The RSS Blog
RSS, OPML and the XML platform.
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The RSS Blog
Sun, 29 Apr 2007 15:17:57 GMT
Poll RSS Top Thinking

As promised, here's the poll to determine who are the top RSS thinkers. Thanks for the nominations. Vote closes May 6th.

Top RSS Thinkers
Who do you think are the top RSS thinkers. That is, the people in the industry who've contributed the most to the RSS debate.

Nick Bradbury Rogers Cadenhead Dick Costolo
Adam Curry Matt Mullenweg Greg Reinacker
Steve Rubel Sam Ruby Robert Scoble
Brent Simmons The Users Dave Winer
Charlie Wood Jeremy Zawodny
Sat, 28 Apr 2007 03:32:37 GMT
RSS Thinkers

I thought it would be interesting to poll my users as to who they think are the top RSS thinkers. That is, people in the industry who've contributed the most to the RSS debate. Let's start by compiling a list and then I'll create a poll. Who else should be added to this list?

Sat, 28 Apr 2007 02:40:28 GMT
Planned Google Calendar Outage

Earlier this week, Google sent me the following email [extract only].

We wanted to inform you that we are planning to conduct routine maintenance to Google Calendar between 8AM and 9PM on Thursday, April 26th, 2007 .

I asked myself when is the last time Microsoft said that Outlook would have a 13 hour maintenance outage. Now, I don't use Outlook, but I can't imagine big corporations viewing Google's planned outage email and not locking into Outlook and Exchange for another 5 years.

Thu, 26 Apr 2007 14:03:29 GMT
I Give Up on Twitter

twitterI'm finally giving up on Twitter. I never got it and the constant bugs have driven me off the cliff. When I first signed up, I wanted to get the twitter messages on my phone, but for the longest time, I never received any messages at all. I then switched to Gtalk and that seemed to work, although with bugs (duplicates, missing). I then tried SMS again and nothing happened for a day. I switched back to Gtalk and it worked again. Twenty-four hours after I should've received the SMS's, they started to trickle in. Today, I can't post with Gtalk either. Are people really having better successes? Or are you guys simply very tolerant of all the bugs?

Thu, 26 Apr 2007 13:30:39 GMT
Blogger is Broken

Scott Kingery has been complaining about Blogger being broken for quite awhile. In particular, he mentions that Blogspot blogs were still working, but self hosted blogs are not. There's a lot of angry people on the Blogger Help Google Group. Fed up with the lengthy outage, Scott has dropped Blogger and is now hosting using Wordpress.

Thu, 26 Apr 2007 02:33:59 GMT
Rmail to NBC

For those that haven't heard yet, I sold Rmail to NBC.

Wed, 25 Apr 2007 12:04:28 GMT
Cisco's Social Network

I just got an email from Mark Pincus, founder of, where he discusses some recent changes at Tribe, including the following...

we sold the software to Cisco and most of the engineering team went along with the deal to reduce overhead.

I guess we can expect something from Cisco in our future. Tribe was one of the first online social networks, but has struggled in recent years. I can only assume with less engineers, new features aren't in the pipelines and bug-downtown will increase.

Tue, 24 Apr 2007 15:42:45 GMT
RSS in plain English

There's an awesome video making the rounds that tries to explain RSS for non-geeks. RSS in plain English instead of 1337. It's begging for some Digging.

Tue, 24 Apr 2007 15:28:31 GMT
Bloggers and Podcasters Magazine

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketBloggers (and podcasters) now have their own magazine called Bloggers and Podcasters. With the Scobleizer on the cover of the first issue. The magazine has the required blog.

Tue, 24 Apr 2007 13:17:11 GMT
Viacom vs. Google

Andy Beal is asking if Viacom has a vendetta against Google. As I read this, here is what I came up with.

I'm betting there are more dots to connect, but clearly these guys should be getting along.

Sat, 21 Apr 2007 16:28:21 GMT
Don't be a Twit

Using Twitter and subbing to more than a handful of people creates a lot of noise. So much, that I have to sub some twits. Here are some reasons why I would be unsubbing your twittering.

Fri, 20 Apr 2007 03:32:26 GMT
AJAX Feed API Experiment

I'm really thinking there's some great opportunity in Google's new AJAX Feed API. If you have a webpage that is a little thin on content, then you can use this service to add a little sidebar content. Let's go thru the steps of creating a bit of content using the API.

