Tag Archives: RSS

Back to Google Reader

I’ve chronicled my adventures with Bloglines before, several times, in fact.  I was not happy when their new “beta” was released, but after several revisions, it proved to be a worth successor.  Some time ago, I switched over full time to the beta version and never looked back.  It’s better looking, smoother, with a much more modern feel to it.  However, from time to time, it’s done weird things.  

Most recently, I realized that it simply stopped updating certain feeds.  One, in particular, was TUAW.  I later found that TUAW had moved their feed to Google, and were 301 redirecting requests to their RSS URL, http://tuaw.com/rss.xml.  Bloglines is supposed to follow 301s, but in this case, it just stopped updating the feed.  Other feeds has items that were clearly missing.  All of this came to a head yesterday when I was having regular troubles just getting into Bloglines at all. 

The lack of any sort of Sync API and the lack of tools being developed around Bloglines forced me to make a decision: am I going to stick to Bloglines, which has worked well for me for a long time now, or jump ship? 

Suffice it to say, I’m back on Google Reader.  The things that really annoyed me are mostly fixed: the site is much faster and smoother than before.  My only gripe is that when I click on a feed, the items must be scrolled past in order to be marked read.  I preferred the Bloglines “classic” way, which was clicking on a feed immediately marked all items as “read.”  

Anyway, we’ll see how things go with Google Reader.  You can be certain I’ll report back on the situation.

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To Those That Read firsttube.com via RSS

To those of you that read firsttube.com via RSS, I’m sorry about the recent difficulties. My conversion to WordPress is almost entirely complete, including handling all old links, etc. I have a few legacy things left to fix. In the meantime, I realize that my feed has been screwy for the last few days and I’m sorry about that.

It should be fixed now, so that likely means another 20 dupes or so, I can’t control that. But I can tell you that I think we’re all caught up. Thanks for hanging with me.

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From Bloglines to Google, and Back

I ditched Bloglines the other day for Google Reader. I’m not a huge fan of Bloglines’ new beta interface, most because I find it clunkier than the current interface. Sure, the current one feels a little dated, but it works. Plus, the iPhone interface is nice.

Google has a lot going for it. For one, it seems everyone who uses it raves about it. Also, the iPhone interface is integrated with all the other Google services I use, Picasa Web, Gmail, etc.

This all came about because I wanted to use a desktop RSS reader at home and sync it with my web interface for work and iPhone, but that doesn’t exist unless I use Newsgator. Bloglines and Google both appear to have a sync API, but neither Vienna nor NetNewsWire (nor any other client I could find) actually syncs back to them.

But it appears Vienna is working on one for Google’s reader, and with the Bloglines beta looming, it seemed like a good enough time to make the jump. So I did.

Google’s Reader is awfully attractive, but it’s really keyboard driven. Not only that, but there’s no way to have it mark all items as read as you click a feed. You must begin the tedious task of scrolling through every single item, or hitting “j”, “j”, “j”. And YouTube embeds don’t go away – at least in Opera 9.22 – they just wait at the top of the reading pane, obstructing text, until I click a new feed.

Did I mention that Google Reader is slow slow slow? I can click a link and watch it “Loading…” for several seconds. Opera is a second class citizen in Google-land, which is why all new Gmail features don’t work (v2, label colors, AIM) and Picasa support is flaky, but I think Reader fits in that boat too. It’s painful.

So, after 4 full days, I bailed. I’m back to Bloglines classic. I’d love to tweak the stylesheet a little, but it works and it’s so much faster. I’m pretty pleased with Bloglines, especially now that I’ve had a chance to experience something else.

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Mac Freeware RSS via Yahoo Pipes

Ever wanted to view all of the MacUpdate universal binary apps, but limit it only to freeware? MacUpdate doesn’t offer such a feed, but thanks to the incredible Yahoo Pipes, I was able to make the feed myself. I love that site, it’s really amazing.



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Changes to firsttube.com

I am very excited about how portable Small Axe, the engine that powers firsttube.com, has become. I am going to be upgrading the site in the next few weeks. You won’t see a ton of new stuff, but it will be much more powerful and configurable for me.

One place I have made some changes is in the RSS and Atom feeds. Although I advertise my feeds at feeburner, our source feeds are at firsttube.com/feed and firsttube.com/feed/atom. They have received some stylesheet love and are much more readable by the human eye.

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firsttube.com RSS integration

For those of you subscribed via RSS, you’re going to find a surprise very shortly. I integrated the “firsttube.com link blog” into the feedburner RSS feed for firsttube.com. If you are using a locally hosted copy of my RSS, you will still get only firsttube.com items. So just to review, here are your options:

firsttube.com main RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/firsttube

firsttube.com blog only: http://feeds.feedburner.com/firsttubedotcom

firsttube.com link blog only: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ftlinks

I highly recommend the main feed – I don’t add too many links on a daily basis and I try to be very particular about the ones I do add.

I will be updating the local RSS to redirect to the feedburner feeds within the next few weeks.

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Goodbye, Firefox. Hello Flock.

