RDF Technology Weblogging

RSS Stuff

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Time to take a break from photos and philosophy, and feed the machine.

I have a file that maintains a list of 404 accesses, and the URL where the missing resource access originated. The file most accessed is the old Alter Ego weblog’s rss.xml feed. Since I closed the weblog over a year ago, not quite sure where these requests are originating, so I re-created the file with one entry that reads:

Title: This Weblog is dead, dead, dead

Description: This weblog, Burningbird’s Alter Ego, has been dead for over a year. Why are you still accessing this feed? If you can’t even tell which weblogs are active or not from the feed, perhaps you’re subscribed to too many sources. Try reading a few from time to time.

The point I think is good – some people proudly point to the multi-thousand aggregatiojn subscription count they maintain and my only response to that is, please remove me from your list.

Another old syndication feed chestnut is making its rounds again recently. Seems Joi Ito is providing a CSS stylesheet with his RSS feed. Deja vu all over again. I agree with several others who have pinged Joi in that it makes little sense to supply a stylesheet with a syndication feed. Not only does this override a person’s aggregator settings, it also makes the feed processing more complicated. Plus, I don’t see the point. The purpose of syndication is to provide a recent list of updates, with enough information so that if a person is interested, they’ll click through and read the rest of the writing at your web site.

Sigh. Over and over and over again.

However, there was an interesting point made on this by Liz that made me want to comment, again, on this concept. She wrote:

My gut response to this is discomfort with the idea of trying to use CSS with syndicated content-that it seems somehow contrary to the entire idea of syndicating simple content. But I know from long experience not to trust that kind of initial negativity too much, since it’s often connected with changes that turn out to be quite positive.

Curious – I wonder if Liz also questions her initial positive reactions to new technology with the same hesitancy that she applies to negation reactions? If not, is this because negative or should I say, critical writing is somehow valued less than positive writing?

I know that Joi Ito maintains a very positive outlook when it comes to geekery and tech, but then as a tech VC he has to: people don’t invest based on pessimism, or even realism. (Not to say that Joi wouldn’t be positive anyway – I really do think he loves this stuff.)

My job the last few years before the Great Bust was as a consultant finding the problems with existing or proposed architectures and software designs and decisions before the company spent millions of dollars on, frankly, overoptimistic but doomed technical innovations. In some cases I would then work with the folks to architect new solutions (or in case of a couple of contracting companies, find new companies). It was a job I was very good at, and I know that I saved one past customer several million dollars, and also helped a couple of others create systems that were simpler and much easier to scale. Seems to me the ‘criticism’ in these cases is a positive thing.

(Betcha you didn’t know that, did you? Betcha you just thought I was a negative person, didntcha? Yah sure, back in the good old days I used to charge a buncha money to do what you all get for free.)

Anyway, though I may eventually get around to an Atom feed, when I have the spare cycles, and I have a hidden comments feed (which you can find if you’re determined), I’m not going to fool around with stylesheets for my feeds.

Besides, I like Bloglines. I like the way the system looks, and I like the clean, easy to read aggregated excerpts. But I always click through when my small, select group of subscribed feeds update.

(Except if you provide full content and don’t take comments and host on Blogspot, like Halley).