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Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.
Permanent link to archive for Friday, July 14, 2006. Friday, July 14, 2006

PS: Don't forget to check out today's Rocketboom.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Scoble: "Sometimes I just want to read what Mike Arrington says and hell with the rest of you." Nice kiss-up! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Andrew Grumet is a River of News afficionado, but he comes at it from a different angle, calling it a "deletionless reading adventure." I forget that other reader models force the user to delete articles to get them out of the way. To me this is dissonant, why would I want to delete someone else's article. In fact I want to keep them all so I can search them. (Not that my aggregator allows that, maybe someday.) Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Kevin Marks says Technorati Favorites lets you search the feeds you've subscribed to.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

John Robb doesn't like River of News. He'll get no argument from me, in fact he gets a pointer.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

2/3/06: "Aggregator developers could sure use some competition!" Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Shuman Ghosemajumder, speaking on behalf of Google, says Eric Schmidt was quoted out of context re click fraud. I find this noteworthy because Google is (finally) using its blog to communicate about serious stuff.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

BBC: "Apple has ended its legal fight to make bloggers reveal who leaked secret information about its new products." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named harry.jpgI had dinner last night with an aide to a likely Presidential candidate. He said he'd prefer if I didn't use his name. That's okay with me. We talked about blogging and the presidency, of course. I said it's boring to have your candidate pretend to blog. I honestly don't care if he or she blogs. In fact, I said, if you want to make headlines, say that your candidate will not blog. We both had a good laugh. I think it's a pretty good idea. We had dinner at a Chinese restaurant on Solano Avenue. Here's a couple of pictures I took of the street before dinner. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Earthlink's feed reader is an important product Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named maynardGKrebs.gifThe job of a newspaper is to show you what's new.

Imagine a newspaper that got more and more clogged with old stuff every day, as every category of news accumulated all the old stories you didn't read, and showed them to you every time you looked, as if this time you might actually want to read a story that you didn't want to read the last 80 times you looked.

Your daily newspaper doesn't tell you that you haven't read 83,284 articles, why should your computer-based news tool?

Well, that's how most feed readers work, and it's just plain wrong. Your software should, instead, find the new stuff since the last time you looked and show you that first.

The first aggregator, the one I wrote in 1999, did. And so did the one that's in Radio UserLand, and so does the NewsRiver aggregator that's built into the OPML Editor. Until yesterday these were the only aggregators that worked this way. (To be fair there are developers who say theirs do, but I've never seen one that actually does.)

The irony is that this kind of reader is easier to develop than the ones that emulate mail programs. They are also far easier to use. This must seem counter-intuitive to the programmer's mind. They worry about the details of the user interface and miss the big picture, that the model for the software, is so utterly inefficient

It apparently seems counter-intuitive even to very smart users like Mike Arrington, who said "Neither are cutting edge," of the two new Earthlink tools. As much as I adore Mike, the Earthlink reader has the essential feature all others (except mine) are missing. They show you the new stuff first. You can't see how important that is with just one use. Go ahead and import your OPML and go back tomorrow, and the day after, and you'll see what a huge difference it makes to have the computer figure out what's new for you.

To the Earthlink people, I will sing your praises to anyone who will listen, but I ask one thing, that you not say that this is the first and only feed reader to work this way. In fact, as I explained above, the very first feed readers did.

A picture named river.jpgNote: The user interface is not optimal. Make the page much longer and the text smaller. You're not taking advantage of a key capability of the human brain, it scans very quickly as you scroll. I want all the new stories in an hour to fit on one page. Depend on the vertical scrollbar, and tighten up the display of each news item. And I don't need the list of feeds I subscribe to on the same page as the news. Reclaim the space, just link to the list of feeds. Cut the cord with the mail reader approach, it's wrong, have the courage to go all the way, you won't be sorry.


Last update: Friday, July 14, 2006 at 6:20 PM Eastern.

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