FeedBurner

I’ve had a FeedBurner account for a long time.  Why hav’nt I used it? I dunno.  So here marks the start of a beautiful relationship (I hope).

How to Export an Entire Newsfeed From Google Reader

Google reader is an amazing web-based feed reading application.  One of it’s most outstanding features is the ability to archive feeds, and show you posts from the feed regardless of when you subscribe.  You see, normally, RSS and ATOM feeds only contain the 10-30 of the most recently posted items, but since Google Reader stores all the posts from the subscribed feeds, they’re (usually) all available if you keep scrolling down in the interface.

This makes it an awesome feed caching and archival tool.  However, not many people are aware that you can actually extract the data back out, in one mega standard ATOM file.

Just enter this URL in the address bar:

http://www.google.com/reader/atom/feed/FEED_URL?r=n&n=NUMBER_OF_ITEMS

…where FEED_URL is the address of the feed and NUMBER_OF_ITEMS the number of posts to extract.

For example, http://www.google.com/reader/atom/feed/http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogspot/MKuf?r=n&n=100 should return the latest 100 posts from the Official Google Blog as an ATOM/XML file.

Oh, To Have a Feed

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

As many of you are probably aware, the Touchstone Team are avid Firefly fans. I was recently reading my feeds (from gateworld.net incidentally) and noticed that Jewel Staite has a blog! Yay I thought, now THATS something I have to read.

Alas, look, no feed!

It took several minutes for Chris to calm me down, obviously, this was very uncool. Even now, I am still confused as to how and why an excellent actor like Jewel could have a website which a) looks worse then a teenage girls MySpace page and b) doesn’t have an RSS feed. 5 minutes and I would have a blogger blog publishing to her website looking smick, easy to update and feeds for all to burn.

Bah. I almost wished I’d never found the site in the first place.

Did I Write That Adapter?

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

I’ve been running the latest build of Touchstone on my home workstation for over 2 days continuously now, with no errors. Its good to know that it seems most of the fu**ups features people have been reporting are actually a fault with the Adapters and not the core, and while this is a bitter-sweet victory, overall, I have been very happy with this outcome.

Chris and I have always worked very hard to get this developed as quickly as possible (while still maintaining some form of “life”) but recently we’ve really been burning the candle at both ends to get the major public build which will go to everyone on the mailing list (…so if your not on it). We are very close and it’s getting hard to keep the lid on the present when we are so excited about the future plans for client-side attention management deliverables.

I really hope Chris announces *some* of these ideas soon, because I think I’m going to explode!

Also, don’t forget to checkout www.areyoupayingattention.com, the Touchstone Community website (also available from the “forums” link on the top of the page),a collaboration point for developers and users of Touchstone to discuss things they love, hate and want to see in future releases of Touchstone.

Getting Plugged In

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

The alpha requests for the next round of testing are streaming in (now a list of many hundreds) and since Chris and I have had a good night’s sleep for the first time in a long while, it seems appropriate that I share with you folks what’s happened over the past several days. I guess you could say we’ve been inspired by Leeroy Jenkins.

The last release of Touchstone was pretty much a proof of concept. A one piece application that read RSS feed items, processed them and displayed them in a news ticker. Not very exciting.

This new version will introduce key architectural pieces that will make it possible for 3rd parties to develop input and output adapters for the Attention Management Engine.

Already we have received SDK requests from early adopters who get our approach in a way that has surprised and delighted us. They understand the potential of connecting multiple data sources with multiple outputs using a caching and relevance power plant in the middle.

Sure, out-of-the-box we will have the Feed Reader and a News Ticker and a System Tray alert and maybe even a Cursor Trail alert… but the real innovation begins when our development friends get their hands on the SDK.

While I work on finishing off all this low-level under-the-covers stuff, Chris has been working on polishing the interface. This new version of Touchstone will feel like a more professional application ready for prime time.

It really is true… 20% of the work takes 80% of the time.

Stay tuned for more…

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.

The Bandwidth Is Behind The Tomato Sauce

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

Continuing our current topic of distributed network load sharing (a.k.a Bit Torrent) I was thinking about another way to divert the bandwidth load of syndication feeds even more. It’s possible through the TouchStone architecture to develop a syndication adapter which, by using a centralised tracking server, spreads the load of syndication feeds across other TouchStone clients. This method is quite handy, because it actually moves the data off the web servers completely. Obviously the idea needs fleshing out, and we’re not about to integrate it ourselves (unless someone else wants in and wants to do it), but its handy idea which has a number of useful applications. Also, I was thinking about another fair easier option – shared feeds. An adapter which allows you to share the RSS feeds as your updated, so your buddies can get the feed off you instead of the actual web server. Very exciting stuff.

Alpha by Sunday night? Maybe

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

Alpha not far away, guys – in fact thanks to the assistance of a good mate of mine (the StormWarden) who managed to crack a C# AppBar class and get the ticker docking properly. He also added to this by creating types of docks, so you can limit the docking to “Top and Bottom”, “Left and Right”, or “All Sides”. Naturally you can set visualizations to always “float”.

He has offered to extend this class so the visualization will dock to the current window with the focus, giving Chris the title bar ticker he wants SOOOOO badly.

…And now for something completely different:

Bi-Directional RSS – Something Chris and I were discussing in our deluded states last night: It occurred to me that the TouchStone outputs do not have to be restricted to the users screen. I think that the possibility of bi-directional RSS is a great idea, and it’s quite exciting because the TouchStone architecture completely accommodates this idea. TouchStone Server…might be a future side project for unilaterally dissecting, prioritizing and parsing RSS feeds and output them in a number of ways, including back into RSS. Imagine a TouchStone UI which can administer 1000’s of RSS feeds (and other content sources) and filter them for an entire household. RSS alone takes enormous bandwidth – so it would save time and resources (not to mention precious bandwidth) if a UI were developed to determine which household members want which content and using that same UI as an adapter to another TouchStone Core, on another machine. Bi-directional RSS makes this even more powerful again, allowing people to post and reply to content as it is streamed to them live.

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.

I Should'a Put This In a Comment…

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

As you would expect, I read Chris’ last post probably the moment he posted it, and while this is technically a reply to his post – I felt its simply too important to bury.The point, dear bloggers, is that RSS readers are all well and good… but nothing exists to manage your feeds when your being productive – as Chris said, when you’ve got your readers (or other apps) minimised. Having all 120 of your feeds managed and given to you in a way you can actually digest, is what we’re actually talking about.By the way, the BagItAndTagItParser class is well underway