Tag Archives: Content syndication markup language

Podcast: Ahoy There, Microsoft (BBC)

How Microsoft loses my trust over Windows Seven, and how it can get it back. A weekly column I recorded for the BBC World Service Business Daily<http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/bizdaily/>.

To listen to the podcast, click on the button below. To subscribe, click here </feed/rss>.

Loose Wireless 091111

To listen to Business Daily on the radio, tune into BBC World Service at the following times, or click here<http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/worldservice/meta/tx/daily_business?nbram=1&nbwm=1&size=au&lang=en-ws&bgc=003399>.

Australasia: Mon-Fri 0141*, 0741 East Asia: Mon-Fri 0041, 1441 South Asia: Tue-Fri 0141*, Mon-Fri 0741 East Africa: Mon-Fri 1941 West Africa: Mon-Fri 1541* Middle East: Mon-Fri 0141*, 1141* Europe: Mon-Fri 0741, 2132 Americas: Tue-Fri 0141*, Mon-Fri 0741, 1041, 2132

Thanks to the BBC for allowing me to reproduce it as a podcast.

Technorati Tags: bbc <http://technorati.com/tags/bbc>, world service<http://technorati.com/tags/world%20service>, business daily <http://technorati.com/tags/business%20daily>, podcast<http://technorati.com/tags/podcast>, jeremy wagstaff <http://technorati.com/tags/jeremy%20wagstaff>, loosewire<http://technorati.com/tags/loosewire>, loose wire <http://technorati.com/tags/loose%20wire>

What’s RSS to You?

I’ve been playing with RSS feeds for a few years but nearly always find myself struggling for a strategy to stay in control of them. Most of the time I hardly make a dent in the unread posts, so my favorite reader for them is one that can let me mark lots of posts as read without feeling too guilty. But maybe it’s just me.

This led me to wonder how other people use them, and, well, whether they use them. It’s one technology that seems to have taken off, given all the RSS buttons you see around the web, but I sometimes wonder just how many people are actively getting their information from RSS and how.

I’m hoping your answers might shed light. The survey’s here. There’s no registration required, and nothing weird is collected about you. It’s all on one page so there’s no boring clicking through to do. And it’s in a lovely green shade, which I think you’ll like/hate. Plus, I’ve tried to leave space for you to leave your responses that don’t fit the choices I give; if there’s not enough space, or you just really hate surveys, please feel free to write to me direct. If you’re amenable to me contacting you by email with follow-up questions about your responses, please throw your email address and name into one of the answers.

Thanks in advance to those of you who do answer. Feel free to pass it on to others who might be interested. Results will be published at some point, in some form or another.

Technorati tags: , ,

Email Wins Over RSS?

I’ve been obsessively watching email subscription to my blog via Feedblitz and while we’re talking modest numbers here, it’s great to see people signing up. (It’s on the left hand side of the blog below my smarmy mugshot.) Much more personal somehow, than an RSS subscription.

Which doubles the pain when someone unsubscribes. Was it something I said? Something I didn’t say? The way I said it? What’s the etiquette on this?

Email subscription to blogs is actually a pretty useful tool. It may look like a step back from RSS but actually it has its uses. I use it for those blogs that I definitely want to read, and can’t afford to ignore (knowing that some days I’ll only get around to checking my RSS reader once or twice.) Email I’ll always read. And most feeds look nice in Feedblitz.

But maybe Feedblitz has missed a trick. Given email is a two way street, wouldn’t it be good to make the Feedblitz subscription more interactive? Allow readers to comment on a post just by hitting ‘reply’, or at least to offer feedback to the writer (especially when they unsubscribe a day after subscribing.)

Podcast: Being Scared

Here’s something I recorded for the BBC World Service Business Daily show on how not to be scared by your computer.

If you want to subscribe to an RSS feed of this podcast you can do so here, or it can be found on iTunes. My Loose Wire column for The Wall Street Journal Asia and WSJ.com, can be found here (subscription only; sorry.)

Thanks for listening, and comments, as ever, welcome.

To listen to Business Daily on the radio, tune into BBC World Service at the following times, or click here.

Australasia: Mon-Fri 0141*, 0741
East Asia: Mon-Fri 0041, 1441
South Asia: Tue-Fri 0141*, Mon-Fri 0741
East Africa: Mon-Fri 1941
West Africa: Mon-Fri 1541*
Middle East: Mon-Fri 0141*, 1141*
Europe: Mon-Fri 0741, 2132
Americas: Tue-Fri 0141*, Mon-Fri 0741, 1041, 2132

Podcast: Escape Your Gadgets

Here’s something I recorded for the BBC on how to escape from your gadgets by climbing a volcano. Not an option for everyone, but it worked for me. If you want to subscribe to an RSS feed of this podcast you can do so here, or it can be found on iTunes. My Loose Wire column for The Wall Street Journal Asia and WSJ.com, on which this piece is based, can be found

here (subscription only; sorry.)

Thanks for listening, and comments, as ever, welcome.

Podcast: Backing Up I

Here’s something I recorded for the BBC on backing up (a topic I revisit in later columns and broadcasts.)

If you want to subscribe to an RSS feed of this podcast you can do so here, or it can be found on iTunes. My Loose Wire column for The Wall Street Journal Asia and WSJ.com, on which this piece is based, can be found here (subscription only; sorry.)

Thanks for listening, and comments, as ever, welcome.

powered by ODEO

Podcast: Instant Messaging

Here’s a podcast of a piece I did for the BBC World Service on instant messaging, based on a blog posting I made here. If you want to subscribe to an RSS feed of this podcast you can do so here, or it can be found on iTunes.

Thanks for listening, and comments, as ever, welcome.

