Monthly Archives: March 2014

A Case for Really Simple RSS Readers

I’m old. When RSS was hitting the streets we subscribed from desktop clients and didn’t have multiple computers to keep in sync (I don’t care if my read/unread count is in sync, but that’s another matter.)

It’s nice to see RSS readers popping up, Google Reader disappearing was good for the ecosystem, it revived a stagnant market.

One thing that’s missing from all the clients I’ve tried is a very simple mechanism to sync my OPML subscription file to my Dropbox account. I don’t use a centralized service to fetch the distributed network of RSS feeds I follow. Since I don’t care about read/unread counts it makes sense for me to sync locally. The only thing I’d like to keep in sync are my subscriptions, my OPML file.

I currently use Reeder across Mac, iPad, and iPhone, but as far as I’m aware it doesn’t support saving my subscriptions to a cloud based solution. If all RSS readers supported existing storage services, Dropbox seems the most logical choice, then we could keep our subscriptions in sync without the need of another service.

Dear Automattic

A wonderful bouquet of flowers.Hello.

I’d love to share some feature requests with you.

Static Publishing

Not that I have a popular site being Fireball’d daily, but I like static publishing. Regeneration of a page each time it is loaded seems like a waste of computing power. I’ve been evaluating all kinds of static publishing systems but none of them give me the flexibility to manage them the way WordPress does. I don’t use a lot of fancy stuff on my site, it has always been about the content for me. I know this stuff isn’t easy to do, but it’s something I’d love to see.

Sharing

This is a request for WordPress for iOS. When I’m browsing Blogs I Follow I would love to have the option to create a new post from selected text. Bonus points if I can define a template for the post. Most of my posts follow a simple formula for links to other posts. Site name with a link to the post, followed by a snippet from the post. Having a way to create a template for that would be really helpful. UPDATE: I just discovered the Reblog feature. It seemed natural to tap the share button. The Reblog button was at the bottom of the post and it turns out it doesn’t work the way I’d like it to.

That’s all I can think of for now. Thanks for listening.

Tech Survival Kit

Gigaom : “One idea is to create a tech survival kit when traveling. It could be used to replace a lost or stolen smart phone, kept in the car during a long drive, or stored securely in a family vacation house.”

This is a neat idea. It’s strange that I never thought to turn my old iPhone into a pay-as-you-go phone.

Blah, blah, blah

CNBC [via Daring Fireball]: “They only have 60 days left to either come up with something or they will disappear,” said Trip Chowdhry, managing director at Global Equities Research.

Where do they find these guys? When I read stuff like this it’s obvious these analysts do not understand how Apple works. Someone made up the idea of the iWatch, a bunch of competitors in the market jumped on it, now Apple “must” have one? That’s definitely not how they work. They never have and I don’t see that changing. I’ know they’ve grown over the years but Apple runs very lean. They stay focused. Would I be surprised if they created some sort of wearable device? No, I would not. Would I be surprised if it was just a watch? Yes. Look, they already created the iWatch years ago(September 1, 2010) and didn’t know it.

Here is something else to think about. Apple wasn’t the first to create a computer, a music player, a smart phone, or a tablet. They just did it better than anyone before them and changed how we look at these devices.

15 Minutes

You gotta love the movies.After you see a movie do you ever wanted to know what happened the characters the day after, or maybe years later?

We caught the end of You’ve Got Mail tonight. I thought it would be wonderful to bring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan back together to create a 15-minute film using this line from the film as its inspiration.

“And the only thing we’d fight about would be which video to rent on a Saturday night.”

Of course you can guess the scene. An older Joe and Kathleen Fox cuddled on the couch, Netflix clearly visible on the television, and a civilized “argument” over the merits of his movie choice verses hers. It would, of course, end with Kathleen’s movie choice playing and the two of them sharing a bowl of popcorn. A short 15 minute glimpse into a life lived happily ever after.

I know these will probably never happen because there’s no money to be made, but they sure would be extremely cool.

Gruber and Simmons

RibbitI had a couple hours of driving to do today, had to take my busted computer in for repair. To while away the time on road trips I often listen to a podcast or two. Today’s selection was The Talk Show, Episode 75.

Messrs. Simmons and Gruber discussed scripting languages and asked if Apple needs to create a modern language for iOS and Mac development. The discussion was good, but I think there were a couple topics they could have touched on.

Pointers

Every C, C++, and Objective-C developer has had to deal with them. With the introduction of ARC a few years back pointers are all but an afterthought in Objective-C. Sure, there are exceptions, but mostly we no longer have to worry about freeing memory and it’s taken care of by the compiler, not a garbage collector. We have the best of both worlds with Cocoa and Objective-C; Native speed and memory management.

C#

Something they mentioned was Microsoft’s creation of a modern language based on a C lineage. It makes sense to do that because there is a big pool of developers that understand it, but I digress. I think the more important technology is Microsoft’s creating of the CLR and the .Net framework. One of the reasons these two items are so important is, they’re language agnostic. You don’t need to know C# to realize the full power of the CLR and the .Net frameworks. Take a look at CLI languages. It’s big. This gives developers the ability to use libraries from other developers and still work in their preferred language.

In the end I’m not so sure Apple needs to do anything. They’ve build, and continue to build, a great developer ecosystem. The Cocoa Framework is mature and is a huge benefit to iOS and Mac developers because we get a lot of shared code between the two.

Do we need scripting languages? Absolutely! Do we need them to build high performance native applications? Not really.

I’ve keep harping on this next point. Where we need advancement is in the browser. It’s locked in JavaScript hell. The browser is the new OS. The browser really needs a full CLI implementation.

If you have some time to kill download the episode. I really enjoyed it.

Why We Blog

Watch out! It's a blog fly!Dave Rogers: “Even that’s not my reason for abandoning social media, it’s just that I don’t want to be a part of it. I don’t want my photographs, my links to interesting stuff, my thoughts and opinions to be something that helps Facebook hold my friends captive.”

I’ve followed Dave for a number of years, since at least 2001. I’ve always loved his writing style. Anywho, I’ve said this before and I’m going to say it again. I started blogging in hopes of becoming a better writer. Along the way I’ve been able share my horrible opinions and make some really great friends.

I’ll continue to use this space as I see fit, and for as long as I continue to breathe. I think the social media craze has twisted what people believe a weblog is all about. I’ve seen friends talk about shuttering their sites because they don’t make money, or have a big enough following. I suppose that could be a problem if blogging is a business to you. For me it’s just a space to share my thoughts or vent or write about software or life. You get the picture. A weblog doesn’t have to be about social engagement or monetization. If it’s likes and retweets you crave, blogging may not be for you.

Welcome to my web front porch.