Category Archives: RSS

6th Reason RSS Feeds are Not Popular

Having just posted about adopting RSS Bandit in our organisation I read this post about why RSS Feeds aren’t popular. I’d like to add to the list: people don’t have a reader by default. I’ve spoken to so many people who go, “Oh yes” when I talk about the ‘little orange icon on the BBC web site’. 

Outside of geekdom there’s a lot of resistance to installing applications, especially when the poor user has to go and find a good one. Many people who have now used RSS Bandit in my organisation (a few dozen to date) have also installed it at home, using it for non-work related feeds.

Make subscribing to a feed as easy/intuitive as bookmarking a site and it will become very popular.

Finally tried Max

I bloggedthat Max might be a good RSS Reader when Vista comes along. I finally tried it out. It requires .Net 3, so I installed that, rebooted, installed Max and Max complained that my version of .Net 3 was too new! So I removed .Net 3, allowed Max to install .Net 3, rebooted and fired up Max – it didn’t work! Anyone had more success?

UPDATE: Just to clarify – this was done on XP SP2.

UPDATE: I tried again today (17 Oct) and Max is still falling over, so thought I’d look for a reason. I stumbled a post by Mark Woodman in which he points to a whole bunch of failing in Max. I can only assume that the people writing these things don’t use RSS – well not in anger – because they just don’t get it. Disappointed I am.

RSS Bandit wins the day

I’ve been working for some time to raise awareness of Web 2.0 in the organisation for which I work. It’s been a long journey and I’ve blogged about the early stages of this process here. One of the keys requirements is to introduce a feed reader. Conventional Wisdom is that without one, adoption of Web 2.0 technologies is far less likely to succeed.

My approach has been to adopt RSS Bandit. It’s a tatical solution because in 18 months time we’ll be looking to roll out Vista and the whole picture will have changed. That will be the time to make a long term decision that can justify some spend. Well, this approach has now been ratified by our Global IT folk, so we will be looking to roll it out in the UK real soon now.

Podcasting with Windows

I got myself an MP3 player last week, partly to listen to podcasts. RSS Bandit does support podcasts, in that it will show the enclosed MP3 file, but it doesn't download it. So I found Juice, which will download the podcast enclosures to a folder. Specify Media Player 10 to monitor that folder (Tools | Options… then Library tab) and set the sychronisation up. Now as soon as I plug in my T20, any new podcasts are automatically loaded onto it.

As to the T20 itself, it a great player, nice and small. I wanted to avoid Apple and Sony players because of the vendor lockin. The only thing I don't like, is the fast forward. It works fine to skip forward in a song, but on a 30 min podcast… when you just want the last 5 mins…

Challenging introduction

Despite a lot of work at the beginning of the year I still don't rate the introduction of blogging a success – in fact we haven't really even launched. The platform is there and has been running for a long time. I've had useful meetings with the IT Director and he is behind the project – even keen on seeing it spread – yet he's been sitting on a launch email for over three weeks :-(.

I've selected the RSS Reader (free), which I was glad to hear mentioned on Hanselman's podcast on Syndication as one of this top 3 (btw, I found this a good roundup on the subject and would advertise to any slightly techy person wanting a good introduction). Another linked company in Europe has selected Awasu as their reader, primarily due to the scripting functionality in the product. I like the features, but it's a cost per seat that I can't justify just now. Bandit has started to leak onto desktops (inhouse customised standard installer) as people I talk to want to dip their toe into the water.

We've begun to get requests from client facing elements of the business to set up internal blogs – still apparently no one is seeing any value in external blogs, and I tend to agree. I'm not yet convinced that these people have a good idea of what they will achieve with blogs. Nevertheless, it is showing that we need a policy to answer these requests.

Apart from the releationship building/networking aspect of blogs that I'm trying to build within the IT Services part of the organisation (in UK first, but globally) I have had one other idea that seems to be gaining traction with the right people. That is to give each of our new intake of college students in September a blog and let them use this as a means of networking between them. This would be internal access only, but over time might prove valuable to make them available externally. Scoble blogged about this effect on MS recuitments.

This week I'll be going to the Blogs and Social Media Forum, where I hope I will find new ways to progress this introduction. I'll also have a few other meetings with the upper echelons of power over the next 2 weeks regarding social media that I hope will move things forward.

BTW, I will almost certainly have a day this week to have a go at making the Wiki single sign on – encouraged by the comments made to an earlier post.

Advertising the blogosphere

I'm about to advertise the blogosphere to groups of IT folk to see if I can get them blogging and see if they can get some sort of intelligent and useful conversation going.

I had a conversation with someone from the US firm regarding overall strategy for blogs/wikis/RSS and we got talking about how the culture of an organisation can cause blogs to fail. I half suspect that our organisation has the wrong culture, certainly in the UK. I don't think we are open enough, too worried about saying the 'wrong thing', worried about what others will think and want to prove that we are the big shot know-it-all.

Time will tell. I wonder what others think about what the right/wrong culture is for blogging. (I'm talking, of course, about internal blogging only here.)

I stumbled across this wonderful tool for creating flash demo's from screen recordings. It does what I've seen with Camtasia before – although outputting flash, and you can pop text onto the frames and put audio over it. Best of all it's free. http://www.debugmode.com/wink/.

More annoyance with Windows Authentication

Having had the problem with trackbacks failing when using Windows Authentication (which will hopefully be fixed in the first point release of CS2 due in spring) I now find that Windows Authentication also causes the Weblogs API to break. As I use RSS Bandit I though it would be nice to just be able to post from there, so I installed w.bloggar. I was able to set this up fine to post to WordPress (I’m writing in w.bloggar now), I couldn’t get it to work with Community Server. So I turned off Windows Authentication in my sandbox, went in as admin to set the password for the user that was created to match my AD account and could then set up w.bloggar fine. Turn Windows Authentication back on and it won’t work – either times out or give a 401 (access denied) error. AARRRGGGHHHH!!!! I love and hate this module.

UPDATE: Got a quick response on the communityserver.org forum. Apparently it is w.bloggar that can’t handle Windows Authentication that is the issue.

Still, good for RSS Bandit – yet another great feature in this reader.

Technocrati tags: Community Server, RSS Bandit