Sometimes I try to shake your world, other times (like now) I just go for a minor upgrade. A few weeks ago I was eating at a fine restaurant in Cambridge and saw Chicken Pot Pie on the menu. It had been years since I had one, so I ordered it. It was delicious. Every bit as good as I remembered. So when it got really cold last week I went to the supermarket and bought some, figuring that I'd have to bake them in the oven, which was okay because it was so cold and I was pretty lazy and didn't mind waiting for up to an hour to eat my delicious pot pie. Well, surprise surprise, they make them now so they can cook in ten minutes in a microwave. And they have an ingenious packaging thing so that the crust browns, almost as if it had been baked. The pies come out great. They cost about $3 and are really filling. Add a Diet Coke and you got a meal. Nothing earth shaking, but if even one person gets to eat some really good comfort food on a cold night, it was worth it.
One of the innovations flowing out the Share Your OPML site is the idea of reading lists. An expert in a given area puts together a set of feeds that you would subscribe to if you want a balanced flow of information on his or her topic of expertise. You let the expert subscribe to feeds on your behalf. I've gotten the first taste of what this is like by reading the aggregator page on the Share Your OPML site. As new sites come on the Top-100, as the aggregated interests of the community shift, I automatically start reading sites I wasn't reading before. I don't have to do anything. I like this. So at last Thursday's Berkman meeting I asked two of our regulars, Rick Heller and Jay McCarthy, to start doing these reading lists, and Rick is ready with what he calls a list of "political blogs that provide a balanced diet of liberal and conservative views." Now I have more work to do, to create a user interface that lets Rick edit his list at will, and presents an easy way for you to subscribe to his list so he can automatically subscribe you to new feeds (and unsubscribe you from others). The technology is not that hard, but it's essential, imho. Two comments. 1. I'm talking with other developers about building around this idea, so there will be another round of open formats and protocols building on RSS, OPML and XML-RPC; and 2. No patents.
The Command Post, another excellent political weblog, notes that Dean is slipping in New Hampshire.
QuickTime panoramic image from Mars.
Winners in the Bush in 30 Seconds contest are up.
BBC: "Hard drives have never been seen as sexy."
Scoble: "Why aren't we handing players to every single blogger in an attempt to get some buzz going for our side of the fence?"
You know what's always bothered me about Technorati? I don't care about millions of blogs. I'm going for quality not quantity. Sifry must think weblogs are like television. Shirky sure does. What is it about people with two-syllable names that begin with S and end with Y. I think I'm going to publish a law about this and go on the speaker's circuit. BTW, Shirky is speaking at Berkman on Thurs. I've asked for permission to webcast.
Lots of new pics, including a new baby, on the Pic Tuner page.
Greg Reinacker says his aggregator will continue to accept bad feeds. This may make his competitors look like idealistic dreamers for thinking it would serve users' interests if they spend more time designing and coding new features and less time working around bugs in content. With all due respect, I think Greg is wrong about users. They do care about quality. We're finally emerging from the period where users of RSS were uninformed, confused and dumb. This happens every time around the loop. At first the users don't understand how it works, then they figure it out, and they leave behind vendors who depend on them being confused. BTW, there's nothing that says that the aggregator vendors can't get their act together on all XML formats, not just new ones.
8/24/03: "It's better to insist on tight standards, so users can switch if they want to, for any reason; so that next year's feed will likely work with this year's aggregator, even if it doesn't dominate the market."
1/13/02: "It softens hands while you do the dishes."
Love Canal is a "neighbourhood in Niagara Falls, New York."
Patti Smith: "Baby was a black sheep, baby was a whore. You know she got big, well, she's gonna get bigger."
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