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The Smart Friend

Ahhh, the holidays are here! Jeremy says:

And I just know I’m gonna waste time screwing with Windows.

I hear ya, Jeremy. as I’m sure you know, you are a computer guy, and not only that, you are a smart computer guy, so it’s not surprising that people would expect you to know how to fix a computer.

I help my Dad with Windows issues as well, and I’ve never purchased a Windows PC in my life. I’ve used Windows, but only when forced too, not by my own choice, but when we get down to it, I know enough about computers to poke around Windows and attempt to figure things out. Well, at a high level anyway, I won’t be messing with the registry or anything…

Oh, and before you all head off to the relative’s for the holidays, burn a few CD‘s containing the latest versions of Firebird and Thunderbird for those unfortunate Windows using people. You might also provide information on the vulnerabilities of IE and Outlook, and suggest that stopping popups and spam are great holiday gift from programmers around the world…

(If that last bit tended to ramble a little, I’ve probably had too much egg nog…)

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Atom The Next Day

Gee, how was my timing yesterday in mentioning Atom feedsSee this:

Since yesterday there’s more than a million active Atom 0.3 feeds at
http://www.livejournal.com/users/[username]/data/atom

Wow…

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Atom Today

As mentioned previously, Bloglines now supports Atom feeds. Right. So what does that mean? Well, today it means that any site out there publishing an Atom feed can be viewed using the Bloglines aggregator. Of course, you’ll have to find a list of sites with Atom feeds. There are probably two kinds of feeds. The ones that people created (probably by hand) to test Atom at the time, and the ones that are created by software people wrote at the time. Hopefully people who went the software route have kept up-to-date with the changes to Atom. (I’ve tried to…)

Now most, if not all, of these sites probably also offer some flavor of RSS feed as well. So the real question is, what do you gain from using the Atom feed? Well, today I don’t know if you gain much, besides flashing your geek cred and showing the aggregator makers that supporting Atom is something people want.

Ok, that’s not completely true. So far from what I’ve seen it depends upon what’s in the feeds. For instance, Mark Pilgrim has minimal data in his RSS 2.0 feed, but more extensive data in his Atom feed. My RSS 2.0 feed and Atom feed are nearly identical, both using pretty much everything I could get out of my current publishing system, which admittedly is not a lot…

So where does that lead us to in the future? Heck if I know… My hope is that aggregators that support Atom do something interesting with it. In reality it shouldn’t be a big deal to support Atom, but I think it could be a big deal to showcase Atom. Are there things we can get from Atom that we can’t get with RSS? If so, let’s see it!

Either way, it sure is interesting to watch…

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Bloglines, now with Atom!

I’ve been testing out Bloglines a bit. it’s a well done application. They now suppport Atom, which is nice. I hope other aggregators do this as well.

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Google is the new RTFM

I’ve seen this become a common occurance. Someone on a mailing list asks a question:

"I’m looking for a good foo written in bar than runs on fee…"

And without a doubt, some helpful soul will post a reponse like:

"Did you search Google for foo bar fee?"

In some cases they even provide a link!

http://www.google.com/search?q=foo+bar+fee

Now I’m sure some people are actually trying to be helpful (and some are just being smart-asses!) But honestly, I figure if people are smart enough to subscribe to a mailing list, they are smart enough to know that search engines exist. (True, some people aren’t actually smart enough to unsubscribe from a mailing list, but we’ll tackle that another day.)

So in the old days, some know-it-all who didn’t want to share their knowledge, or had no knowledge to share, would suggest RTFM, today it’s “Google for an answer” as the response.

My guess is when someone asks about “a good foo written in bar than runs on fee” what they really want are opinions from people about “a good foo written in bar than runs on fee” or perhaps real-world experience about “a good foo written in bar than runs on fee” right?

And if that doesn’t work you can always try Google Groups