  1. Get an API key. Start by signing up and agreeing to the terms of use. This will give you an API key for use only with your website or blogsite. The key for is ABQIAAAAAZAuqPpFrGeqNPBaRfnITxTW_YhViUY2BmmapWxnImsMBV7_XxQkg7DpGOrCCwM_GPvj50MfOhc9sg.
  2. Google will suggest some sample code. Cut that code and replace the feed URL with one of your chosing. Here's the code I get once I remove all the fluff and replace the feed URL. I chose the RSS feed for the rss-public mailing list.

    <script type="text/javascript" src=" ABQIAAAAAZAuqPpFrGeqNPBaRfnITxTW_YhViUY2BmmapWxnImsMBV7_XxQkg7DpGOrCCwM_GPvj50MfOhc9sg"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript">
    google.load("feeds", "1");
    function initialize() {
      var feed = new google.feeds.Feed("");
      feed.load(function(result) {
        if (!result.error) {
          var container = document.getElementById("rsspublic");
          for (var i = 0; i < result.feed.entries.length; i++) {
            var entry = result.feed.entries[i];
            var div = document.createElement("div");
    <div id="rsspublic" style='border: thick solid orange;'></div>

Now, let's paste this into the blog entry

Note that you don't actually get all the entries.  This is because you're not actually pulling the real RSS feed, but rather the version in the Google feed cache. In this case, I'm assuming that the Google does not cache older entries.

A pretty basic sample and very easy. Throw in a bit of formatting styles and you've got yourself some sidebar content.

Fri, 20 Apr 2007 02:09:08 GMT
MySpace News, Digg Killer!

The big blogosphere news of the day is that MySpace has released a Digg-like application called MySpace News. I'm gonna have to agree with Pete Cashmore and say it Kinda Sucks!

The bad...

The good...

Around the blogosphere...

I think there's concensus that this isn't impressive.

Thu, 19 Apr 2007 20:45:54 GMT
The RSS Bus!

Have you noticed that everybody is jumping on the RSS bus lately?

The RSS Bus!
Originally uploaded by pheezy.

Thu, 19 Apr 2007 16:30:34 GMT Broken?

deliciousWhenever I try to post new links to, I get this same error.

Another great startup killed by Yahoo!?

Update: Joshua Schachter told me it was a temporary database issue. It seems to be fixed now!

Wed, 18 Apr 2007 18:11:30 GMT
Google AJAX Feed API

Google has created an AJAX accessible feed cache called the Google AJAX Feed API. I've gotta figure out what Google's business angle on this is. It looks like they are simply trying to be good citizens. This is an extraordinary service that could be used to create an AJAX-based RSS reader like Google Reader without having to worry about the details of fetching feeds. Very cool!

Tue, 17 Apr 2007 01:26:55 GMT
Irrational Exuberance 2.0

Steve Rubel thinks that Web 2.0 is now out-of-control and is predicting a downturn.

Once the economy tightens - and it will, the Web 2.0 economy will cave and there will be a healthy shakeout.

Mon, 16 Apr 2007 16:16:44 GMT
xhtml:meta in RSS

Rogers Cadenhead points us to an interesting RSS extension introduced by Yahoo! Simply add the <xhtml:meta> element to control how Yahoo! indexes your feed. I assume this element is added as a child of the <channel> element.

<meta xmlns="" name="robots" content="noindex" />

Update: Sam Ruby has pointed to two more means of accomplishing the same with Bloglines and Google/LiveJournal.

To prevent Bloglines from indexing your feed, you can use...

<access:restriction xmlns:access="" relationship="deny" />

For Google and LiveJournal, you can use...

<indexing:index="no"  xmlns:indexing="urn:atom-extension:indexing" />

This is likely a good opportunity for the RSS Advisory Board to bring consensus.

Mon, 16 Apr 2007 14:35:23 GMT
One or Two-Way Conversations

Kent Newsome brings up a concern with Twitter that is pervasive in the blogosphere. Many conversations are one-way. He's also suggested that he'll unsub any twits that don't appear to be listening to him. I ask why this isn't happening in the blogosphere? Why do people persistently link to a-listers, who thru no fault of their own, don't have the time to respond to everybody. The blogosphere and twitter is about two-way conversations. Persistently linking to the same a-lister for that once-a-month or two return link is not a conversation. Kent has some great advice. Start talking with people that are listening to you.

Mon, 16 Apr 2007 03:08:43 GMT

I'm moving The RSS Blog to a new location. Instead of a subfolder on, it now has its own domain. There may be problems at first, please report them to me. All the archived items will remain on kbcafe and only new entries will be here.

