The RSS Blog
Really Simple Syndication
Copyright 2003-4 Randy Charles Morin
The RSS Blog
Wed, 29 Dec 2004 22:35:02 GMT

BusinessWeek: Welcome to the latest Net phenomenon: video blogs, or what some folks call vlogs.

Randy: Vidcasting.

Wed, 29 Dec 2004 15:21:25 GMT
Feedster Contest Winners
Scott Johnson: and winners have to be picked so here goes (by category):

Randy: I'll write up an entry for each winner.

Tue, 28 Dec 2004 19:03:00 GMT
How TrackBack Works
Cruft: Many people are confused about what exactly TrackBack is and how you use it. Here's a little explanation with pictures to help you understand.
Tue, 28 Dec 2004 17:26:31 GMT

Steven Cohen: I just got off the phone with my new boss and I can officially go live with this. Starting January 3rd, I will employed full-time at PubSub. I've always wanted to work in the blog/RSS field and this is my opportunity to do so. [cut] I also mentioned that Library Stuff will have an official sponsor next year (probably starting in mid January).

Randy: Congrats!

Tue, 28 Dec 2004 06:33:12 GMT
Living in XML?

Merlin Mann: Danny O’Brien, among others, has been noting how many nerds have started piping as much of their life as possible through personal XML feeds, using stuff like RSS and Atom.

Randy: I really hope companies like Feedster see the value in the archive of our lives.

Mon, 27 Dec 2004 23:47:27 GMT
iWON an iPOD!
Mon, 27 Dec 2004 21:55:42 GMT
Is ATOM dead?

Jevon MacDonald: Is ATOM dead? Did RSS innovate ATOM into history with podcasting, weather feeds, photo feeds, and the million other applications that RSS has turned out to be perfect for?

Randy: I doubt Atom is dead. As much as I hate the Atom syntax, the AtomAPI doesn't have much competition and will likely win the day. The competition is BloggerAPI which is deprecated and MetaWeblogAPI which is built on top of BloggerAPI, is broken and uses XML-RPC encoding, which is worse than the dreaded SOAP encoding.

Update: iM afraid that AtomAPI will suck as much or more than MetaWeblogAPI. My confidence is in Tim Bray, who seems to be capable of producing good stuff. Tim, don't fail me.

Mon, 27 Dec 2004 20:43:50 GMT
Nokia Lifeblog uses AtomApi?

Is Nokia Lifeblog using the AtomAPI? Well, yes and no. First, let me point you to the draft specification. Then, let's pray that this feedback gets to them before they get out of draft? My notes follow...

Some of these points are explained away in other sections of the document. But this is simply not right. What they've created is a completely proprietary version of AtomAPI that could never be re-used. This is what happens when you introduce a half-baked protocol and leave it stagnant for almost a year. I wish the Atom working group would either get to work and finish it, or obsolete it, so we don't end up with any more horror stories (every AtomAPI implementation to date).

Mon, 27 Dec 2004 16:50:44 GMT
Opera Improves RSS Handling

Opera: The RSS newsfeeds client has been given a more prominent place and increased usability, setting it apart as an advanced and easy-to-use RSS tool. A clickable RSS icon will appear in the address bar on sites that offer RSS feeds so you don't have to look around for the link. You can also add the newsfeeds to Opera's e-mail client where you can store, sort, search, and find information with a click of the mouse.

Randy: I find it funny that my Juice browser had better RSS handling two years ago. If only I had the time.

Mon, 27 Dec 2004 14:17:38 GMT
My Wallop

Wallop send me a weekly activity report. The activity report is simply the new blog entries that Wallop has sucked up from the Blogosphere. In other words, there's no real content being added to Wallop anymore, which is not a good sign for a social network that's still in research mode.

I'm starting to think that Wallop is fundamentally flawed. The flaw is that it sucks up your blog into Wallop and other Wallop users can post comment on your Wallop blog, which is really just an image of your real blog. The problem is that the comments on your Wallop blog are not mirrored back to your real blog. This is broken. Wallop should learn to use commantAPI to postback all the comments. In fact, they could add a tagline "posted by Wallop" to give them some real estate.

Mon, 27 Dec 2004 06:05:11 GMT
How's your Orkut?
Today, while trying to help another Orkut reader, I noticed that if you preview when submitting a new community forum posting, you are logged out and you lose your posting. Pretty awesome. Does anybody test their software anymore?
Mon, 27 Dec 2004 02:31:52 GMT
Typepad Trackbacks
I've noticed a lot of errors coming from Typepad trackbacks. An initial investigation seems to show a second HTTP header located after the trackback <response>. I'll investigate further at another time.
Mon, 27 Dec 2004 02:18:43 GMT
Blogger Trackbacks trackbacks don't work, at all. In fact, they seem to be completely missing. What's up? Don't they intend to implement? Is there an ETA? Or are they ignoring one of the cornerstones of blogging software? The question has been asked before.
Sun, 26 Dec 2004 16:29:17 GMT
More Technorati Feedback

Last week, Dave Sifry unjammed my Technorati account, which had been broken for more than a year. I created two watchlists. Already, both watchlists are simply reporting errors and I can no longer login to my account. Even the reset password form doesn't work for my account. What's really strange is that even my backup account seems to be broken now. When my primary account failed about a year ago, I created a secondary account. Now, that account is also broken.

Sun, 26 Dec 2004 15:48:19 GMT
To the Scotts

This is my critique of Feedster, at the request of Scott Rafer, similar to my critique of Technorati.

