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another one for the rss geeks

The news updates at are now available in RSS. Which begs the question: Who cares?


As of now, three of my sites have RSS feeds (1, 2, 3). I get the potential of news syndication, but the reality is not very exciting. I have three feeds that update whenever the sites update, with links to the new content. But there don't seem to be any systems in place to do much of anything with that information. The super geeks have aggregators, which are cool. But "aggregator" is just a fancy word for "list." And a list with a few hundred entries is no good to anybody.

What we need to make RSS really exciting is better tools to manage the data (how about a relevance engine: "Derek, you seem to like feed A, you may also be interested in feed B") and better ways for that data to travel (show me where there's a simple cgi script I can install to aggregate my own favorite feeds on my site, or a place that's simple enough for my mom to use). Then things will get really cool.

Now, I know there's software out there that does this on the desktop, but that's not what I'm talking about. I want my site to take care of it for me (that's what computers are for, after all: taking care of things for you). I don't want to have to update my site and ftp something just to have new headlines. And on the flipside, I want to be able to say to other websites: Want the latest City Stories headlines on your site? Put this one easy line of code on your site and you can!

The tools are almost there for this, but not quite. All the puzzle pieces aren't put together yet. (Unless there's something afoot that I don't know about. Is there? Please tell me!) Until then, I'll be pushing my feeds out into the ether, hoping for a response, looking to the future.

{ 2:39pm }



» at the risk of being completely self-serving (at least I admit it) .... I love folks who provide rss feeds because I can stick them on my homepage at and browse them quickly without having to leave "home". Nothing's more frustrating (for me) than making the rounds of a bunch of weblogs just to find that 75% of them haven't changed.

Sean  { 11.8.01 @ 4:22pm }

» Ask and ye shall receive. It's almost like you've got your own little coding monkey, Derek.

ben brown  { 11.8.01 @ 8:41pm }

» as a philosophy geek, i can't resist butting in here to say that "begs the question" doesn't mean the same thing as "raises the question". It means something along the lines of assuming something is true before your attempt to prove it - a circular argument. you're wonderful, derek, but misusing terms makes you sound silly.....and we all know you're not :-)

– geek.  { 11.8.01 @ 9:25pm }

» Nobody likes a grammar geek, Scully.


Derek M. Powazek  { 11.8.01 @ 9:29pm }

» Tsk tsk... I bet your dad is nodding and smiling right now, Derek... :-)

Jay  { 11.8.01 @ 9:30pm }

» Hey Derek -
Wanted to let you know that LiveJournal just started spitting out RSS feeds for all of its users. With over 400K users on several different LiveJournal sites out there, that's a lot of feeds...

We are going to make it so that numerous RSS feeds can be read within a single page and those feeds sorted into subgroups, etc. That will mean more readers for your RSS feeds, of course.

So, yeah... having an RSS feed does make a difference - soon, you will find your RSS feeds being accessed by more than the same 20 people. You'll also have a lot more things you could read yourself.

Who knows, maybe we can bring you your morning comics soon...

– Mark Kraft  { 11.11.01 @ 11:52am }


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