Mon, 16 Apr 2007 00:30:47 GMT
Sunday, April 15, 2007

Elias Torres » Blog Archive » PHP Atom Library (phpatomlib) release

Instiki and Atom | Musings

Chris Dent, 2007-04-14 / Socialtext Open Source Wiki

Re: Interop -- change of plans

April2007Interop - Atom Wiki

Sam Ruby: Atomania

Update on RSS spec site (Scripting News)

Posted with Rmail R|mail.
Sun, 15 Apr 2007 19:41:43 GMT
AOL Uses FeedBurner to Serve Feeds
AOL has begun using FeedBurner to publish and manage its RSS feeds. "We'll be providing AOL with detailed analytics about how its content is consumed beyond the AOL Web site -- such as within widgets, in feed readers and on blogs -- to help...
Link - Comments - Sun, 15 Apr 2007 12:24:21 GMT - Feed (9 subs)
Posted with Rmail R|mail.
Sun, 15 Apr 2007 00:59:49 GMT
Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sam Ruby: Feed Validator Source Moving

The MyBlogLog Blog: Trying out Twitter

Suggest a Gmail Feature
How about not sending emails to the SPAMbox when its from someone in my contact list?

MyBlogLog To Remove Animated Avatars

home | RSS MAD

HOW TO: Getting Started with RSS -

Posted with Rmail R|mail.
Sat, 14 Apr 2007 03:16:17 GMT
Friday, April 13, 2007 » Blog Archive » aol and feedburner…
Tags: » Blog Archive » feedburner takes new york…

Posted with Rmail R|mail.
Fri, 13 Apr 2007 20:41:32 GMT
FeedBurner Does AOL
FeedBurner has announced a deal with AOL. I'd like to welcome corporate America to RSS. And congrats to Dick, Eric and team.
Fri, 13 Apr 2007 20:30:05 GMT

Dave Winer has created a new static version of Harvard's RSS website.

Fri, 13 Apr 2007 14:48:58 GMT
The Micro Killer Apps

Henry Story on micro-killer apps...

Web 2.0 is all about micro killer apps. These are killer apps that are so simple its difficult to explain them to people. Each one of them does one tiny little thing very well. does bookmarking right. flickr does photo sharing and tagging. RSS/Atom helps keep track of changes to resources. Small is beautiful.

Henry is 99% correct. Web 2.0 IS about micro killer apps. I disagree that and flickr remain micro killer apps. They were micro killer apps. Now they are just micro apps killed by Yahoo! The set of micro killer apps is going to be in constant flux. MySpace and YouTube were also in that set. Today, MySpace is a cash cow and YouTube is no longer micro. Twitter is the newest Web 2.0 startup in that set.

Fri, 13 Apr 2007 14:16:14 GMT
Link Blogs on Twitter

Somebody pumped Scoble's link blog into a Twitter profile. Now you can get Scoble's linkblog on your phone or IM. That's a pretty cool user mashup.

Fri, 13 Apr 2007 03:57:55 GMT
Thursday, April 12, 2007

The MyBlogLog Blog: MyBlogLog is relevant once again
They're back!

Library clips :: Someone is in my Twitter!! :: April :: 2007
John noticed additional bugs in Twitter.

Posted with Rmail R|mail.
Thu, 12 Apr 2007 21:35:28 GMT
Special HTTP Status Response for RSS

Last week, I blogged about Sam Ruby's trouble with RSS clients that keep requesting his old feed. Most of the response was WTF? Most developers didn't understand. I thought it was time that I went over this issue in order to disseminate this knowledge. When processing RSS requests, their are two HTTP responses which have special meaning that affect the life-cycle of the feed.

  1. The first is an HTTP 301 Permanent Redirect. When a client receives this type of response, he should update his database with the newly return redirect URL. A sample and minimal HTTP 301 response follows.

    HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
    In some case, the client software may want to prompt the user to confirm if this action is acceptable or if it should be ignored. In any case, the client should redirect to the new location.
  2. The second is an HTTP 410 Gone response. When a client receives this type of response, he should remove the feed from his polling schedule. A sample and minimal HTTP 410 response follows.

    HTTP/1.1 410 Gone
    Again, the client software may want to prompt the user to confirm the feed removal.
Thu, 12 Apr 2007 21:10:07 GMT
Digg This Javascript

Today, I added the Digg This javascript widget to compliment the existing one. The script is quite simple. Hope you like it!

