Friday, August 15, 2008

I just made a change on the blog, so my main RSS feed links now point to FeedBurner. You should not need to do anything to use the new feed - it's automagical. As a result of this change, some people might see duplicates of past entries. It's a one-time change (I hope), so thanks for putting up with it.

If you happen to subscribe to the feed for any single posting category here, that feed URL is unchanged.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
AudioBlogging | Random Stuff | RSS Stuff
Friday, August 15, 2008 8:49:24 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I discovered (via iPhone Atlas) a new web app that lets you specify any well-formed RSS feed, which it converts to an iPhone-formatted and friendly list of headlines - sliding animations and all. My site's feed can be seen by clicking here.


You can just click on over and add your feed. It takes seconds. This geeral idea could translate into some pretty cool blog themes if someone wanted to tackle it.


Add/Read: Comments [0]
Apple | Blogging | Mobile | RSS Stuff
Tuesday, March 25, 2008 9:57:45 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Something appears to have changed today with Google reader. I was looking at the screen and something felt, well, different. But I couldn't place it. Then I realized - the "Labs" label seems to be gone. Wow, that was quiet. And there I thought it has already moved up and out.

    image 

And it looks like the Google Reader blog explains it. Well, kind of explains it. No more "Labs." Nice job.

http://googlereader.blogspot.com/2007/09/breaking-up-isnt-hard-to-do.html

I use Google reader almost exclusively now. To be honest, it took more than a year to grow on me, and only when I got to a point where I wanted to be able to access it from anywhere did it really get interesting.



Add/Read: Comments [6]
RSS Stuff | Tech
Tuesday, September 18, 2007 12:18:22 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Wednesday, September 20, 2006

There's no point in droning on and on about this one - Scott Hanselman is 100% correct when he proclaims:

"I say this: IE7 and Office 2007 not supporting Basic or Digest Authentication out of the box for accessing secure feeds will negatively affect adoption of RSS more than any other failing of the spec since its inception. It will slow adoption down at every level; it will make it harder for Financial Institutions to justify it and it will flummox internal Enterprises who don't have completely NTLM/AD infrastructure."

He discusses this in the context of using RSS to securely retrieve feeds for banking data, for example. Sure, there are many points to ponder regarding the retrieval and storage of likely sensitive information, but in the end this is something that will be needed, and would be useful now for many uses.

Do you think this functionality is important? Scott does and so do I. Read his post, Accessing Private and Authenticated Feeds - Why it's important, and say something - in the comments here on this blog, on Scott's blog, on the IE Blog, on your blog.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Blogging | RSS Stuff | Tech
Wednesday, September 20, 2006 3:44:51 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Sunday, February 05, 2006

Co-comment-logoAll the virtual world's a-buzz with commentary and conversation (ironically, since a lot of the commentary is out of the reach of the service for now) about coComment, a coolio and not-yet-fully-released "Web-2.0" online service that let's you track comments make on blogs everywhere. Or at least it will at some point - only a few blogging platforms are supported right now (and the software this weblog runs on, dasBlog, is unfortunately not one of them), so it's very much hit and miss as to whether or not you can use it, but the promise of an interesting future is certainly there.

I'm using coComment now, and it's pretty cool. You can sign up at the site (look for the "Get Notified" section on the home page), and they're trying to get new invitations sent out as soon as they can.The coComment web site is well designed and the core feature/functionality is a sharp idea. I will say that it's a bit clunky in terms of how the actual user commenting experience works. You have to think about it too much, which is not so good... It puts an extra graphical "button" with your name onto the page that you have to click first, before you click the actual comment submission button. The new button falls to the right of the submit button, so it's a lot like being forced to read right to left and it just doesn't look very clickable - It's just counterintuitive.

You have to click the little blue icon with your name on it first

Brian Benzinger wrote a little GreaseMonkey script that automates the sign-in for FireFox users - It's very nice and you can get it on this page. Otherwise you have to use a "bookmarklet link" to activate the service on any given comment page - another layer of abstraction that would be nice to avoid somehow.

But hey, it is pre-v1.0, so... Anyhow, it would be especially nice if the authors and some creative blog software creators made it even more usable.

It does solve a few problems, mainly being able to find your conversations in the blogosph -- uh, on blogs. Two other things it does is, 1) it allows you to embed a little bit of code in your blog template to display comments that you've made on other blogs, and 2) it allows you to subscribe to a RSS or ATOM feed with all your tracked comments in one place. Adoption will depend on how many blog software authors get into the mix and how many blogs the coComment people decide to try to tackle themselves, I suppose.

Note that, while it's a great start, the real test will be whether everyone will sign up - since that appears to be a requirement in order to actually track everything that might matter. Is there not a better way to do this? Does the RSS comment capability/spec not go far enough?

From their site:

Coming soon..

For advanced bloggers who would like to more fully integrate coComment features in their own blog, coComment will offer:

The ability to add elements of the coComment service to blogs based on non-standard blogging platforms in order to ease the usage of coComment for commenters (automated capture).

The ability to customize the appearance (eg colors, fonts, etc.) of coComment elements, in order to better suit your tastes and needs.



Add/Read: Comments [1]
Blogging | RSS Stuff | Tech
Sunday, February 05, 2006 1:21:00 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Sunday, November 20, 2005

Microsoft's CTO, Ray Ozzie, posted earlier today about his views on SSE, of the Simple Sharing Extensions to RSS and OPML that Microsoft recently published as an open draft specification (licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike model). Ozzie knows a lot about sharing information - He created Lotus Notes and was the founder of Groove, a terrific and innovative collaboration platform that Microsoft acquired not that long ago.

He describes the problem with sharing and combining loosely-coupled information.

"As an industry, we have simply not designed our calendaring and directory software and services for this 'mesh' model. The websites, services and servers we build seem to all want to be the 'owner' and 'publisher'; it's really inconsistent with the model that made email so successful, and the loosely-coupled nature of the web."

So he's talking about how to extend RSS and OPML to allow synchronization.

"There are many great item synchronization mechanisms out there (and at Microsoft), but we decided we’d never get short term network effects among products if we selected something complicated – even if it were powerful. What we really longed for was 'the RSS of synchronization' ... something simple that would catch on very quickly."

Note that this is not the same stuff that's gluing RSS into the core of Vista and whatnot - rather it's a simple way to mesh, communicate and synchronize information from multiple sources in XML. It's nifty, simple and smart. I think I've got my mind wrapped around it now. Very cool. Geeks, read on:



Add/Read: Comments [0]
RSS Stuff | Tech
Sunday, November 20, 2005 9:05:40 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Thursday, October 06, 2005

RSS-UsersYahoo! and Ipsos Insight just published a study that shows there are more than six times as many unaware RSS users as there are people who know they're using it. These are some numbers that are worth thinking about.

In the report, "RSS - Crossing into the Mainstream," here's what we find out:

  • 12% of users are aware of RSS.
  • 4% of users have knowingly used RSS.
  • There's some interesting information hidden in the demographics of different RSS users (aware, unaware, podcast consumers, etc.).
  • One figure that stands WAY out: Of "unaware" RSS users, 72% get their RSS through My Yahoo! and 41% through My MSN.
  • "Aware" RSS users subscribe to an average of 6.6 feeds each. Ummmm, more proof that I'm an addict I guess???
  • and lots more...

It's clear that when you have an app that by its very nature makes it easy to consume RSS content, it no longer matters to the end user that RSS is the delivery vehicle. Many of the people benefiting from RSS don't even know what RSS is. All that matters to those kinds of people is the content. And believe it or not, we're not all uber-geeks.

So, it's a very good thing(TM) that IE7, Safari, Firefox and even the new versions of the operating systems we all use will support RSS natively (or already do). And with more browsers right around the corner, the line between app and content is getting blurrier all the time.

