I had a CS 172 midterm today, which obviously meant that I had some heavy duty procrastination to do last night.
In particular, I replaced Metacookie with an RSS feed both here on Linkstew and over on In Passing. I admit I probably should have given metacookie users a chance to transition, but
I suck I was so excited by RSS that I accidentally deleted all of the metacookie code without saving a backup before I realized what I'd done, and once I was gone I decided it wasn't worth the time to re-implement a dead technology. Metacookie was fun while it lasted, but I agree with Kevin, and I think RSS is a much more viable and flexible solution anyway.
So that brings us to RSS. What is it, what's it do for you, how do you use it, etc, etc? Kevin already answered most of those questions, but in short, in combination with an RSS browser of some form, it lets you subscribe to sites that you want to keep track of, and it not only tells you which sites are updated, but it also lets you skim the headlines of the sites that you're watching and keep track of particular articles that you've read. When you feed Linkstew's RSS to your RSS browser, your client will grab the titles, first paragraphs, and number of comments of the 13 most recent entries.
And credit where credit is due, Kevin let me borrow his RSS generation code which made my life much easier, and made it of a reasonable size to tackle as a procrastination project.
So over on the left, there's a link to Linkstew's RSS Feed -- just grab that link and feed it to your RSS browser of choice. On the Mac side, NetNewsWire Lite is a very elegant Mac OS X RSS browser that also happens to be free. On the Windows side, uh... I don't use Windows, so I haven't used any of these, so I can't exactly assess what a good free implementation is... Kevin suggested Trillian Pro (the swiss-army-IM-client for Windows) and NewzCrawler, but unfortunately, neither of those are free.
I've got a couple of questions about my RSS implementation for y'all, though:
- Should I use that ugly orange XML button like Kevin has? I totally thought it was something he made up, until I ran into it on another site today.
- Right now I include the comment count under each entry. The purpose of this was to make the reader mark an entry as unread when the comments increase. With NetNewsWire, though, this behavior is a little inconsistent, and I have no idea how other clients work. And I could see this behavior being really annoying... So, good? Bad? Should I make a feed without comment counts?
- 13? The right number, or too arbitrary?
As for today's midterm, I didn't really feel prepared, but that's just the status quo for me. The more things change, the more they stay the same.