2008 05 05

hey feed reader, I read that in my browser

I got tempted by desktop feed readers tonight, and since I’m using a Mac both at home and at work, figured I would give NetNewsWire a try (at last).
This brought me to pinpoint one thing that I hate in feed readers: they can’t always get informed when you have actually read an item.

Let’s demonstrate that with two use cases:

  • While testing NetNewsWire (by reading built-in feeds), I double-clicked on an article’s title and got taken to the website itself in an embedded browser view. So far so good.
    In that browser view, I clicked to get to the home page, and read some more articles on the website. Then I got back to the feed reader view, and there it seemed like the only article I had read was the one that was double-clicked.
    I had to mark the other articles I had seen as read.

  • Earlier, using Bloglines Beta (which sucks ten times less than regular Bloglines), I was reading a feed and clicked on a link, which brought me to an article on a blog whose feed I’m already following. When I came back to Bloglines, the blog’s article that I had just clicked through was still marked as unread since I hadn’t read it from Bloglines itself.

This seems wrong to me: in an age where every other tidbit of information has an RSS item version, in order to have a correct overview of what you have read and what’s left to read in your daily feed reading session, you still have to consume it all in the same feed reader, using its interface and none other.

Clearly there should be a way to let the feed reader know that we just read some item in our feeds list.

What can be done about it? Cooperation between our browser and our feed reader (using a browser plugin specific to the feed reader).
First, let’s see what we know (and what we need) when we visit some blog:

  • the URL itself if we visit an article
  • the URL to all permalinks on a page, marked by rel="bookmark"

That’s all we need, really.
Those URLs can be fed (no pun intended) to the feed reader by our browser of choice (with some REST service for web-based feed readers), or directly used by our feed reader if we’re browsing in its embedded browser.
To avoid sending every other URL, the browser needs a way to know which feeds you are subscribed to (online readers provide an OPML resource, desktop readers may use other means) in order to send only URLs whose domain names match feeds’ <link> value’s domain name.

The feed reader can then check if it knows of any item whose URL matches (for the sake of simplicity, this can be limited to exact matches), and mark it as read.

Side notes related to web-based feed readers:

  • In order to avoid hitting the servers too hard, requests could go through a proxy that either silently drops duplicates from the same authenticated user in a given timeframe, or tells the browser to stop bugging it with an appropriate HTTP return code.
  • Privacy matters may arise, if the browser starts sending every other URL because of a faulty OPML file.

While writing this, I’m realising that this solution breaks with item link redirections like FeedBurner’s…

I still think it might be an idea worth exploring, if that point of failure could be overcome. (HEAD request that would find each new item’s final URL when the feed’s refreshed?)

What do you think?

2008 03 15

digging into boring Pi, getting out of boring time

I figured it would be nice to start a new year on this blog on Pi Day. So happy new year, two months and a myriad of unposted posts late!
So hi again, my three visitors. How does it feel to read me saying “hi again” every six months or so?

2007 08 14

is this you, Jesus?

We’ll know He’s back when He claims His holy profile on spock.com. (Or, if you know Jesus of Nazareth, you can invite Him.)

In other news, Spock does not let you search people whose names contain accented letters.
Example: as of the writing of this post, you can’t find Gérard Depardieu, even though his profile exists.

So, if Jesus comes back, it would be nice of Him to miraculously fix this issue: in the year 2007, developers still fail at handling non-ASCII characters.

2007 06 11

native works both ways… or does it?

So, in the young years of OS X, thousands were complaining that Office and other mac ports of Windows software didn’t look native enough. There is even a vocal group advocating native Aqua controls for Firefox on OS X.
Now, Apple just released Safari for Windows, complete with Aqua scrollbars and widgets. I’m waiting to read the rants of those pro-native users, about how Cupertino’s team could and should have made Safari fit in on Redmond’s desktop. Oh that’s right, not their problem.

(I’m going through the “mild hate for hype” part of my love-hate relationship with OS X, and software in general. Among my drafts is a rant on the annoyances in Coda…)

2007 05 29


I especially love the O RLY – YA RLY – NO WAI construct for if-then-else.

2007 05 27

broadcasting SSID is not a crime! (the jury’s still out on skateboarding)

Wi-fi kills babies! (background info)

2007 05 25

im in ur twitter postin new linez

So in the meanwhile, I got myself a twitter account, and after three days am not bored of it yet.

I’m even exploring the various ways to do funny stuff in twitter clients like twitteriffic :

im in ur twitteriffic stealin ur vertical spacez !!1

Next step, a game of chess with Unicode chars &#x2654 to &#x265F?

2007 05 22

a one year hiatus

Hey, I’m back.

(Well, “hey” to my last ten or so readers.)

2006 05 18

Patience et Longueur de temps sont morts pendus

C’est le (sous-)titre de mon autre blog, francophone, lancé le jour de mes six ans de blog.

Et c’est là bas : intraordinaire.com.