 <script src="" type="text/javascript"></script>

Thu, 12 Apr 2007 13:44:03 GMT
More Technorati Problems
I just discovered that Technorati stopped indexing content for The RSS Blog 3 days ago, even though its says updated only 8 hours ago. Checking my other blogs and its not unique to this blog. iBLOGthere4iM hasn't been indexed in 6 days. This is a too often recurring problem.
Thu, 12 Apr 2007 13:29:33 GMT
Authority Widget

Technorati has a new widget that displays your blogs authority. Sample below.

 View blog authority

The number is actually the number of blogs that link to you.

Thu, 12 Apr 2007 13:24:37 GMT
Technorati Busy PersonalBee

Technorati announced they have acquired PersonalBee.

Thu, 12 Apr 2007 04:45:00 GMT

LOL: Library of Links: Tools: RSS via eMail

Library clips :: Twitter word bursts: Twitterverse, Twitterzone, TwitterSearch, ZoomCloud :: April :: 2007

MySpace Blocks Photobucket Videos, Drifts Further From Its Roots ¦ Online Media Cultist

TechBrew : Finding the Oh! in Web 2.0

Desktop RSS News Readers for Linux at Digital Inspiration

WordPress and Text-Link Ad Publishers | Alpesh Nakars’ Blogosphere

RSS Buttons for Your Blog from TopRank Online Marketing Blog

Posted with Rmail R|mail.
Thu, 12 Apr 2007 02:54:23 GMT
Twitter Micro-Content

I noticed today that twitter is creating an enormous amount of micro-content. Check this page. I don't see any reason why they couldn't ad some advertising to this micro-content later. All of this could be indexed by Google and generate a large number of referrers. Not the greatest business model, but could work.

BTW, I finally got some SMS from Twitter. Unfortunately they were 24 hours delayed. The SMS that I shoulda received yesterday arrived today.

And of course, Kent Newsome is having trouble w/ LiveWriter to Blogger.

Update: Someone replied to this comment with a private email saying "the reason your sms was delayed is probably your network provider's  (a.k.a., phone company) gift to you..." But I get SMSes all the time and they usually arrive immediately.

Wed, 11 Apr 2007 19:15:32 GMT
RSS Reader for AppleTV Released
Twenty08 has released a plugin for AppleTV that reads RSS feeds. Support for Atom and video feeds is still on the to-do list.
Link - Comments - Wed, 11 Apr 2007 08:15:46 GMT - Feed (6 subs)
Posted with Rmail R|mail.
Wed, 11 Apr 2007 18:24:33 GMT
BubbleShare's Walled Garden

I just noticed that BubbleShare has dropped the easy upload model that made the service popular. Now, you have to login to upload and share pictures.

Disclosure: I was the original Development Manager at BubbleShare and was a big pusher of the EASY model.

Wed, 11 Apr 2007 17:44:26 GMT
No Twitter-2-Phone

I've had twitter forwarding to my phone for the last 24 hours and I have yet to receive an SMS from them, even though I've clearly got lots of blurbs. I'm going to re-enable GTalk, since I get at least some of the blurbs there.

Wed, 11 Apr 2007 14:48:44 GMT RSS

Rok Hrastnik points us to two new RSS services by Amazon. They now offer RSS feeds for product discussion forums and customer reviews by author.

Wed, 11 Apr 2007 14:13:34 GMT
Top Web 2.0 Bloggers

I thought it might be interesting if I just list my top Web 2.0 bloggers. That's the people that I think write the best material on the Web 2.0 thingy. Note, I said bloggers and not blogs. Some of these guys share blogs with other bloggers. I'm specifically referring to their posts. The list is seven thirteen, that's because I found that many worthy. Feel free to leave a comment as to what other Web 2.0 bloggers you feel are worthy (no, not him).

  1. Richard MacManus (his blog was much better when it was him)
  2. Marshall Kirkpatrick (he was the author that made TechCrunch great)
  3. Mark Woodman (lesser known, but great)
  4. John Tropea (this guy loves OPML)
  5. Steve Rubel (he's not even a techie)
  6. Robert Scoble (needs an edge)
  7. Darren Rowse (most webvertising)
  8. Hugh MacLeod (the funny guy)
  9. Jon Udel (he was the best in 2005)
  10. Amit Agarwal (too many ads, but still great)
  11. Anne van Kesteren (on the technical side)
  12. Dave Winer (just don't argue with him)
  13. Rok Hrastnik (this guy needs to break out on his own)
Wed, 11 Apr 2007 13:17:20 GMT
MySpace blocks Photobucket

According to the Photobucket blog, all photobucket widgets are now being blocked by MySpace. We haven't heard yet why MySpace made this move. This could be an evil play to get Photobucket users to switch to MySpace. How loud can you say evil? MySpace might also suggest that Photobucket has a lot of copyright-violating images and video. In the meanwhile, if you edit your MySpace profile, then when you save, all your photobucket widgets will get removed.

