Recent posts in my RSS Category

August 30, 2012

The lost art of RSS reading

When I was teaching “So you think you want to be a UXer?” at the Guardian the other day, I gave a list of five websites that I thought were essential regular reading for any budding UXer. I suggested they pop them in their RSS reader to generally blank looks all round. I prompted for a show of hands, and out of a group of 40 people - who were all involved in making the web in one way or another - only a couple put their hands up to admit to using RSS readers.

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July 10, 2009

Nokia's near-real-time adverts on the Northern Line

Yesterday Kings Cross seemed to be the epicentre of a London Transport #fail that thwarted my every move, but it did mean that I got an enjoyable bit of serendipity. As I was forced to unexpectedly re-route my journey via the Northern Line platforms at Euston, I spotted this advert. And then the delays meant I had time to film it. In the last few days I've been in a debate about how news organisations have totally failed to sell...
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July 6, 2009

No SOS needed for newspaper RSS

Last week Malcolm Coles wrote a blog post entitled 'Newspapers: turn off your RSS feeds'. It was a provocative title, and it certainly gained a lot of attention. Whilst Malcolm was right to point out that subscriber numbers to many national newspaper RSS feeds are low, his interpretation that this made them worthless was wholly wrong. At the time, Malcolm, myself, Ian Douglas from The Telegraph and Charles Arthur from The Guardian had a debate about newspaper RSS feeds on...
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April 9, 2009

When RSS ads go bad...

One of the risks of context-driven text advertising is that occasionally there will be some uncomfortable juxtapositions of editorial content and advertising. It happens on currybetdotnet from time to time. I particularly recall Google deciding that one of my lengthy pieces about working in a record shop and collecting records suited adverts saying "Do you need help with your autistic child", which I took slightly personally. It can be even worse when the adverts are being served in an RSS...
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January 31, 2009

Press Gazette or Jon Slattery? Why not quickly read both with RSS?

Yesterday, Nigel Barlow picked up on some discussion about B2B publications being usurped by 'the lone blogger'. A different Nigel, Nigel Thackery, had asked the question: "Try this for an experiment. Read the Press Gazette web site and then read Jon Slattery (a former PG long term staffer). Which is better?." For his part, Nigel Barlow says: "Personally I tend to read Jon Slattery more than I read the Press Gazette site, it used to be one of my first...
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December 8, 2008

Local RSS: Google Reader subscriber numbers for the UK's top regional papers

A couple of weeks ago I published a list of the Top 75 British Newspaper RSS feeds in Google Reader. Since I've been looking at the RSS feeds published by the UK's top 20 regional papers, so I thought I'd make a note of their subscriber numbers as well. The table below plots the popularity of the main RSS feed from each paper's website in Google Reader. There are two things of particular note. Firstly, the number of subscribers...
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December 3, 2008

Local RSS: What do the leading regional newspapers offer? - Part 2

Yesterday I had a look at the RSS provision of ten of the UK's leading regional newspapers. Today I want to continue looking at the newspapers that make up the rest of my regional 'top twenty'.   Birmingham Mail The Birmingham Mail offers a range of nearly 200 feeds, which can be found by visiting the site map. The main feed is auto-discoverable from the homepage, but the RSS logo in the top-right of the page leads to information about...
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December 2, 2008

Local RSS: What do the leading regional newspapers offer? - Part 1

With job cuts and financial uncertainty in the sector, and the BBC Trust's decision to prevent the BBC producing £68m worth of new local news content, I've turned my attention to a selection of the UK's leading regional newspapers to assess their online offerings. I started last week with with an overview of the video content that they provide. Today I wanted to turn my attention to RSS - and look at the syndication services provided by ten of...
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November 28, 2008

Top 75 British newspaper RSS feeds in Google Reader

Hooray - some good figures for the newspaper industry for a change! This time last year I made a list of the 100 most popular British newspaper feeds in Google Reader, and I thought it was worth updating the figures. The headline is that the number of RSS subscribers to the popular newspaper content has pretty much doubled. Last year, the top 75 feeds added up to represent 249,269 subscriptions. This time around the top 75 accounts for 488,828 subscriptions....
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August 7, 2008