Il manque un vrai layout, mais aussi les commentaires, les trackbacks/pingbacks, les tags, des fils Atom partout. Mais c’est du codé main, très peu de temps passé dessus jusque là, et pour l’ouverture je voulais un truc roots.
Comme du temps où personne n’avait de commentaires ni de fils de nouvelles, et qu’il fallait regarder nos stats (ah, le petit carré de SiteMeter, un meme visuel malgré lui) pour trouver qui faisait un lien vers un de nos posts. Malgré ces limitations, les conversations entre blogs arrivaient, preuve qu’une conversation qui veut s’établir n’attend pas de solution miracle.

Mais je digresse, je radote.
Revenons en à la raison d’être de ce post : vous venez de lire le (probable) dernier billet en français sur ce blog. Vous pouvez mettre à jour vos liens et vos aggrégateurs : je ne posterai plus qu’en anglais ici, et en français sur intraordinaire.

2006 05 17

we’re hiring / on embauche

Our little agency in Paris is hiring one (junior or not) webdeveloper.
Base skillset required: great (X)HTML and CSS (1&2) masteries, some JavaScript to save your life, the ability to sometimes edit things in Photoshop or Indesign, a will to acquire more skills all the time (like learning Flash or Illustrator). Oh yeah, and you have to speak French.
If you have what it takes, or you know someone who might fit the bill, here’s a link to the job offer on Laurent’s blog.

En français :
On embauche !
Si vous aimez travailler dans une équipe convi, que les standards du web et l’accessibilité sont vos amis, que vous êtes débrouillard(e) et que vous êtes capable de vous sortir les doigts du cul plus vite que votre ombre, ou si vous connaissez quelqu’un de ce genre pas si rare, c’est par là.

(Petit coup de gueule au passage, je précise tout de suite pour ceux qui ont du mal à comprendre qu’on recherche un(e) concepteur(trice) web et pas un(e) graphiste : Photoshop, c’est pour les retouches et autres opérations basiques ; on a déjà des graphistes, merci !)

2006 05 16

gamma is the new beta

(I was suddenly wondering why my flickr photos displayed on two columns…)

Flickr redesigns, updates Organizr, and turns gamma. Who’s betting other so-called Web 2.0 apps are soon to jump on the gamma train?

2006 05 15

V for Verdana

Before somebody beat me to the punch on this way too obvious pun: “V for Verdana — Free DOM, Forever!”
Now, let me hang my head in shame.

2006 05 12

six years

Has it really been six years since I opened my Blogger account and posted for the first time?
(Entry to be completed later…)

2006 03 27

“se faire opérer à l’hopital n’est pas une excuse pour ne plus jouer”

Je te signale quand même que tu étais beaucoup moins présent et que se faire opérer à l’hopital n’est pas une excuse pour ne plus jouer, les pc portables c’est pas fait pour les chiens quand même…

Je te signale aussi que même si ta présence a pu nous servir parfois quand il manquait du monde pour les raids, on t a toujours groupé avec un certain dégout étant donné ton stuff bleu en partie et ta sale manie de toujours vouloir mettre de la bonne humeur là ou tu passes.

Si tu as pu croire que WoW était un jeu pour nous, alors tu t’es trompé et je suis content qu’on t’ai jeté avec les déchets du mois.

Et soit heureux qu’on t’ai pas BL aussi, les noobs stuffés bleu, on en veut pas chez nous

L’emphase est mienne, les propos et l’état d’esprit consternants.
Je ne me rappellais plus pourquoi j’avais arrêté les MMORPG, merci World of Warcraft…

2006 03 26

et si deux CPE sont requis pour assurer que l’électricité ne tombe pas un dimanche, nous en engagerons trois

Je ne mets plus des masses à jour ce blog, et voilà que RedBus vous aide à m’oublier en tombant encore une fois en panne.

Du coup, jeu gratuit sans obligation d’achat : ami lecteur, trouve la phrase qui a mystérieusement disparu entre le 7 mars et aujourd’hui. Je garantis à 99,99%, non, à 100%, qu’il n’y a pas de cadeau à la clé (mais que cette dernière phrase est un indice).

Bonus track : Le brevet 2006, tu l’auras ou pas ?, illustré par des jeunes gens barbicheux de 18 ans, ça augure du superbe niveau intellectuel de la population cible ?

2006 03 09

random observation on tagging

You know tagging jumps the shark when there are more tags for a blog post than words in it.

2006 03 06


“You mean, if you knew me better, you’d force stuff on me like everyone else?
— It’s possible, I said. That’s how people live in the real world: forcing stuff on each other.
— You wouldn’t do that. I can tell. I’m an expert when it comes to forcing stuff and having stuff forced on you. You’re not the type. That’s why I can relax with you. Do you have any idea how many people there are in the world who like to force stuff on people and have stuff forced on them? Tons. And then they make a big fuss, like “I forced her. You forced me!” That’s what they like. But I don’t like it. I just do it because I have to.
— What kind of stuff do you force on people, or they force on you?”

Midori put an ice-cube in her mouth and sucked on it a while.

“Do you want to get to know me better? she asked.
— Yeah, kind of.”

Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

2006 01 30

which google.cn?

Google.cn? Did you mean google.com?

2005 12 31

2005 je t’aime

2005 je t'aime

When I look back, I think I’ve had a very good year 2005.

How was your 2005?

2005 12 28

broken tooth

broken tooth