Read the full 12-page report here, or the one-page brief synopsis here (both links are PDF docs).



Add/Read: Comments [0]
RSS Stuff | Tech
Thursday, October 06, 2005 7:51:24 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Saturday, September 17, 2005

Got SharePoint? Over at The Dean's Office, Dustin Miller lists a long - and exciting in a geeky way - list of what's coming up in the next version of SharePoint - which is due for release in late 2006 as part of the next version of the Office system.

HUGE improvements coming, and v2 to v3 will be an upgrade, not a migration. Phew! Check out the list.

A good Channel 9 video showing/discussing SharePoint v.next is here.

  • RSS on all SharePoint lists - and access to the feeds respect the SharePoint security model
  • RSS feeds are per-list and per-site (aggregated)
  • Support is for RSS 2.0
  • Out of the box blogs AND wikis! (and you get RSS feeds for those, too)
  • Lots of search improvements and enhancements
  • Outlook 12 will have an aggregator, IE7 also has one
  • WSS v.next runs on ASP.NET 2.0, so ASP.NET v2 web parts are SharePoint web parts
  • Version history in all SharePoint lists - with line-by-line diffs! Nice!
  • Take documents off-line and bring them back
  • Workflow built in - see a Channel 9 video about that here
  • Document management significantly built out
  • Email enabled discussion boards - send email to a SharePoint alias and it shows up in the discussion list! Nice - great internal option to things like Yahoo groups. You can also sync emails, tasks and other stuff to a SharePoint site from the Outlook UI.

It's going to be a big year for Microsoft's Office and Office Servers. Huge, really.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
RSS Stuff | SharePoint | Tech
Saturday, September 17, 2005 6:45:09 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Wednesday, September 07, 2005

MSN Search has opened up the ability to search for/in RSS using the "feed:" operator. Cool stuff.

That probably explains the previous MSNBot behavior. Ah, it does, according to the MSN Search Blog over at MSDN.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
RSS Stuff | Tech
Wednesday, September 07, 2005 11:16:48 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Tuesday, July 12, 2005

My favorite RSS aggregator, FeedDemon, has just had an update pushed out in beta form. Existing registered users of FeedDemon can run the beta (warts and all) now.

Surfer Newspaper Style - click to enlargeAnd there's a whole slew of add/changes/fixes in this beta release from v1.5, all of which can be read on the release notes page.

The announcement from Nick is here. A download link is on that page.

New in this beta release is greatly enhanced synchronization with NewsGator. In a matter of seconds I got my NewsGator account hooked up to FeedDemon and was on my way.

Sync_all_yayAlso, you can update all your feeds - across your subscription folders -at once. Nice!

And it looks great, too. "Surfer" is definitely my new newspaper style. I can group and sort inside the newspaper, and can choose whether I want to view full, short or no descriptions. Very slick.

Great job Nick!



Add/Read: Comments [0]
RSS Stuff | Tech
Tuesday, July 12, 2005 6:44:11 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Saturday, June 25, 2005

What is WeatherBug? As a piece of software, it puts the weather on your desktop. It’s live, updating every two seconds. NOAA doesn’t do this – they update every 15 minutes at best. As a company and a bunch of people, here is how they describe themselves:

“WeatherBug is the ultimate geek-ified company. We are about creating cool and fun technology, teaching children, and saving lives.”

RSS weather feeds accessible by ZIP code will be available in July – that will be cool. They will also be shipping WeatherBug for the Mac.

Controversy – because what would a good conference be without it? Lots of discussion here at Gnomedex about the presentation in which this company is being highlighted. About how WeatherBug used to have spy/adware, but that was a long time ago, and now it doesn’t – Seriously. It doesn’t. Also, the fact that I am writing about their product at all (actually I am mostly interested in the 2–second differentiator) is exactly what some people are complaining about here, because Steve Rubel (according to some of the crowd) used this presentation as a vehicle to do PR for one of his clients. So what. Decent example of PR, short time to fill, interesting info.

Whatever. Heh. I still like the every-two-second data update thing. That’s sweet.



Add/Read: Comments [3]
GnomeDex | RSS Stuff | Tech
Saturday, June 25, 2005 2:05:43 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Microsoft’s announcement yesterday about support for RSS built into Longhorn has been followed up with the posting of the actual specification.

Overview

The Simple List Extensions are designed as extensions to existing feed formats to make exposing ordered lists of items easier and more accessible to users.

The term “list,” as used in this document describes an ordered collection of items with similar properties. For example, a photo album may be described as a “list of photos.”

And it’s licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, which is cool.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
GnomeDex | RSS Stuff | Tech
Saturday, June 25, 2005 11:06:34 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Friday, June 10, 2005

An email list I am subscribed to had a quick thread that pointed to a conversation about FeedDemon and the fact that a user didn't want to use IE as the default embedded browser inside of FeedDemon. That's fine, but the problem is that someone suggested he actually abandon his favorite RSS reader (meaning FeedDemon) and try another one.

The recommendation was (in my opinion) premature. Why? Because FeedDemon can in fact use the Mozilla engine as it's embedded web browser, and you can find out how here.

And by the way - if there's something you wish was in FeedDemon for the future, Nick listens. Go to the FeedDemon forums and just ask.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
RSS Stuff | Tech
Friday, June 10, 2005 1:19:15 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Tuesday, May 17, 2005

There are plenty of opinions about placing ads in RSS and ATOM feeds, but regardless of the opinions, AdSense users can now apply to get AdSense for Feeds, which will allow them to place small ads in their RSS feeds.

I'll likely set it up to see how it works (I am kinda curious), and time will tell whether or not I'll want to keep it. Probably keep. We'll see.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Blogging | RSS Stuff | Tech
Tuesday, May 17, 2005 7:23:09 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Audible.com - an great audio book/publication service that I have been using for about a year - has published a whole set of RSS feeds so you can subscribe to find out easily what new content is published, including both free and pay-for selections:

This Week's Best Sellers (Top 50)   RSS
This Week's New Audiobooks and Programs   RSS
New Free Audio Programs   RSS
Under $10 Audio Programs   RSS
New York Times Best Sellers   RSS
BusinessWeek Best Sellers   RSS
Publishers Weekly Best Sellers   RSS
Best Sellers in Arts & Entertainment   RSS
Best Sellers in AudibleOriginals   RSS
Best Sellers in Biographies and Memoirs   RSS
Best Sellers in Business   RSS
Best Sellers in Classics   RSS
Best Sellers in Comedy   RSS
Best Sellers in Drama and Poetry   RSS
Best Sellers in Fiction   RSS
Best Sellers in Foreign Language   RSS
Best Sellers in Great Talkers   RSS
Best Sellers in History   RSS
Best Sellers in Information Age   RSS
Best Sellers in Kids   RSS
Best Sellers in Mystery   RSS
Best Sellers in Non-fiction   RSS
Best Sellers in Science   RSS
Best Sellers in Science Fiction and Fantasy   RSS
Best Sellers in Self Development   RSS
Best Sellers in Speeches and Lectures   RSS
Best Sellers in Spirituality   RSS
Best Sellers in Sports   RSS
Best Sellers in Travel and Adventure   RSS

And perhaps the coolest thing on the page? I scrolled down and noticed the question "Where can I find more information about RSS?" and the first resource listed is the RSS Quickstart Guide from Lockergnome.com - nice.



