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DTV Beta 3

The folks at Participatory Culture just released DTV Beta 3, most likely because I just installed Beta 2. That’s ok, such is the upgrade cycle of life… (They even got a shorter url with dtvmac.com now as well.)

On the flipside, the latest beta releases of the Mac version of FireANT have also been very impressive. They’ve both got features that the other one is lacking. Competition is good, I think they’ll both find dedicated users.

(As far as licensing, DTV is open-source, released under the GPL, and FireANT is free right now, but may become commercial in the future.)

(Update: See comment from Josh below about FireANT.)

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Kill Bill

I accidentally helped Microsoft yesterday. I didn’t mean to. All I did was tell Scoble that the RSS feed for Channel 9 was invalid. So if it’s valid now, I guess you can blame me…

Why do I feel bad about helping Microsoft? Ask David Zamos, who took on the beast and won

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Fear of an Aggregated Planet

Let’s mix it up a little… Perl, Python, HTML-TemplateAtom, RSS… Words, Photos, Links, and Objects of Desire…

Say what?

Say Planet Planet!

Or say Planet RasterWeb!

There are billions and billions of planets out there, well, ok dozens maybe. (Heck, there’s even a WordPress Planet.) the one that was the tipping point for me was Planet Burningbird, which is explained in It’s the Oddest Thing.

After seeing Planet Burningbird, I said “Heck, let’s do it!”

The Planet website has no real documentation and very little explaining things. (True geek software, eh?) I downloaded whatever version I could from whatever link I found, and took a look. Python. I mean, I completely gave up on Python earlier this year, but, well, OK. We’ll give it a try…

Now, on Mac OS X I did have a hiccup or two. Searching…. Ok, this post about Mac OS X fixed things. After that it was on to templating. Ah! HTML-Template, but done in Python. (Gosh, where have we heard about HTML-Template before?)

So templating was fairly simple, since I knew the tags. What’s next? Feeds! Yes, we need some feeds… I grabbed my own feed from this site, as well as my feeds from del.icio.us and Flickr and… Is that it? Hmmm, I need more feeds. Luckily I had been experimenting with a Perl module named WWW::Amazon::Wishlist to create an RSS feed of my Amazon Wish List. Of course some of the stuff on my wish list was from the year 2000, so I had to update it. (Honestly I don’t expect anyone to ever actually buy me a gift, but you know, if you want to, the option is there… hint, hint. Aw, who am I kidding? I can barely get feedback on the stuff I do here…)

So where was I?

Ah yes, Feed the Planet, yes… Oh, PubSub! I got two feeds there! One for sites that link to RasterWeb! and one for sites that “mention” RasterWeb!. You’d think if they mention it, they’d link to it, but they seem to have different results. So in theory now, if you link to this site, you should show up on the planet. (This might go sour in the future, we’ll see…)

Is there more? Sure! Though Planet doesn’t seem to handle enclosures in any way, we also have RasterWeb! Audio, which is one of those “podcasting” things we started back in August before podcasting even had a name…

Ok, so that’s the lowdown on the planet. It’s seems to have been released under the same license as Python, and a quick check with the Open-Source Initiative’s Licenses says it’s open-source. (I think.)

Any problems? Well, it doesn’t quite validate. I mean, all the feeds I have control over seem to validate fine, but the Planet page itself doesn’t, partly due to the foreign content from the PubSub feed, and maybe because of Planet doing something silly as well.

So that’s my combination of Perl, Python, HTML-Template, Atom, RSS, del.icio.us, Flickr, PubSub, and other things I won’t mention again. Enjoy!

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Aggregator-Rater

It’s been a while since I hacked at Feed on Feeds, but I’ve finally got my rating stuff doing something useful. In Yet More Aggregator Madness I mentioned a feature I wanted:

Ratings, similar to iTunes, so if I was in a hurry I could just choose to read the feeds/items designated as 5 *’s

This is now in place, and when I’m using my aggregator I can easily present the list of feeds and filter it via the ratings, so if I have minimal time, or want to start with my favorites, I just view the “5 star” feeds. as I move down to the 4 star, 3 star, 2 stars, etc, the number of feeds increase, since it’s really doing a “show me all feeds that have at least x number of stars. It seems like Bloglines could make great use of this sort of data among it’s users. I mean, just because I subscribe to something does not mean I love it, it might mean I just want to keep an eye on it. It’s another ‘voting’ system I guess. There is the extra step of having to rate a feed, and I think I have to make that easier. Right now new feeds come in with no stars by default, perhaps they should start as 5 stars (increasing the likelyhood I’ll see them) and I can then drop them down as needed… Just a thought.

Anyway, this is the reason I like using an aggregator I control over a service or commercial product, it’s extremely easy to add in a feature like this quicky, and if it doesn’t fly, it’s just as easy to get rid of it.

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Yet More Aggregator Madness

We continue to hack away at our aggregator, originally based on Feed on Feeds, it doesn’t quite resemble it anymore and my changes aren’t exactly neat little patches. (I’m considering calling it “thehomer” but we’ll see.)

So these are some of the features it has today, or I’ve been thinking about trying to add:

  • Per-feed poll frequency, variable depending on the feed itself
  • Per-feed purge times, some items I want to save forever, some I want just a few days
  • Ratings, similar to iTunes, so if I was in a hurry I could just choose to read the feeds/items designated as 5 *’s
  • Thumbs up/down rating system for items
  • IM notifications, alert me via IM (Jabber or AIM perhaps) about certain events/things/etc…
  • XFN, so I could do interesting things based off of the feeds/items from people I have some relationship with
  • del.icio.us integration, currently I can add an item to del.icio.us with one click. There’s more to do here of course, like doing an md5 on the url, and hitting del.icio.us to see who else links to it…
  • Technorati integration, currently I can do a Technorati Cosmos search with one click
  • Google integration, currently I can do a Google “realted” search and find items Google thinks are related to an item. Eventually I’d like to do something a bit more advanced with the Google API)
  • Click counts, which keep track of how many times I click on something leading to another site.
  • Temporary subscriptions, so when you add a feed you can choose how long you’ll be subscribed to it. (Great for comment feeds!)
  • blo.gs integration, I’m currently using Phil’s PHP Blogroll to pull in data, as well as providing a live link to blo.gs update list. (Still contemplating tighter integration here, possibly for marking things as read after visiting a site)

I’ve read through some of the ideas that l.m. had (see "Info Freako, or who’s already past arguing about syndication formats?") as well as stuff Rogers had (see "Wanted: Gluttonous RSS Feeders") and looked at the feature sets of a number of existing aggregators. There’s a lot of good ideas out there!

I’ve also grabbed SimpleAggregator, Andrew’s Feed Reader and Auto-Blogroll, and should read up on Temboz while I’m at it too!

I guess when it comes down to it, the aggregator is becoming a Total Information Portal, to some degree, and maybe Knowledge Management is more where things are heading. I’m really not sure, but I find it quite fascinating.