Well, I’ve made the jump from Firefox to Flock. I’ve complained about Firefox for long enough, and a few days testing has shown that Flock will serve my needs just fine. I have a few observations though, so keep reading for the details.
Continue reading

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A Final Word on the Firefox Fiasco

So the Mozilla develpers – particularly the Firefox ones – appear to have adopted this stance:

We are going to bring the XML/RSS easy-subscribe feature to a new, wider group who isn’t demanding it yet, with no planned course of action for the people who are currently using it and came to rely upon it. Furthermore, we will leave them with no official way to reproduce the behavior which has been present now in our brower for years.

In short, when the Mozilla team mankes a decison, it’s final, and it appears that they are looking to expand their userbase, even at the expense of the most dedicated users now. So if you choose to have the search engine of your website return RSS for external apps but styled XML for a browser, turns out — you can’t.

It’s been days since I posted on this site about this; the goal was to make sure my new post was not overly dramatic. But here goes: I am now going to be suggesting that Windows users I support use IE7.

Why? Because IE7 is a nice upgrade. It supports most of the features that I think are necessary in a browser. Most people will never use AdBlock or any extensions at all, so that who construct is a non-starter. And it’s much more secure. Firefox, however, has notable memory leaks. IE7 uses far less memory when open for a long period. This is a FIREFOX issue, as you can see, Camino doesn’t have the same problems:

task manager
Firefox, open for ~8 hours

activity monitor
Camino, open for ~38 hours

Lastly, the IE team has done an AMAZING job at responding to their users. I’ve watched the IE blog, and I am really impressed with the level of communication and immersion the devs have. They are patient and appear to take an interested in their users.

The Firefox team, while mostly even tempered and polite, has pretty much given me the push off by suggesting that they know better than I do about how RSS is used in the real world, and therefore, decided that my website should work the way that /they/ want. In fact, they are SO sure of themselves, they won’t even provide me — the webmaster — a way to do what I used to do, even with extra steps. No, consistency is key – my wishes are second to a consistent web experience for someone who is new to the web (and likely won’t even know the term “RSS” until about 2009). Furthermore, the leader of the project himself, Asa Dotzler, posted a “slam” against me in the Firefox newsgroup that perfectly illustrates the point – the developers are missing the idea completely.

They are so focused on catering to the end user that they have decided that that the tech-savvy people, people who made Firefox successful in the first place, are no longer important. So unimportant that when they complain that the browser has changed its behaviors and things no longer work as they have for years, their only responses are “we aim for consistency and ease of use for the end user.”

If Firefox devs can *decide* one day that the trends of use are different than current use or even different than intended when a standard was written, and will make decisions that change the ways the browser behaves with very little notice or upgrade path, how can we invest ourselves in them by using the browser full time? Knowing they could pull the rug out from under us?

To address those who say that IE7 does the same thing, I have two responses:

1. IE /adds/ functionality to RSS. It’s less insulting when I can do things manipulate the data I couldn’t do before. It’s not my preference, but it’s at least a decent response.
2. Much more importantly, IE7 *IS* an aggregator. It will save posts, mark them read, allow you to filter them, track multiple feeds, etc. IE7 is a full feature RSS reader, and a full featured RSS reader can remove style. Firefox just wants to style a feed its own way.

So, am I blowing off Firefox completely? I’m not sure. No doubt I am invested in FF, from both a data standpoint (all my cookies, usernames, passwords, etc) , but also from a user standpoint. I’ve been using it for over 5 years, and it’s home to me. But it certainly looks like the day of switching (probably to Opera) is coming soon.

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More on Firefox

It’s not constructive to constantly rant with no action. So rather than just bitch and moan, I decided to give the Firefox devs the benefit of the doubt and move my complaints to their USENET group as requested.

Here’s the thread. I got a fairly nice response from one of the devs, and then two slightly shorter responses, including one that appears to do nothing more than suggest that since the way I style my feed sucks, it’s pointless to allow people to style threads.

One guy has a great point – if Firefox’s default style didn’t suck, would everyone be happier? Sheesh, hadn’t though about that, but you know what?? I admit, maybe I would be less upset.

I still think the browser behavior is bad, but if they’re going to intercept, at least do it with the same style Microsoft does with IE7.

I have to say, I’m fairly pleased with the Firefox guys’ responses. For a group that probably has to put up with plenty of people bitching about their bugs of choice, they have been pretty civil and well thought out in their responses.

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Firefox 2 is RSS Stupid

I’ve used Firefox since at least 2002 when it was “Phoenix 0.2.” The internet trail proves it. I *think* I used Phoenix 0.1. Either way, I’ve been on the Firefox bandwagon since the very beginning – actually before it – since I used Mozilla on Linux even earlier when it was in the 0.9x days. So it really burns me to say that I’m VERY disappointed in the Firefox devs. They have intentionally deprecated an XML convention called “xml-stylesheet” by ignoring it alltogether and overriding what developers put in their code. I believe that RSS/XML is BROKEN in Firefox 2, no matter what anyone says.

This is the bug, check it out and please vote for it.

Update: 17 minutes after I added my comment, the bug was re-opened. Thanks, Jake Olefsky!

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