Latest Team GB news feed now on Chipwrapper...but not the BOA site

As Olympic Chipwrapper is focussed on British news about the Olympics, I've added the official Team GB RSS feed into the headlines mix, so that as well as seeing what British newspapers are saying about the Games, you can see what the BOA thinks. At the moment, it is one of the easiest places to find British Olympic headlines, as I had to do a bit of a hunt around for the feed address. The BOA site claims to have...
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August 4, 2008

Introducing Olympic Chipwrapper

When a global sporting event like the Olympics comes around, you can be sure that there will be acres of coverage in the British media, even if public interest is dwindling. And for every newspaper contingent that is slimming down this time around, the BBC can be guaranteed to be sending a bigger team than Team GB itself. If there is masses of coverage, you need something to guide you through it. That is where Olympic Chipwrapper comes in...
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June 23, 2008

The Daily Mail site redesign: Part 1 - Navigation & RSS

Way back when I first started the currybetdotnet blog, the Daily Mail was one of the first newspapers to get its own category, as I alternated between writing about BBCi Search and having a go at the Mail's coverage of things like London's telephone numbering system. These days, I try very hard to keep my honest appraisal of the Daily Mail's site functionality apart from my occasional irritation with the editorial coverage in the paper of things like games and...
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April 23, 2008

The BBC need a TARDIS to transport their Doctor Who RSS URLs

There was an astonishing message in the official BBC Doctor Who News RSS feed yesterday: Now that we've switched over to our shiny new site, our news stories are being created in a different way. Therefore you'll no longer see news stories added to this page. Instead, you'll find them if you follow the link below. More importantly, if you subscribe to our RSS news feed using the link: you'll need to update it to: That way you'll...
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March 28, 2008

'RSS Feeds: Managing the Mechanism' article for FUMSI

I've contributed an article about managing your consumption of RSS feeds to the Manage area of the FUMSI site - 'RSS Feeds: Managing the Mechanism'. If you get the FreePint newsletter you may have already seen the promotional blurb for the article. "Martin Belam explains the ins and outs of RSS -- not the technology or mechanics of it, but the nitty-gritty of managing yet another information stream on a desktop already close to bursting with resources. He provides practical...
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February 28, 2008

Making the most of blog comments: Part 6 - Making a unified blog post and comment feed with Yahoo! Pipes

I've been writing a series of posts looking at various aspects of implementing comments on blogs. This week I've been concentrating on the way that blog comments can be output as RSS. Yesterday I explained how to add a recent comments RSS feed to Movable Type. Today I want to look at how you can publish one feed from your blog, which features both the entries written by the author, and the comments left by users. What I want...
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February 27, 2008

Making the most of blog comments: Part 5 - 'Recent comment' RSS feed template for Movable Type

I've been writing a series of posts looking at the best ways to implement comments on blogs. Although one of the often championed features of the blogosphere is the 'conversation', not all blogging platforms make it easy for users to track their part of the conversation. One way to facilitate that is to provide streams of the comments added to a site in the RSS format. Although there doesn't seem to be a huge take-up for this kind of...
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February 26, 2008

Making the most of blog comments: Part 4 - Do people read comments via RSS?

