Monthly Archives: September 2002

Falling asleep over RSS

James Duncan Davidson echoes a complaint I have also raised:

“The most annoying thing from a user perspective is the different ways that RSS feeds work. Some provide just a few sentences of the post. Others a paragraph, and yet others provide the whole thing. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re not providing the whole post, then you are doing a disservice to those people who have clients like NNW.”

Meanwhile, the praise for NetNewsWire continues on many sites. The most amusing of all is Mac Net Journal, which feels compelled to notify us every time Brent posts a new beta (as if users of NetNewsWire don’t already subscribe to Ranchero’s feed).

However, seeing links to NetNewsWire doesn’t make me fall asleep as fast as reading more arguments about RSS 2.0 and namespaces. Yet.

Jason’s day, “A Day”:

“A small chat on the phone with my mom, birthday wishes, etc. Then off to the store for dinner supplies. Meg has offered to cook whatever I want for dinner. I decide on some fettucini with roasted mushrooms. And what the hell, a small bottle of good champagne because when am I going to turn 29 again?”

A different format, but nice. He should do that every week or so.

iSync and Yahoo RSS

Apple releases the iSync beta. I’ve never seen an Apple software release with so many warnings. Must still be buggy.

Speaking of buggy, Yahoo’s RSS finance feeds were pulled just a week after Jeremy Zawodny announced their availability. Maybe Yahoo thinks they’ll loose clicks into the ad-supported web site? Hopefully the big guys can continue to find ways to make RSS profitable for their business. News stories are easy — just provide a snippet and link to the full article — but it becomes trickier as RSS is used as a more general notification system.

Moving to NetNewsWire

I finally made the jump from Radio Userland’s news aggregator to NetNewsWire last night. It’s good software, and it’s been fun watching how quickly it has matured. I have about 40 RSS subscriptions, but I migrated to NetNewsWire in just a few minutes by dragging the XML links from Radio into NetNewsWire’s subscriptions pane. The app has really embraced interoperability. Brent has also proposed a common RSS clipboard and drag-and-drop format.

Web browsers on the Mac

Web browsers on the Mac since Mosaic have stored bookmarks in an HTML file. Chimera apparently breaks this long tradition and uses it’s own simple XML format. Is this progress? No. Sure, they do fun things like type=”toolbar”, but the same extensibility could have been achieved with XHTML and some new elements or attributes under their own namespace. Now, we have a politically correct file format that cannot be viewed in a web browser or parsed by existing bookmarks-parsing code. Oh well.

Last week, Joel wrote about

Last week, Joel wrote about Mac software developers:

“There are very few conditions under which it is actually the right business decision to develop software for the Macintosh. Developing for the Mac is not a whole lot different than creating a web site that only works on Netscape.”

Of course he gets some things wrong and misses the point on others. Luckily the comments in his discussion forum provided a good balance to his argument. Even Dave Winer jumped into the game this morning, bringing his perspective as a long-time Apple developer who embraced Windows development while Apple was suffering from vision and profitability problems in the 90s.

And then there’s Brent Simmons: “Why I develop for Mac OS X.” There’s also some good stuff in the comments below the essay. The essence of his argument is simple: Windows programming is boring.

Dave Winer, on his health

Dave Winer, on his health and the RSS 2.0 flame wars:

“I want to keep working, but if the choice is between my health and work, health is going to win. If your body is healthy here’s a chance for you to learn. Some day it won’t be. You may ask other people to cut you some slack because of that, as I am now. I believe that offering a kindness comes back in the form of kindness; and that being cruel comes back as cruelty.”

Thankfully most of the RSS discussion that I’ve seen has been constructive, such as Rael’s post that provided a good perspective of the RSS 1.0 effort.

Bill Plympton has started work

Bill Plympton has started work on his next animated feature film, “Hair High”. You can watch him draw live from a webcam pointed over his desk. Great idea, especially for an independent filmmaker with a limited/non-existent budget for promotion. It uses a Java applet that updates every second or so, which unfortunately doesn’t do the artist’s skill justice — he draws like a madman, seemingly taking any point on the character and meandering around it until it’s complete, as if he can see the drawing on the paper and is just tracing over it.

John Siracusa has an excellent Jaguar article

John Siracusa has an excellent Jaguar article over at Ars Technica. A long read, but worth it. One highlight:

“And forget about any truly forward-looking features akin to Copland’s saved searches or BeOS’s metadata-powered custom views. Put simply, the Finder, once the crown jewel of the Mac user interface, no longer seems to be a priority at Apple.”

And don’t miss this gem:

“I’ll be damned if I’m going to use antialiased text or anything larger than a 9pt font on a Unix command line. […] Is there a special MAKE_SPACING_NOT_LOOK_LIKE_ASS flag that they’re using?”

Jeffrey Veen: Standards Still Matter.

Jeffrey Veen: Standards Still Matter. “Will there ever be a day when we can just assume that browsers will render our code correctly? Can we imagine a future in which we don’t budget an extra 40 percent to ensure our Web projects work on multiple browsers?”

Matthew Thomas: “Microsoft are, still, five years ahead on the road to the perfectly designed browser. But they’re parked by the side of the road, and having a picnic.”

James Duncan Davidson, author of

James Duncan Davidson, author of the upcoming Learning Cocoa (2nd edition), has a new blog. He’s already started rolling with thoughts on preserving his blog posts:

“As long as I can make sure that my data migrates to long lasting media at some point, I can protect them and read them far into the future. However, when that migration happens, I may have all my data, but I’ll have no idea when I wrote it. You see, all those filebase time information will be blasted away when I move the data onto a new filesystem.”

I’m using Radio for this site, and it can automatically archive blog posts to XML files. That is definitely a step in the right direction, and more than most other products will do. It is particularly tricky to get data out of Blogger.

And I still have too much email stuck in old proprietary formats that I may never be able to retrieve completely. Sigh.