July 09, 2004

RSS comics

Writing about web page http://dwlt.net/tapestry/

Oh, and in case you like Penny Arcade or any other old comic, you can subscribe to a whole load of comics through RSS feeds, how cool is that.

I had a brief conversation the other day about the merits of RSS over email. You could of course just subscribe to those comics by email and each day a new email will be sent to you with a comic strip in. However, with RSS, it pulls in the last say 20 comics when you first subscribe and then adds a new one each day.

RSS aggregators also automatically categorise your subscriptions because you have one folder for each thing you are subscribed to, so you can easily find all the comics from Dilbert or whatever. You could of course do that with email, but you'd have to manually set up a folder and a rule to filter the emails into that folder, how many people would honestly do that?

RSS also has the advantage of privacy. When you subscribe to a feed, you are just deciding effectively to tell your software to go and visit a website and grab a page of RSS. You never give out your email address


- 7 comments by 3 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. I think there's another advantage of RSS which is to do with the way people deal with email. Emails sit in your mailbox until you do something with them. That's the right model for work stuff, but the wrong model for cartoons and so forth where if you're busy, you want not to have to do anything with them. So an RSS aggregator which just shows the most recent things letting you ignore older stuff is inherently better for that kind of thing.

    09 Jul 2004, 10:44

  2. Steve Rumsby

    I've recently discovered Bloglines, which is a web-based RSS aggregator. Ideal for people who work from multiple places. Anyway, Bloglines also lets you set up email addresses that it turns into RSS feeds, so the two needn't be that different! I'm starting to move some of my mailing list subscriptions over to Bloglines in an attempt to reduce the clutter in my Inbox.

    09 Jul 2004, 12:04

  3. That's a really good idea putting mailing lists in like that. We're are actually in the middle of creating our own version of a web-based aggregator. It will be more tailored to warwick with single sign on integration and closer links with warwick blogs.

    09 Jul 2004, 12:06

  4. Steve Rumsby

    Do have a look at Bloglines and see if there are any other good ideas worth stealing!

    Now, if I could find an RSS feed for Usenet groups I'd be very happy…

    09 Jul 2004, 12:38

  5. Steve Rumsby

    Oh, and Bloglines explicitly suggest using the email facility as a way of creating temporary email addresses when you need to communicate electronically but don't want to give out a valuable address. Could be a good way of avoiding getting on spam lists…

    09 Jul 2004, 12:40

  6. John Dale

    > if I could find an RSS feed for Usenet
    > groups I'd be very happy

    Should be easy enough. Here's a PHP script that does this . And here's a note about how Google are now offering Atom feeds for newsgroups.

    09 Jul 2004, 19:52

  7. Steve Rumsby

    Thanks, John. That PHP scripts seems to work quite well. Some tweaking needed for high volume groups, perhaps, but otherwise a nice simple solution.

    12 Jul 2004, 10:02


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