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I've added ThoughtStorms to my RSS reader, and I edited a page, and have seen the edit appear on the recent changes page of thought storms, but the change still hasn't appeared in my RSS reader (NetNewsWire Lite for OSX) a half hour later. As someone who doesn't yet see the point of RSS, I'm not impressed. When you look for justifications for it from a user perspective, one of the things mentioned is the speed/instant notification of updates. OK, so I just found out that by default, my RSS reader requires manual refreshing of sources, which seems to go against the whole instant update idea. Yes, you can set it onto auto-refresh, but the shortest time interval is 30 minutes, which again seems at odds with the instant update idea.

Actually, Phil, you might remember that back in 1996 I was trying to think of a mechanism for the automatic notification of website changes? My idea was for items in your bookmarks to become bold when there was significant new content. The only mechanism I could think of for implementing this was usenet: content providers would send minipositings to special usenet groups, and browsers would scan them periodically for subscribed page updates.

Oh well.

RonChrisley

As someone who doesn't yet see the point of RSS, I'm not impressed.

Well, the short answer is that it's easier to manually trigger one update of several feeds than manually get lots of different pages. Having said that, while I believe Rss feeds are very important (see also TheFlowInternet) I don't actually use an RSS reader myself.

My problem is that the one I was using (AmphetaDesk) is too rigid. Any particular week I might have three or four weblogs I check every couple of hours. Some I check daily. And some I forget to check altogether. The problem is, each week these are different. But updating the reader to handle the changes of frequency I want is too clunky. (Actually you can't even do it.) So I end up just going to the pages.

OTOH I know I'm missing out on a lot of information relative to many people who use the feeds. Sometimes I get paranoid I'm not keeping up!!!

back in 1996 I was trying to think of a mechanism for the automatic notification of website changes?

In practice I suspect there are pretty few blogs you'd want to get updates from more frequently than every half an hour. (Though I think I was following September 11th on DaveWiner's blog and refreshing every 5 minutes.)

These days, I'm sure there must be a Firefox extension which automatically checks for updates, no?

PhilJones

I know I'm a newbie here, but ThoughtStorms would be a lot more RSS friendly if someone other than me used the Summary field!

RonChrisley

Rather than as summary I'd rather see the full post with the diffs highlighted - but I'm much more of a full-post RSS person myself.

Ron, you might be interested in trying out [PulpFiction http://www.freshlysqueezedsoftware.com/products/pulpfiction/ PulpFiction]] which uses the message/mail metaphor of some PC browsers and I believe allows custom refresh rates on individual feeds. I think i read that Brent was adding it to the next release of NetNewsWire too.

Actually I find this odd, I don't think that I've ever read that speed of updates was the advantage of RSS. I certainly don't look at it that way (my feeds refresh every four hours ;-). The advantage for me is the amount of content I can keep an eye on. I've a shade under 400 feeds in my reader. I certainly can't visit that number of W3 sites each day.

AdrianHoward

Thanks for the pointer to PulpFiction, Adrian, but it isn't free (the demo only works for 15 days), and as I don't pay for software...

As for the speed of update issue, you're probably right, but here is one of the pages that made me think speed of update was supposed to be one of the attractions of RSS: http://www.greatwesternpublishing.org/rss/rss.html

And thanks for the summary!

–RonChrisley

Ron : I know I'm a newbie here, but ThoughtStorms would be a lot more RSS friendly if someone other than me used the Summary field!

Good point. I'm not good at using the summary field. And I guess that's influenced the norm. Emile and some others here are better. Mainly I update a lot of pages (on average 20-30) a day. But 95% of those updates are trivial such adding "see also" cross-references between pages, or slotting a link to a new resource I've discovered in an appropriate place. I've tended to use the summary field just to indicate when a page update isn't like this, but is a real, new piece of writing, with something I consider to be a good(ish) idea. That way, the recent-changes shows you the 1 page you "should" read.

Thinking about this, I'm not sure how good it is. I still look at recent changes in the wiki itself, so the fact that the summary is bold makes this convention more meaningful ... you just see one story with a Today's Big Story beside it. On an RSS reader, the presentation is probably totally different.

So I'm going to try a new convention. Always writing summaries. And I'll put an asterisk or something next to those I used to call big stories, so readers here can still scan for them quickly.

PhilJones