I'm doing a series of posts about the way that people implement comments on blog sites. I started by looking at the methods that can be used to promote comments prominently to users, and then undertook a survey of 100 blogs to get a feel for which ways were popular. I found, thanks in part to the growth of Wordpress as a platform, that distributing RSS feeds of comments was being increasingly used, either on a 'per blog' or...
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February 4, 2008

IA Summit bloggers mash-up feed

Last week I published a list of 37 bloggers who are participating in the 2008 IA Summit in Miami in April. As well as in individual list, there was an OPML file to allow you import all of the sites into your feed reader of choice in one go. I've now put together an alternative way to subscribe to them. I've mashed 35 of the feeds together using the awesome Yahoo! Pipes - partly thanks to Kevin Cheng who features...
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January 31, 2008

IA Summit bloggers

The programme for the 2008 IA Summit features 100 people either talking, hosting workshops or presenting posters. I was interested to see how many of those have blogs, and thought it might help shape my opinions as to which sessions I shall be attending at the conference. Having done the legwork to trawl through the list looking for bloggers, I also thought it might be nice to share. I found 37 participants with personal blogs that looked active. I've...
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January 15, 2008

Now the Daily Express RSS feeds are in Latin

There is something very wrong with the RSS feeds from the Daily Express - and I don't just mean that the constant focus on Diana makes it look like they are ten years out-of-date. I've already written about how I had to pull the Express content from the Chipwrapper sports feed, as the stories in it still have Sam Allardyce at Newcastle, and Fabio Capello denying links with Liverpool - December 5th was the last time the feed updated. I've...
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January 8, 2008

Gene Marks is dangerously wrong about "Tech 'solutions' your small biz can't use"

A couple of days ago via the extremely useful Sphinn I was directed to an article on MSNBC by Gene Marks - "Tech 'Solutions' Your Small Biz Can't Use". In amongst it he lists RSS, blogs, SEO and Web 2.0 as tech that have no uses for the small business. Once I'd spluttered out my coffee and started hammering my outraged response, I realised it was a great bit of linkbait designed to get lots of people frothing at the...
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December 16, 2007

More RSS errors - The Sun and The Express

In theory Chipwrapper should be so easy to product manage. I spent a little while registering the domain name, making some HTML pages and finding a logo image. I set up a Google Custom Search Engine. I mashed up some Yahoo! Pipes and pumped them through some of my own Perl and then Feedburner, and it should all just run just tickety-boo. Unless, of course, newspaper publishers kept doing really dumb things with their RSS feeds. The Sun's feeds remain...
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December 5, 2007

The Sun's broken RSS still affecting Chipwrapper one month on

Well, it has been a month now since Dave Cross pointed out on his blog that The Sun's re-design utterly broke their RSS feeds, and still we await them being fixed. As a consequence it also broke several aspects of Chipwrapper. Until today I'd resisted the temptation to poke around and try and fix things, on the grounds that surely The Sun themselves would put things right. That doesn't seem to be the case. The first problem was that The...
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November 23, 2007

BBC RSS subscription league table for English & Scottish football teams

What with the Euro2008 qualification outcome, it is maybe not the best week to be writing about English or Scottish football, but in the process of compiling my lists of the most popular BBC RSS feeds and podcasts in Google Reader, I noticed subscriptions for lots and lots of England and Scotland's football teams. The BBC provides an RSS news feeed for all of the teams in the 4 divisions of each league, including Welsh interlopers Cardiff, Swansea and Wrexham,...
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November 22, 2007

Top 50 BBC Podcasts in Google Reader

...well, 49 actually... When I was compiling my list of the most popular BBC RSS feeds in Google Reader, I noticed subscriber figures for a lot of content from the BBC's podcast feeds. I'm not a regular Google Reader user, so I didn't realise that it actually had the facility to play podcasts inline from the RSS reader interface. I know that Colin Murray for one gets quite vexed about where his Fighting Talk podcast appears in the iTunes...
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November 21, 2007

Top 100 BBC RSS feeds in Google Reader

Adrian Monck recently described this kind of thing as the production of "list porn", but I still find it all rather fascinating. When I was making my list of the most popular British newspaper feeds in Google Reader, I couldn't help wondering what the comparative figures would be for BBC RSS feeds. The usual caveats apply: Google Reader is only a fraction of the market for online RSS feed readers. Online feed reading is only a proportion of the way...
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November 5, 2007