If you hear the whys from MySpace, then please post them here.

Robert Scoble thinks its in MySpace's right to block Photobucket. He's correct. But pissing off users isn't a great strategy for a consumer Web 2.0 startup.

Snipperoo calls it Widget Wars. Of course, Snipperoo is in the business of widgets and I'm sure they feel targeted.

Om Malik reminds us that this isn't a first.

Jason Chervokas points out that Photobucket images remain unblocked. It's only the videos.

StartupSquad repeats my suggestion that this might be an attempt to resolve copyright issues. They seem to have tried to post multiple videos to MySpace. Those that were copyright violations did not work. Those that were not copyright violations did work.

Todd Watson points out that the About Us webpage for MySpace says that "you can share photos, journals and interests." Note the absense of videos.

Greg Sterling says that this Web 1.0 attitude means MySpace is not a "Web 2.0" company.

Duncan Riley wonders if Photobucket is "screwed, or just plain screwed over." That is, can they survive without MySpace traffic?

Wed, 11 Apr 2007 04:17:52 GMT

MarketingSherpa: Special Report: How to Buy RSS Ads - Formats, Pricing & Response Rates

Posted with Rmail R|mail.
Tue, 10 Apr 2007 16:01:25 GMT
Twitter of Bugs

I'm really amazed that people speak so highly of Twitter. I've been using it for the last week or two and I've noticed that it doesn't work more often than it does. Points:

Maybe it's just a bad week, but Twitter seems completely unreliable to this user.

Update: Also, I've never yet receive a twitter blurb on my cell phone via SMS. Only via Gtalk.

Tue, 10 Apr 2007 03:23:27 GMT

UserLand Product News: UserLand Product News

The Shifted Librarian: More Thoughts on Twitter

Twitter Friends
My twitter name is randymorin. Add me!

Posted with Rmail R|mail.
Tue, 10 Apr 2007 00:48:45 GMT
What Twitter Channel are You ON?
I finally started getting twitter messages today. Why? Because I subbed Scoble, Jason and truejerseygirl. Meanwhile, some of my older subs, Luciano and Dave, continue to twitter, but I never get their messages. It's like there on two different channels (servers) and one is just static.
Tue, 10 Apr 2007 00:20:56 GMT
Tips on RSS AutoDiscovery

Top tips for implement RSS auto-discovery on your blog, your blogging system or your RSS client.

  1. Read the spec.
  2. See #1 above.
Mon, 09 Apr 2007 17:40:45 GMT

One of the most effective ways of getting your blog indexed is to ping a site called Just recently, I added ping code to some new blogs and within moments Technorati was indexing these blogs like mad. Proof positive that Technorati is still using to find updated blogs. There are two ways of pinging the ping service. You can use a simple REST-like interface or an XML-RPC interface. The XML-RPC interface is slightly complex, so I've always opted for the simpler REST-list interface, but I'll describe both here.


The XML-RPC interface involves posting a small XML fragment to a specific URI. The URI is A sample XML fragment is shown.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<param><value>The RSS Blog</value></param>

There is also an extended ping with three additional parameters, one of which is optional. The first parameter is the address of the webpage that has been updated, the second parameter is the address of your RSS feed and the third parameter is a delimited list of categories related to your blog. A sample XML fragment for the request follows.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<param><value>The RSS Blog</value></param>

The response will be another XML-RPC package that contains an error code and message.

<?xml version="1.0"?>  
<member><name>message</name><value>Thanks for the ping.</value></member>

An flerror value of 0 indicates there was not error. If the value is not 0, then it should be 1 and the message parameter will contain details of the failure.

REST-like Ping

Although the XML-RPC ping is only slightly complicated, I prefer to use the REST-list ping because it is trivial. In this case, you execute a very simple HTTP GET or HTTP POST request with two required parameters and one optional one. The first parameter is the name of the blog that has been updated. The second is the url of the blog's homepage. The third and only optional parameter is the address of the blog's RSS feed. Sample shown with only the two required parameters. ?name=The+RSS+Blog &

You can also simply enter this URL in a web browser's address bar to accomplish the same. Sample C# code follows.

