Google news in ATOM and RSS

Dave Winer takes a look at Google News support for Atom and RSS feeds of their categories and reaches a different conclusion than I do. I've greedily subscribed to the Google News feeds and dropped several others. The problem is that with popular stories where the BBC, New York Times, Washington Post and everybody else covers the same story it ends up in my aggregator many times.

There are places where I'd like to see the individual feeds from different sources and compare them. But as a part of my stable of information consumption having Google concatenate several stories about a topic into a single post is a huge help. This is not to say I'll give up reading the feeds from some of these other great publications all together. Rather, in my scan of the up-to-the-minute happenings around the world and what matters most in my corner of it the Google News Feeds are a huge help. More editors!

Another reason for plain text pages

Looking through Google's AdSense alternate ad specs gives yet another reason for yesterday's plain text node type. It also brings clarity to a portion of the need. The output needs to be served up, unfettered, but needs to include the ability to do PHP in generating the output. In the case of AdSense it would allow for various ads to replace the public service ads on a Drupal site if the author so desired.

Which brings me to the next item. For some reason Google has decided this page deserves only public service ads. Well not really but when accessing it only gets public service ads. Go to instead and the regular ads appear. Odd.

Cnet blog skips the facts

A blog post by John Borland at C|Net's Apple Blog goes light on the facts to try and take a swipe at Apple.

The post, incorrectly, states that Apple defines blogs as "A weblog: blogs run by twenty-something Americans with at least an unhealthy interest in computers."

There are just two problems with this. First it's the Oxford American Dictionary not Apple who comes up with the definitions. Second it's not a definition but an example given of how the word can be used.

But why let the facts get in the way of a false story.

Anoymous blogging

There are several folks I know who are blogging anonymously or with pseudonyms. One former colleague who has since moved on wrote in their blog that it was a new start in another place because colleagues were reading what was written. With the desire of some folks to blog anonymously or with pseudonyms, here are a few tips:

  • Don't use your email address: If your email address on every system you get one on is joesmith123 then don't make your pseudonym joesmith123. This all-to-common mistake makes it very easy to follow people to various message boards where they may have posted about things thinking they were anonymous.
  • If you move your blog don't advertise it on the same list: If you were listed on a site with all stories from the Smith family and you list your new site there chances are it will be found.
  • Don't use the same tool: If you consistently use one tool (as I do with Drupal) then try something else for your alter-ego.
  • Don't post pictures of yourself: Especially if you have pictures posted elsewhere on the internet.
  • Don't post at the same time: Don't post to your alter-ego at the same time of day.

Writing anonymously in public can be interesting. If you're normally a pessimist try the optimistic point of view, a liberal can try conservative ideas and vice versa. Most of all, don't post something that will be terrible if it gets tracked back to you. Chances are very, very, good that somebody will link your alter-ego to you if you say something controversial that garners attention. No amount of anonymity will keep you hidden because somebody always knows who is using what computer at the moment.

Tracking changes

Somebody has posted a flickr image showing NetNewsWire's before and after view of a blog post. This is a really important feature of NetNewsWire that most RSS readers lack. More than once I've seen an outrageous post, linked to it and had the author change the post.

Web design tips

Dustan Orchard from Apple shared some good ideas with the Ajax Summit folks. The process he suggests for designing a website with Ajax are good for any web site designer to keep in mind.


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