Staying Productive in Your Underwear

I’m researching a piece on how to cut back the amount of stuff you have to read, particularly RSS feeds. So I have spent the morning reading blogs related to the tools I’m writing about. In the process, of course, I find more than 20 new blogs that are interesting enough for me to add to the feed reader that I’m supposed to be in the process of thinning out. It’s the online equivalent of packing up all your stuff in newspaper ready to move and then sitting down and spending the whole day reading fascinating news items on scraps of year-old newspaper.

Anyway, I realise I should write more about working from home, something I’ve done (the working from home, not the writing about it) for more than five years now. Here’s a great bunch of tips from Kevin Yank, who’s based in Australia although, yes, he’s a Canadian:

He recommends maintaining your morning routine as if you’re going to the office, unplugging the TV, and, most interestingly, purging your work PC of distractions. His home PC, meanwhile, “constantly checks my personal email, downloads podcasts, fetches low-priority feeds from a plethora of distracting web sites, and is replete with cute little apps that generate eye candy and always seem to need upgrading when I should be doing something else.”

Great idea to have two computers if you can manage it. Although I’m divided on whether it’s possible to divide work and personal stuff these days. Doesn’t one feed off the other? I found myself yesterday arguing fiercely with a friend from a major U.S. bank who said she was not even able to access web-mail on her work computer. To me this is daft; limiting workers’ access to such things merely panders to lazy IT staff and undermines the chances workers will be well-informed, motivated and well-connected. Of course, as smart phones take over these kinds of connectivity roles — email, IM, VoIP, presence, RSS, blogging, photo taking and sharing — all these efforts will be worthless anyway. Then we’ll have to check our phones at the door. Or work from home.

Anyway, I like Kevin’s ideas. The more professional you make your environment, the better you will function. Now I’m off for a lie-down.

Newspapers, And Exaggerated Reports of Their Demise

(A podcast version of this post is available here.)

Steve Rubel, powerblogger (does anyone blog more than Steve? No one in my feed list does) complains about how newspapers offer only partial RSS feeds: for those of you not following this, an RSS feed is a bit like a newswire, a stream of stories as they are published, arriving in the subscribers inbox (or reader software, or customised homepage, or dynamic bookmark folder. A partial RSS feed is a bit like a newswire that only gives you the first few paragraphs of a story, requiring you to go to the newspaper’s homepage (in my newswire analogy, run into the next room to find the rest of the story on the the whole, scrolling ticker tape machine).

I agree with Steve, it’s dumb. Not a smart way to go. Where I don’t agree is when he reckons that newspapers as physical folds of paper will be dead in a decade:

Flash forward 10 years from today. We will look back and laugh how quaint it was that we received our news on dead trees. Yes, I am saying the word “newspaper” will be a misnomer. News will be delivered automatically each day, not by the paper boy, but via wirelessly enabled e-paper devices that are easy to read. All of it will be powered by RSS.

Steve is being a tad provocative here, although not as provocative as he would have been had he said it a few years ago. The conventional wisdom is that newspapers as a delivery mechanism is dead. To which I’d like to be equally provocative: let’s meet again in 10 years and see whether this is true. Yes, we know the younger generation aren’t reading newspapers. Yes, we know newspapers are in financial trouble. Yes, we know that newspapers are not an elegant delivery mechanism. Yes, we know that there are better ways of getting information to us. And we’re only beginning to scratch the surface of how better to represent news information. But we also know this:

  • people love great writing, and it’s rare to find it on blogs, where by definition writing is fast and, usually and unlike this post, brief;
  • people love great reading — as in, laying back with a coffee, sitting on a train, by the pool/sea/prison wall, reading something they enjoy. No technology has replaced paper for this, nor is it likely to. Yes, there are cool tools for e-paper, and these will have their uses, but they won’t replace paper.
  • people love good editors. Editors are not there just to put all the stories together. They’re there to decide what may make interesting reading, from commissioning articles to laying them out on the page and deciding a headline. When we buy a newspaper we’re paying in part for the editor’s choice of stories on the page. We’re effectively saying to the editor: You have a better idea of what is out there, and I trust you. Tell me. Inform me. Entertain me. (Today’s front page of one of my regular newspapers today had three great stories I would never have found had I just confined myself to my regular newsfeed: on reclassification of U.S. documents, on a failing Hong Kong plan for a cultural centre; on East Timor trying to avoid the pitfalls of an oil bonanza.)
  • people love to get their newspaper wet/dirty/crumpled/folded/annotated/left behind/eaten by the dog. A newspaper is a very flexible device, and it’s cheap enough so I don’t mind that I drop it in the bath. I’m not sure the Sony ePaper device is going to be as easy to dry off.

Paper
You can also hit people with it

Newspapers are in crisis. And they should be smarter about RSS, and understand their value is not in hot news, but in a perspective, a gathering of features, commentary and semi-hard news stories. We can laugh at their slowness — especially in covering things online, which for them is a bit like an adult trying to figure out what the hell is going on in the minds of their teenage offspring. But we should be really careful about writing off them, or their tried and trusted delivery mechanism, any time soon. See you in 10 years Steve, and let’s see who’s right.

News on a Map

A great example of finding more interesting and informative ways of presenting news: Daden Consulting’s NewsGlobe (via Google Earth Blog and Bleeding Edge) :

It takes the stories from an RSS news feed, then checks the words in each story title against a list of countries and cities on the Earth. Any matches will result in placemark being placed on GoogleEarth, along with the news item title. You can then click on the placemark to read the summary, then then click through to the original story.

I like it. I think this kind of thing will become standard on news sites in the future as news organisations realise the day of the simple headline and story is dead.