Add/Read: Comments [2]
Random Stuff | RSS Stuff | Tech
Tuesday, April 26, 2005 8:23:38 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Sunday, February 20, 2005

Jan Tielens posted the other day about their newly released "U2U RSS Feeds for SharePoint 2003," which is another tool for creating RSS feeds from SharePoint lists, but with some improvements:

  • Aggregation of items stored in multiple lists on multiple sites
    You can create an RSS feed that contains information coming from more than one lists (or document libraries), that are potentially on different sites.
  • Customizable layout of RSS items
    For each list that you aggregate in an RSS Feed you can specify how the items in the RSS feed should look like. You can do that by using some sort of formulas, referring to fields coming from the SharePoint lists.
  • Non-intrusive installation
    The installation of the RSS Feeds tool doesn’t change a thing about your SharePoint installation, the IT-Pro guys will be happy! The tool is completely separated from the SharePoint sites and doesn’t require you to add metadata or web parts to SharePoint.
  • SharePoint Authorization
    Are you afraid of exposing sensitive data? Well you don’t have to, our tool uses the SharePoint security model, so if a user doesn’t have access to the SharePoint list he or she can’t retrieve information from the RSS feed. Anonymous access to RSS feeds is also supported (if your SharePoint site is available for anonymous users of course).
  • GUI Administration
    The administration of the tool (creating feeds, item layouts, …) is completely done by using a nice graphical user interface.

Software: http://www.u2u.net/software.aspx

Quick video tutorial: http://www.u2u.be/downloads/tools/U2URSSFeeds.wmv



Add/Read: Comments [1]
RSS Stuff | SharePoint | Tech
Sunday, February 20, 2005 12:30:13 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Where would I be without FeedDemon? Between it and Outlook, most of my "content" is organized, filed and (quite intentionally) segregated into workable chunks-o-stuff.

And now FeedDemon version 1.5 is out! From the web site:

This new version offers a ton of new features, but here are the highlights:

  • Powerful podcasting tools to automatically download audio files and copy them to your iPod or other media player (that's right - FeedDemon supports media players other than the iPod!)
  • Integration with Bloglines and NewsGator Online Services
  • Flickr and del.icio.us search channels
  • Per-channel newspaper styles
  • Improved popup-blocking under XP SP2
  • Support for favicons throughout the user interface
  • Numerous performance improvements

See the announcement on Nick Bradbury's weblog - He's the quite excellent author of FeedDemon.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
RSS Stuff | Tech
Wednesday, February 09, 2005 7:54:57 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I was wide awake at about 4am today, looking around for a fast way to get live syndicated content (need it to always be up-to-date) from a weblog’s RSS feed to the home page of a web site I am maintaining for non-profit organization. Cops on Top has climbers in Africa this week for a memorial mountain climbing expedition to Kilimanjaro, and they are sending electronic communications from the field via email and phone calls. The messages can show up on the weblog in real time, without anyone else’s intervention. So, I wanted to be able to show the latest weblog posts on the org’s home page.

I did a quick Google for what I needed, and came up with a gem of a tool: Feed2JS.

What Feed2JS does is to provide an interface where you can specify the URI to a RSS feed, click a few boxes and buttons on a web page to specify your options, and generate a Javascript output that you can stick straight into your web page, ready to go and immediately syndicating content from the specified feed. In addition, there’s a stylesheet generator on the site that lets you customize the look and feel of the feed as it’s displayed on your web page.

You can even download the original PHP scripts (which are provided under an open source license) and run Feed2JS on your own server, which could speed up the feed-to-web proxy function if you have scalability concerns due to very large volume, or if you want to modify the RSS cache to update more frequently than every 60 minutes. That is the default cache time for feeds being gathered and serviced by the Feed2JS system. At any rate, download your own copy and run it yourself, and you get complete control.

The results are quite good. Sure, the end user has to have jscript/Javascript enabled on the client, but that works for this purpose, so I am happy. Recommended.

Another slightly less-elegant (but quite useful) method using server-side ASP is called RSS in ASP. It works, as well.



Add/Read: Comments [1]
RSS Stuff | Tech
Tuesday, January 11, 2005 6:25:58 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Saturday, November 06, 2004

Robert Scoble opened the session on Overload - or as he coined it in the opening conversation, "Information Pressure." He deals with 950+ RSS feeds that he has subscribed to, and so he's a good person to have guide the discussion on this topic.

What a great session.

There are already 4.5 million blogs out there. Overload is inevitable for many. Everyone has limits. They're different for each of us.

For my part, I have to manage my RSS feeds regularly. I am subscribed to more than 500 in total. I move them, reclassify them, and occasionally (but rarely) even unsubscribe to ones that have not met my needs or expectations, and I also have a section in my RSS reader for those feeds I want to keep track of, but which I don't put in my higher-priority list. They are my general dumping ground categories, if you will - good enough to watch now and then when I have time, but not part of my daily chores.

But then there are my high-priority feeds, and there are a couple hundred of those. I deal with my primary RSS feeds daily - usually several times a day. I get critical information I need for my work delivered to me in RSS throughout the day. It's reliable, fast and goes with me. It just works. It's lightweight. I can use it the way I want.

But that is exactly what makes it easy to get overloaded. Make something that really, really works, and people like me with use the hell out of it, sometimes to the point of making it less usable.

Scoble asks an excellent question - What about people who read only say 20 feeds? Why not more? One good answer: "If I save 20 minutes not reading feeds, that's 20 minutes I can spend looking at a sunset." Or maybe a sunrise. How true. ;-)

Which makes me think - maybe we could convince Nick Bradbury (who is the author of FeedDemon) to consider providing a way to see what feeds I have not read in a given period of time, those that have not posted in x days or weeks, those that are no longer there, and report that info to me and then let me act on it. Also let me report on the opposite - what feeds are really really active? I'd want to be able to move any of them, mark them, delete them, or a combination of the above. Kind of a little clean-up wizard. Hmmmm... Is this what attention.xml does?

Robert makes what seems like it should be an obvious suggestion, but is a good one to hear: Write better headlines. Tell me what it's about. A head line of "GAHHHH!" does nothing for me when what the article is about is something like "I had a really frustrating day at work today." Or something like that.

Or maybe attention.xml should do this, as one person suggested: "Here's the list of people I don't pay attention to anymore."

A tangent topic of "what do you use your blog for" came up (and for some reason Robert said my name when he showed the crowd his feed aggregator - thanks for the plug, heh). Interesting topic. Blogs are used for all sorts of things: Personal memory catalogs, culture development and coming together of people with similar interests, espousing opinion, publishing fact, conversing and replacing letter writing, you name it.

And thanks to Robert for asking for people at the conference to stand at the mic who had not spoken yet. Nice job guiding and maintaining the focus of the conversation without controlling the session too much. I like it when I hear Robert say, "That's for all of you to decide, right?" and "What else would you like to talk about?" (photo by Doc Searls)

Brainstorming ideas on overload:

  • Social networking worked into bloglines - show me recommendations based on who I read, ability to browse the network of content.
  • Eric Rice says - with these ideas, are we risking going away from that peer-to-peer distributed model, away from the model we were trying to reject?
  • What goes on between the time when an idea has an idea and when I read it - content producer can filter, linkers can filter when they describe and link, governments in same places might filter, services can filter, and the end user can filter content. How do we find information unfiltered without overload? Can it be done?
  • A certain Zen acceptance that there might be something you won't see - don't give in to the pressure to give in to the anal-retentive obsession to read and see everything.
  • Thought that the major overlaid is not the number of blogs, but the comments, which ones are by smart comments, which are on topic, which are tolls, etc.
  • Podcasts control the browser. (Note: This is an idea I have already given to a team I am working with, but MP3 won't do it. Windows Media will, but that's not open).
  • There's a problem in the room and in the blogosphere in general with blogaholism. It's causing a lot of problems, solve it like a medical condition? (hmmm)

By the way, it's hard to say enough time how much Doug Kaye and ITConversations rule. I can't be there, but I can be there. Nice - thanks.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Blogging | RSS Stuff | Tech
Saturday, November 06, 2004 11:51:28 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Thursday, November 04, 2004

I have had the privilege of helping test Doppler, a Windows program that allows podcast aggregation as well as windows media aggregation (audio or video). Good stuff. If you have not checked it out and you're a podcast consumer, you need to go get it now. And there's even more features to come soon!

