Saturday, June 09, 2007

Why would I need RSS ?

It's incredible to find out, how many Internet professionals and engineers don't use RSS readers. Many of them don't use RSS at all. While it's not a crime, it is extremely inefficient at a long term.
For the past 10 years news sites like "Anandtech", "Slashdot" and others have been primary source for news and buzz in the industry. With a group of professional editors, and "human-Internet-spiders" (E-Spiderman ?), these people crawled the net searching for information, stories and press releases.
What happened? I believe that most important changes are:
  • SPEED of information.
    For an IT guy like me, it was about ~20 news / day on my favorite sites, all taking about 30 minutes to read... But I have to admit, that the next say 3 hours were spent on visiting a sequence of speciality websites, manufacturers, developers and corporate sites. Slashdot does a great job, so does Gadgeteer and others, but it was simply not enough. I remember those geeky news readers, which given a list of urls, grabbed HTML and ran it through regexp parser (if you don't know what I mean, that's good :) I even had this cute little tools that read my Netscape bookmarks, checked page modification times and coloured them, so I knew which pages have been updated.
    Here comes syndication - they take from us, those take from them and these here keep leeching from them and everyone has it :)
    There is also a natural trend of changing publishing scheme from pull to push - it is developer or manufacturer's job to update major news sites and syndication points. Publisher are having a good time now.
    44 new feeds have appeared in my Google Reader as I write this paragraph...

  • AMOUNT of information
    Hey - I remember 1996 - I remember the "far end of Internet".... I remember the listing of websites in Poland fit on one page! I remember that time spend on one website was under a minute, not because I was bored, but because there was little more to see. Number of RSS feeds has passed 5 million (try this and this). Editors publishing for my favorite sites have to pick only the best ones out of the crowd, but it is well known, that the pieces create the whole. There is number of blogs and tech resources you wouldn't ever know about, but these can sometimes give you a unique perspective.

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