Ditching my email newsletters

According to my Twitter history, I signed up for a bunch of email newsletters in 2011. I can kind of infer from my Gmail history that it took about a year before I realized that I never read the email newsletters. One day I purged them all, likely thinking it would be nice to have a less cluttered inbox.

Because history repeats itself, I signed up for a whole ton of email newsletters again in 2015. Gmail's tabbed inbox interface made me think I could better organize these newsletters under the "Updates" tab and read them every day. At that point I even asked for recommendations so that I could receive even more email!

This is all ridiculous because I'm bad at reading email.

Recently, I decided to blog more and to embrace the blog ecosystem again. This means I'm trying to consume interesting stuff through an RSS reader (currently Feedly) rather than through Twitter or email.

So today I'm unsubscribing from a bunch of email and subscribing to their RSS equivalents. I mostly wanted to write this to note how appreciative I am of the people who provide an RSS feed in addition to the email version.

It looks like MailChimp makes it really easy. Others are published first on a blog or news site anyway. And there are only a few that are going to require figuring out a way to get them into Feedly through some kind of process.

Getting these all into an interface that's designed more for reading won't always help direct my attention to them. But they'll at least be in a place more likely to succeed. 🙂

Is Your OPML Cloud Enabled? Let’s Find Out!

New features on My Status Cloud tonight. Actually, one has been around for a couple days, but I wanted to get the next one in before sharing. 🙂

First, my favorite, you can now subscribe by OPML file instead of inputting only a single feed or a .tel domain into the subscription box. How cool is that really? Well, instead of going one by one through your favorite feeds to determine if they’re ready for the next step, you can pass the URL of the entire list of feeds and we’ll do it for you. Pretty sweet.

Do note that if you use this method, the output is going to be a little less friendly. For the sake of showing the user what feeds were or weren’t cloud enabled, I don’t go back to the nice main page after you submit the URL. Instead, I give a list of the URLs that were contained in that OPML file and what the status of each is. The return value will either be:

  • SUCCESS (cloud enabled feed found)
  • EXISTS (we’re already aware)
  • NO CLOUD (feed was found, but it wasn’t cloud enabled)
  • or NO RSS FEED (something just isn’t right about the feed from first automatic glance)

Be aware that if the OPML file you are providing has MANY feeds on it, and some of those feeds are slow to respond, this may take a while to completely process. I’m not fancy enough to handle background scripting for this type of thing yet.

And for a third OPML note- if you have an OPML file that you’d be willing to share, please let me know and I will check it on a regular basis to see when clouds start appearing.

Also, second feature add, you can now mark items as saved when logged in to My Status Cloud. Just look for the little save link at the top of each item to save or un-save it. Then look for the link to your saved items on the left to view anything that has been saved. The first step towards some kind of favorite/star aggregation. You know?

That’s it. More coming. I think XML-RPC is working on the subscription end, but I’m waiting to see how that pans out before providing more detail and options.

Subscribing To RSS Cloud Feeds Via .TEL Domains

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not so savvy to the world of domains and DNS. I can configure standard CNAME, A, MX stuff as need be, but I don’t go much beyond that. It was intriguing then to get a request from @plaggypig asking if I could resolve feeds from .TEL lookups. One of my favorite things to do is to try stuff I don’t know anything about. 🙂

@jeremyfelt Can you resolve feed URLs from .tel names? It’s just a simple DNS lookup: dig +short davewiner.tel NAPTR|cut -d ‘ ‘ -f 4-5

From what I do know of .TEL and the surface stuff I’ve read, this didn’t seem like such a bad idea. And it took only less than an hour to implement, so here goes.

You can now subscribe to rssCloud enabled feeds in My Status Cloud by entering in a TEL Domain. Once you have submitted the domain, I grab the DNS records, get the feed data attached to it, attempt to grab the feeds, verify that they are cloud enabled, and continue accordingly.

If a feed is cloud enabled, it will be subscribed to automatically and show up on the subscriptions list. Possible error messages will return when the feed already exists, has no cloud element, or causes some other unknown error.

I was admittedly hurried in pushing up the code, so the return error handling isn’t the best. Right now the message will show above the subscribe box as “Feed 1 – result”, “Feed 2 – result”. That will get better shortly. 🙂

Part 2 of the admittedly hurried part (notice a trend?) is that I am not storing the TEL information at this time. I lookup DNS, parse the results, and play with the feeds. Soon, I will store the TEL URLs that are added and use them as part of the regular subscription process. The huge benefit in this is that you could move your feed around from client to client and not have to work too much at it.

It’s All Happening

If you’ve seen Almost Famous, you know the phrase. It’s the feeling around the phrase that means something. Something feels like it is happening.

Today, it is all happening. I sat down to get some work done on My Status Cloud, my version of an RSS Cloud client/reader/aggregator, and all of a sudden there was an explosion of awesomeness from Dave Winer as it was announced that WordPress blogs would now support RSS Cloud. Wow!

Ever since the announcement the discussions have started to pop up everywhere, questions and comments abound. Soon this will all make sense, but right now it’s amazing watching all the pieces come together before it does.

Even More Cloud Enabled Feeds (Your Own)

Dave Winer went full on rock and roll on Friday when he told everybody he was following they now have a cloud enabled feed. I’m not sure if he would use this analogy, but he became somewhat of a FeedBurner to Twitter’s proprietary unchangeable publishing format. A TweetBurner?

There is a two part awesomeness to this. One, a bunch of people have RSS cloud enabled feeds without having to lift a finger. And two, tons of developers instantly have RSS cloud enabled feeds available to them for testing. I fit in both categories. 🙂

The only unfortunate thing, which I’m guessing won’t be the case for long, is that you have to be followed by Dave in order to appear in that list.

Fortunately, there’s already an answer for that too if you’re willing to try a little beta software. My Status Cloud is an RSS Cloud aggregator, RSS Cloud client, AND Twitter client. Anything you post to the cloud or Twitter through mystatuscloud.com is immediately available in a cloud enabled feed as well. Mine is here.

And, if you want to publish the feed somewhere else, you can do that to! If you want to know more, see my earlier post on the available features.