think a next level of user-friendly artificial intelligence is needed. Applications that parses web pages, gathers content, displays it intelligently and economically and does it all without magic (which is generally always wrong), but as directed by your specific choices of what you think is good and bad. ScraperWiki is the first step towards this sort of thing, but really it's only just the beginning.

Anyways, a few years ago I decided that the mobile web as a separate entity was a dead end because of the quickly improving mobile browsers and it turns out I was pretty spot on. It never dawned on me that the same logic could be applied to web feeds because of things like quickly improving server-side parsers and bad user experiences, but now I'm seeing that it is. I personally still wouldn't launch a new site today without having a decent feed, but I bet it'll be a short time before I don't worry about it, and I bet there's a lot of other web developers that feel that way already.


FeedM8, make money off your RSS Feed - [FM8327-55]

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2007-08-27 09:32

UPDATE: here's the FeedM8 badge

Another mobile RSS service to try: FeedM8 (requires verification code: [FM8327-55]).This one allows you to make money and is Canadian (Tris Hussey at blognation has the full FeedM8 scoop). We'll see! I'm skeptical (I believe in making money indirectly instead of directly off of "creating compelling constantly").

Facebook's RSS feeds leak confidential data! Fix it by using basic auth over SSL and flickr style revokable URLs

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2007-08-17 06:03

It's 2007 and a well funded company like Facebook can't implement secure RSS feeds (RSS feeds served over SSL and protected by HTTP Basic Authentication). Aaargh how many years have we been blogging about the need for secure RSS feeds and that security by obscurity doesn't work? (Answer: since at least 2004) (And I am not impressed by the Facebook Chief Privacy Officer's apologia; sorry the technology exists, 37 signals does it for example with Basecamp so implement it !). If RSS feeds over SSL with HTTP basic authentication are too much of a technological challenge :-), allow the feed URLs to be revoked like flickr does for its guest pass URLs.

FROM » Facebook’s data feeds a data leak? | Lawgarithms |


So where’s the data leak? Here’s where. These feeds are public. All one needs in order to view and use them is the feed’s URI. There’s no requirement that a reader or user of the feed be the “friend” of individuals whose data is in the feed, or even that the person be logged into Facebook. Are you following me?


Mesh Conference missing thread - Open Source, broadband, RSS, people, Silicon Valley everywhere

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2006-05-17 07:29

I think Jon is onto something. Mesh sounded great (could people blog more podcasts and videoblogs of the conference please? That's it, my goal will be to make sure that Northern Voice 2007 is 100% podcasted and videoblogged at decent quality, sorry Tim but not everybody can do awesome HD video for everything) but we are missing the common Web 2.0 thread that "meshes" everything together which I think lies somewhere in open source, ubiquitous inexpensive broadband (fixed today and mobile tomorrow), RSS, people (not just white male Californians, but women, Canadians, Indians, Filipinos :-) , etc.) and "Silicon Valley everywhere" (including Vancouver in my biased opinion with great startups like sxip, Dabble DB, eqo, etc.)

FROM Jon Arnold's Blog: Mesh Conference - Final Thoughts:


There was lots of good content and obviously some great energy. I'm sure the successes of the show were a happy mix of good planning and putting everyone together to share and feed off each other. I definitely learned a lot, but for someone who is on a steady diet of VoIP and telecom conferences like VON, Internet Telephony and Globalcomm, this is a different world in many ways. Didn't hear much talk about VoIP or podcasting or SIP - stuff like that. But that's ok - Web 2.0 is about so many things.

And that's where the challenge lies for me. A lot of great perspectives were put forward at Mesh - both from the speakers and the attendees. However, there wasn't a lot of connecting the dots - maybe by design - but I'm left with the feeling that for as much as I learned, I still don't have a sense how these things fit together.

This actually brings me back again to the Mesh logo. You can't help but be drawn into that image and the energy it seems to radiate - which is exactly what happened at the show - so, kudos for the logo designers. The energy was there alright, but like the logo, I didn't really feel that all the strands - yellow, blue, green, etc. - connected. They're oscillating around each other, and bumping into each other a lot, but never really intersecting or truly meshing into a unified form. At the end of the day, much like Earth at Creation, I'd like to see this humming mass of energy and chaos sort itself out and unravel nicely like a ball of yarn.

