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Posts Tagged ‘RSS’

Undocumented RSS Feed at Eventful

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

I was messing around with local event feeds today and ended up at eventful.com. While there, I discovered something interesting.

The default feed for events in a specific city is an atom feed and it includes the event title and a short description. BUT! If you replace ‘atom’ in the URL with ‘rss’ you get much, much more content. I didn’t look very hard but this didn’t seem to be a documented feed. An RSS easter egg, so to speak.

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Best. Hack. Ever. (making Google and Yahoo play nice)

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

That’s perhaps over-stating things a bit, but it’s certainly one of the most useful web hacks I’ve used – and use regularly.

The Problem:
Google search feeds cannot be pulled into Yahoo! Pipes.

Pipes’ slogan “Re-Wire the Web” apparently doesn’t apply to Google. I don’t know if this is a restriction of Yahoo or Google or both, but it’s very annoying if you’re trying to do some heavy-duty monitoring via Google search and want to be able to manipulate the feed before it reaches Google Reader… for example.

The Solution:
Google Feedburner. If you run the Google News/Blog Search feeds through Feedburner and then pull the Feedburner urls into Y!Pipes, all is well. You can manipulate the Google data anyway you like before consuming it.

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PostRank Is Puzzling To Me

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

wordle-aiderss Today, AideRSS launched a FireFox extension that adds their PostRank technology to Google Reader. The geek in me says “cool” – using a browser extension to extend a 3rd-party application with more data. But I’m not likely to use it.

No offense to the fine folks at AideRSS, but I’ve never really understood why I would use their technology – so I haven’t. Here’s why:

  1. I struggle enough already with the nagging feeling that I might be missing the little nuggets of the conversation in the blog-o-hoods that I hang out in. For example, it’s very difficult for me to unsubscribe from any feed because even though the last 20 posts have been so-so, the next might be gold. Why on earth would I want to intentionally not read posts from feeds that I’ve already determined have value to me?
  2. If a feed has only 1 great post for every 10/20/30 good posts, that tells me something about the author(s) and informs my ongoing evaluation of the blog. If I only ever see the great posts, I get a misrepresented view of the author. If the blog-o-sphere were only about content, then a filtering service might be useful to me – but I want to know and understand the people I read and that means taking the good with the great.

If you disagree with me, or your blog-reading habits are just different than mine, please let me know in the comments.

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Feed Reading – What’s Your Number?

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Last night Darren Rowse, author of ProBlogger.net, asked a question on Twitter. He wanted to know how many feeds his ‘followers’ were subscribed to. Darren has posted about the question and Twitter’s usefulness for such things.

For an answer it was a relatively simple thing to hop over to the manage subscriptions page in Google Reader and see the number: 390. Three-hundred and ninety?! Really? After giving Darren his answer, I set about some feed whacking.

On the first pass (which took longer than it should have – GReader has a poor feed mgmt UI, imo) I trimmed almost 100 old feeds. These were mostly comment feeds from posts I wanted to follow several months ago or blogs that I was interested in for a specific reason at a certain time – but are no longer of interest.

So I am left about 300 feeds – that’s still too many. There are many that have simply withered on the vine. A quick look at the Subscriptions Trends page shows two that have NEVER been updated (ZAP!) and almost forty that haven’t been updated since mid-2007 or earlier and flagged by Google Reader as inactive. I’m inclined to leave these as they are since they clearly do not add to the influx of new posts every day – and there may be useful content in those posts that I’ll want access to someday.

All of which, I think, points to the irrelevance of Darren’s original question (no offense, Darren – I didn’t realize it either until I dug a little). I could be subscribed to 2000 RSS feeds, but if only a handful are active, the number is meaningless. What is significant, however, is how many posts flow through my daily ‘river of news’. The answer to that requires just the tiniest bit of math. Google reader reports that I have ‘read’ 9107 items in the past 30 days. That averages out to just a hair over 300 items per day. Wow.

The items/day average also requires some qualification since most posts that come through my reader never get more than the few nanoseconds it takes me to read the headline and move on.

The point of all this? A follow-up question to Darren’s:

How many posts arrive in your reader on an average day?

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What is Web 2.0?

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Gee, have we seen that question before? As tired as many of us are of talking about it, one cannot talk about web strategy in 2007 without making some attempt at defining the concept of Web 2.0. Andi Gutmans (via Frank Gruber) make a good attempt in a video recently, but still relies too heavily on industry acronyms and buzzwords like RIA, SOA, AJAX, etc. A product manager or marketing exec should not need to understand these terms in order to be comfortable talking about Web2.0. But Andi’s video is still worth watching because the stuff in between the buzzwords is great.

When I need to explain three of the key Web2.0 concepts to folks, I often turn to the ‘In Plain English’ videos produced by Common Craft. Their videos on RSS, wikis, and social networking are extremely accessible for people with very little web technical knowledge. The folks at Common Craft have a real talent for explaining these concepts quickly and in, well, plain English. Unfortunately, they don’t help us define Web2.0 itself.

Of course, there are thousands of definitions of Web 2.0 littered throughout the web – including Wikipedia’s lengthy article. Many of them however are not accessible to people who don’t already ‘get’ the web. So let me take a swing at it.

Web2.0 is an evolution of web technology that allows the web to become a conversation. If Web1.0 represented the information revolution, Web2.0 represents collaboration revolution. It allows, and encourages, the audience to become the content.

So… that’s my definition. Over-simplified? Perhaps, but it passes my test of accessibility to folks who may be having trouble just catching up to Web1.0.

What is your definition of Web2.0?

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“Geekspeak still baffles web users”

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006

The BBC has a piece on the disconnect between technology and the language that revolves around it (blogs, RSS, IM, PVR, etc.). It reminded of the M & N users I talked about in an earlier post. It is so important for those in the tech industry to choose their words carefully, especially when the target client/user is non-tech – like many of my employer’s potential customers are.

link: Geekspeak still baffles web users (via The Vitamin News Blog)

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Online/Offline RSS Aggregator?

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

I would love to find a RSS reader that is maintained on an external server that is available through both web and windows interfaces for a true Online/Offline RSS experience. Let me explain.

One of the things I love about the Exchange server that powers my work email is that I can access everything maintained by Outlook in two places. The most obvious (and most-used) is through the actual Outlook application that runs as a windows application on my laptop – once the mail is downloaded to my laptop, it’s available whether or not I’m still connected. This will not be news to anyone reading this – it’s standard operating procedure for email. The beauty of the Exchange server is that I can also access everything through a web interface when my laptop isn’t available. Because the data is maintained on the server, these two methods allow me to be able to access my Outlook data wherever an internet connection is available.

What the heck does this have to do with RSS? I recently switched RSS readers from Sharpreader to Omea. I love Omea, though I suspect I’m under-using it. What I would love is if my RSS subscriptions – including read/unread status – were maintained on web server so that I could switch seamlessly from the Omea windows app to the web app and not have to re-read anything.

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