Uri pingUri = new Uri( string.Format ("{0}&url={1}&changesURL={2}",
   UrlEncode(title), UrlEncode(link), UrlEncode(rss)));
WebRequest request = WebRequest.Create(pingUri.AbsoluteUri);

Google Blog Search

I did notice that these same blogs were not appearing in Google blog search yet. I thought at one point Google was using to populate its database, but I assume that has stopped. The REST-like code above will also work for pinging Google Blog Search, but the formatted string changes slightly and takes only one parameter, the address of the RSS feed.

Uri pingUri = new Uri( string.Format("{0}",

Other Ping Services

There are many other ping services, but the vast majority of them have very few users and many of them simply don't work. If the ping above doesn't get you indexed by Technorati, then you might consider their XML-RPC ping interface.

Mon, 09 Apr 2007 05:34:17 GMT

Geni is worth its $100M valuation

Posted with Rmail R|mail.
Mon, 09 Apr 2007 04:40:54 GMT
RSS is Awesome!

This guy is pretty excited about RSS.

Sun, 08 Apr 2007 17:53:24 GMT
Polling RSS

Continuation in a series of explanatory blog entries on RSS, today I wanted to explain how conventional RSS polling works.

Not Push

Remember first that RSS is not push. It's polling. The conventional way of implementing alert technology is via push because experience has taught us that push scales more effectively than polling. There were several attempts to create pushing protocols on the Internet, but they failed because network administrators were blocking incoming Internet connections to combat viruses. This is why RSS became so popular, because it broke thru the firewalls by using polling. Finally, we had alerts on the Internet.

Once an Hour

Nobody ever told us how often to poll an RSS feed, but most of the original RSS readers polled the feeds by default once every hour. This convention has persisted and even today many RSS aggregators continue to poll feeds once per hour. Based on my own evidence, the average RSS reader polls a feed about eight times per day. Why not 24 times? Because many RSS clients are native and only poll when the user is logged-on or even active.


Beyond the once an hour rule, RSS does have a few elements that give the readers hints about when they should be polled. The first such hint was <ttl>. This was originally put into RSS in order to accommodate peer-to-peer clients like Morpheus. The idea was that the RSS feed could live in a P2P network for seconds equal to the <ttl> before it is re-fetched from source. Unfortunately, RSS never took off in the P2P world and P2P itself has struggled to stay alive. Some publishers and aggregators have started to use <ttl> as the default polling interval in place of the 1 hour default. In fact, aggregators that cache feeds on behalf of many readers should always respect the <ttl> as a ceiling for how long they are allowed to cache the feed before refreshing.

skipHours and skipDays

Two other elements that affect how often a feed is polled are skipHours and skipDays. Unfortunately, these elements are rarely implemented or respected. Their application is obvious, but there are holes in the implementation. Theses element will contain a list of <day> and <hour> elements when RSS client should avoid taxing the source will excessive polls. The issues behind the elements are too confusing to be covered in this blog entry. I'll discuss them later in a separate entry. Just remember, these elements are rarely used or respected, so I would worry too much about implementing it perfectly in your own RSS application.

The last method that I'll discuss here was a key part of the early blogosphere. A website was created by Dave Winer that aggregates data of which blogs were recently updated. The website is called Millions of blogs and RSS feeds are pinging this website each and every time they are updated. An aggregator that is polling a lot of feeds should pull the shortChanges.xml file on this website to determine which blogs have been recently updated. You can poll this file about once every 5 minutes for best results. The shortChanges file will contain a list of blogs that have been updated in the last 5 minutes. You can also pull the changes.xml file on this website once every hour. This changes file contains a list of blogs that have been updated in the last hour.

If you are writing a RSS aggregator, then I hope you'll take advantage of these techniques to better your polling behavior and reduce your bandwidth. Now go code something.

Sun, 08 Apr 2007 03:20:53 GMT

Why I'm Not Buying Twitter
Kent has some agreeable reason why Twitter is a fad.

Posted with Rmail R|mail.
Sat, 07 Apr 2007 19:53:50 GMT
Update on

I configured the DNS and setup the Web server. Now, it's a matter of porting the data. Almost there.

Sat, 07 Apr 2007 19:49:31 GMT
When is an RSS item New?

