Daily Archives: December 25, 2003

BBC: “The prospects for the Beagle 2 lander on Mars look increasingly gloomy after a radio sweep of the planet failed to detect any sign of the UK-built probe.”

Dare Obasanjo: “My day job involves reading or writing specs all day. Most of the specs I read either were produced by the W3C or by folks within Microsoft. Every one of them contains contradictions, ambiguities and lack crucial information for determining in edge cases. Some are better than others but they all are never well-defined enough. Every spec has errata.”

Mark Pilgrim's Christmas gift

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.

[dive into mark]

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A deprecated element or attribute is one that has been outdated by newer constructs.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.

A picture named xmasTree.gifFinal challenge for the morning — hooking up a Ceiva digital picture frame. It has to connect to the phone line. The phone cable they gave us with the unit, with standard phone jacks at either end, doesn't fit into the back of the unit. We spent a half-hour trying different angles, it just doesn't fit. Then we tried taking the cord that connects the base unit of an old Princess-type phone to its handset, and that fits. Unfortunately that won't fit into the wall. I'm afraid this one has me licked. (For now.)