British newspaper RSS subscriptions in Google Reader

Last week I published a list of the Top 100 British newspaper RSS feeds - well, according to the subscription numbers given by Google Reader, anyway. It is a flawed metric, but in the absence of any kind of audited figures from the papers themselves, it is one of the few public indications of the relative audiences for RSS feeds. In order to get the list of 100, I had to look at the figures for a lot more than...
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November 4, 2007

Daily Sport brand hi-jacked by Russian RSS squatters

One interesting thing I noticed when doing my recent survey of newspaper subscriber numbers in Google Reader was to do with the Daily and Sunday Sport. They themselves don't seem to have any feed format subscribers - but that didn't stop some feeds turning up when I was searching Google Reader. A couple of RSS feeds with a Russian domain name were using the Sport's brand in the sub-domain of their URL. Newspaper phising via RSS? It seems a...
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November 2, 2007

Top 100 British newspaper feeds in Google Reader

Six months ago when I was doing a series of articles about how Web 2.0 British newspaper websites are, I produced a couple of charts illustrating which newspaper and newspaper blog RSS feeds were popular according to their Bloglines subscriber numbers. It was rather a flawed study, since it only looked at one source of subscription figures, and would obviously be skewed by the demographic make-up of the Bloglines user base. At the time, though, I made the point that...
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October 30, 2007

The Daily Star's unique approach to promoting RSS feeds

I've been doing some research around newspaper RSS feeds again - the results of which I hope to be able to publish later this week - and during the course of it I noticed that the Daily Star was publishing RSS for the first time. Whenever I've been doing studies of newspaper features and so on, I've generally not included the Star, as their site had remained firmly undeveloped for some years. However that appears to have changed with a...
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June 26, 2007

The Telegraph's scatter-gun approach to related RSS feeds

Whilst doing the research for my lengthy series about the "Web 2.0" features on British newspaper websites, I came across quite a few quirks on them that didn't fit into the main set of articles, but that I wanted to point out anyway. One of these was on The Telegraph's site, which I noticed when I was putting together my table of the different RSS feed implementations by the eight newspapers I was surveying. Whilst looking at whether sites offered...
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June 22, 2007

The BBC's Editors blog links to currybetdotnet - and illustrates one of the downsides of RSS

I've had a massive influx of visitors to currybetdotnet over the last couple of weeks, partially fuelled by some links to my piece about the BBC iPlayer DRM debate, and partially due to the fact that my article about the Daily Mail's self-censorship is featuring highly on Google for various combinations of 'big brother' with words like breasts, nipple and topless. Also in the mix were some referrers directly from It took me a while poking about in the...
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June 21, 2007

British newspaper and blog feeds OPML file listed on Grazr

I spotted the other day that my OPML file of British newspaper news and blog RSS feeds had made its way onto Grazr - 348 British Newspaper and Blog feeds - a service which I hadn't come across before. Grazr is a web application which, as its web 2.0-ish name suggests, allows you to 'graze' through collections of feeds rather than subscribe to them forever. RSS feeds are great, but the subscription model used by aggregators is slow and clumsy....
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June 15, 2007

Today is the deadline for opting out of Feedburner handing all of their usage data to Google

It hadn't occurred to me that the purchase of the hitherto excellent FeedBurner service by Google would have any implications for me, but that was before I logged in the other day. Today is the deadline for telling FeedBurner "Thanks, but no thanks" to the new state of affairs. If you use FeedBurner and you let them know today, they will cancel your account and delete all of your historical statistics and usage data, and stop serving your feed. NOTE:...
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June 14, 2007

Extra URLs for the Guardian Gamesblog in Bloglines

Whilst I was doing my recent survey of the Web 2.0 features on British newspapers, I spotted one or two quirks which I wanted to highlight. This one is actually more of a quirk in user behaviour and Bloglines than in the publishing paper. Bloglines shows all the different feed URLs it has stored for a particular page's RSS feeds. Usually it is just the variations between Atom or RSS 2.0 available from the publisher. Occasionally you'll see some errant...
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June 12, 2007