  1. My first point is really annoying for someone like myself who enables javascript debugging. Every search result page has a javascript error. Very annoying.
  2. The user interface is difficult to navigate. Feedster copied Google's interface, but sometimes copying is not the right thing.
  3. User's don't need to know about PHP or system errors. For instance, when the Feedster system is down for maintenance, I get the error "NULL Database link is:", which doesn't help.
  4. Feedster, like today, seems to have really long unplanned outages. Mind you, it's Xmas and I wouldn't expect Scott J to be working. Still, it would be nice if things just worked all-the-time.

The Feedster database seems to be down, so I'm not finished yet. Feedster is back! Searching happiness resumes.

Fri, 24 Dec 2004 19:47:45 GMT
Feed Me
Forbes: Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li guesses that 2 million people are reading RSS deliveries regularly. (Bugmenot: usr=lynam; pwd=gabrielle).
Fri, 24 Dec 2004 14:03:59 GMT
Some notes on XHTML 1.1

Anne: Someone asked me why I was using XHTML. That was a mistake and will be fixed eventually.

Mozilla: There is a fad of serving text/html to IE but serving the same markup with no added value as application/xhtml+xml to Mozilla. [cut] the system usually ends up discriminating Mozilla users by serving tag soup labeled as XML to Mozilla (leading to a parse error) and serving the same soup labeled as tag soup to IE (not leading to a parse error).

Randy: Anne has some amazing insight on XHTML. His insight leads me to one conclusion. I'm safe w/ HTML 4.01.

Fri, 24 Dec 2004 06:10:21 GMT
Create an Ego Feed

Feedster: An Ego Feed is an dynamic RSS feed, i.e. a automatically repeating search, that shows who's talking about you online.

Randy: My ego feed is invalid :(

Fri, 24 Dec 2004 06:05:45 GMT
Feedster and Technorati stink

cyberSaps: The long and short of searching the blogoshere: far too complex, far to annoying.

Randy: Agreed. And why does everything not work?

Fri, 24 Dec 2004 05:57:16 GMT
Blogger Changed the API Again

Lewis MotenI haven't seen anything that was so unstable before. I fired up my code again to start automating a few posts of my code to another blog and found that they changed the value within the "type" attribute in there feed list. The type used to be "application/x.atom+xml".  Ok, that is just small pickings. My real problem is that I can't post anything anymore.

Randy: I'm sure glad I gave up trying to post to Blogger a few months back. Sounds like any success I would have had (had none) would have been in vain.

Fri, 24 Dec 2004 05:22:22 GMT
Tim Bray explains RDF

Tim Bray: Speaking only for myself, I have never actually managed to write down a chunk of RDF/XML correctly, even when I had the triples laid out quite clearly in my head. Furthermore—once again speaking for myself—I find most existing RDF/XML entirely unreadable. And I think I understand the theory reasonably well.

Randy: Tim seems to express my thoughts better than I can. People have been trying to stuff RDF/XML down my throat since around 97-98 timeframe. I kinda think I understand it, but then I read the FOAF spec and I realize this beast is bigger than I thought. My lack of grasp of FOAF is likely partially due to the fact that the FOAF spec is barely half baked. Occasionally, someobody will try to stuff some more RDF down my throat, but I'm smart enough now to know that few people can actually do the RDF thing. My response now is to ask them to give me an RDF sample of what they are looking for. That always ends the conversation.

Fri, 24 Dec 2004 04:58:45 GMT
Dude, it's XML

Mark Paschal: Some folks have proposed a grand unified enclosure extension for RSS 2.0 and 1.0 and Atom. However, they say: At the time of this writing, the current ATOM format specification[6] does not yet define an extensibility model for the format. Once one is defined, we will be able to discuss the integration of the enclosures proposal into it. Which, oddly enough, is true. The "Extending Atom" section of draft-ietf-atompub-format-03 is blank. As I understand it, though, it'll read something like:

9. Extending Atom
Dude, it's XML. You extend XML with namespaces. Duh.

Randy: But I'm sure it'll produce a permaThread or two on the Atom mailing list before the obviously conclusion is drawn.

Fri, 24 Dec 2004 03:35:29 GMT
RSS Bandwidth Becoming an Issue

Martin Tobias: I have posted about this before, now MSDN and other high traffic bloggers are tweaking their RSS to manage both the bandwidth consumption and the server load.

Randy: The bandwidth fallacy continues. Bloggers need not tweak their RSS to manage bandwidth. They only need good blogging software. I'm still amazed how most blogging systems don't do the basics of throttling bandwidth.

Fri, 24 Dec 2004 01:09:30 GMT
Thanks Sifry

Dave Sifry called me today. First to tell me that they fixed my account, so that I can finally login again. It's been more than a year since I was able to use that account. Second, he also wanted to know what I thought was wrong w/ Technorati. I tried to explain to him that the indexing takes many days, weeks and months. It's kinda hard to explain over the phone, so I told him I'd write up some examples. So, here they are...

First, check out my link cosmos for my iBLOGthere4iM blog. Currently, there are four recent links.

Half the recent links are not timely, that's not a good sign. But that's only the reported links. Let's now look at Blogline's citations and see how many entries Technorati is missing. I'll just list them...

I wonder if Scoble's linkblog pings Technorati. That might explain those two, but I wrote WongDude's blog, so I know it pings Technorati.

These same results can be found using The RSS Blog. Again, looking at the link cosmos for The RSS Blog.

Now let's look at my posts. I just wrote a post called Google Sucks (except at search). I'm definately pinging Technorati (or at least I'm trying to ping Technorati). But this entry doesn't appear in the uxuf link cosmos.  Anybody wanna guess how long it'll take before this entry appears in Sifry's Alerts link cosmos, if ever? It definately didn't take the two or three minutes claimed by Technorati.

Hopefully, this is enough information to convey to Sifry what I mean when I say that Technorati is broken.

With all this documented, now it's time to thank Sifry for re-enabling my account. I already created two watchlists; for the iBLOGthere4iM blog and The RSS Blog.

