I had no idea it was only 2 years old! Wow! Congrats, Userland.
Dave's Social Experiment
“Dave” has been running a social experiment to evangelize the uses of OPML and to lead aggregator developers to standardization. As a side effect, the OPML contributors have been asking for more data about their ad-hoc social groups. I'm one of those clammoring for more.
I made an observation that I want to share with everyone. Of those on my list of subscriptions, the people that I read/comment/converse with most often are those that have the some of the lowest readership. Dann Sheridan is a great example. Of those that have contributed to the site, six subscribe to his feed, self included.
Maybe subscription rank is not an indication of importance.
Just “thinking out loud”…
update: Found out that Rogers Cadenhead subscribes, but prefixes the domain with 'www'. Thanks, Rogers! Also, some have not shared who subscribes to what sites, so there are others not counted here. To all, again, thank you.
I'd like to thank six very nice people for reading my RSS feed. Dann's was one of my first; Sean's old “dot.communist” I was attracted to by the title. I read both still for the same reason: recurring and compelling content.
is the first of five
articles in a series that will be published intermittently this month.
This article summarizes what I believe were the most important ideas of
2003 in the world of blogs and blogging. The other articles in the
series will propose the most
important ideas of the year in:
BLOGS & BLOGGING — THE TEN MOST IMPORTANT IDEAS OF 2003
What do you think? Have I missed some important ideas?
* Yes, I know some of these
Hello and thank you to all of my readers, large and small. 2003 was the year that I got on the blogging bandwaggon–what a wild ride it's been.
At first I struggeled with blogging. While written in the English language (for me anyway), blogging is a different medium for communication. That means different rules and different things to say. It means that you make mistakes and say you're sorry and it also means cheering when others applaud your words. With that said, thanks to all in the blogsphere for linking to me at one time or another. That form of praise, however faint, kept me going. No one likes to shout in a vacuum with no hope of being heard. To that end, I'm resolving to double my subscription list with people I've never heard of that say things I don't understand. Listening to other voices will make think.
I would like to thank “Dave Winer”, first and foremost. His continuing efforts to support simple, easy, user-friendly methods of personal public communication is inspiring. Dave, your unabashed love for users is a model we can all aspire to follow.
Tammy Kirks, my wife, gets the next slot on the list. Tammy's always been pro-blogging, even though she didn't understand it at first. She was completely behind my “mini-pilgrimage” to Boston for BloggerCon–a life changing event for me.
Tim Smith is next. Tim works tirelessly on a variety of technology projects outside of his normal “9-5″ job so that others can enjoy something they never though possible. Tim made the first version of HTV Magazine, a website run by broadcast journalist students in Springfield, MO. “HTV” has become a model in student journalism, winning awards for the past 9 years straight.
Finally, the blogosphere, wrapped into one, gets my gratitude. If you read or have read the site or RSS feed, posted a comment or linked to an item of mine, you have made my life richer. Thank you.
Tomorrow? A summary of 2004 goals
update: Mark's RSS feed no longer has the notice and still appears to be working.
I received this “gift” from Mark Pilgrim today:
The best things in life are not things. (11 words)
Note: The “dive into mark” feed you are currently subscribed to is deprecated. If your aggregator supports it, you should upgrade to my Atom feed, which includes both summaries and full content.
This is the first experience I've seen of what I'll call “feed discrimination”. This is similar to the browser wars of the late 90s. During that time, you could frequently see phrases at the bottom of a webpage “insulting” your choice of browser. Cute phrases like “Site best viewed using Internet Explorer” or worse would let you know that it's time to “upgrade”.
There are good and bad reasons to change feed formats. As a user, I don't care to debate them while receiving content. It's no extra effort for Mark to offer feeds in multiple formats, is it?
