Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Why real-time RSS is a big deal for big payloads, too

I'm very much interested in emerging Web publishing ping systems like Google's PubSubHubBub and Dave Winer's rssCloud. I call these systems "real-time RSS" for short, since they basically allow syndicated content ("RSS") to be delivered at Twitter speeds ("real-time").

I've noticed a focus on using these systems to replicate Twitter, but think the opportunity for publishing bigger-than-Twitter content is just as exciting.

Why I'm kind of obsessed with this:

  1. As an RSS consumer, fat-content real-time RSS could improve my ability to read blogs. I read hundreds of feeds for my day job, via Google Reader, the best RSS aggregator available. Some of the most essential feeds are updated within Reader only sporadically, hours after the originating feeds have updated, literally making me worse at my job (timely blogging). Real-time RSS systems promise to solve this problem (Google Reader is already starting to implement these systems.)
  2. As an RSS publisher they could improve my ability to reach readers. I don't have a technical role at the blogging company I work for, but I've advocated real-time RSS as a way to reach our readers faster, and to stay competitive with other publishers. Frankly, I'd love to see our feeds updating fast in Google Reader, because they come pretty slow at the moment, in giant clumps covering hours, and I don't want other sites gaining a big lead.
  3. As a technology observer, I'm curious to see whether the split between Twitter-like, 140-character-or-less implementations of real-time RSS and "fatter" uses of the systems can be resolved in an elegant and constructive way. "Let's just duplicate Twitter" seems way too constrictive a way to view these systems from where I sit; on the other hand, the less ambitious approaches are the ones that tend to be simpler, and thus "win."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

If someone can take one of our fonts, put it in a freely accessible directory on their server, that’s a violation of most of our license agreements. We’re going to have to spend a considerable amount of time trying to catch this when it happens.

Welcome to the world of every other creative professional in the world, Tal Leming. Typographers do not get special, W3C sanctioned DRM. Sorry.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Features Safari should steal from Firefox

A companion piece to "Features Firefox should steal from Safari." (Follow link for the backstory.)

  • Remember last tab(s) closed (Safari only remembers last window closed)
  • A tab menu, listing all tabs (Safari will list tabs that don't fit into the window, but it's better to have something that lists all tabs, since tab titles are usually truncated)
  • The Awesome Bar
  • Search within form textareas
  • Scrolling tab bar that animates when you pick a distant tab out of the tab menu
  • A clear target on which to drag URLs to make a new tab when a window's tab strip is full of tabs (in Firefox you can drag onto the New Tab button or the tab menu; in Safari you have to divine the location of a tiny strip at the end of the tab bar, immediately to the right of the last tab, and invisible when the rightmost tab is not active)
  • Option to drag bookmark into bookmarks bar folder without fussing with the title of the bookmark -- much faster.
  • Quick Search shortcuts to search alternate/custom sites via URL bar (or build in something like Inquisitor)

Features Firefox should steal from Safari

I switched from Firefox to Safari about 6 months ago due to frequent crashes in Firefox 3 RC 3 . Now I'm switching back due to a longstanding unfixed cookie bug in Safari (see also).

This post is a journal of Safari features I wish Firefox had. I'll be updating it for a month or two.

(I am on a Mac. Also, I spend 10+ hours per weekday in my browser, blogging, and I use the Web for my email and RSS reading -- I push the browser pretty hard, but also use certain features a lot more than the average person.)

  • Remember last window closed (Firefox only remembers last tabs closed)
  • Don't reload tab when dragging it to another window
  • Remember tab history after dragging it to another window
  • Drag tab into its own, new standalone window
  • A nice long History menu, with lots of items, and submenus for "Earlier today" and past days. Firefox is showing a measly 10 items by default, then you have to open a new window to get more. (Sure, there's probably an about:config setting, but still)
  • Ability to correctly print Web pages without, for example, constantly and bizarrely and silently disappearing more than half the text
  • Preview pages right in the print dialog
  • Easy-to-read search-within-page results (Safari dims all text except instances of search string. First result highlighted/magnified; other results also highlighted, but less so. And when possible it centers screen on search result. By default, firefox only shows first result, with no dimming, and you have to Find Again for other results. Sometimes it doesn't seem to find the first result on the page -- searches from where the invisible "cursor" is?)
  • Right click option to "download link" or "download image" without having to specify save location (uses default download location, usually Downloads folder)
  • Fix bug preventing me from dragging links rendered by Google Reader into bookmark bar folders
  • Stop showing annoying "This site does not supply identity information" tooltip when I'm just trying to drag the URL bar handle into a bookmarks bar folder. It sometimes blocks the folder!
  • When remembering username/password for basic HTTP authentication (the kind that pops up a browser dialog with username and password fields), automatically submit the credentials, don't ask me to click "OK" each time. Safari is so good at this I had forgotten it was doing it.
  • Option to prompt for new bookmark title immediately after dragging URL into bookmark bar folder (shift-dragdrop?) (Safari does this by default, with no option to NOT be prompted for a new title; that's annoying and slow, but I like the idea of it as an option)
  • Keyboard shortcuts for bookmark bar bookmarks (Safar does Command-1, Command-2, Command-3 etc.)
  • Drag file onto standard file upload form control (fills in control with file's path)
  • Animate tab reordering (am surprised I miss this)
I also posted "Features Safari should steal from Firefox."