My conclusion is that this did not happen, and I'm concerned that for some, the conference was just a blur, like this....


RSS Real Time Enterprise Console = Management by Feed

Submitted by Roland on Sat, 2006-04-01 16:50

Amen! This sounds like the RSS driven Real Time Enterprise Console that I and others have been espousing for years (2003, 2004) !

From Management by Feed (or How to take RSS Mainstream).:


Now enter RSS. Imagine if every software system in your business published an RSS feed. Imagine if every important project in your company had its own blog. Imagine hundreds of feeds running through your business that you can subscribe to selectively. Imagine having immediate, reliable notification of important events going all the way up the management chain as soon as they occur. Now that's life changing!


Endo - crashed with my OPML file with over 1000 subscriptions

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2006-03-07 10:14

Endo looks cool. Bugs:

  1. It crashed with my OPML file with over 1000 subscriptions.
  2. It doesn't have a "River of News" view (at least as far as I can see).
  3. Can't drag and drop URLs into subscription manager
  4. Can't select multiple subscriptions for deletion in subscription manager.

Still pretty cool for a beta release (like the Growl notifications for example!). I am trying it with a tiny OPML file and it looks good, but if I am going to use this over time, I need river of news sorted by date view with auto expiration of articles. NetNewsWire does all this (albeit slowly and takes up a lot of memory) so I am surprised Adriaan hasn't implemented it since he usually one-ups Brent in the feature wars!

From Information overdose.:


I just finished a bug-fix upgrade of endo. There was an issue with parsing email addresses, which should be fixed and some other minor issues. Some cool guy I know sent me his OPML file to test and it contained over 600 feeds. Once done updating, there were over 10K unread items. I'm humbled as my own subscription list has less than a hundred feeds. I don't think I could handle more information.


VFS DIY Podcasting and Blogs and Wikis at VPL

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2006-01-26 23:55

Lots of thought provoking and interesting questions at today's VFS DIY Podcasting session (presentation: PDF, Powerpoint, Keynote organized by New Media BC which I co-presented with the most excellent Robert Ouimet. We learned a lot from the questions. Great crowd! Here is the list of links (if you know how to use, please add your own):

And then afterwards, I wandered over to the excellent Blogs and Wikis at the VPL. It was great hearing Brian Lamb and Mark Schneider discuss blogs and wikis. Can't comment much more since I missed their presentations!

The PubSub Era of the web is now

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2006-01-19 21:39

Finally, Salim is blogging. Welcome! What took you so long. More please! Disclosure blah blah blah!

From Evolution of the Internet.:


After the rollout of messaging and request/response, we are now entering the third wave of the internet, the publish/subscribe decade. The web has been phenomonally successful and the amount of information available on it is overwhelming. However, (as Bill rightly points out), that information is largely passive - you must look it up with a browser. Clearly the next step in that evolution is for the information to become active and tell you when something happens.

Blogs and RSS are the first general manifestation of publish/subscribe. The real reason for the explosion of RSS/blogging is the ability to "subscribe" to a blog or feed and be told "whenever". We can expect this theme to dominate the next several years of the internet.

What Bill refers to as the "active web", or Doc as the "live" web, we refer to as the pubsub web (ok, so we"re not the greatest marketers). Our whinge would be that it"s the implementation of publish/subscribe on the internet that will make the web active. People often talk about PointCast as the first major effort to "live" up the web. It was an effort, but not very well implemented.


PubSub's speed unmatched on the Internet

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2006-01-19 21:24

Go PubSub go! Disclosure: Salim and I went to high school together, we went to the same university (but different engineering programs so not the same class!) and we are friends!

From PubSub's speed unmatched on the Internet.:


"We are the other half of Google, and we complement them. Google is retrospective search and we are prospective search. In other words, Google searches the past and we search the future," Salim said in an interview at a recent Harvard conference.

Google news alerts and eBay auction alerts are similar but glacial; sometimes taking days to notify users, in comparison to Pubsub's split-second matching capability. "No one can match our speed of three billion matches per second. We have a unique algorithm, and as far as we know, nobody has ever been able to do what we've done," Salim said. "It makes information active rather than passive."