TechnoratiUpdate: I was just visiting Sifry's blog and I noticed that Sifry's last blog entry has one trackback, which happens to be from me. I suspect this is what kicked off Sifry's phone call. But then I noticed there was one Cosmos link. I wanted to find out if this also was mine and clicked on that link. Technorati responded 3-5 minutes later with the page at right. I then tried a few of the Cosmos links on his blog and they all responded similarly. I have to admit, I was surprised, Technorati response times were generally getting better during 2004.

Thu, 23 Dec 2004 11:50:37 GMT
Trackback Ping Attack
Looks like I got flooded w/ Trackback pings from today. I think I see their problem. When you post on Tribe, they ping all trackbacks on pages you link to. I put in my sig, so Tribe went to that page and pinged all 24 trackbacks found on that page.
Thu, 23 Dec 2004 04:22:36 GMT
Stacking It Up Sharpreader

How does your RSS reader stack up? Is it a well behaved reader or a bandwidth hog?

Sharpreader (v seems to ignore all syndication hints. It does support ETags and gzipping. It supports HTTP 410 Gone, but not <redirect> XML. Overall grade: B.

Thu, 23 Dec 2004 03:42:04 GMT
Sharpreader :(

Over the last week, the number of unexpected errors being reported by Sharpreader has gone thru the roof.

The requested resource is in use.

Sharpreader is no longer usable. I'm officially looking for a new RSS reader. Maybe I'll try Sauce Reader, but last time I used Sauce Reader, it borked on me and Nathan has never responded to the problem.

Thu, 23 Dec 2004 02:54:25 GMT
Andy's Q&A

1) How should I understand the word 'Hint' in this context? Is the information an instruction that the Aggregator should obey, or is it a suggestion the Aggregator should convey to its user and allow them to decide how they act on it?

Randy: Hints are not rules, they are suggestions. That said, a well behaved aggregator would respect these hints.

2) The skipHours/skipDays tags gives me several concerns:

a) A straw poll of 29 sites that I monitor reveals that none of them implement skipHours or skipDays. Syndic8 says that 1.98% of feeds use skipHours and 0.18% use skipDays. That's a pretty small minority to code for.

Randy: Nobody said building software was easy. Very few Webpages use the HTML <IFRAME> tag, but I'd hate to use a browser that didn't support it.

b) How many RSS publishers properly understand that the hours are in GMT? Most Americans I have met (I'm a Brit) think London is GMT - but that's only for half the year. Alternatively, how many will simply use their local time zone by mistake?

Randy: Most all blogs that publish RSS w/ <skipHours>, use software (Radio) that understands that the hours are in GMT.

c) There is an obvious issue when people are in different time zones. For example, a reader in Singapore has no working hours overlapping with working hours in, say, New York. Simple implementation of the skipHours tag could mean that an Aggregator would never poll some feeds for some people.

Randy: I don't think there's an issue here. Assume it's GMT and if somebody else failed to make that assumption, then it's not your fault. Point them to the RSS spec.

d) Similarly, not polling on, say, Sundays is subject to interpretation. Is it Sunday for the reader or the publisher that the Aggregator should exclude from polling? I guess it has to be subject to the reader's time zone, but does that implement the publisher's expectation?

Randy: No, the timezone does not matter. Use GMT, not the publisher timezone, not the reader timezone. But, I think everybody understands that this won't be perfect and is somewhat confusing.

3) ttl is more widely implemented - Syndic8 says 7.74%. Use of the Syndication module will push this up a bit. However, I find that most sites specify hourly caching or less. My Aggregator's minimum poll interval is one hour, so implementing ttl would increase polling in many cases! That having been said, I plan to implement the higher of ttl and hourly polling as a minimum polling interval - subject to question 1 above.

Randy: Yes, generally feeds have <ttl> values of one hour or less. For example, Yahoo has feeds w/ <ttl>'s of 5 minutes. They are trying to tell the RSS reader that it's OK to pull more than once per hour. I suggest you use the <ttl> where provided, the syndication module value where provided, and everywhere else default to one hour.

4) I'm obviously interested in the Accept-Encoding tag because it looks like everyone wins from correct implementation of that one. However:

Randy: Win-win.

a) I use the .net HttpWebRequest class to read RSS feeds but I can't find any authoritative statement about whether this tag is implemented automatically in the .net framework, or not. I can't see why it wouldn't be (and the referenced document suggests that, by default, the server can send a compressed response), but we are talking Microsoft here.

Randy: By default, HttpWebRequest will not use transfer encoding. I have heard of people using gzip w/ HttpWebRequest, but I don't know if it's reliable. Note, the server may not send a compressed response unless client specifically allows it.

b) As I understand it, the reader tries Accept-Encoding with, say, "gzip,deflate" if it gets a 406 (Not acceptable) status code back it has to try again without the Accept-Encoding. But doesn't this mean a double hit on servers that don't support compression? OK, it could remember the initial response but suppose the server is upgraded to support compression later on?

Randy: Not at all. If the Accept-Encoding is "gzip, deflate" and the server doesn't support either, then it can respond w/ identity encoding. That's because identity encoding is specifically allowed and the default unless otherwise excluded by adding "identity;q=0" to the Accept-Encoding. Identity encoding is no transform encoding, that is, the way we usually do it.

c) I can't find any tutorial on how to handle compressed responses from a server. If .net doesn't handle them automatically, can anyone point me in the right direction?

Randy: Sorry, I don't know either and I've never seen a working sample.

Thu, 23 Dec 2004 01:43:11 GMT
CITA RSS Aggregator

Today, I came across a new RSS reader, this one called CITA RSS Aggregator. Install was plain-Jane. Then I went to import my OPML reading list and ...