This last week, I pointed to some flawed thinking about RSS. In particular, about how to determine if an <item> in an RSS feed is new content. Today, I realized that I pointed to the flaw, but didn't tell you how to do it better. The author suggested using <pubDate> as an indicator of new content. Of course, this doesn't always work as some RSS items update their pubDate when the item is modified. The best approach is to use the <guid> element, but even the guid element is optional. With all these optional fields and with RSS 1.0 and multiple version of Atom to worry about, just what is a developer to do? What I did was write a small little function that either returns the guid from an RSS item, or derives one from the remaining content. The algorithm is really simple, this is Really Simple Syndication. Here's the pseudo code:

if (exist(item.guid)) return item.guid.text;
if (exist( return;
if (exist(item.pubDate)) return item.pubDate.text;
if (exist(item.title)) return item.title.text;
if (exist(item.description)) return hash(item.description.text);
if (exist( return;
if (exist( return;
if (exist( return;

Since an RSS item must have at least one of <link>, <title> and <description>, you can always derive a unique id for RSS feeds. Now it's simply a matter of comparing the result of this function to the results of previously sent items and you know if this item is new content or not.

Please leave a comment, if you have ideas on how to make this better. I'm gonna try to write more information articles like this one going forward.

Fri, 06 Apr 2007 15:19:57 GMT
Tracking the Meme

Michael Jensen is tracking the Why I Blog meme. By doing it manually, he was best capable of putting the tree back together. This is something that is missing from meme site like TechMeme, which simply put Robert Scoble at the top (or whatever other a-lister) and don't get to the root of the conversation.

Fri, 06 Apr 2007 00:10:45 GMT
Thursday, April 05, 2007

Twitter API news (Scripting News)

API Documentation - Twitter Development Talk | Google Groups

FeedBlendr - blending RSS, Atom and RDF feeds into a single river of news!

Radar Networks
Scoble says he finally gets semantic web because of they guys.

GeoRSS Home

Posted with Rmail R|mail.
Thu, 05 Apr 2007 19:33:29 GMT

I acquired a new domain where I'll be hosting this blog at some point in the future.

Thu, 05 Apr 2007 17:27:11 GMT
The State of the Live Web

Dave Sifry published his State of the Blogosphere report, which he now calls State of the Live Web. Highlights:

Thu, 05 Apr 2007 15:43:45 GMT
Google My Maps
Wow! I'm just checking out Google My Maps. This is awesome! I created a simple map of the University of Windsor with a couple quips of my life there. No programming required, all drag and drop. Also, Philipp Lenssen figured out how to zoom beyond the capabilities of Google Maps UI.
Thu, 05 Apr 2007 14:23:34 GMT
410 Still Gone

Sam Ruby has been responding to RSS requests with permanent redirects and gone statuses for a year. It appears nobody is listening. My Rmail code worked. Hundreds of Google Reader users are being denied Sam's wit. Anybody working at Google should send this document to the Google Reader product manager. Or for that matter, send it to all RSS developers.

Thu, 05 Apr 2007 14:13:05 GMT
Julien Griere made his CV look like an RSS landing page :-)
Thu, 05 Apr 2007 01:15:51 GMT
Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Library clips :: Anothr : IM RSS Reader :: April :: 2007

Posted with Rmail R|mail.
Thu, 05 Apr 2007 00:35:24 GMT
Misunderstanding RSS

Alex Iskold at Read/WriteWeb brings up several misunderstandings of what RSS is in his article today called The Future of RSS. I want to point out these flaws and misunderstandings so that people don't make the same mistakes Alex made. Let's start with the basics. The RSS that he presents is invalid. In fact, if you try to validate it, then you don't get much of a response other than this is not RSS.

  <description>Web Technology news, reviews and analysis</description>
  <lastBuildDate>Mon, 02 Apr 2007 15:23:01 -0800</lastBuildDate>

    <title>Morfik Patents AJAX Compiler</title>
    <description>Morfik Patents AJAX Compiler...</description>
    <pubDate>Mon, 02 Apr 2007 15:23:01 -0800</pubDate>
    <author>Richard MacManus</author>

    <title>EMI Music DRM-free</title>
    <description>Morfik Patents AJAX Compiler...</description>
    <pubDate>Mon, 02 Apr 2007 15:23:01 -0800</pubDate>
    <author>Richard MacManus</author>


He made two mistakes in writing this sample RSS. First, he forgot to wrap the RSS in the root <rss> element. Further, he uses the <author> element inappropriately. The <author> element must be an email address. It could be of the form <author></author> or <author> (Randy Charles Morin)</author>, but it cannot be simply the author's name. If you want to put the author's name without an email address, then you should use the Dublin Core creator element (sample shown).

