I’ve gushed about RSS readers in the past, but the more sites start bringing feeds online, and the more custom feeds that are appearing, the more it’s changing my online experience.
From a strictly consumer perspective, there are three major improvements gained by subscribing to feeds:
Increased speed at consuming content from many different sites
Notifications for sites you watch that update irregularly
Homogenization of the presentation level of content
Being notified of updates to irregularly updates sites is turning out to be a surprisingly large win for me. Instead of visiting a site for updates, then, like one of Skinner’s mice, being negatively conditioned to not return due to the lack of new content and the site slowly fading away into the dark recesses of your bookmarks, the RSS reader will faithfully ping the site every time you refresh the list, and if there’s ever an update, you’ll have it right in front of you.
The old-school way of doing it–by signing up on the site itself to be emailed a notification whenever the site updates–never worked for me, for several reasons:
I don’t want to pass out my email address all over the web
I don’t want to lose the flow of content when my email address changes
A lot of sites never implemented that particular functionality
When I read email, I’m in a different frame of mind than when I’m looking for content on the web. Email is two-way, while the web is one-way. Even though there’s some blurring of the lines with commenting systems and trackbacks, it’s more a question of mental state than of technology
Also, the value of having content from different sources presented the same way is really growing on me–I am in control of the presentation in my RSS reader, and can tailor it to whichever look is the most efficient for me to consume, and by having all my content look the same, there’s no being sidetracked by design elements, colors, annoying ads, or what have you. The content, in a sense, is pure.
One of the promises of XML, right there in the flesh: Separation of content from presentation.
Naturally, there’s still the jarring of different voices when switching between feeds, or sometimes even within a feed, but that is mostly invigorating–drifting through a bazaar of voices you’ve selected.
Posted Tuesday, 23 December, 2003 by Nic Lindh
Another book roundup, including some stellar athletes and soldiers, what might be the most jaded, soul-weary protagonist ever, and some grimdark fantasy.
The Internet is getting creepy, and Nic is breaking out his tinfoil hat after newspaper paywalls push him over the edge.
Nic is tired of tech sites obsessing over Apple’s financials and business strategy. So very tired.
Nic reads a book about the processed food industry and is incensed.
Computers are complicated. This brings out the irrational in people.
Nic proposes the loan word Rechthaberei be incorporated into American English.
The Core Dump is back! Books were read during the hiatus. Includes The Coldest Winter, Oh, Myyy!, Tough Sh*t, The Revolution Was Televised, The Rook, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, Gun Machine, Fortress Frontier, Standing in Another Man’s Grave, and The Memory of Light.
This site will return in February.
From a true patriot to a world-weary detective, a dead god, and a civilization about to sublime from the galaxy, this book roundup spans the gamut. Includes Where Men Win Glory, Wild, Inside the Box, The Black Box, Three Parts Dead, Red Country, and The Hydrogen Sonata.
Springsteen gives a concert in Phoenix. It’s fantastic.