Monthly Archives: November 2004

The wonders of RSS

It seems little icons are springing up alongside my blog like Christmas decorations. A week ago I added myself to Technorati (the benefits of which – other than having my really quite strange image on one more webpage – I’m still not entirely clear on), and now I have a proud Bloglines badge to go with it.

Now the benefits of Bloglines are a little clearer. Once you’ve registered, if you see a nice blog (say, this one), you click on my lovely new button and it’s added to your list of feeds (or, if there’s no button, you can use this clever feature to subscribe anyway). What does this mean? Well, effectively you’re creating your own news website (there’s that Daily Me again – I’ve already decided to set it as my homepage.). Every time you log onto Bloglines you get a list of blogs down the left hand column, complete with the number of postings added since you last checked. You click to see those new postings.

Now this is very similar to RSS Reader, another nifty bit of software I’ve been using for some time. You install it, select which ‘feeds’ you’re interested in, and how often you want an update. Then, say twice a day, a little window appears in the bottom right corner of your screen with a list of the latest headlines.

And this is where I come back to Technorati. Now that I’m a ‘member’, I can subscribe to my blog watchlist through them. This is basically a list of any sites that link to mine (as long as they’re a Technorati member). So if you want to know who’s linking to your blog, or indeed any blog you like, log into Technorati, click on Settings, and in the ‘Add a Watchlist’ box type the address of the blog in question. Click ‘Create’ to generate a URL, switch to RSS Reader, click on the + sign, and paste the address into the window that appears.

And one more button has appeared since I began writing this post: My Yahoo! now incorporates syndication too.

An American response to Creationism

As The Most Powerful Country On Earth (TM) becomes more strangely gripped by religious fundamentalism, and insists on science textbooks including a disclaimer that suggests religious alternatives to the theory of evolution, at least we can assuage our mild terror by looking at witty responses like this one. Also contains a useful link to a survey that found only a third of Americans believe Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. And to think these people have the right to bear arms written into their consistitution…

(I shouldn’t mock. The CIA may be listening in.)

Online journalism ‘not good enough’

Organisers of the 2005 British Press Awards have said for the second year running that they will not be making awards in the categories for best online news site and best online journalist. Apparently this is because they attract too few entries, and the standard of entries is not high enough. Someone should show them the Guardian and BBC’s best work, which has been winning awards in America.

Dolls are scary enough

Another one for my Xmas list: a doll that looks just like me. The power of interactivity is being put to its best use at MyTwinn.com, where you can make your own doll, including choosing hair, skin, and eye colour as well as experiment with face shapes and hair styles. Oh, and you can also have a freckle pattern replicated from a photo onto the doll. All for only $119. Now if I can get it to talk in a creepy voice, ideally during the small hours…

Copyright Bill scaled back

Interesting comment on a revision to the Intellectual Property Protection Act in America, as Big Business seeks to protect its copyright. There’s a mention here about a person potentially getting three years for filming in a cinema – I wonder if anyone’s ever done a comparison between sentences for this type of crime, which harms big business, and those that harm actual people?

Someone just wrote my Xmas list

How helpful of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, an investor advocacy group, to release its list of the 10 most violent games. This is supposed to be a warning to parents, but as a side effect it was very nice of them to help me out with my Xmas list.

My favourite quote comes from Dr. Martha Burk, president of the Center for Advancement of Public Policy: “The retailers have standards for other products,” she said. “Would Wal-Mart sell a board game where a player has to have sex with a prostitute to move forward four spaces and then kill her to move forward another six spaces? I don’t think so.”

Grand Theft Auto Monopoly, anyone?