      <dc:creator xmlns:dc="">Richard MacManus</dc:creator>

I rewrote his RSS using proper semantics. You can download it here. But even this version lacks the recommended <guid> element. That's not so much an error, but it makes your RSS less useful, as you'll see later.

Alex also makes a lot of common mis-statement about RSS. Let's address each.

pubDate Does Not Indicate New Content

Alex says:

 The on-demand aspect of RSS is enabled by two timestamps - the lastBuildDate in the channel indicates the last time this channel changed, while the pubDate of the item indicates when the item was published. RSS aggregators (a.k.a. RSS readers) take advantage of these timestamps to decide when new content is available.

I'm sure many RSS aggregators use the pubDate to determine new content, but this is incorrect. For instance, an item could be re-published and the pubDate may move forward. This does not make it new content. RSS aggregators should be using the <guid> element to determine if an item is new content. Remember that missing element I mentionned earlier. In the case where this element is missing, RSS aggregators use a variety of techniques to determine which elements are new. Some use the pubDate, but that element is also optional and is not always present. Some use the title, again, it's optional too. Regardless, when a <guid> is present, it's the only valid element that should be used to determine if there is new content.

RSS is Not Push

Alex says:

RSS is basically a filtered push - the user subscribes (pulls in) to channels that he/she likes, and after that content is delivered automatically.

RSS is not push and it's surely not filtered push. RSS is actually based on polling, not push technology. Further, filtered push is where items are filtered based on some sort of preferences and pushed. I don't see what this has to do with RSS.

RSS Can't Do Everything

Alex says:

Suppose your bank wants to deliver you statements in RSS instead of email. However if you use RSS as it is today, then the bank statements would need to be encoded in HTML - meaning no financial application would be able to manipulate the data. When your Quicken software connects to the bank, the information gets downloaded in a structured format. But with RSS, it is simply not possible currently - because there is no way to describe bank transactions using standard RSS.

What he is saying is that you cannot transmit banking information to banking software using RSS without using an extension. This is not actually true. You could easily use microformats to do this. But what is really puzzling about this statement is why do you need RSS as an envelop for financial data in the first place. We have OFX, which predates RSS and works just fine. RSS can't be expected to do everything. Not that it can't. You can also use RSS as an envelop for OFX, but why not just use OFX? I don't expect my dishwasher to do the laundry, even if it can.

Wed, 04 Apr 2007 00:40:41 GMT
Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Top Reasons to use LinkedIn ~ Chris Pirillo

Posted with Rmail R|mail.
Tue, 03 Apr 2007 21:16:16 GMT
Twitter Report

I've been testing Twitter this week. I set it up to ping my cell phone (SMS) and GTalk. Twitter confirmed both setups, but I've yet to receive any updates. Anybody know what I might be doing wrong, as it does not appear to work.

Tue, 03 Apr 2007 14:32:51 GMT
Which Blog Search Engine is Better

Robert Scoble is asking Which blogosphere search engine is now better? I think we mostly agree that it's either Technorati or Google Blog Search. But which? I guess that depends on what you want in a blog search engine. I search quite often for people that are liking to me.

Both have a porn blog listed on Blogspot listed as my most recent referrer. Frustrating! At the moment, Google is giving me better results in terms of actual non-splog non-porn referrers. Google is always faster; sub-second versus Technorati which takes 1 to 15 seconds, sometimes more.

Tue, 03 Apr 2007 14:30:57 GMT
The State of Technorati, April 2007

David Sifry showed us the numbers behind Technorati. They are still growing; pageviews are up 141% in the last quarter. Congrats!

Tue, 03 Apr 2007 00:14:59 GMT
Monday, April 02, 2007

Royal Pingdom » Downtime in 2007 for the 20 most popular websites

Posted with Rmail R|mail.
Sun, 01 Apr 2007 20:42:50 GMT
Blogging was an April Fools Joke
Ten years ago today, Dave Winer invented the greatest April Fools joke ever. Blogging! Thanks Dave for introducing us to this completely pointless activity that fills the empty of our lives ;-)
Sun, 01 Apr 2007 15:17:46 GMT
Harvard's RSS 2.1

As part of Dave Winer's effort to bring sanity to Harvard's RSS website, he has added a namespace to Harvard's RSS. The namespace was required in order to host a copy of the RSS spec on an Apache server. In order to comply with this latest version of RSS, you put all the RSS elements in the namespace Sample shown...

<rss xmlns='' version='2.1'>

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