Google Reader Dies, RSS Lives!


Google Reader is dead, long live RSS!

I have a history with RSS, writing my first aggregator around 2000 (yes, in Perl) and over the years I got involved with RSS, aggregators, podcasting, videoblogging, and other things that all relied on RSS.

The real excitement for me in the area of aggregation development started in 2004 when Mr. Genehack suggested I look at FEED ON FEEDS. I did, and what followed was FEED ON FEEDS ala Bloglines, Feed on Feeds Unread List, More Aggregator Madness, Yet More Aggregator Madness and lots of time put into development of an RSS aggregator that fit my needs. I really enjoyed exploring new ideas and getting the functionality I wanted. (Mostly)

I wasn’t being paid to work on all this, it was just my “free time” project, and like all “free time” projects, the free time goes away and you work on other things. So it goes…

Eventually I moved to Google Reader and over time I got to love it. Like many, I use it daily. Daily. Multiple time per day. A lot. Back when Feed on Feeds was on my own server I’d use it at home on my computer, and at work on my computer. This was back in the days when people might have one computer, and use a desktop aggregator client. Some even had an “offline” mode, which was important back then because sometimes you were offline. (!?)

In recent years it’s become common to use Google Reader (with one of the many, many apps that used its back-end) on your phone, table, laptop, desktop, etc. I regularly used Reeder on my iPhone and iPad, and Google Reader via a browser on the 3 Macs I use each day. It worked, and I loved it.

Google is killing reader, and I’m not pleased. I could go back to hacking up my own code to build an aggregator, but I’m not excited about it anymore, and I’m out of practice with coding lately. It’s not something I want to do anymore. Google, I would probably pay for Reader. Others have said this as well. I’m sure this won’t change things, and it’ll still be killed (though I hope I’m wrong.)

So tell me Google Reader fanatics, what will you do?


More Tracking (Please!)


Remember last year when I wrote about how your iPhone tracks your location? (Sort of.) Some people find this stuff creepy, but I’m a fan of geo-tracking, and I want more of this data. It’s part of the reason I use things like Foursquare and Google Latitude. A fellow Milwaukee Makerspace member is even working on a device to seamlessly let your office mates know which office you are in. (See Marco.)

Last 30 Days
Last 30 days of tracking, via Google Latitude

The fact that Google Latitude only shows the last 30 days is (to me) a bug, not a feature, and it means that if I want to save that data, I probably need to dig into the API and write my own code to do it. I wrote some code to grab and save all my Foursquare data, and it worked great until they deprecated the API. I haven’t upgrade my code to use new API because it’s an OAuthMess, which I haven’t wanted to deal with yet.

A sad list of choices for hardcore geo-nerds

I understand that many (most?) people don’t want this data public, or shared, or kept, or all of those things. I mean, look at the options: Show timestamps, Export to KML, Delete history from this time period, Delete all history. Half of your choices involve deleting data.

When I look at some of the mapping crazy-geo stuff that Aaron has done… I’m floored by it, and I want to see more of that, not less. Again, it’s not for everyone, but for the people who want their own data, or the ability to share/republish their own data, there’s some good potential there… and I hope to see more of it in the future.


Software Patents are (still) Evil!

This American Life

For those of you who don’t think that software patents are evil, or don’t know enough about the subject, check out This American Life #441: When Patents Attack!

You could extend it to all patents are evil but I’m mostly concerned with software patents, which are probably the number one thing stifling innovation in the technology industry.

If you want more audio content about patents, you can also check out TWiG #106.


Google-Free Fridays… are you insane!?

You will be assimilated.... by Google!

Imagine a future where you rely on one company for your email, your calendar, your maps, your documents, your videos, your phone, your blog, your discussion groups, and, oh yeah, your searches and even your browser.

I was reminded that back in 2007 Danny Sullivan revived my Google-Free Fridays idea that I originally proposed in 2003.

Today, in the second half of 2011, the idea of going even one day without Google may seem insane for some people. The reliance that many have on one single company for so much of their Internet experience is, frankly, a bit frightening to me.

Don’t get me wrong, Google offers a lot of great services, and I use a number of them, but what would happen if they shut you out? It happened to Phil Wilson, and it’s happened to others as well. How much of your world would be affected if Google disabled your account?

Oddly enough, in the time between starting this post and finishing this post, Google launched a new initiative: Email Intervention. Obviously Gmail needs more users, and they want your help assimilating anyone who hasn’t yet become part of the Gmail Family. (I know the Email Intervention thing has a tinge of humor, but as all comedians know, behind every bit of humor is a bit of truth.)

I’m not saying Google is pure evil, because, well, they aren’t. In fact, the Data Liberation initiative should be applauded, and is something every web service should provide. I just hope there are other web services besides Google 5 years from now.


Not Just Yet…

Not Just Yet...

I happened to visit the Chrome Web Store using Firefox, and I was greeted with the following message:

Sorry, we don’t support your browser just yet. You’ll need Google Chrome to install apps, extensions and themes.

Wait… I was using Mozilla Firefox to visit the Chrome Web Store, so why am I posting this?

Because Google has given me hope. See, they said “we don’t support your browser just yet” and with that “just yet” part, I’m going to assume that they will support my browser at some point in the future.

I plan to revisit this post every few months to see if the status has changed.