Saturday, July 01, 2006

Feeds, syndication, insults and the Tories

It's hot, I'm tired, my downstairs naighbour is playing music loud enough to drown mine out (again) and I'm exhausted after a loooong week at work (in which the VPN and mainframe crashed, twice - busiest week of the year, thanks guys). Yup, I'm writing about blogging instead of actually, y'know, covering some issues. Normal service will be resumed when I can summon either some vitriol or some energy to think. In the meantime...


The server logs tell me that many of you, my lovely readers (and infrequent commenters) come here from some sort of syndication service. The most popular three at the moment are Bloglines, NetVibes and Livejournal. That last may have caused some to stop; isn't Livejournal a blogging platform? Well, yes, sort of, but the main innovation for it is the "friends page" which effectively works as a feed reader for all your LJ 'friends', which in LJ speak is basically "blogs wot I'm watching". It's how I started, and while I'm not exactly keen on the (mis)management of the new owners (more here and here), I do still like the basic platform. Netvibes is very cool, but the AJAX platform is, like most AJAX platforms, bandwidth intensive. Dial Up user, 'nuff said. Bloglines is OK, but I dislike the way folders are only ever organised by feed.

LJ has the advantage that I can read it from anywhere, it pre-fetches everything, and I can sort all my respective feeds into different views. Setting up a feed in the first place can be annoying, but I've done it enough now to do it quickly. Thing is, once a feed is syndicated to LJ, everyone that wants to read that feed subscribes to the same account, named by the initial creator. Most of the ones I now read I created, but initially, some of my favourite blogs were found via someone else's listed LJ subscription. Sometimes, that account has a sensible name, (egs robertsharp, timworstall, nosemonkey, bssc_world) and there are some naming conventions that seem to work (for example, TheyWorkForYou feeds are mostly mp_name_constituency_fd, and all the Comment is Free feeds I set up are all cif_author_fd - here's Sunny's). Othertimes, you search for the account, and the initial creator wasn't exactly complementary. Most amusing?


The Conservative Party official newsfeed. Always cheers me up when I see that, reminds me that for all that my brain says I have have to not hate them, they're still Tories at heart. Best bit of LJ? You don't even need an account with them to log in, you can have a "friends page" by logging in with your TypeKey profile or any other OpenID supporting service. Utterly pointless, but I'm not currently in the practice of promoting LJ accounts, just observing how useful it can be.

Meh, enough pointless introspection. Francis Maude is using Conservative Home as part of the analysis of the by-election results (didn't they all do badly?), which is, hopefully, a sign that the big politicians are finally "getting" the idea that the internet can be used to engage directly with people in a good way. Hopefully.

I'm off to get another bowl of ice cream.

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