Mark, as a user, I would have responded better to something like this:
Note: The “dive into mark” feed you are currently subscribed contains basic information only. If your aggregator supports it, you should upgrade to my Atom feed, which includes both summaries and full content. Here's a list of aggregators that currently support Atom feeds. Here's a link showing you the differences and why it's important. Finally, go to this page and post a note letting your favorite aggregator's producer know that you want Atom support.
Mark, it's all in how you say it.
With all of the above said, I'm excited about live Atom feeds. I want to see what they are like and see if they are better or enable a better user experience. But, at version 0.3, is it really time to scare a user with a word like “deprecated”. I found this definition:
A deprecated element or attribute is one that has been outdated by newer constructs. Deprecated elements are defined in the reference manual in appropriate locations, but are clearly marked as deprecated. Deprecated elements may become obsolete in future versions of HTML.
Mark, if you read this, please understand I admire your work and the effort it takes daily to pioneer in a field that changes so often. I want success for the best of any breed of product. Just don't make users losers in the game.
Ross posts this note about RSS Winterfest. Dave is leading off-good news. Notice the name: RSS Winterfest, not Internet Content Syndication Winterfest. Includes Atom, too.
RSS Winterfest 2004. RSS Winterfest is a free two-day Webcast augmented by Socialtext Eventspace on, you guessed it, Internet Syndication and standards like RSS and Atom. We're also presenting alongside some good folks…. [Ross Mayfield's Weblog]
So I hacked Radio to accept an Atom 0.3 feed. Or did I? Well, I subscribed to the feed using Radio's standard mechanism, it's internal webpage. It reported an error with channel title, but a page refresh showed it in my list of subscriptions.
To be sure, I opened aggregatorData.root and deleted Mark Pilgrim's conventional feed. Right above it in the table was the atom-based URL. I'll leave it there and see how Radio parses it.
By the way, his Atom feed validates at Userland's RSS validator. [fingers crossed--maybe the aggregator won't know the difference.]
update: It knew the difference. So, I googled for some help and found a page about Radio's driver architecture that had some good information. Great, no problem. I followed the instructions there and was rewarded with disappointment: no compile script. No problem–more googling found this post that Dave wrote about his creation of a format reader for an Echo feed. Fine, Dave, but why didn't you follow your own instructions? Your feed format compiler is in the system space reserved for Userland. The original aggregator driver architecture post says it's in the user space. What gives?
Also, Mark tried it and it worked, but the format changed. I don't have the experience to catch up. Anyone else want a go?
This just points out how “pointless” the whole feed format this is. It's like Word vs. Word Perfect. Who cares?
This means that we need a subscription signalling infrastructure for the three fundamental methods of communication:
- One to one.
- One to many.
- Many to one.
Content delivery uses:
One to one is email. One to many is RSS. Many to one BitTorrent.
So now we need a global infrastructure like we have for DNS, right? Signaling in a standard format what's out there for me, where it is, and how to get it. My aggregator knows how to get it because the infrastructure tells it where it is.
So why the expletive? Well, we've got all of the delivery methods in place, so let's stop trying to reinvent them and instead reinvent the way we dicover our own content. Home servers are coming closer to a reality, so we can store the content we have for others locally. We can backup content for us locally or leave it on the place where it came from, getting it when we want to, not when we have to.
(ever been so excited about an idea that you can't type fast enough?)
TiVo does this to some extent.
Think TiVo meets email meets BitTorrent meets iTunes Music Store meets personal publishing. That's the client.
Think DNS as the infrastructure. I need “yahoo.com”, where is it? My local DNS server sends me to the root and that sends me to Yahoo!'s DNS server. It returns the IP for the web/ftp/email/IM server. DNS is our content infrastructure now, we're just not using it for that now.
Enter your DNS servers in a Network dialog box to make your Internet access make sense. No more IPs for you! Just those simple to remember names. So now, open your aggregator and enter the content directory servers. Oops! Can't do that!
Apple/next used to do this with NetInfo, but for local resources. Now they are slowly redoing it with Rendesvouz.
Wow… brain empty for now. Man, this is exciting…