People who read this blog regularly probably know I use FeedDemon, a terrific software creation of the infamous and very cool Nick Bradbury, as my RSS aggregator. I was excited to see that Nick is programming RSS enclosure support into FeedDemon - Awesome! Hey Nick - linky linky???? ;-)



Add/Read: Comments [1]
RSS Stuff | Tech
Wednesday, November 03, 2004 11:03:54 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Saturday, October 23, 2004

Carl Franklin wrote some thoughtful commentary about a weblog post by Scott Hanselman on the subject of podcasting. Then Dave Winer commented on Carl's post. Rory follows up with a far-reaching examination of the arguments.

Updates:

It's an interesting conversation, and one well worth having.

I have been listening to podcasts for weeks now, and to MP3 audio shows since before the term "podcast" was coined. I still don't really like the term, but anyhow... Airplanes are a place I find them most useful - but they have not completely replaced my drive-time commute, which totals about 2 hours a day, because the content quality just isn't there for me yet, with a couple of notable exceptions. I do get a certain amount of enjoyment from podcasts - from some of them, anyhow. Mostly by people you probably never heard of. I really don't have a need or desire to listen to "experts" in go on and on and on and on and on and on about how podcasting just changed the world. A medium that talks about itself feels a lot like MLM. It can't last forever. You wanna talk about the technology your using, make it useful for me - make the time I spend listening to you really, truly worthwhile. It's the content people, CONTENT!

Another thing, about the concept that podcasting will replace/kill radio as we know it - I am not convinced on that one yet. I don't have to think about my radio. It's always there and just turns on and works. No sync, no charging, no programming - just on and off. Therefore I use it. More work than that and it loses some of its utility. They said TV would replace radio. It didn't. In fact, it just made radio bigger. We shouldn't be trying to kill something - we should be trying to create something new. There is a difference.

And regardless of what Dave says, or whether he was involved in creating PowerPoint, and despite a number of other inflammatory things I could pull from his comment on Carl's post and react to, but wont... Scott is most definitely *not* an opponent of technological progress, so use of the term "Luddite" is - well - misplaced at best and flat out mean at worst.

One thing's for sure: It's not at all a useful label in this case. I could use certain blanket terms to describe Dave's words and actions in a variety of situations, and while they may be accurate in terms of one or two things he has said or done in the past, they would not really describe him in whole. It would be wrong of me to call names, so I won't. I wish Dave wouldn't. It takes away from the conversation, and Scott is one person I listen to with great regard for making very complicated things work in the real world.

I don't think Scott was implying (as Dave seems to state) that podcasting was a replacement for PowerPoint. He was using PowerPoint as a metaphor, to show how both technologies - in his opinion - tend to fail to meet their own goals, for man of the same reasons.

Scott originally said, about Podcasting:

 - Clever, yes.
 - Interesting, yes.
 - A new kind of media? Maybe.
 - Useful? Not to me.

Then he points out that using XML to point to multi-megabyte files is contradictory to certain vocal arguments made in the community of late. That's another valid point.

He also correctly points out that the the medium does not lend itself to skimming, browsing or efficient dissemination of multiple pieces of information.

I agree with that position. The people who are making the most noise about this new stuff are people who seem to have plenty of time to record podcasts and to listen to all the regulars. It's a technology that will - by it's very nature - limit the number of people we can listen to and communicate with. It also tends to be a lot more one-way than blogging. Podcasting is not blogging, it's not radio, it's not even broadcasting in reality. But it is cool, and it does have potential. Where it goes we don't know - Rarely does an experiment turn out just the way the founding fathers intended, you know.

Scott has a good point. Carl has a good counterpoint. Dave kind of missed the point but hurled a good insult (good only if you're the one doing the hurling, anyhow). Rory did a great job of taking a good, long step back and covering the bases.

All are very smart guys with great ideas and technological innovation in their pasts.

Pointing out the problems with a technology does not make one a Luddite. Telling people to wait and see before they speak actually just delays technological progress. Hmmmm... Deeelaaayyyys techhhnoloooogicalll progrrressss.... Yeahhh.....

Open, informed, honest discussions are good. Names and insults don't help.

So that's all nice, and yeah discussion is important. But what about podcasting?

What Rory said:

"Just walk away with this: Podcasting is serious Power to the People technology, and we should be excited about that."

Most importantly (I think), here is my pre-emptive thought: Keep the conversation open. Let people comment openly - good, bad or otherwise - and use the information to do things better, and to shape this experiment into something great. If someone counters your position, listen to them. No one person or group owns it. Everyone owns it. Some will innovate, but all should lead. Don't ruin a good thing with politics and personalities.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
AudioBlogging | RSS Stuff | Tech
Saturday, October 23, 2004 4:37:05 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Saturday, October 16, 2004
"podcasting redefined radio...
... Doppler redefined podcasting"

In this amazingly fast-growing (like, really fast) phenomenon called podcasting (yes, I am willing to use the terms phenomenon and podcasting when discussing this, even if I don't particularly like the name), it's hard to always know which way is up. So, it's also hard to know where to go and what to do with all this stuff, both as a content creator and a consumer/end user of podcasts.

Heck, it's difficult enough just to explain to people what podcasting is, let alone how it works. Of course, it's early in this experiment, and we'll certainly have to improve things from the usability standpoint. But still, it's truly amazing what's happened in the past month or so in this portion of the universe.

Enter Doppler [http://www.dopplerradio.net/], a client program that runs on Windows and raises the bar in terms of making it easier for the end user to subscribe to podcasts without too much hassle. In other words, this is just the kind of thought and change that needs to happen to make podcasting a mainstream application. As a community we're not there yet, but with ideas like this and a few people to kick them out the door, we will be before too long.

The best part is, it just works. It makes subscribing to podcasts easier. It makes sense to use. It makes life simpler.

Features

  • Doppler is designed for the Windows platform
  • Drag and drop a URL onto Doppler
  • Scheduled interval to retrieve feeds
  • Specify the numer of files to download
  • Restrict the allowable size of downloads
  • Filter your items by text
  • Possibility to run in minimized mode
  • Import and export of OPML files

Doppler is an aggregator that downloads podcasts based on RSS feeds, and lets you listen to it the way you want it, whenever you like it, on the device of your choice. Doppler has been developed using the latest Microsoft .NET technology and is available as a small download sizing less than 500 KB.

And Doppler has been alive for something like, oh, three days. And work continues on adding features and shoring it up as we speak type. Or maybe it is speak. Oof...

Go download it and try it out.



Add/Read: Comments [1]
RSS Stuff | Tech
Saturday, October 16, 2004 2:47:12 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Friday, October 01, 2004

I'm at Gnomedex, in the "Maximize your blogging potential" panel session, listening to all these guys talk. The conversation quickly moved to multimedia content and delivery as well as devices and tools. Here are some of my observations, paraphrasing the speakers.

  • Adam Kalsey (Moderator)

    Adam went from 200 page views a month to thousands a day because he wrote about relevant things that mattered to people. If you're posting content to the web, you have a goal in mind. If you get slashdotted because its interesting to others, but you decide you can't afford it, you'll stop doing it.

    On multimedia blogging, he noted that if its going to take off, things like indexing and searching of multimedia formats will have to happen.

    In the keyword filtering department as a way to deal with too much content, he points out that keyword searches are not always the best way to deal with selecting information, because of the fact that what I think are relevant keywords may not agree with the way the author wrote the content.

  • Robert Scoble

    Microsoft employee and internal button pusher, Robert's well-known and got his job at Microsoft in no small part because of his blog. He started blogging because he was running a conference and wanted to document it. He wants to know, "What's undiscovered here?"

    "Something has happened in the past month." He notes that PODCasting has taken off all of a sudden. Robert consumes about 900+ feeds a day, compromising about 2000 blogs (some feeds combined). How is he going to deal with 1000 audioblogs a day? With audio he can only consume 2 or 3 shows a night, so becoming a star is a harder things to do.

