Category Archives: Social

My RSS Wish

UPDATE: On second thought, this isn’t what I really want. What I want is a Twitter style feed, or as Dave Winer calls it, a River of News, which predates Twitter. I don’t need a complex sync mechanism, or a read/unread count. What I really want is a central place to see my river of news with a simple bookmark. Nothing is marked as read. When I open it in another app it takes me to my last bookmarked location. Super simple.

My original thought is below.

Guilty. That’s right, I’m guilty of the same desire as everyone else when it comes to RSS. I want my feed to be available on all devices (easy), I want it to aggregate to one location (less easy) and I want it to be in sync when I move devices (darn.)

Most people think of RSS as Google Reader. It’s not. Google Reader was the gorilla that made RSS its own, killed off and industry, and left us hanging. RSS is so simple it’s elegant. It’s nothing more than a format for syndicating news. Simple, right? Google Reader went so far beyond that no other RSS reader has come close. Not Feedly, not Digg, no one company has managed to do more than offer a simple reader that syncs. It’s a great start, but I digress.

Yes, RSS is simple, but in this ever connected world, social media world we want it all and we want it now! So, to do that, people took a the idea of a distributed network format and put it all in a central location. A single point of failure, can you say Google Reader? Fine. You want it all in one spot, I get it. How do we make that happen and not rely on a single vendor to provide us with a service?

A wonderful boquet of flowers.First we need an open standard for centralized RSS (man, that sounds wrong.) This way people writing tools can push and pull data to and from a service. I’ll bet Digg and Feedly have their own implementations of such a thing, that are nothing alike, but do what they need. Pulling together the feeds is the easy part, that’s been solved. It’s the availability on all devices and sync that’s a bit more difficult. That’s where the standard, or open, format or API, comes in. Sure, we have the browser, but it’s not exactly all that useful on all platforms. I’d like to host my own RSS aggregator service, on my hardware, and have the ability to tell that service I’ve read something and make sure the last item is bookmarked so I can pickup where I left off, possibly on another device. Yeah, I want the ability to use Reeder, or NetNewsWire, or the browser.

That’s the bottom line. Think self hosted WordPress, but for RSS reading. Sure, you can use one of the many new services springing up, that’s great, but I’d like to host it myself and make sure it works with other services to make it mine. If there were an open implementation of a centralized RSS aggregator we wouldn’t have to worry about a single vendor destroying an ecosystem and abandoning it. We’d be able to rely on each other for help and benefit from a community of like minded people. The other upside to an open solution would be the ability to extend it to make it exactly what you want! Meaning you could implement code to give you your favorite Google Reader feature and share it with the world.

Origins of the word Tweet

Ollie! The Twitterrific BirdCraig Hockenberry: “Work was proceeding at a very fast pace during the first week of January 2007. Beta releases were frequent and widely distributed. Fortunately, the folks at Twitter were using our app with it’s snazzy new bird icon. One of our beta testers was an API engineer named Blaine Cook who sent me the following email:”

The word “tweet” was suggested by a Twitter engineer, but not used by Twitter for a very long time. The word was first used in Twitterrific. What a groundbreaking Twitter client. So much so people still think Ollie is the official Twitter logo. Whoops.

FeedDemon, end of an era

Nick Bradbury: “My thanks to everyone who helped me keep FeedDemon going for so long – when I created it in 2003, I don’t think I would’ve believed it will still be around 10 years later! It’s been truly fun working on it, and I’m sad to see it go.”

It’s hard to believe its been 10 years. Thanks for the great software, Nick.

Instagram, Still Lean

Instagram Blog: “We’ve been able to do this with an incredibly small team — today just 35 people — who live and breathe Instagram, and we’re looking for folks who are just as passionate to join us.”

Instagram has come a long way since they flipped the switch on their little photo sharing service in October 2010.

On Wednesday, October 6, 2010, Instagram launched its mobile photo sharing service for iPhone. In six hours, the back-end operation, which was running off a single machine in Los Angeles, was completely overwhelmed. – Mashable

Twitter Music

Twitter Blog: “We offered music artists an early look at the service. You can see some of their reactions below. We hope you like it, too.”

The reactions from musicians seem so similar it makes me wonder how much they were paid to rave about the app. Then again, maybe their enthusiasm seems the same because there’s only so much you can say in 140-characters?

I do like the app UI, but I can’t find a reason to use it. I have iTunes and Pandora. Both have served me well. Maybe getting musicians on board is a way to pull the kids into using it. Popularity is a strange beast in a consumer driven society.

We should all be @verified

Mashable: “The Twitter co-founder’s parents Tim and Marcia Dorsey tweeted this week that they would like to be verified on the service. We’re not sure why they didn’t go to Jack directly.”

I think the verified program is kind of silly. Twitter should verify all real people and let the spam accounts stay unverified or do away with the program.

I’m the real Rob Fahrni. Why can’t I have a verified account? Jack’s parents are not special and neither are any other people with verified accounts.

I say verify all humans.

In the words of Tyler Durden

Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.

Facebook Apparate

Harry Potter, boy wizardWired: “Facebook Home doesn’t even have to be a hit. At least not right away. The important thing is that it’s out there, and it didn’t require a lot of up-front capital or R&D investment in hardware. It’s a better strategy than anything else the company has done in mobile. People who already really like Facebook will also like this. For people who live in Facebook, it may even drive them to buy one handset over another. Sometimes mediocre is all it takes.”

Whether or not you find Facebook Home mediocre doesn’t really matter. They’re going to sell a metric crap ton of these things. It’s beautifully designed and will give most people what they want; instant, always on, access to Facebook. Brilliant.

The real Communication Network

Matt Gemmell: “The interesting part, though, is what you won’t be used to from Twitter. There are no ads, anywhere. Because it’s a paid service, there’s no spam at all; I’ve certainly never seen any. There’s an active and happy developer community, which ADN actually financially rewards. There’s a rich, modern, relentlessly improved API. And again because it’s a paid service, there’s a commensurately (and vanishingly) low number of Bieber fans, teenagers, illiterates, and sociopaths.”

I joined App.Net back in August and since that time a nice community has sprung up. There are a number of apps available to make the experience better and those numbers grow every day. Unlike Twitter developers are encouraged to develop unique and exciting applications, they even pay for the right to access the API. Imagine that, an entire social where the users actually pay to be a part of it. What a concept.

App.Net is creating the communications platform Twitter abandoned in favor of becoming an advertising company. The Twitter like experience is just one of many different types of applications being built on this platform.

If you’re interested, drop me a line and I’ll pass on an invite for a free account.