Show Me Yours & I'll Show You Mine

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

In the past few days we have had a number of VIP’s get their hands on the Limited Alpha. One of these people reported that importing his OPML file failed!

We were a little agasp at this because we have imported basicaly every OPML file we could get our hands on – and they all worked fine (well, except for the one Chris broke – but he breaks everything).

I decided the only way I was going to be able to determine what caused the bug is by checking out the contents of the offending OPML file. Which means, asking for it!

At this point, I was a desperate man. And to be honest we (both) were pretty uncomfortable asking someone for their OPML file/s. In my eyes, it’s kind of like asking someone how much money they earn. It’s just not cricket!

But knowing there was no alternative we had to bite the bullet… and ask. Lucky for us, the person in question kindly obliged. And as yet, hasn’t ram raided our houses – which is a good sign. 😉

The whole experience has got me thinking about the Syndication Security Concerns. After all, if OPML becomes what we all feel it should then a person’s OPML file/s are sacred. It’s important for developers, publishers and especially marketing people to respect the sanctity of a user’s OPML. People found a way to bastardise email (spam anyone?) and it’s important to keep this in the focus while the “Syndication Revolution” gathers speed.

I’m not trying to sully the innocence of RSS before it becomes a mainstream communication technology, nor do I even offer any constructive suggestions. I only offer the thought that I think it’s a perfect opportunity for us (as ‘sort-of-early’ adopters) try to keep our eyes on security for the user – to come up with measures to safe-guard people and their ‘lord –of-the-rings-precious’ Attention data.

What's My Server Doing Anyway?

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

While sitting at my workstation, working away (and listening to Alex Barnett’s PodCast on Attention and OPML) – I realized that my system uptime screensaver for my Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition Server was doing many things I want to know about, behind an otherwise black screensaver.

It got me thinking another PERFECT job for Touchstone.

There are RSS, ATOM feeds and other things going on (such as the current state of my Azureus downloads, sever up time and load etc) and Touchstone provides the ultimate engine to bring these together as a screensaver visualisation!

I can imagine, in the near future, LCD screens scattered around a house, streaming attention information to a person based on their current physical location (if I’m in the kitchen I might want to see feeds related to food and current events, while in my living room, my wall is showing me productivity and work related items).

With the ever decreasing price of LCDs and the power of Touchstone, the on-going effect of an attention engine could be greater then we ever imagined.

According to Site Meter stats the average reader spends 96 seconds reading the average blog. Do our bosses know this?

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

I know this isn’t really anything to get excited about, but I have to say that I’m really excited about us getting ranked 1 and 2 on Google. I think I really want to get ranked 1 for “rss gadget” but I guess we have to start somewhere.

BTW, TouchStone pre Alpha is running at the moment with Chris’ FeedDemon OPML file and “The Office – Email Scandal…” – apparently. 😉

I also had an argument with a person I work closely with (in the real world – as opposed to the ‘TouchStone’ world I seem to have found myself in recently) about the intrinsic value of blogs and other personalised content on the web. They were claiming that blogging is just as bad as the old days of the internet when every second person had a dodgy website made from Word saying “Under Construction” or “this is my website and i have 2 cats and a dog“.

I disagree with this. Passionately! I argued the virtues of blogging and RSS. Blogging is the long tail of publishing. And on the internet, nothing is as important as the long tail. If you think something – and write it down – then the odds are other people in the world feel the same way. It’s a way for us to connect to other people we otherwise never would/could.