Ben wrote an RSS aggregator that we are running now on
to track the Mono blogs. You can now get all your Mono news
in a single spot. This is similar in spirit to Jeff's Planet GNOME
If you are interested in running the aggregator in your
machine for your own personal blog reading, just download the
`monologue' module from our AnonCVS repository.
On RSS Aggregators
I have tried three kinds of RSS aggregators out there:
desktop-based, mozilla-based and html-based. From my personal
browsing experience I believe that the HTML-based aggregators
are the best kind. Specially when we you are using
Mozilla/Firebird with tab browsing.
There are plenty of desktop-based aggregators for both
Windows and Linux (I tried them all in a quest for the perfect
UI). The desktop-based aggregators typically embed a web
browser in the browsing pane to render the news. And this is
the source of most frustration with them.
The embedded HTML rendering engine has some very bizarre
interaction glitches when you follow links, and you try to go
back in history, or when you start following links inside the
aggregator (which it is bound to happen).
Since it is not really possible to read comfortably the
news inside the aggregator, you can either open a new window
(uncomfortable) or hope that the aggregator can instruct your
browser to open a new tab, but it is still annoying to use.
The obvious answer to the above problem is to put the
aggregator inside the browser. Luckily Mozilla/Firebird have
made plugin authoring a breeze, and there are a couple of
options out there.
These aggregators today suffer from a problem shared by the
desktop-based aggregators: they are based on the modern
news-reading/mail-reading model. These present the user with
a collection of folders with items old and new, and you read
your feeds one by one. This model is ill-suited for blog
reading because blogs do not produce large volumes of data per
day, and you most likely want to read all the new things in
the day at once. Not once per week, so the interaction model
is basically to read a single post on each folder and move to
the next one, and repeat this a number of times per day. Not
The third kind, the one I like the most are the aggregators
that generate an HTML page with the consolidated data. This
in my opinion is the best model because you get to read HTML
content on your main HTML browser and all the tools available
on your browser are available to you and most important: there
are no surprises on the behavior. Since it aggregates all the
data at once, every time you visit it, you can get a snapshot
of what is happening, rather than having to check 20 sources
one by one.
Firebird users probably will like the last one the most,
since its a feature packed browser, and with a rich set of
extensions that make browsing more efficient. But in general
any user of a tabbed-based browser will enjoy the later kind
Escalation of Violence
Yesterday there was another
suicide bombing in Israel. The reaction was an attack
on an alleged terrorist training camp in Syria. Following
the Bush doctrine of `destroy evidence first, cover-up with
Been thinking this morning that it is time to write a
Israeli-Palestine Conflict Primer. On second thought, maybe I
should just strongly recommend reading John Pilger's Palestine Is Still
The Issue an eight-parth documentary available online
(wish they sold the video on DVD).
Edward Said passed away, his latest article
and a tribute to his writing.
The Hamas group that has been striking at the civilian
population was initially funded by Israel in the 70's to
undermine the growing popularity of the PLO and Arafat. A
policy that now has backfired. Some details here.