File is not in OPML format. 'opml' tag is missing.

Uninstall. Sorry, no time to enter that list one-at-a-time.

Wed, 22 Dec 2004 23:29:18 GMT
Give Poor Aggregators Less

John Wilson: This lead to me thinking, why not do something similar with poorly written RSS aggregators? If RSS aggregators do not give a If-None-Match or a If-Modified-Since header, why not penalize them with an excerpt version of the feed? Well behaved aggregators get the full feed.

Randy: Creative, but I don't like the drawback.

Wed, 22 Dec 2004 23:22:33 GMT
Aggregator Developer

Andy Henderson: I am a developer of an Aggregator - the CITA RSS Aggregator available from I developed it for a specific target market and I do not expect its use to grow to the extent that it will materially affect any RSS servers. However, I want to be responsible so I am trying to take suggestions from this forum seriously. I have already implemented ETag and Last-Modified header processing and now I am considering Randy Charles Morin's HowTo document to improve my Aggregator's behaviour.

Randy: This is a pretty awesome little essay written by Andy with some great points and queries. It's guaranteed a response from me. I just need a little time to work on it.

Wed, 22 Dec 2004 22:50:29 GMT
Entity Tags are quoted-strings?

I've noticed that some RSS feeds return an ETag that is not a quoted-string, as per the HTTP RFC. For example my MSN spaces blog feed. Are these feeds valid? I would think they are invalid. What do you think? Did I miss something?

Wed, 22 Dec 2004 22:07:02 GMT
My Little RSS Feed State Update
I updated my little RSS feed state article to include a section on Last-Modified, RFC 3229 and to fix a couple typos. I also added a table of contents and anchors so that people can refer to particular sections of the article. Feedback please.
Wed, 22 Dec 2004 20:05:42 GMT
The Value of RSS

Dare Obasanjo: The value of RSS is fairly self evident to me but it seems that given the amount of people who keep wanting to reinvent the wheel it may not be as clear to others. As someone who used to work on core XML technologies at Microsoft, the value of XML was obvious to me. It allowed developers to agree to use the same data format for information interchange which led to a proliferation of a wide and uniform set of tools for working with data formats. XML is not an optimal format for most of the tasks it is used for but it more than makes up for this with the plethora of tools and technologies that exist for processing XML.

Randy: Dare is an example of why M$FT is wealthy. A wealth of intelligence equals a wealth of technology equals a wealth of sales equals a wealth of cash equals a big dividend.

Wed, 22 Dec 2004 03:29:07 GMT
Nick Heyman of Friendster Joins Feedster
Scott Johnson: I am very, very pleased to make this entry. I'd like to announce that Nick Heyman, formerly Manager of Network Operations for Friendster, has now joined Feedster.
Wed, 22 Dec 2004 00:23:01 GMT
Little. Orange. Stupid.

Dave Walker: Bright orange screams “click me”, right? What happens if the user clicks it?

Randy: What should happen if the user clicks it?

Tue, 21 Dec 2004 20:58:52 GMT
Tribe Trackbacks
I just noticed that Tribe is accepting trackbacks. I trackbacked the previous post. Cool! It worked!
Tue, 21 Dec 2004 20:56:23 GMT
PeopleAggregator Comeback
Marc Canter: Almost two years later - and we're making a comeback. Imagine PeopleAggrregator as part of Drupal.
Tue, 21 Dec 2004 20:34:27 GMT
Dave on Yahoo!'s Media RSS

Dave Winer: Yahoo is the strangest most jealous and behind-the-scenes plotting and scheming of tech companies. When any of the other "giants" moves in RSS space I get plenty of advance notice so that I can help them promote it, maybe even make it better before it's announced. Yahoo, as a company seems jealous and insecure, seems to have as a goal, replacing me. Hey it's been tried before, probably isn't worth the trouble. And it's amazing for all the lack of respect, how much of my (unpatented) work they're using to reshape their company. If I didn't know better I might think that someone inside the company is claiming credit for my work and doesn't want the boss to know. ";->"

Dare Obasanjo: I am not surprised that Dave Winer was irritated especially since some of the stuff in the spec seems extremely questionable (the media:people is a single element that can contain multiple people separated by the '|' character, attributes like playerWidth & playerHeight that are supposed to control how big the media player window used to consume content should be, etc).

Randy: Is Yahoo! Media RSS funky?

Tue, 21 Dec 2004 18:45:30 GMT
Where the Orange XML Icon Came From
ScriptingNews: People always ask where the white-on-orange XML icons came from. Well, here's the requirements doc, written on this day in 2000. Bryan Bell read the doc and designed the graphic.
Tue, 21 Dec 2004 18:38:42 GMT
Wordpress RSS bandwidth fixes

Crazy But Able: While checking my stats one day, I discovered that halfway through the month I had already sent out over 60 megs of data, just over RSS. [cut] The second bug is by far more serious. When attempting to connect to an RSS feed, well behaved RSS aggregators send the If-Modified-Since header to the server as part of the HTTP request. The server is supposed to respond with response code 304: Not Modified if nothing has been changed. Wordpress does this, but then sends the full text of the feed anyway! So no bandwidth was saved!

Randy: Is this bug in the default setup of Wordpress?

Tue, 21 Dec 2004 18:29:09 GMT
Multiple-enclosures on RSS items?

Dave Winer: This question comes up from time to time, and I've resisted answering it directly, thinking that anyone who really read the spec would come to the conclusion that RSS allows zero or one enclosures per item, and no more.

Randy: Agreed. My reply in Dave's comments, went like this.

Here's a big "I agree Dave." But let me add, why do people insist on working against the spec instead of w/ the spec? We can argue about the semantics of RSS until we get 24 flavors of RSS. That's not productive. Work w/ it. You'll never get more than 2 economists to agree on the economy. You'll never get more than 2 developers to agree on a protocol spec. Live w/ it.