    For text feeds, he's like his news aggregator to start building keyword searches automatically, based on his reading behavior.

  • Nick Bradbury

    Nick is a (great) shareware author of three rather famous pieces of software, and uses blogging for personal and business use.  His FeedDemon software is what I use as my content aggregator for tons of blogs and other content sources. He says the biggest problem with information now is that there's some much info out there now that you can't deal with it all, so you don't necessarily know what you're missing. I agree. I'd pay good money for something that would help me see what I need and want to see, inside the content I already subscribe to.

  • Ross Rader

    Ross of Blogware says its a pain to do all these different blogging things. The whole Web 2.0 movement should be about making things useful. Lots of utilities are great, but if Dad can't use it?

    Audio and other multimedia blogging shows that the Internet is continuing to change and that it's important to give these things a chance and to see where it goes.

    Enclosures are binary attachments to a syndication feed, and you can determine when that attachment gets downloaded (send it to me between 2 and 5 am).

    Ross also distinguished between managed and unmanaged content, and pointed out that the goal is to get people involved in the creation of content, and making it available and usable by others. If you want to publish your content, you can do it, in your own place.

  • Jason Shellen

    Jason works at Blogger, one of the huge blogging services, owned by Google. He noted that the San Francisco web design community was one of the first adopters of the technology, because it provided the ability to remove the focus from "I am going to create a page" to "I am going to write about something." Blogger/Google has started to address the "How do I do more than write text" with audioblogger.com and Picasa/Hello/BloggerBot.

    "I'm going to go out on a limb and say everything shouldn't be in a blog."

    Jason sees blogging and formats as continuing to grow and expand, and that the forms of media, he expects, will change over time. But he wants to have the ability to use the new media formats on the device of choice.

    Timeliness of blogs: There is a time factor to all of this. Everything has a time and date. Email has this too, as does IM. He notes that there is a need for a tool that will "bring me all the stuff that's important to me."

  • Dave Taylor

    Dave writes several blogs, and sees blogs as content and data management systems. He uses one web log to hold a Q&A of common questions he gets from people. He emphasizes the fact that he sees it not as a cool HTML thing, but rather as being all about the content.

    "I can publish with anything and boom, I'm out there just like anyone who has a multi-million-dollar marketing department."

    Thoughts from others in the audience:

    Scott with Feedster talked about enclosure feeds (images, video clips, porn enclosures are common). He notes that the one constant of new media is that when porn starts to become available on a new media format or mechanism, that form of media will succeed. He also pointed out feedstertv.com, which deals with enclosures on RSS feeds.

    On the next steps with categories, filtering, automation, etc: "RSS is the web services we've been waiting for, let's make it DO something."

    The TiVo suggestions metaphor: Letting the machine tell me what I want to watch usually produces garbage.

    The whole date-based/time-based thing with weblogs is what makes things tough for old stuff. Adding categories, internal or site-restricted search engines. It's a publisher's decision what tools to use to organize information.

    ----

    The focus of the discussion seemed to settle on multimedia blogging, then multimedia content in general, and what that means to the blogging universe. PODcasting and audioblogging is taking the place of drive-time radio content. Radio broadcasting 's future is in question. ReplayRadio is a new service available to time-shift talk radio content.

    Ultimately the answer to most of the questions that came up seems to be "better tools."

    Eventually a question was asked about how many people in the audience deal with information overload, and how people deal with the volume. The mix was interesting to see. Some seem to be in a place where their RSS aggregator has consumed their lives. I'm just the opposite - RSS saves me tons of time every day in my job. For others, it takes up time. Apparently it depends on what you do and how you use it.

    This was a great session.



  • Add/Read: Comments [1]
    AudioBlogging | Blogging | GnomeDex | RSS Stuff
    Friday, October 01, 2004 11:36:11 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  
     Tuesday, September 28, 2004

    Great software announcements today... Nick Bradbury has announced that FeedDemon 1.5 Beta 1 is available.

    Why is this a big deal? There's a great new addition to the mix:

    “Starting with version 1.5, FeedDemon users can create a Bloglines Channel Group from their Bloglines subscriptions. When viewing a Bloglines Channel Group, items you read in Bloglines won't show up in FeedDemon, and items you download in FeedDemon won't show up as unread in Bloglines. It's very easy to synchronize with your Bloglines subscriptions so that FeedDemon reflects feeds you add or remove from Bloglines.”

    Looks like I may need to go back and try BlogLines again. This is what was missing for me - synchronized integration with my feed reader.



    Add/Read: Comments [0]
    RSS Stuff | Tech
    Tuesday, September 28, 2004 8:29:52 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  
     Monday, September 27, 2004

    Addy Santo has updated BlogWave and released the first beta version. He released a pre-beta version back in July, and has since updated the software.

    Say hello to BlogWave Beta 1 - Download and what's new info is available here.

    What is it? what does it do? Answers to your questions ripped straight from Addy's web site:

    Q. What is BlogWave?
    A. BlogWave is an "RSS Generator": a tool which can pull information from a variety of sources and publish it as RSS.  This process is very easy to configure and can be scheduled to run automatically.  For example, using BlogWave you can create an RSS feed from Sharepoint announcements on your company's internal site.  Or you can publish event logs as RSS.  Or even merge multiple sources into one feed (aggregation) and/or publish a feed to multiple destinations (cross posting).

    Q. What content sources does BlogWave support?
    A. BlogWave currently supports the following sources
       • RSS Feeds
       • Google Searches (new)
       • Event Logs
       • WSS Lists and Document Libraries
       • SPS Searches
       • NNTP newsgroups
       • Custom sources can be added through a pluggable architecture and a simple .Net programming interface.

    Q. Which destinations can BlogWave post to?
    A. BlogWave supports the following destinations:
       • .Text based blogs 
       • FTP sites
       • Local or Network URNs
       • Any WebDAV compliant website (such as Sharepoint or WSS)
       • Custom destinations can be added through a pluggable architecture and a simple .Net programming interface.



    Add/Read: Comments [1]
    RSS Stuff | SharePoint | Tech
    Monday, September 27, 2004 10:48:54 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  
     Wednesday, September 08, 2004

    I subscribe and post updates from my weblog to a site that aggregates Oregon weblogs, called orblogs.com. If you're from the area and/or are interested in the wide variety of opinions and thoughts that make up the blogging community in Oregon, you should check it out.

    It looks like as sometime recently they have a RSS 2.0 XML feed available. It showed up in my referrers this evening. Not sure how I missed that, but it's a welcome addition to the site.

    Yay! Publication dates!!



    Add/Read: Comments [0]
    Blogging | Random Stuff | RSS Stuff
    Tuesday, September 07, 2004 11:21:54 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  
     Friday, August 27, 2004

    The other day I wrote an article about how RSS saves me so much time when it comes to work. Interestingly, it's been so heavily traffic'ed I'll have to look at upgrading my account to accommodate the extra bandwidth. But that's just fine, and I have had a few interesting conversations with people the past couple of days as a result. The beauty of the blogging community is that everyone has thoughts, ideas and opinions, and we can share them so effectively.

    Matthew Lanham commented on what I wrote, and made an interesting point:

    “Sounds great - but here's a question: How many corporate information infrastructures out there already have RSS/Atom aggregation as part of the big picture? My bet is that most of them still don't and the RSS driven employee is still using her own aggregator or a centralized system like Bloglines to read those feeds. So what happens to that information once you've read it? Is it piped into the corporate information system to be spread amongst the rest of the company or does it just "disappear"? From a corporate side there is still a lot to be done to bring both worlds together. And the software vendors like Microsoft and IBM need to integrate that functionality (both aggregating and reading) into their line of products before RSS and Atom become corporate mainstream. But it'll happen.”

