Link roundup

I find this stuff so you don’t have to:

Blogging – writing and reading

Inspired, as I often am, by Lloyd and his various experiments in reusing media, finding new ways to use old stuff, and continuing to prod at blogging as a medium.

Thanks to him, I’m drawn back to Tumblr. It strikes me that the follow and post model that Tumblr embodies harks back to the original blogging tools like Radio Userland that combine reading and posting, and facilitates the easy (b)logging of other people’s content.

It is a closed system of course, which is a bit of a bad thing, but tools like IFTTT can be used to ensure a local backup of content is stored somewhere. But it feels better than – say – Facebook, which really is another follow and post type system. As is Twitter, of course, albeit with greater limitations.

WordPress – at least in its .com incarnation – seems to be following Tumblr by enabling users to follow blogs within a dashboard. But with these platforms, you can only (I think) follow blogs within that platform. It would be nice to be able to pull content in from elsewhere too.

The separation between a reading application and a writing application – which happened when? 2003? – was an error, as it enabled platform players to provide that holistic experience, and there doesn’t seem to be an open equivalent, unless anyone else knows of one.

Link roundup

I find this stuff so you don’t have to:

Link roundup

I find this stuff so you don’t have to:

Link roundup

I find this stuff so you don’t have to:

Replacing Google Reader: and the winner is…

NewsBlur.

newblurlogoWhy did I choose NewsBlur? To be honest I don’t really know – it’s just that, after a little time of using it, NewBlur just felt right.

A few of the options that emerged once Google announced the closure of Reader were claiming to reinvent the RSS reader, as if the whole thing was broken. I never felt that it was. Reader worked rather nicely to for me, so I just wanted something that did something similar.

NewsBlur to me seemed to take RSS as seriously as I do – which isn’t very, I suppose, but maintains a healthy respect. I don’t want my RSS reader to be like Twitter, Facebook, or – heaven forfend! – Flipboard. I don’t want my RSS reader to be beautiful, or ‘delightful’ – I just want it to aggregate all the things I like reading in one place for me.

NewsBlur does have some extra bits, like commenting within the reader rather than on the original sites, which I’m not sure about (it’s hard enough to get people commenting on blogs as it is, these days!) and so won’t use. Also the sharing option seems to create a separate link blog, hosted by NewsBlur.

My previous sharing system just used the stars in Google Reader and IFTTT to ping links to Twitter and also to the roundup posts in this blog. I could do that in Reader by just pressing the ‘s’ key – super simple. Right now I have gone back to bookmarking links in Pinboard, which adds some time to the process which is a bit annoying. Maybe I could set this up in NewsBlur? If anyone has ideas, let me know.

What I’ve been reading

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Pinboard.

Drink! Feck! Girls! RSS!

The world it seems is full of blog posts about RSS – really simple syndication, for the non-dorks. Apparently it’s dead. Or dying. Or very much alive.

RSS is a standard for publishing the latest content on a site with regular updates – such as a news site, or a blog – in a machine readable form which can then be used by other sites or applications to republish it.

Here’s an example of the sort of panicky things people are saying:

If RSS isn’t saved now, if browser vendors don’t realise the potential of RSS to save users a whole bunch of time and make the web better for them, then the alternative is that I will have to have a Facebook account, or a Twitter account, or some such corporate-controlled identity, where I have to “Like” or “Follow” every website’s partner account that I’m interested in, and then have to deal with the privacy violations and problems related with corporate-owned identity owning a list of every website I’m interested in (and wanting to monetise that list), and they, and every website I’m interested in, knowing every other website I’m interested in following, and then I have to log in and check this corporate owned identity every day in order to find out what’s new on other websites, whilst I’m advertised to, because they are only interested in making the biggest and the best walled garden that I can’t leave.

Anyone still awake?

Here’s the thing for me: RSS cannot ‘die’ because it is a standard and not a service. Even if every website on the planet stopped producing an RSS feed, it wouldn’t die. It just wouldn’t be used much. There is no RSS corporation and so talking about its death is, well, exaggerated.

The other point is that this is a discussion about consumer use of RSS, which tends to be in the form of using an aggregator to pull in the latest content from all your favourite sites into one place. I use Google Reader to subscribe to about 750 sites, for instance.

I said ‘tends to’ but if I am honest a tiny number of people actually do this. Most get their links from Twitter or Facebook and by having bookmarks to their real favourites. Indeed, quite a few people who used to use an aggregator are now relying on social networks rather than managing their own list of feeds.

To this I respond, so what? People move on. I’m still in love with Google Reader, but there are plenty of others who are just as connected and up to speed as me (if not more so) who have given up. The world won’t end.

It’s also irrelevant for the future of RSS, which will continue to be an important part of the infastructure of the web. Lots of sites and applications use RSS feeds as the source of their content. This won’t end soon.

At the end of the day, RSS was never going to be a consumer technology, and it didn’t take off in the enterprise either. It just wasn’t good enough at tackling the issue of infobesity, and people have turned instead to using their friends and contacts on social networks as their filters.

Fair enough.

Update: Thanks to @baskers who pointed out I had missed the ‘Drink!’ out of the title originally.

Bookmarks for September 10th through September 14th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.