Friday, July 28

Kantor making useless predictions

But what else is new? This guy is always upset about the world as he sees it, but he doesn't take the time to find out what is actually out there before filing a "formal complaint" via his obtuse USA Today column.

I agree with him that the media is all about items, and not sources, on the Internet. However, his idea about a news service that filters what we see based on our personal preferences is both a) not something everybody wants and b) already available.

I personally like to see everything in the Yahoo! News headlines for both Top Stories and Technology news. I don't read every article, but I read every headline and most lead paragraphs that reach my inbox via the Yahoo! News feeds and Squeet's terrific RSS-to-email service. I allow the editors at Yahoo! News to cull the "most important stories" (75-125 per day in Top Stories and 30-60 in Technology) and place them in the feed, and from there I will choose for myself which specific items to read.

But for those who, like Andrew, would trust a computer to choose a smaller subset of stories for them, there are already services to do that. Firstly, Yahoo! and Google both provide Alert services that will either email you or fill an RSS feed with news and/or blog posts that match your specified search criteria. This doesn't quite fulfill Andrew's "prophetic vision," but it's one way to cut down on the number of items you see. Even free services like Feed Rinse will allow you to set certain search terms to either include or exclude items from any RSS feed you want.

However, the Holy Grail for those who would allow machines to interpret the news for them already exists in the form of Web-based service This service allows you to log in, enter some interests, and rate stories up or down for it to learn about your interests and provide news and blog entries from around the Web straight to you.

And guess what, Andrew? It delivers these personalized news items via RSS feeds! RSS does not have to be superseded in order to usher in a new form of Internet media consumption. If Mr. Kantor believes that RSS feeds can only be published by blogs and "official" media outlets, he is sorely mistaken. RSS is not limited to a select few creators; personalized feeds can be created using a number of sites and services around the Web. I even use a few personalized feeds myself.

RSS does not need to be discarded; it is an eminently useful and adaptable format that can be used to great effect in a variety of applications. Its only limit is the imagination of people who actually understand how it is created and used (and among this group I most certainly do not count Andrew Kantor). - Real Simple Syndication needs to add some complexity

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The Geek Code desperately needs updating, but in any case here's mine (as of 2010-02-28):

Version: 3.12
GIT/MU d+(-) s:+>: a C++> ULXB++++$ L+++ M++ w--() !O !V P+ E---
W+++ N o++ K? PS PE++ Y+ PGP t !5 X- R- tv+@ b++ DI++++ D--- e*++
h--- r+++ y+++ G+

If you really care about knowing what that all means, you either know the code already, or you can get it decoded for you here.