    He's right - for now there is no real, commercial, out of the box capability for aggregating information found via RSS at the corporate level. That's why we built our own, of sorts.

    We run SharePoint Portal Server and Windows SharePoint Services on our Intranet, and one of our talented developers created in-house web parts that both consume and expose information in RSS. Since then, several others have created similar things.

    The RSS display web parts allow me to create areas on the Intranet where users can see the latest information about any given topic, and the web part is available for any site creator to use, so they can aggregate internal and/or external information/feeds on their Intranet sites, too. The other components allow us to expose any list of information on a SharePoint site as an RSS feed.

    It's only a first step, and Matthew's point is well-taken. We can create it now, each of us putting the work in individually to create something custom, or the big boys can do it for us. The beauty of a company like Microsoft or IBM building it and packaging it (there is a standard to follow, after all) is that they can make a single investment that the rest of us can leverage. That is a value-add proposition, and what I expect from the companies whose software I buy.



    Add/Read: Comments [1]
    RSS Stuff | SharePoint | Tech
    Friday, August 27, 2004 6:23:39 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  
     Monday, August 23, 2004

    The one about how using RSS opens up information to me in a way that is so reliable I could only do it this way manually if there were two of me...

    Okay, so maybe it's a little exaggerated. But seriously, I read an incredible amount of information these days. So much more than I ever did, and a lot of it on the Internet. Not only that, but I get the information I need (or want) so fast now that I can practically always act faster than most people when news breaks. Research that used to take hours and hours of searching and browsing now takes just minutes. I'm consuming much, much more information and doing so in much, much less time. What I can accomplish today in the information gathering department would have taken two of me just a year or so ago, before I found the real beauty of RSS.

    I use RSS feeds for practically everything now. Rarely do I browse to a web site these days as my first method of gathering my daily doses of information. The data comes to me, based on my subscriptions. I know what I need, and I use the tools to get it. I find information sources just once, and then let the tools take care of the rest. I update my information world in real time, using tools like FeedDemon to do the dirty work for me. I focus on consuming, and the rest is practically magic.

    RSS has made me a more productive, and therefore (in theory ;-)) more valuable employee where I work. A huge part of my job is staying up to date with the latest technology, trends and issues. I subscribe to a couple hundred feeds that I review several times daily, some of which are aggregated feeds or feeds that are the result of a search of thousands of blogs and other sources for certain keywords or subjects. Then there's the couple hundred others that I review periodically, both work-related and otherwise.

    When news breaks, when someone writes a new article that I might care about, when new security patches or alerts are released, when Woot! posts their latest great deal for cheap geeks on the web, it all comes straight to me.

    In a nutshell, RSS has enabled me to work (and play) on the 'net in a way that would not be practical (or even possible) without the technology.



    Add/Read: Comments [0]
    RSS Stuff | Tech
    Monday, August 23, 2004 9:54:56 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  

    As a professional geek, I am often tasked with explaining RSS (which these days stands for Really Simple Syndication) to people who are either not familiar with the technology or are non-technical by nature. Typically the explanation includes some form of answer to some common questions, such as "What is it and how does it work?" combined with "What is XML?" and "Why do people use it, and why should I care?"

    It's always nice to explain RSS in person (and it's much easier), but that's not always possible. For example, trying to explain RSS in an instant messenger session(which I did the other evening) can be pretty difficult. So, there are times when it's nice to have an online resource to point people to.

    So, with no further delay, here is a very good, clear and simple explanation of What RSS is, what it does, how it works and pretty much anything else someone might want to know in terms of consuming RSS feeds, all explained in plain English for the common-folk:

    Using RSS feeds is so simple that literally anyone can do it, with just a little knowledge. If you want to consume my RSS feed, just look for the XML button marked RSS in the "Syndication" section of the side-bar (RSS 2.0) and click on it - you'll then see the raw XML RSS feed in your browser window. Don't be scared by the gobbledy-gook: The URL (web browser address) is all your RSS reader program will need to be able to use the feed from this web site.

    If you have not yet found the world of RSS, download a RSS reader (to start try RSS Bandit for a free one, or FeedDemon for an inexpensive but very nice commercial RSS client), sign up for my feed (RSS 2.0) to see what it looks like, and then start looking for the RSS buttons on your favorite blogs and web sites. You will quickly find that you have been missing out on a revolutionary capability and information source, and that it's much easier than you think.

    And if all else fails, send me an email and I'll be glad to explain - Send mail to the author(s)  ;-)



    Add/Read: Comments [0]
    RSS Stuff | Tech
    Monday, August 23, 2004 7:40:15 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  
     Saturday, July 31, 2004

    MSDN now has RSS feeds for Microsoft webcasts, listing any upcoming online sessions for you to consume and attend. MSDN webcasts are a great way to learn valuable information for free.Also listed in the feeds are TechNet, Security, Office System, and MBS webcasts.

    So, whether you're a developer, IT engineer, systems person, or help desk guru, there's always something for you here - In fact, there's almost certainly several somethings at any given point in time.

    From the listing site:

    We've made our webcasts available as a RSS feed on this blog site. Every month we'll post the upcoming month's webcasts here for MSDN, MSDN Architecture Webcasts including patterns & practices live! webcasts, TechNet, Security, Office Systems, and Microsoft Business Solutions webcasts. Here they are below.

    (found thanks to Scoble)



    Add/Read: Comments [3]
    RSS Stuff | Tech
    Saturday, July 31, 2004 4:59:44 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  
     Thursday, July 22, 2004

    From Addy Santo:

    Everyone, say hello to BlogWave !

    This is an alpha (read: mostly functional and sort of stable) version of a tool which enables scheduled generation and publishing of RSS feeds.  This allows, for example, publishing Sharepoint lists and libraries as RSS feeds with no modifications needed to the Sharepoint server.

    BlogWave Feature List:

    • Generate RSS feeds based on a variety of inputs:
      • WSS lists/libraries
      • Existing RSS files or feeds
      • Additional input sources are planned, such as Sharepoint searches and aggregated feeds.
    • Publish the generated feeds to different destinations:
      • Local/network locations
      • .Text based blogs
      • WSS libraries 
      • FTP sites.
    • Schedule the generation and publication with a flexible scheduling system
      • Set which days of the week, what hours, and how often should the generation take place
      • Set user credentials and advanced options such as running even with no logged-in user or running only when idle.


    Add/Read: Comments [1]
    RSS Stuff | SharePoint | Tech
    Thursday, July 22, 2004 4:43:17 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  

    If you have a need to do XHTML validation of web pages and find yourself doing it manually and probably not often enough, check this out: Ben Hammersley has built a XHTML validation tool that generates its results into an RSS feed, from any page you specify. The test runs each time you load the feed into your favorite RSS reader, so it's all-too-easy to repeat, which is nice.

    "The validation is redone everytime the feed is requested. If there are no errors, the feed will be empty. Silence is golden, in other words."

    Check it out - and start validating - here.



    Add/Read: Comments [0]
    RSS Stuff | Tech
    Thursday, July 22, 2004 10:31:32 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  
     Friday, July 16, 2004

    By way of KC Lemson, RSS feeds for all of you Exchange pro's with information you can't help but need:

    I wonder how many Exchange admins use RSS readers and feeds - if you think about it, there's some competing technology there. Or maybe it's a high percentage. I wonder if my Exchange admin is on the RSS bandwagon? ;)



    Add/Read: Comments [0]
    RSS Stuff | Tech
    Friday, July 16, 2004 9:27:09 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  
     Wednesday, July 14, 2004

    If you're an MSDN subscriber and use RSS to stay informed of things, you'll almost certainly want to add this feed to your OPML list:

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/subscriptions/rss.xml

    Updated as new subscriber downloads are made available.