Tue, 21 Dec 2004 18:22:20 GMT
RSS Bandwidth Strategies

LaughingMeme: A lot of concern, hand wringing and advice on RSS bandwidth issues lately. (see Regular Sucking Schedule, and HowTo RSS Feed State for a sample). Here's some more.

Randy: Another misleading RSS bandwidth article. Here's some highlights.

LaughingMeme: skipHours (and co.), ttl, and mod_syndication are all considered harmful. They're all under specified, highly ambiguous, poorly supported, poorly implemented, and move logic into the file which should be (and is) in the protocol.

Randy: How do skipHours, ttl and mod_syndication actually do harm? Obviously they don't. In fact, many RSS readers support them, which means you will incur benefit from their use.

LaughingMeme: Rule of thumb, if your bandwidth saving mechanism is in your feed, it's a mistake. They promise false hopes of salvation, ignore them.

Randy: Thanks for not given any reason for this wives' tale.

LaughingMeme: Rather look to: Conditional GET, GZIP encoding, ....

Randy: Agreed.

LaughingMeme: Rather look to: RFC 3229 aka HTTP deltas.

Randy: I don't know any RSS readers that support RFC 3229. Anybody? In conclusion, the author seems to be telling the user not to use techniques that are supported by RSS readers in favor of techniques that are not supported by RSS readers. I suggest, you implement all the strategies I suggest in my little HowTo RSS Feedstate article. Each will save a bit and together they'll save a bunch.

Mon, 20 Dec 2004 03:23:03 GMT
RSS Feed State Feedback

Critical feedback is always much appreciated, especially when handled in a positive way.

From a Reader: I enjoyed your article. Two suggestions:

Randy: An update is more than overdue.

Fri, 17 Dec 2004 22:19:55 GMT
Specific Advice and Configuration Tips for RSS Goodness
Glennf: Randy Charles Morin sends in a link to his very detailed advice on how to configure Web servers, modify RSS feeds, and marching orders for aggregator developers to reform the wasted bandwidth used in RSS today. A main point here is that aggregators need to be well behaved. Publishers can tweak all we want, but lightly implemented or buggy aggregators that don't observe Web server and feed directives and responses are (in my opinion) most of the problem. That's not to say that those of us running servers can't tweak our settings to improve matters, too!
Fri, 17 Dec 2004 17:23:26 GMT
Please Don't Burn my Feed

HTTP Status 404 - The feed uri is not found

type Status report

message The feed uri is not found

description The requested resource (The feed uri is not found) is not available.

Apache Tomcat/5.0.27

Randy: I'm getting this via Feedster RSS search every so often. Not sure what it is, but thought Feedburner and Feedster would want to know.

Fri, 17 Dec 2004 17:20:26 GMT
Can I import posts from my current weblog?
Bloggers Brothers: Yes! WordPress currently supports importing from b2, MovableType, Blogger, Greymatter, Textpattern and LiveJournal. WordPress also has a generic RSS importer, so if your current blogging system can export in a valid RSS format, you can import that into WP. Also, there is an importer for users of pMachine Nucleus in the works. The import scripts can be found in the wp-admin folder with names “import-x.php” where x is the source blog tool. If you currently use a blogging system not listed here and wish to convert to WordPress please post a message in the Support Forums and someone will assist you.
Fri, 17 Dec 2004 17:01:58 GMT
How to subscribe to MSN Spaces RSS feeds

Luciano Evaristo Guerche: Probably somebody else has already posted about it, but I'll write about it here anyway, so the word spreads faster. To subscribe to MSN Spaces RSS feeds, just enter the the HTML URL, plus "/feed.rss". As an example, suppose you want to add Shiju Varghese MSN space to your blogroll in your RSS aggregator. To accomplish this, you'll have to subscribe to Shiju Varghese RSS feed.

Fri, 17 Dec 2004 05:33:45 GMT
Media RSS Module - RSS 2.0 Module
Yahoo: An RSS module that supplements the <enclosure> element capabilities of RSS 2.0 to allow for more robust media syndication.
Fri, 17 Dec 2004 05:13:17 GMT
Search RSS Feeds from MSN Toolbar

Steve Makofsky: As I previously mentioned, you can already do this in Internet Explorer using Tweak UI. Here's how you can add a shortcut to search RSS feeds via the MSN Toolbar Suite: In the search field, type: @rss,$w. Once you have done this, you can just type "rss something" in the deskbar, and you'll search RSS feeds via feedster.

Thu, 16 Dec 2004 20:57:28 GMT
Regular Sucking Schedule

Glennf: A blog about the issues of RSS bandwidth usage.

Glennf: Yet another blog. Yes, yes, I know. Just try and stop me. I've seen a lot of discussion lately about RSS and aggregation bandwidth usage and behavior. This blog will collect details. I also welcome email that I can post. And comments are open. Let's talk about regular sucking schedules.

Randy: Thanks d.w. This is great! Subscribed.

Thu, 16 Dec 2004 16:30:44 GMT
Yahoo tests video search engine
CNET: As previously reported, the Web portal has been developing a service that will let people search for video clips from across the Internet in much the way they do for Web pages and images. Late Wednesday, the company introduced the beta site, which searches for files in Microsoft's Windows Media, Apple Computer's QuickTime and RealNetwork's Real Media. [cut] The company will promote a new media standard, called Really Simple Syndication (RSS) Media, in partnership with Creative Commons, Broadband Mechanics, AtomFilms and others.
Wed, 15 Dec 2004 03:21:49 GMT

Can you see what's different about the following XML GIF? No peeking via View Source. Thanks Terry!