The "engine" is based on Wyman's expertise and experience. He is the chief technology officer at PubSub and an Internet pioneer who developed predecessors to Lotus Notes and the first known wide-area-network hypertext system, among other innovations.

Salim, Pubsub's chairman, is a University of Waterloo graduate in theoretical physics who gravitated toward business and computers.


Jabber matters and so does RSS and Atom

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2005-12-19 01:38

As Boris said at BarCamp Amsterdam (if I may be so bold as to paraphrase him), Jabber and RSS and Atom are the formats and protocols to watch; this is just one more proof point.

From Jabber's JINGLE comes out of the closet in time for the holidays | B.Mann Consulting.:


Sorry, couldn't resist the Christmas themed title. What am I talking about? Well, the JINGLE press release* came out yesterday, announcing the official Jabber Extensions Protocols (JEPs) for doing multimedia over Jabber, or XMPP as the IETF approved protocol is officially known.

Here's the part where we learn that this is in reality a way for everyone to plug into Google Talk:

UNQUOTE's tech team gives web 2 lumps of coal for Christmas

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2005-12-12 11:51

Oh well, I guess the web was bad and didn't deserve a cool modern web site from like I asked for nicely :-) ! I bet this wasn't a technical decision; I bet not offering RSS feeds falls out from not wanting to (or being afraid to) move from their really bad, not-modern content management system to a modern web infrastructure (like Drupal, Plone, Joomla or h*ck even WordPress or Movable Type could have been used if all they wanted to add was blogs).

To any other organization contemplating such a move: it's really easy, you don't have to junk your old system. Just add blogging, videoblogging and podcasting on new servers running more modern systems as a complement to your existing web presence on your old servers.

I hope we hear from the techies on this one but I doubt it since they don't use RSS and their stuff disappears behind a paywall so even if they do, it probably won't show up on Google!

From Redesigns Without RSS Feeds | Darren Barefoot.:

QUOTE recently launched a long-overdue redesign of their website. I'll let you decide what you think on your own, but I find it way too busy, deeply unusable and just plain ugly. As somebody (I think it was on here, but I can't find it now) recently remarked, they went from looking like an early-nineties website to a late-nineties one.

One particularly laughable navigation element is the 'share it' section. This teases with the prospect of citizen journalism and reader engagement, but turns out to be the bucket for stuff that doesn't fit anywhere else. What do obituaries (new user-generated content, every day!), personals and e-cards (speaking of the nineties) have in common? They do have a discussion group, but they managed to select the ugliest, least user-friendly forum software I've seen in years.

What's the worst offense (aside from the subscription walled gardens)? No RSS feeds. C'mon, it's nearly 2006. Nearly every media outlet in the world offers RSS feeds. CanWest is among the largest media conglomerates in Canada. What possible reason could they have for not implementing them?

UNQUOTE acquired by Yahoo! - Tagging becomes mainstream

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2005-12-09 12:03

Not quite mainstream but this is the next step. Coming soon to millions of Yahoo! users, tagging! Great news. Congrats to Yahoo! on acquiring yet another cool small team!

From y.ah.oo!.:


We're proud to announce that has joined the Yahoo! family. Together we'll continue to improve how people discover, remember and share on the Internet, with a big emphasis on the power of community. We're excited to be working with the Yahoo! Search team - they definitely get social systems and their potential to change the web. (We're also excited to be joining our fraternal twin Flickr!)


HabitatJAM rocked - suggestions to keep the conversation going

Submitted by Roland on Sat, 2005-12-03 23:20

Habitat Jam - Only Microsoft IE 6 is welcome

The HabitatJAM, which was a prelude to the World Urban Forum (which will be held in Vancouver in June 2006), rocked! Lots of great discussion, word class experts and the bringing together of people of the world into a fantastic set of discussion forums. Kudos to the organizers for getting the crucial part of this event right; rallying the community and getting them to participate!

