nullstream weblog - Pluck

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Cool Tech

November 22, 2004 11:48 AM PST

Another extension to the browser. Have you guys checked this out? Reminds me of another "everything but the kitchen sink", but there might be a few gems. I'm hesitant to use an RSS reader. Knowing the amount of time I put into the layout of this blog, to have people reading it as text-only is kind of annoying. Plus, I like the different look and feel of the blogs I read through the Web. I know a lot of the more professional blogs don't have full contents even in their RSS feeds because ads are not shown, which limits RSS usefulness for many common sites.

The benefits of a dedicated reader are primarily for mobile devices and "content scraping/aggregation" applications. An XML based format is an excellent way to define a lot of Web content in a way that can be presented to various screen sizes, etc. When mobile devices capable of easily synching with blog content become common place, I still don't see a syndication format being super popular. Because of the desire to display ads, I can see content mangement tools generating custom pages for various mobile devices on the server side, based on the underlying XML content.

I suppose there's a benefit to RSS also in the sense that you can monitor when new content is posted. This works in Firefox and Thunderbird. I especially like the Thunderbird integration, because blogs look similar to how Newsgroups are displayed in Outlook. They turn bold and show the number of new unread posts. Clicking on a post will show either the XML summary, or load the entire post as HTML in the preview pane. To give Microsoft credit, they had "Live Bookmarks" years ago that would highlight sites in the Bookmarks menu that had changed recently. Doesn't this accomplish the same thing?

Comments (3)
John, November 22, 2004 12:33 PM:

I think there are some very interesting applications for raw RSS feeds, although limiting the content to an excerpt does cripple it. I am hoping to a big writeup on a cool RSS application later this week. Mobile devices are definitely a prime candidate for this.

On the PC side however I think at using RSS as a notification mechanism works very well. Yahoo has this built in to myYahoo and firefox has a version as well. With these methods you can see that something new was posted but you click to open the full site to read it. I'm ok with that. It look like you can do that with Pluck as well. This method is nicer for me than just browsing to all the sites I follow looking for updates.

Paul, November 22, 2004 06:08 PM:

You could write a very simple client that did a 'select' on a bunch of RSS feeds, then did an HTTP GET on the actual URL when something interesting appeared.

If you wanted to get really fancy, you could automate the retreival and do text to speech on all the articles you get like that and autosync them over to your pocketpc.

John, November 23, 2004 02:13 AM:

Ahhh, Paul, you are trying to give it away too soon. I guess I should start writing that entry.

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