Tue, 14 Dec 2004 21:21:08 GMT
Feedster Launches Developer Network
Scott Johnson: To show our appreciation for the efforts developers put forth to conceive new and innovative uses for Feedster’s Search applications, we created a contest with a meaningful reward.
Tue, 14 Dec 2004 20:49:52 GMT
Typepad Trackback Oops

Using my manual trackback form, I got the following reponse from Typepad of all people. That's twice in that last week. Arggg!

The XML page cannot be displayed

Cannot view XML input using XSL style sheet. Please correct the error and then click the Refresh button, or try again later.

Invalid at the top level of the document. Error processing resource ''. Line 4, ...


Tue, 14 Dec 2004 16:57:13 GMT
Technorati Issue Solved
Richard MacManus: Thanks to a link from Robert Scoble (who is always looking out for his readers, bless him), my issue with Technorati not indexing my blog came to the notice of Technorati Chief Dave Sifry. To his credit, Dave immediately jumped onto the case and Kevin Marks solved it today. I noticed others have been having similar issues with Technorati, so I'll briefly summarise what the issue was and how it was fixed.
Mon, 13 Dec 2004 22:01:12 GMT
What's wrong with Technorati?

Richard MacManus: What, my links not good enough for you Technorati? ;-) I say that with a wink, but to be honest I'm pissed off with Technorati. My main weblog, Read/Write Web, is not being indexed there and so none of my outbound links show up in Technorati. Therefore nobody would know I'm linking to them, if they're only using Technorati to track blogs. And let's face it, they are the number 1 blog indexing service - by popularity if not by quality of service.

Randy: Join the club. I stopped using Technorati. It just doesn't work anymore. Try Bloglines citations. I get much better and much more results. See for yourself. Here's my domain at Technorati. Here's my domain at Bloglines.

Mon, 13 Dec 2004 21:36:20 GMT
PubSub Rank #3759

My PubSub ranking seems to be getting worse by the day. A few months ago, I was in the 2000s.

Update: Just noticed over on Scobleizer, that you can get a graph of your PubSub rank over time. My graph.

Mon, 13 Dec 2004 04:19:17 GMT
Theory on why RSS Traffic is out of Control

Robert Scoble: Here, let's talk about a population of 1000 people. [cut] So, that comes out to 8,200 hits for HTML vs 158,000 for RSS. Again, if my math (and theories/assumptions) are correct.

Randy: Here is what Scoble missed. Web visitors will surf more than one page and each of those pages typically have a lot of images. For instance, the MSDN homepage when navigated causes 20 hits, not 1. Assuming 2 pages and maybe 30 hits (less duplicates) per visit and you have 250k hits for HTML and 150k hits for RSS. The next step to note is that many of the 30 hits on the Web navigation were images which don't gzip very well, whereas RSS and HTML gzip very nicely.

Sun, 12 Dec 2004 02:28:11 GMT
Making linking more enjoyable

John Roberts: Randy Charles Morin on The RSS Blog notes: "I've noticed that I enjoy linking more to people w/ trackbacks enabled than those who do not have trackbacks enabled." (We'll see if my TrackBack link to Randy's post succeeds.) That was certainly a part of supporting TrackBack on CNET Since posting about the public introduction, I've monitored the links and found lots of interesting places around the web where people are commenting on news stories.

Randy: Never got the trackback :( Of course, my complete hatred of HTML comment based trackbacks might be the cause. Cool that CNet has trackbacks :)

Update: I finally decided to enable the HTML comment-based trackbacks HACK.

Sat, 11 Dec 2004 03:14:21 GMT

I caved today and got an link blog. Don't know what I'll be doing w/ it. But, I've really enjoyed the RSS tag feed. You can subscribe to my link blog.

Update: I thought it would be funny to have a delicious tag (category).

Fri, 10 Dec 2004 20:38:30 GMT
RSS' Flexibility: Challenges Ahead?

ZDNet: RSS feeds, as I learned in my exercise, are unpredictable enough that if you're stringing together software components that rely on them, you may have to fiddle with what's inside the sheath.

Randy: I've noticed that I enjoy linking more to people w/ trackbacks enabled than those who do not have trackbacks enabled.

Fri, 10 Dec 2004 13:16:33 GMT
Corrected Url for RSS Benefits Article

RSS-Specifications: Randy from Kbcafe was kind enough to alert me to a broken url in the RSS Benefit article posted on wednesday.

Randy: Public thanks yous are worth gold. Thanks!

Fri, 10 Dec 2004 02:50:32 GMT
RSS: Show Me the Money

Wired: As soon as mainstream publishers incorporated RSS feeds into their web businesses, you knew that ideas on how to make money from them would inevitably follow.

Randy: If you haven't noticed the trend, I'm sourcing more and more from It's the Dude, Check This Out that never was.

Thu, 09 Dec 2004 20:24:57 GMT
Two Reactions

As I surf the blogosphere and subscribe to feeds, I find a rather large portion of the RSS feeds are actually invalid. My reaction, email the blog author w/ information on how he can fix his feed. I email about 1 blogger per day and help him fix-up his feed. My emails get two reactions.

Fortunately, the first reaction occurs much more often than the second. By the way, reaction #1 often gets you subscribed and reaction #2 gets you the big unsubscribe.

Thu, 09 Dec 2004 20:06:27 GMT
Feedster Becomes Omidyar Network Partner

The Story of Feedster: Today Feedster announced that Omidyar Network is its most recent investor.

Source: Scott Johnson.

Randy: Congrats to the Feedster team. But... now I expect faster and more reliable ;)

Thu, 09 Dec 2004 17:01:35 GMT
Last 100 podcasts

I just noticed that Dave has a new Web service for podcasts @ It's pretty cool. Gives you a lot of fresh audio to pass the work day. There's even a spliced RSS feed.