The technology used by the HabitatJAM, however, could have been much improved. No RSS (so you couldn't subscribe to forums as they change), content is only visible if you are registered, really long complicated URLs, old school scrolling banners, warnings about only working with IE 6 (even though it seems to work fine in Firefox, etc. Basically, it would have been better if the HabitatJAM tech team had used what I like to call "Web 2.0" for want of a better term even though that term means nothing! Strange to me that Web 2.0 technology wasn't used since IBM is well aware of Web 2.0 technology like RSS and blogging (and I learned about the HabitatJAM from Tapping into the Wisdom of Communities on the blog of IBMer Irving Wladawsky-Berger).

BOTTOM LINE: the fantastic discussions are invisible to search engines which is not good in my opinion. More importantly, the discussion is and will not be not part of the blogosphere and the public web.

But it's not to late to fix it. One simple suggestion: have some discussion leaders (or get volunteers who know the tools AND the discussion areas) to blog, podcast, and videoblog synthesis and analysis about the best of the discussion forums.

Again, as I have said before in connection with helping the Vancouver established media, I'd love to help out for a free coffee and a free lunch :-) (I assume the technology providers (IBM Global Services?) for the HabitatJAM are based in Vancouver since the World Urban Forum will be here) and I can refer you to people who can help you implement a more modern web strategy.

Yahoo is RSS-ifying everything

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2005-11-30 23:51

Go Yahoo go! I blame this RSS-ification on the Canadians from flickr :-) !

From RSS is Now Integrated into Yahoo Mail and Alerts.:


Yahoo gathered a small group of bloggers, press and others at Sauce in San Francisco tonight to announce the launch of two new RSS products. They have integrated an RSS reader directly into Yahoo Mail Beta, and are expanding Alerts to include RSS feeds.

These are significant new products, aimed squarely at new and mainstream RSS users. The service is not live as of the time I am posting this. I've added a screen shot picture from the live demo.


Satellite Radio s*cks - I want Radio over IP

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2005-11-27 19:06

RANT (inspired by the r*diculous ads everywhere from X* and S*rius who are about to enter the Canadian market): I don't need real time radio (for traffic reports which is all traditional radio is good for) from satellites; AM works just fine (e.g. News 1130 in Vancouver) for that. What I want is for satellites to beam me IP traffic over which I will receive podcasts using the awesome technology of RSS. That's it, that's all! Don't need 800 channels of narrow casted cr*p programmed by somebody else. I am the programmer of my audio! It's my playlist not yours, X* or S*irius or Cl*archannel!

RSS is the real convergence medium

Submitted by Roland on Sat, 2005-11-26 16:58

RSS is the real convergence medium; it's already the transport for multi-media on the web. If you want your audio, video or whatever to get circulated and noticed, the best way to to do this is to put a link to it in an RSS feed with enclosures!

People and organizations who don't blog regularly or who have never blogged (like New Media BC and Anasi) are taking up podcasting and videoblogging. As I have written many times, audio and video blogging or podcasting or vlogging or whatever you want to call it will be bigger than text blogging! You don't need a blog when you have an RSS feed with enclosures do you?

Thanks to Dave Winer for inventing the enclosure tag, Adam Curry for solving the last mile problem (automating the transfer to the iPod) and to the bloggers who who popularized RSS. Oh and I guess I should thank Apple for making podcasting mainstream. I don't like Apple's proprietary in origin RSS extensions for iTunes and Apple's lack of community involvement around those extensions (just like I don't like similar actions from M*crosoft) but on the whole I think Apple's done more good than bad here since I doubt late adopters like Anasi or New Media BC would be podcasting and videoblogging without Apple pushing podcasting. (And of course there's nothing wrong with being a late adopter! Go New Media BC go! Go Anasi go!)

Rocketboom has 10 RSS feeds including ones with proprietary extensions for Apple, Sony and Microsoft

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2005-11-25 22:55

A sad commentary on our fragmented community. Oh well, we'll get there. Someday soon this will be invisible to users!

From available rocketboom rss feeds: Rocketboom via Dave Winer.:


Rocketboom available rocketboom rss feeds:

  1. rss 2 with .mov file enclosures:
  2. rss 2 with .mov & linked file enclosures:
  3. rss 2 with .mov file enclosures for iTunes:
  4. rss 2 with .wmv file enclosures:
  5. rss 1:
  6. atom:
  7. bittorrents xml:
  8. sony psp xml:
  9. telephone 3gp xml:
  10. OPML:




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