Bloglines now has Atom 1.0 support, and though there are some problems there still, it’s time for a new target. I’m sure it’s clear from all my posts that I’m a big proponent of Atom 1.0. However, I probably appeared to be a bit of a hypocrite, using an aggregator that didn’t support it, and only providing a deprecated Atom 0.3 feed. It’s true, I’m also lazy and picky, and haven’t wanted to make a change in software over these issues. It’s so much more satisfying to simply complain and wait for the software to change so that I don’t have to.
To continue that trend: What’s up with Blogger still producing Atom 0.3 feeds? Initially, it seemed Google gave the Atom movement a big boost by supporting it in Blogger. But now the Atom 1.0 specification has been out for quite some time, and usage of Atom 0.3 is discouraged. Hopefully the reason for not changing yet was fear about support in aggregators, and with Bloglines probably being the biggest (most users) holdout, maybe now is the time to start seeing Blogger produce Atom 1.0. A geek can dream…
So, who are the bloggers with clout or at least information about Blogger? I had been trying to read the blogs of several Blogger engineers, but they mostly moved on, I believe.
…and other feed readers still don’t get the basic features right. What’s a heavy reader of feeds to do?
This promise regarding Atom 1.0 support has gone totally unhonored. I can think of no meaning of “as soon as possible” that means you can’t get a simple case that other aggregators handle correctly in almost 5 months.
While this comment shows that they are still alive at Bloglines, that’s a long time in coming. It may have been somewhat triggered by this, but it seems that some of the problems there are probably still open.
But the biggest problem is that their general unresponsiveness and lack of timely fixes has led to speculative posts such as this. How can a company built around blogging be so bad at communicating?
What would a useful “Memetracker” look like? First, it will have to integrate with my feed-reader/aggregator (do we have a single agreed upon name for this yet?) data. That way you can exclude the stuff I already know about. Plus you could tailor it to be interesting to me. Bloglines could pull this off, as could any other aggregator that centrally stores feed-reading data. Or, if attention or some other feed-reading-data-sharing mechanism were available, it could be done by a third party.
Second, it would be provided primarily as another feed. Not having to go out to another website and hitting refresh over-and-over is exactly the reason we love RSS and Atom so much.
So, what I’d want is an Atom feed of new items that I have neither read yet, nor have I read anything that linked to it yet. I want to see a summary of the main content, and possibly some links to the most interesting commentary on the item. An algorithm to determine interestingness like Flickr does would be the killer feature. A combination of popularity and making sure it includes some significant commentary instead of just being a another quote-and-link would be a good starting point. And, of course, I want “interestingness” to be somewhat based on what I already read, so that I can get more Java and less Microsoft, more economics and constitutional law and less party politics, and soccer and basketball, instead of just technology and politics.