RSS article in the Press Gazette this week

I have an article published in this week's edition of Press Gazette. Well, I say this week. We don't get it here in Greece, so I'm not 100% sure that it has appeared in print yet, but it certainly turned up on the Press Gazette website over the weekend. I can't claim credit for the puntastic tabloid headline - "Does your website know its RSS from its elbow?" - but the rest of it is mine. It looks at the...
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June 7, 2007

Newspapers 2.0: OPML file for British newspaper RSS feeds

Over the last couple of weeks I've been looking at some of the subscriber numbers in Bloglines to the RSS feeds published by British newspapers. Some of the feeds have been easier to find than others - as the quality of signposting on the various sites differs. I ended up subscribed to a whopping 2,316 feeds - of which, admittedly, 1,968 were individual author feeds belonging to The Guardian's Comment Is Free. In the course of subscribing to the feeds,...
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June 6, 2007

Twitter polluting Google search results for news topics

I've begun to see Twitter cropping up more and more in Google search engine results pages recently, and I can't help thinking that they aren't actually terribly good quality results. I noticed it particularly the other day when researching my post about the difference between the Madeleine McCann and Alex Meschisvili cases. For the search terms 'bbc news mccann', in the top three or top five results (depending on whether I was logged into Google or not) was a link...
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June 5, 2007

Newspapers 2.0: OPML files for The Telegraph and The Mirror blogs by author

Interesource (not Intersource as I kept calling them) have been very pro-active in responding to my comments about the blogs on The Telegraph and The Mirror that they provide. One of the team was quick to point out some innacuracy in my table of newspaper blog features, where I'd missed out, amongst other things, that they offered navigation by tags. He also pointed out that some of the blogs, like Shane Richmond's, did offer blogrolls, and not only that, that...
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June 1, 2007

Bloglines subscriptions numbers and OPML file for The Guardian's Comment Is Free site

I've mentioned a couple of times in the last few weeks the debate about whether The Guardian is entitled to call their "Comment Is Free" site a 'group blog', or whether it is just a random assortment of opinion columns from the paper held together by a handful of regular contributors. What can't be doubted is that the site presents itself in a very richly featured blog format, which includes the provision of RSS feeds on a per author basis....
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February 11, 2005

BBC Complaints site in RSS

So I've mentioned before that the BBC has launched a new Complaints site. From my point of view the most important thing over the next couple of months is to monitor how much mail the BBC receives, and how much publishing is done on the site, which is acting as a central hub for official responses. Both of those will give me a good idea of how likely the site is to impact on the resources I have available to...
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June 23, 2004

Converting BBC Sport RSS feeds to WML

Please note that this article is from June 2004, and that the script is no longer available for download. About five years ago if I got up late and didn't get to see the football news in the morning, I would have to wait until the Evening Standard hit the streets, or try to find a chance to listen to Radio Five Live during working hours in a busy record shop. Once I moved to working in an...
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June 13, 2004

Expose your MP with RSS

They Work For You is offering a whole host of data sources for people to play with. Instructions have already been posted on one way to do it - How To Run a Weblog on Behalf of Your MP. And people are already doing it to Anne Campbell and Nigel Griffiths. Go play......
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October 17, 2003

Email to RSS conversion

This is awesome - I have just been talking with a colleague about the relationship between email mailing lists and RSS feeds - pondering what if Microsoft bundled a half-decent feed reader into Outlook or Longhorn or whatever they next strangle the market with? As an economic model chucking out RSS feeds will be cheaper than chucking out bulk mail once it becomes trivially non-technical for the average PC World customer to subscribe to them. The chat moved on...
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August 25, 2003

Roaming web-based RSS aggregation from Bloglines

I think I may have found my solution to RSS aggregation. I have tried a couple of software solutions, but none have done the trick for me. This is not least because I work across a variety of physical machines and networks. I have a PC at home. I have had, until the other week, a PC at work. And I have a laptop which I use at work connected to the LAN. Or at home connected to the...
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