colorless green ideas syndicate furiously

Have I mentioned how much I love Bloglines? I just sent them this via the contact form:

Dear Bloglines,
I would like to be able to see the public subscriptions of people whose blogs I like. Currently, this requires knowing whether they have a bloglines account and, if so, what name they signed up with. Would it be possible to annotate each blog’s entry in the directory with a link to the owner’s bloglines account, if they have one?
Also, when the ads start, please please please make the paid service ad-free. I’ll happily pay a reasonable fee for bloglines, which I think is the best thing since sliced bread, but not if I can’t get rid of ads.

I’ll update this post when I get a reply.
One other issue, not under Bloglines’ control: too many people have crappy feeds that show only the first few words, or just a headline. When I am trying to keep up with 126 sites, I want to be able to skim, and headlines-only feeds make that difficult. That’s what the new “full text feeds please” folder in my bloglines account is for: I’ll be quarantining those sites for now, and probably only checking them “by hand” once a week or so.
(The post title? “Full text feeds please” reminded me of Chomsky’s famous phrase. Perhaps you had to be there me.)
Update: it’s been pointed out to me that there are bandwidth issues with providing full feeds (although I think those are minimal if you only feed text), and, more importantly, that presentation is stripped bare in an RDF format. Full-text feeds are nice, but I am also happy with enough of an excerpt to give me a good sense of the post. I didn’t mean to demand that other people’s designs should be subordinate to my convenience, so I’ve changed the folder title to “longer excerpts please”, but I’ve let the post stand to remind me what happens when I post without sufficient thought. (I generally won’t delete anything, and I’ll always make original versions available.)
Update the second: Bloglines’ reply to my email:

We’ll be adding a directory of public feeds soon. And we currently are planning on having a no-ads version available when we do start running ads.

6 thoughts on “colorless green ideas syndicate furiously

  1. I’ve only recently begun using an RSS reader (NetNewsWire on the Mac), and find that I quite like it. When I have to check weblogs by hand, it’s almost archaic. But checking sites via RSS has taught me that my own feed is wanting. It comprises only a single paragraph summarizing my entry. Since I’ve started reading RSS feeds, I’ve tried to make the paragraph longer and more informative, but that still seems inadequate. I’m toying with the idea of syndicating my entries in their entirety, but I’m not sure exactly how to go about it. (I know I toyed with my RSS feed to get it to its current state, but I don’t remember how I did that.) I need to find a good Movable Type RSS tutorial…

  2. I will not do full-text feeds. If you prefer Bloglines’ interface to mine, that’s your privilege. If you prefer to pay Bloglines for content I provide free to all comers, or to look at their ads, that too is your privilege. But it’s not something I feel compelled to support, or allocate bandwidth to, or that I think adds any value to what I provide. My words and pictures and drawings and so forth may not be much, but I’m particular about presentation.

  3. I’m particular about presentation.
    There is that. I didn’t mean to come off so demanding, and I’m sorry if I gave offense. Your excerpts (what are they, 100 words? 200?) give me a good sense of the entry, which is what I am after (note that you’re not in my “quarantine” folder). It’s the post-title-only feeds (like BlogMatrix scrapes) that harsh my RSS mellow.
    But you’re right, the post needs fixing.

  4. JD: in your feed template, just replace MTEntryExcerpt with MTEntryBody, and that should do the trick in a basic fashion.

  5. Oh, no, that’s quite all right. It really is your privilege, though, I was serious about that. It’s your computer, and you do get to use the tools you find most convenient. But just as I won’t go out of my way to code for PDAs or cell phones (in the first place, I’ve no way to test it, and in the second, it’s just not the sort of thing I like doing, trying to please such wildly different display requirements), I won’t spend any effort setting up full feeds and so encourage people to not come ’round. The bandwidth may end up being minimal, but my web provider is a non-profit in a small town; if they find it necessary to charge for bandwidth usage (they don’t now), it will not be because I’ve opened a fat pipe to any and all aggregators.
    I use excerpts as the basis of my category and monthly archives, so I create them myself rather than let MT do it. I can see where title-only feeds would be frustrating; I’ve also found NetNewsWire to be a good tool for checking news-only sites, where interactivity is simply not implemented (no comments) and layout is minimal.
    And I very much appreciate your understanding!

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