    Add/Read: Comments [0]
    RSS Stuff | Tech
    Wednesday, July 14, 2004 5:09:57 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  
     Friday, July 09, 2004

    Microsoft embraced blogging and open discussion some time ago. Now not only do they allow/encourage their employees to blog about their work and express their own opinions, they've moved all the greatness that is Microsoft-employee-blogging right onto their corporate web site. And they've completely embraced RSS as a delivery mechanism. Practically all their community content is available in RSS feeds. Nice.

    From Microsoft's Community site:

    We just launched the Microsoft Community Blogs Portal, a searchable listing of blogs by Microsoft employees, categorized by product or technology topic. The project also makes it easier for pages across Microsoft.com to publish lists of relevant blogs and posts from those blogs.

    This project was intended to answer one of the key pieces of feedback we get from customers about our blogging efforts to date. As people posted in response to Scoble's question about Microsoft blogs, it’s sometimes hard to find blogs about a particular technology or product that we make, even on a site like blogs.msdn.com which only has full time Microsoft employees blogging. Our answer to that is to ask our bloggers to categorize their RSS feeds (and to indicate whether they’re writing for a technical audience or a more general readership). The blog portal then makes those blogs available for consumption.

    The project also provides ways for blog content to be automatically incorporated into pages on Microsoft.com. We’ve already been doing this, in a proof of concept way, on MSDN in the developer centers, but the process has been very manual. This should make it much easier for all our site managers to incorporate blogs.

    A nice side effect of the project is the ability to search across all of the registered RSS feeds. So if you aren’t able to find something using regular Microsoft.com search but you think one of our bloggers might have written about it, you can search across all the registered posts from the portal.

    Oh yeah, about RSS. A second project which launched yesterday, called Smart Components 2.0, also allows these contextually relevant lists of posts and blogs to be re-published via RSS. What’s that mean? In a nutshell, every one of the blog recent posts components contains a white on orange RSS badge linking to an RSS feed that is scoped to the same content set as the component. The one on the blog portal has an RSS feed of the fifty most recent posts from all registered Microsoft blogs. If I’m on the Exchange community site, there will now be an RSS feed that aggregates posts from registered bloggers who write about Exchange. And we aren’t just RSS-enabling blog content. With the new code that we deployed yesterday, all sorts of smart components on our sites, including lists of newsgroup content, upcoming chats and webcasts, knowledge base articles, and security bulletins now emit RSS.

    Finally, what we shipped yesterday was a portal and a toolbox for our site managers to incorporate these features into their sites. We’ll point to uses of the new components as they go live and spread Microsoft blogs and RSS across Microsoft.com. We’ll also write specifics about some of the other new features in the Smart Components 2.0 release.

    (Bonus: there are some interesting hidden features in the blog portal.)

    ADDED 7/11/04: It's definitely worth noting that despite the “revolutionary” apearance (to some) of Microsoft suddenly being “open,” that's not really the case. I have always been able to talk in depth with many people at Microsoft about the things that I do in my line of work, and they have always been quite open and helpful - both in terms of providing me information I need, and in terms of collecting information from me in order to make sure they're building relevant products.

    Josh Allen has a similar opinion:

    People at Microsoft blog because they tend to be open, independent, and communicative; not the other way 'round.  Blogs do provide evidence that Microsoft is just a bunch of normal people like any other company; but the blogging isn't the cause of this normalcy -- it's just a new way to communicate that reality.



    Add/Read: Comments [0]
    Blogging | RSS Stuff | Tech
    Friday, July 09, 2004 7:29:14 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  
     Tuesday, July 06, 2004

    A few people have built different little apps to allow you to syndicate SharePoint content via RSS. Bluedog Limited's SyndicationGenerator is a web-part-based RSS generator that makes it really easy to create RSS feeds from specific SharePoint lists. It allows you to place the web part on your server and then allow site admins to use it to set up their own feeds - great if you run a portal and WSS setup with many site admins that don't have access to add or modify web parts on the server. They can just drag-and-drop the web part, specify the list they want to create a feed for, and there you have it: Instant RSS feeds.

    After some quick testing done here by a trusted partner, it appears that the web part has a hard time displaying its “Modify Web Part” pane correctly unless you place it on its own web part page. Then it's easy to work with. Cool stuff!

    (by way of Travis and others)



    Add/Read: Comments [0]
    RSS Stuff | SharePoint | Tech
    Tuesday, July 06, 2004 3:33:17 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  
     Friday, July 02, 2004

    IzyNews lets you read your RSS feeds in any email client that does IMAP. No need to add extra software, and you're not restricted to any one client program. Windows, OSX, Linux, Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird - you choose one or more, no problem.

    So, you can just upload your OPML file, set up a couple of things on the server, and instantly access IzyNews from any machine or almost any device (anything that'll do IMAP), from anywhere you like. No need to configure each machine or device with OPML files and separate RSS software - just connect via IMAP with whatever client happens to be available on that platform, and you're there.

    Cool idea.

    (from Jason Lefkowitz's blog via http://www.kunal.org/scoble/)



    Add/Read: Comments [0]
    RSS Stuff | Tech
    Friday, July 02, 2004 8:21:03 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  

    Greg Hurlsman at squaretwo.net points out a valuable resource that I have been using for some time (since well before I started "blogging," [insider comment: yes, I put that word in there just for Erik :-)] to be sure).

    KBAlertz.com allows you to browse, search, and receive notifications of new KB articles related to Microsoft products of your choosing - It's really a must-have resource for system administrators and anyone responsible for understanding and maintaining Microsoft products. It does the hard work for you, and let's you get exactly the information you need. You can subscribe for email notifications, and the emails are formatted nicely and can be delivered on the schedule you choose.

    The article at Squaretwo describes how to get the same information via RSS - which is very cool. I use this capability and have found it a great way to catalog articles about the products I am most often dealing with in my job. Anyone who's into RSS and has to deal with maintaining systems or programs, check out the article.



    Add/Read: Comments [0]
    RSS Stuff | Tech
    Friday, July 02, 2004 2:33:11 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  
     Thursday, July 01, 2004

    Dan Fernandez blogged about a new screen saver starter that uses RSS feeds for its display content:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/danielfe/archive/2004/06/29/168449.aspx

    Loosk like this is Microsoft's first shipped product that includes RSS support. It's the RSS "Screen Saver Starter Kit" in the newly-released C# Express (click to download). The Express programming tools are newly-minted Visual Studio 2005 Express versions.



    Add/Read: Comments [1]
    RSS Stuff | Tech
    Thursday, July 01, 2004 10:33:59 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  
     Tuesday, June 22, 2004

    [PC World Editor's Pick]"FeedDemon won PC World's editor's pick in their recent roundup of RSS readers, beating out NewsGator, Bloglines, Radio Userland and 15 other RSS readers."

    Nick Bradbury's software (all of it) is great ... Each one of his creations represents a great example of a software designer building products that work, fit and behave in a way people can appreciate without having to work at it. He knows his audiences and has a true ability to design for the target crowd.

    I use FeedDemon exclusively as my RSS aggregator. If you've ever used HomeSite (now a Macromedia product) or TopStyle, you've experienced Nick's quality software before.

    If you are in need of a top-notch RSS/Atom feed reader with all the bells and whistles, but which is still easy and comfortable to use, download a copy of FeedDemon and give it a try. Once you've used it, I think you'll be hooked.

    Congrats, Nick.



    Add/Read: Comments [1]
    RSS Stuff | Tech
    Tuesday, June 22, 2004 8:27:38 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  
     Thursday, June 17, 2004
    Scott and I sat down over lunch today and he (once again) proved his l33t development skills, all while teaching me some new stuff... In the end, we had the new RSS Feed to dasBlog Content Converter to show for our (primarily his) efforts.

