Monthly Archives: August 2005

Declining standards

Since when is a “lead program manager” an executive position?

bq. “Microsoft exec defends RSS rebranding – Computerworld”:,10801,103961,00.html

bq. An MSN executive is defending Microsoft’s rebranding of RSS into “Web feeds” after a flurry of Microsoft bloggers accused the software giant of trying to recast the Web site syndication technology in its own image.

bq. In a recent post on his Web log “Torres Talking,” Mike Torres, MSN Spaces lead program manager, made a clear distinction between the branding of the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) technology and the underlying technology itself.

Negative Examples

I’m not sure why, but at some point I subscribed to the RSS feed for “this weblog”: Tonight, I unsubscribed. The only reason I didn’t unsub sooner is that I’d gotten in the habit of avoiding looking at the feed.

Tonight though, I took another look, and it was horrible. Each item in the feed is mostly crap. There is a very short excerpt of the post, followed by an invitation to comment, a search box, a list of related articles AND an advertisement! Actually, make that two advertisements, one for a sponsor and one soliciting other advertisers.

I don’t know if it’s working for him or not, but its not working for me.

# If you are going to advertise in your feed, at least give me the full freaking text.
# If I’ve subscribed to your feed, you should assume I’m a regular reader, and that it benefits absolutely no one for me to see the same advertisements multiple times a day for weeks on end.
# The related items is a neat idea, but its silly to put in anything other than a full text feed. For one thing, it wastes screen space, for another thing, if I’m actually interested enough to click on a related article, I’m probably going to be clicking through to the website anyway to see the full article.
# Drop the search box, if I really care about what you have to say on a subject that occurs to me while reading your content-lite RSS feed, I’ll probably click through to your freaking site.

Of course, visiting the site isn’t much better than reading the feed. There is a big Google AdSense block across the top, followed by an extremely deep masthead/logo with an inexplicable photo of a shirt collar a tie that looks like it was lifted from a Land’s End Men’s catalog. The right hand column has a wide Google AdSense block followed by more ads of various sorts. The main column is contains the blog posts, each accompanied by one or more “Sponsor links” and links to related articles.

“Quick Online Tips”: is another feed I subscribed to at some point that was rubbing me the wrong way recently. The feed only has teasers, but it is happily ad-free. Click through though, and what I see isn’t inspiring. On my laptop, all I see of any consequence is the title of the post. Other than that, I see the blogger navbar, the title bar for the site. Nothing too bad, yet, but scan a little further and you realize that the content is crowded out by the advertising. There is a Google linkbar above the post title, below that, a big google AdSense block. On the right there are a couple of little graphical ads. I have to scroll to see the post content, along with more ads on the side, followed by another big AdSense block. It doesn’t take many visits for me to tune out the advertising, and after a few more visits, I’ve tuned out the whole site, feed and all.

I mention these not just to bitch, but to remind myself to be careful. I’ve been experiementing with AdSense on this blog. I started with an vertical AdSense strip on the right-hand side of my archive pages and recently added a horizontal strip between the bottom of the post and the comments on the same pages, and I’ve been thinking about trying something in my feeds on a trial basis (most likely not). I don’t honestly think I’ll ever go as overboard as some of these people, but I really don’t want to come anywhere close.

Webserver Auditions: Round Two

I’ve been spending some more time today load-testing webserver software in preparation for the online release of the next Harvey Danger album. When I “wrote last”: I’d just finished looking into resource utilization of “Apache2”: (with both the prefork and worker multiprocessing modules), “thttpd”:, and “lighttpd”:

Today I’ve been taking a closer look at lighttpd and thttpd. What I’ve found has been sort of a mixed bag.
Continue reading

Two Nights in a Row

1077 The End


1: Death Cab for Cutie – Soul Meets Body
2: The White Stripes – My Doorbell
3: Madness – Shame and Scandal
4: Beck – Girl
*5: Harvey Danger – Cream and Bastards Rise*
6: Nine Inch Nails – Only
7: Rise Against – Swing Life Away
8: Foo Fighters – DOA
9: Caesars – It’s Not The Fall That Hurts
10: Weezer – We Are All on Drugs

Boeing, Boeing…

Boeing’s 737 is appearantly in competition with a model from Brazil’s emergent Embraer.

bq. Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Lockheed looking at Embraer, Boeing for spy plane
Lockheed Martin Corp. is looking at the Embraer 190 and the Boeing Co. 737 as candidates for a new Army spy plane, the company said Friday.

Granted, its a specialized sale, but it again illustrates that, a decade ago, Boeing should have been worrying, not just about Airbus, but about “the little guys”: They didn’t, and now they are feeling the heat.

Stupid iTunes Podcast Tricks

I installed iPodder shortly after its release and after trying once or twice to listen to podcasts, I gave up on it. The podcasts I found weren’t that interesting and the “online podcast directory was weak”:

I liked the whole idea though, and so when Apple decided to make it easier to consume podcasts in the latest version of iTunes, I decided to give things a second look.

There are certainly a hell of a lot more podcasts to choose from these days, thats for sure. I lot of established media players have jumped in, driven, in part, by Apple’s entry into the space. All of which is cool, but I’m most interested in podcasting because of the opportunities it offers the unaffiliated up-and-comers.

In the early days of the iTunes podcast directory, those very people, the people who had pioneered the medium, seemed to be shoved off to the side in favor of the big media types. It took some digging to even find them. Happilly, on my latest visit, the “indies” as Apple calls them, are featured more prominently, including a section featuring a handfull of “interesting indies” near the top of the directory.

But, as you can tell from the title, I found something to gripe about. The process of subscribing to podcasts is utterly irritating. Once you’ve found an interesting looking podcast you click a subscribe button to add it to your subscription list. This is where things get bad.

As soon as you click subscribe, iTunes exits the podcast directory and jumps to your podcast subscription list. The browser buttons disappear and the only way (that I can find) back to your place in the directory to subscribe to something else is to start from the beginning again in retrace your steps. VERY LAME!

The podcasts I’ve listened to lately have been better than the early batch, but there are still a lot that are clearly not worth my time after one or two listens. It would be nice if I could easily unsubscribe from a podcast from my iPod.