Thu, 09 Dec 2004 05:34:33 GMT
Throttling RSS Seems to Work?

Steve Butler: Randy wrote in his “Throttling RSS Seems to Work - The RSS Blog” article that well behaved aggregators mean that RSS scales. I’m not on the same page.

Randy: The blogosphere permathread continues.

Wed, 08 Dec 2004 16:55:24 GMT
RSS Validates

Matt Lowey: Thanks to Randy Morin of the RSS feed now [validates].

Randy: Thank you!

Wed, 08 Dec 2004 16:42:15 GMT
Throttling RSS Seems to Work

Glenn Fleishman: After analyzing logs, I discovered that a small percentage of aggregation sites and aggregation servers were requesting as much as 20 to 30 percent of the bandwidth unnecessarily through aggressive downloads that didn't check the If-Modified-Since headers or other tools to prevent a retrieval of a page that hadn't changed.

Source: BoingBoing.

Randy: Glenn is finding out that well behaved aggregators mean that RSS scales.

Wed, 08 Dec 2004 03:33:51 GMT
The Feedster Notifier

Ok, tonight I created the feedster notifier. Actually, I wrote it last night and the installer tonight. It's another task tray icon. If you open it, then you get a form where you can add Feedster keywords or search phrases that you wish to be notified on. If it finds new matches, it'll display a popup message. You get one minute to click on the popup and visit the blog entry or it disappears forever. That's it! I thought about persisting the search results for later access, but then I thought "that's what an aggregator like Sharpreader is for." Anyhow, have fun.

Pre-requisites: .NET 1.1 run-time.

Notes on the installer and startup: It does not kick-start the Feedster Notifier. You have to start it thru the Programs Start menu or it'll start on its own the next time you restart your computer. Once it's started, you can double-click the tray icon or use the context menu from the tray icon. Again, I hope you enjoy it!

Update: Weird. Using the Feedster Notifier today leaves me kinda wanting something more. Can you say V2?

Wed, 08 Dec 2004 01:27:37 GMT
Blocking RSS advertising

Jason Kottke: A few questions related to this issue:

Q: Do you (or will you) want ad blocking in the newsreader you use?
A: No.

Q: Will the structure of RSS/Atom files make ad blocking easier than in HTML or not?
A: No, it won't, but the lessons learned from HTML will.

Q: How will you react to pressure from feed advertising companies like Overture or Kanoodle or companies that rely on feed advertising as a revenue stream to encourage you to keep ad blocking capabilities out of your software?
A: I wouldn't be worried either way, but would prefer the users make their own decision about ads. Don't like the ads? Then unsubscribe.

Q: In the inevitable(?) arms race between ad blockers and advertisements, what happens to the separation between editorial content and advertising? Ads disguised as content are harder to block, but how can the reader distinguish them from content? Are you folks with ads in their RSS/Atom files concerned about that?
A: Again, the user has to make his own decisions. If he wants to subscribe to Fark or Marc Canter, blogs that takes money in exchange for entries, then fine. I do!

Mon, 06 Dec 2004 19:18:41 GMT
Developer Contest Form Now Up

Scott Johnson: Sorry for the delay. Goto:

Randy: Submit! Submit! Submit! Looks like I submitted the first two entries. If I find some time, then maybe I can do a third.

Mon, 06 Dec 2004 02:04:48 GMT
Feedster Contest Extended

Scott Johnson: Given that I've been too busy to finish the Contest entry form, we've extended the Feedmas Contest to 12/14/2004 at 12:00 noon PST.  When I get the contest entry form up, the url to it will be posted here.

Randy: Awesome, maybe I'll have time to write a few more hacks.

Mon, 06 Dec 2004 02:00:38 GMT
What is RSS?
About RSS: A basic tutorial introduction to RSS feeds and aggregators for non-technical people from Software Garden, Inc.
Sun, 05 Dec 2004 11:03:37 GMT
Trackback Autodiscovery

A dumb question. How come trackback autodiscovery doesn't work like this?

<link rel="trackback" href=""/>

That is, in the <head> of the <html>? Instead of embedding RDF-XML in a comment, which is just a big kludge.

Sun, 05 Dec 2004 10:16:06 GMT
Aggregator Doesn't Support Unicode BOM?

An RSS Blog reader: Submiting this feed to Pusher doesn't work.

Pusher response: Hmmm... I've never come across that before.  The RSS parser being used is a canned package:, and the unfortunate reality is that if magpie doesn't support it, neither does

Magpie response: My answer [is] kind of like [Pusher], if the XML libraries I'm using don't support it then Magpie doesn't support it. That said, I've never heard of an issue where BOM was a problem, are you sure [Pusher] has properly diagnosed the issue?

Pusher: I don't believe that it is a magpie issue. PHP's i18n support is also weak at best in the version I'm using.

Pusher: This is fixed.  It really is a problem with PHP's i18n support, and I'm
quite surprised that it is not well documented.

Sun, 05 Dec 2004 04:27:53 GMT
Trackback Test Form

Another test form. This one is for trackbacks. It uses javascript to transfer the posting-url to the form.action attribute, then submit the format. A little different then the CommentApi test form, which used a back-end ASPX file to translate the call from a form post to a REST call. Please test and give me some feedback.

Update: I pinged a bunch of people w/ the trackback form to test it. I found that about 50% of trackbacks are 404, but the form did work w/ the all of the rest. I assume the few exceptions were bugs in the recipients software and not bugs w/ the form.

Trackback Test Form
Posting URL:
Blog Name:
Sun, 05 Dec 2004 03:28:39 GMT
CommentApi Test Form

CommentAPI didn't really catch on, but I was bored and got it working on my blog. Again! This time w/ my entirely script blog engine. In the process, I created the commentAPI test form. If you want to double check, your own implementations or tell me my test form doesn't work, then try it!