    From Scott's site:

    Greg Hughes once had a LiveJournal Blog and the only remnant of his blog was an RSS Feed/Archive.  Now that he runs dasBlog he wanted to move his old content forward into dasBlog.  So, we googled a bit and couldn't find a tool that would take an RSS (2.0) feed as input and put the entries into dasBlog.

    So we made one over lunch, and here it is: RSStoDasBlog.zip (219.29 KB)

    RSStoDasBlog.exe MyRssFile.xml "C:\documents and settings\whatever\dasblog\content"

    Use it like this by pointing it to the RSS file and your (local) dasBlog content folder.  It will create all the needed dayentry.xml files for you to upload to your remote blog.  It will also (I think) take an http:// url to an RSS file and could be used to (possible as a service?) steal RSS and mirror them in dasBlog.  Thanks to Jerry (Chris) Maguire's RSS Framework that showed up first in Google and saved me the time of running XSD.exe on an RSS XML schema. Apparently he has even newer stuff on his site.  It's got a few more moving parts than I think it needs to, but it did the job with a few changes that I marked with my initials; SDH.

    Thanks to Scott both for teaching me and for helping me get the content migrated over. I'm a lame IT-management-type of guy, not a coder, but it was truly fun to learn a little something and to find that I was able to follow what he was showing me. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Scott's probably the best technical speaker/teacher I have ever met. I'm lucky to work with a number of really creative people that also happen to be really, really smart.

    Speaking of really creative and smart people, Travis is now a MSDBA in addition to being a MCSD - which is both very cool and a big deal (not mention quite an accomplishment). Not many have the MCSD certification, and even fewer have both. Congrats, Trav!



    Add/Read: Comments [0]
    Blogging | RSS Stuff | Tech
    Thursday, June 17, 2004 3:55:55 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  
     Tuesday, June 08, 2004

    TechNet's security team has just announced the first version of an RSS feed for its security bulletins.

    Finally! There's lots of RSS feeds out there, many of them useful, but this one just got added to my high-priority list. The format is perfect - a headline with the MS-code, description, and update number folowed by a complete description of the update. Anyone responsible - even remotely - for security patching needs this to subscribe.



    Add/Read: Comments [0]
    IT Security | RSS Stuff | Tech
    Tuesday, June 08, 2004 8:57:57 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  
     Monday, May 31, 2004

    In an attempt to bring RSS to the masses, and to have the masses understand it, the infamous Dave Winer has created http://www.reallysimplesyndication.com/ - with the goal of spreading the word and explaining RSS in a way people can consume. Good idea, when you consider it's all about making information easy to consume, don't-cha-think? ;-)

    Every publisher that supports RSS has to explain what it's about, and every one tells a different and incomplete story.

    Another clue is that most the hits on Google for RSS are sites for developers. Not much for a normal person who might want to use RSS or just know what it might mean for a person who's not a scientist.

    So I wanted to start a site where people from the RSS users community can answer questions to help newbies figure out what to do with an RSS feed without requiring a PhD in XML.

     - Dave Winer



    Add/Read: Comments [0]
    RSS Stuff | Tech
    Monday, May 31, 2004 7:53:50 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  
     Friday, May 14, 2004

    Okay so here's a question for ya:

    RSS - what does it stand for?

    I've always seen it referred to as Really Simple Syndication, like they say here. But I've found others (although not recently) referring to it as Rich Site Summary.

    So, which is it? I know the original RSS format, a Netscape thing intended to assist in building news portals and delivering content, eventually grew and branched into differing “standards.” Is that where the terms split maybe?

    Rumored:

    • in "RSS 0.91" it stands for "Rich Site Summary"
    • in "RSS 1.0" it stands for "RDF Site Summary"
    • in "RSS 2.0" it stands for "Really Simple Syndication"

    So much for “standards.” :-)

    Not like it matters, really - but I was just wondering.



    Add/Read: Comments [2]
    Random Stuff | RSS Stuff | Tech
    Friday, May 14, 2004 8:37:46 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  
     Monday, February 23, 2004

    I decided I should set up a stats program and see who's visiting this web site, what's being read, stuff like that. Granted, one day's worth of stats are not much to go on, but there are some interesting things that came out of the first day or so of statistics gathering.

    First is the search phrases that people typed into their favorite search engine (Google is by far the most common one used to link to my site in the stats) and then clicked through to find this site:

    created with microsoft office onenote 28 63.6 %
    greg hughes 4 9 %
    xml office 2003 bill coan 2 4.5 %
    word documents have no teeth 1 2.2 %
    twins portland oregon 1 2.2 %
    how did the united states get oregon 1 2.2 %
    spinning tires ice hill blog 1 2.2 %
    onenote tab .net control 1 2.2 %
    acer c300 problems 1 2.2 %
    houses sold on deer island oregon 1 2.2 %
    onenote blog 1 2.2 %
    ie toolbar visual studio 1 2.2 %
    open in new window ms04-004 1 2.2 %

    “twins portland oregon????” Hmmmmmm.... ;-)

    Keywords list:

    office 30 14.8 %
    onenote 30 14.8 %
    with 28 13.8 %
    microsoft 28 13.8 %
    created 28 13.8 %
    greg 4 1.9 %
    hughes 4 1.9 %
    oregon 3 1.4 %
    xml 2 0.9 %
    coan 2 0.9 %
    blog 2 0.9 %
    bill 2 0.9 %
    2003 2 0.9 %

    Fascinating stuff, really. Other interesting figures that amaze me (not):

    • 14% of the people who viewed the site added the page to their favorites (I have no idea how this gets logged, but I guess it does). 
    • I'm indexed by a whole bunch of search engines - many of which I never heard of.
    • A lot of people who view my site content do so via the RSS feed. Only one or two people appear to be syndicating the site via the Atom feed.
    • My OneNote blogging entries are popular, and people are also clicking on the OneNote .one and .wma audio files.
    • I am nowhere close to reaching my bandwidth usage limit, so if you need a site hosted and you happen to know me personally, feel free to ask - I have a reseller account and so far I don't charge my friends. :-) Oh, and you can use your own domain name or piggyback on one of several I have registered. And if you want to register one, you can do so here for only $10, and the customer service is at least ten times better than [cough cough] Verisign/Netsol [cough hack cough].


    Add/Read: Comments [0]
    Blogging | RSS Stuff
    Monday, February 23, 2004 9:51:31 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  
     Saturday, January 17, 2004

    I've added a few blog entry categories on the right side, each with their own RSS feed, for those who are interested in being organized or just ignoring certain stuff.

    If you're wondering what RSS is, go and download a program like Feed Demon, install and run it, then click on the  link under “Syndication” on the right-side of this page, and check it out. Once you get an idea how it works, you’re sure to get hooked.

    By the way - Feed Demon is not free, but it's worth every penny. You can try it for a month. If you want to opt for something that cost less (like as in nothing), you might check out this instead. If you don't already have the .NET framework installed, you'll need to get that too.



    Add/Read: Comments [0]
    Blogging | Tech | RSS Stuff
    Saturday, January 17, 2004 11:42:14 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #  
     Thursday, December 18, 2003
    If you've been in the web world for any length of time, you have to know who Nick Bradbury is. He's one of the gods of usable and useful software design.

    I've been running a in-development new product of his, called FeedDemon, for some time now, and I have to tell you , it's awesome. It's a RSS reader and it does it so well, I have dumped every other RSS reader out there. It's not even for sale yet and I already bought a copy. :)

    The official version will be available soon, but for now, take a look at Nick's FeedDemon product site and you can grab the pre-release copy and see what I mean.

    RSS is the way of the future, people. Get on board now before everyone else does, and before it gets renamed to something goofy. If you are one of those who wishes you could (honestly) say you were doing work on ARPANET, but can't - here's you chance to get in early enough to say you found it before everyone knew about it.

    - g

    Add/Read: Comments [0]
    RSS Stuff | Tech
    Thursday, December 18, 2003 12:14:39 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
    #