CommentAPI Test Form
Posting URL:

Sat, 04 Dec 2004 22:41:13 GMT

Rss2Wap: This site is meant for online conversions of RSS feeds into WML for access on WAP devices (RSS2WML, RSS WAP or RSS-to-WAP). It's free and you can make a link on your web site.

Randy: How does your Blog look on a WAP phone? When the wife gets home, I'll check out how The RSS Blog looks in WML. She's got the cell phone. It's reporting invalid in IE, but that might be a user-agent issue. The WML validator is also a little upset. Validome is reporting it valid. Maybe I'll download an emulator?

Sat, 04 Dec 2004 19:39:40 GMT
the Red Couch project

Robert Scoble: Announcing a corporate blogging book: the Red Couch project. [cut] Well, now that I've bought into what he was talking about I can reveal it was (Shel Israel) who was pitching me on doing a book about corporate blogging and how it will make your business more successful. [cut] Tonight, while at 41,000 feet in an airplane from Seattle to Oakland, it hit me: do the entire thing on the blogs.

Sat, 04 Dec 2004 17:13:53 GMT
Entirely Script

Today, I used a rare ASPX technique to convert most (all by days end) of the blogs iM hosting on the kbcafe domain to zero compiled binaries and 100% script. This will allow me to scale the service and bring other blogs online quickly. I already have a few friend who've asked. 

More done...

Sat, 04 Dec 2004 02:18:19 GMT
OPML validation

Received via email: I came across your opml validator. I had trouble getting it to accept a url for a local opml file... Is there a trick?

Randy: No trick. It's not possible. And a great idea. Thanks!

Sat, 04 Dec 2004 02:08:44 GMT

I'm downloading Nick Bradbury's FeedDemon. Review to come.

Review: Hmm! Don't get it. Obviously a lot of work went into writing this, but it's no more functional than Sauce Reader and none easier to use. I'm still using SharpReader and looking for something better.

Fri, 03 Dec 2004 00:00:16 GMT
Blogging is Huge

Steve Balmer: Blogging is huge. It brings together the three biggest Internet trends: communicating, sharing and socializing. It started with e-mail and instant messaging and music sharing, and it's getting bigger each day.

Scoble: So, Steve, when you gonna blog?

Thu, 02 Dec 2004 19:34:55 GMT
Posting APIs and MSN Spaces?
Dare Obasanjo: There is currently no support for any web service APIs for managing ones Space. I listed the problems with the current crop of blog posting APIs such as the Blogger API and MetaWeblog API in my post from a year and a half ago What's Wrong with the MetaWeblog API? .
Thu, 02 Dec 2004 19:28:02 GMT needs a rewrite

Dave Winer: With Typepad, MSN Spaces and Blogger and a gazillion other blogs pinging, the server, which is written in scripts, has met its match. [cut] What I don't want: Offers from companies to buy It's important that this resource stay independent.

Tim Bray: A pity, because a big company (like Sun, for example) already has the infrastructure to support this and wouldn’t even notice the bandwidth. And a pity because I already know how to write Apache modules and would like to learn Velocity.

Randy: This would be an awesome chance to start working together again. Dave, take Tim's round-about offer. It'll be a good platform for the service and it might be a place to start the healing.

Thu, 02 Dec 2004 19:23:56 GMT
Atom constructs are cool
Brent Simmons: Atom is more complex than RSS, yes—but...
Thu, 02 Dec 2004 18:14:28 GMT
2004 Weblog Award Polls
Weblog Awards: Polls are being added as fast as possible. All polls should be available by late afternoon (GMT -5). Polls close December 12, 2004.
Thu, 02 Dec 2004 16:33:33 GMT
MSN Blogbot
eWeek: MSN also is beta testing a service called MSN Blogbot, which is a blog-search service. According to sources, MSN is not quite ready to release the final version of MSN Blogbot. MSN Blogbot and its sister product, MSN Newsbot, also in beta, both rely on Moreover Technologies Inc.'s aggregation engines.
Thu, 02 Dec 2004 15:34:02 GMT
Blog is In the Dictionary
RSS Specifications: Defined by Meriam Webster - Blog noun (short for Weblog) : a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.
Thu, 02 Dec 2004 06:31:07 GMT
Why I blog
Dave Winer: I blog because I am addicted to blogging.
Thu, 02 Dec 2004 05:40:34 GMT
Not so thrilled with Orkut, Orkut sucks!

Chris Hammond: I signed up for Orkut back when it was first announced, thinking wow this could be cool. I hadn't really touched it since. Today I started playing around with it again. And all I can say so far is that Orkut Sucks. I keep getting the darn No Donut For You error. I pretty much have to do anything I want to do twice, first time I get an error, the second time it may actually go through. Orkut blows!

Randy: One donut for Chris. Today, it sucked bigger than ever. When I would submit a post, it would ask me to login again. Re-type the post and re-submit and it takes me to login again. Repeat. Same results. Sucks!

Thu, 02 Dec 2004 03:48:18 GMT
MSN Spaces Debuts

MSN: The MSN network of Internet services today introduced updates to its free communication services to make e-mail, instant messaging and online sharing easier and more personal for consumers. [cut] MSN Spaces enable consumers to easily display their pictures via a photo album slide show.

Souce: iBt4iM reader Robert Scoble.

Randy: My space is Geek Space.

Update: I can no longer connect to MSN Spaces. Unsure why.

Tony Gentile: Service didn't crash; still rolling out across the cluster and expected to be available at ~9PM PT tonight.

Update: It's back up!

Overall Review: This is a stepping stone compared to Wallop. I wonder how MSN Spaces and Wallop will work together.

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