Format and Delivery Are Alive And Well (RSS, Twitter, and Newspapers)

Depending on which source you choose, it was a day in September of 1833, possibly this one, that the first newspaper delivery boy responded to an advertisement in the New York Sun:

To the Unemployed – – A number of steady men can find employment by vending this paper. A liberal discount is allowed to those who buy to sell again.

For at least a thousand years, people have been able to receive news through some kind of bulletin or newspaper format. In a printed format.

RSS is a web feed format used by publishers on the internet to make their material available to others somewhat like the print on paper. In an electronic format.

Twitter is a web application that allows users to publish material in a proprietary format using the service as a delivery method.

Google Reader is a web application that delivers material that has been published in the RSS format to users. It uses it’s own delivery method in which it checks with the publisher every so often to see if new content is available.

Now I will switch from definitions to analogies, because analogies help me understand things.

If I visit RSS formatted feeds manually using my browser as the delivery method– I go on a walk through town whenever I have time, Β and visit all of the newspaper press buildings to see new content has been printed since I was last there. This takes a while because I need to travel to New York for the Times, DC for the Post, Chicago for the Tribune, etc…

If I use Google Reader (or another aggregator)Β as the delivery method for my RSS formatted news– I go on a walk every once and a while to my favorite news stand to see if they have any changes in content available from the newspapers I like.

If I use Twitter as the delivery method and format for my news– I go on a walk to the building in San Francisco which Twitter uses to publish content as it happens. This is great because it’s available as soon as somebody submits it. Every once and a while, I even choose a building in another city to look at content delivered by Twitter. These buildings have agreements to be notified of any news coming out of Twitter headquarters as soon as it happens. There are some other buildings that don’t have agreements, but they still check with Twitter headquarters every once and a while, and I can check new material from them when I go to the newspaper stand.

If I’m using rssCloud as the delivery method for my news that is in the RSS format– I stop going for walks. Instead, I have finally decided to sign up for delivery with all of the newspapers that I love to read. I am only required to open my door and read what’s sitting on my porch. I even have access to content that comes from Twitter, because one of the newspapers that I love to read has an agreement to be told of any news from the Twitter system.

Both delivery and format have been around for a while, nobody’s going anywhere. Thanks, Barney Flaherty. πŸ™‚

Publish, Ping, Subscribe Away With My Status Cloud (You Can Change Settings Now)

Lots of new stuff has been added to My Status Cloud since the last time I chatted. I’ve been in a holding pattern the last couple days while I’ve waited for my thoughts to collect on a few other things, but I haven’t had time to do any actual producing yet, so I’ll push this out for now.

First, the look and feel has changed quite a bit. I always do funny things with colors and rounded corners when I first start, but then get sick of them and go back to shades of grey very quickly – so there you go. Easier to read.

Next, which is more like 4 in 1, you have configurable options!

  • User Settings: You are now able to change or remove your email address and manage your OAuth connection to Twitter through preferences.
  • Ping Settings: If you’ve started to develop your own rss Cloud server and want to try a different client, these settings can be changed to work with your server. Only http-post is supported at the moment, but I’ll be working on a SOAP and XML-RPC version soon.
  • Subscription Settings: Another option for those who have started to implement their own rss Cloud server. These settings allow you to play with the actual cloud element in your My Status Cloud RSS feed. Also with this- only http-post is supported for the time being.
  • Publishing Settings: This is the best part, I think, brought on by what I was thinking in last friday’s post… You can now enter FTP settings to publish your My Status Cloud RSS feed to your own server. If an FTP server exists, the application will attempt to upload your feed (username.xml) to the server specified.

Ponder those changes for a second if you didn’t grab it the first time and I’ll add all the previous pieces together for the overview.

The overview…

  1. You can cross post updates into the rssCloud and/or Twitter at the same time.
  2. Links can be attached as metadata to the update so you can use ALL 140 characters.
  3. These updates, Twitter or not, are saved into an rssCloud compatible feed.
  4. An rssCloud server,, is notified every time you update either the cloud or Twitter.
  5. The My Status Cloud client/aggregator shows you the updates immediately after being notified by the server that it has been updated.
  6. You can publish (or backup) your feed anywhere via FTP.
  7. You can start to manage your feed through an rssCloud server other than

There you have it. Try away and report away if you see anything unexpected.

My Status Cloud – Now With OAuth

Some cool things come along with using OAuth authentication for talking with Twitter. First, you get to have your application name show up in the Twitter timeline. Then, you get to associate an image with your application. Oh, and it makes it more secure when passing information back and forth in the cloud.

Anyhow, that’s been added to My Status Cloud, so feel free to test away with both rssCloud only updates and updates to both the cloud and Twitter.

Also, the aggregator has been souped up a little bit so that it’s starting to become pleasant to use. Not completely usable yet, just pleasant to use. πŸ™‚ If you attach link data to an update, it will be displayed separately in the time line. And any twitter usernames or links in text should be picked up and linked to automatically.

Next on the plate is editable publishing options (among other things), something I touched on with my #blogpostfriday post earlier today.

So keep testing away, and drop me a note if you have something to note about.

If Users Could Choose How They Publish

I mentioned something briefly the other day that I’ve been rolling in my head a bit ever since. A perfect topic for #blogpostfriday. πŸ™‚

We have a bunch of fun new tech coming out of the web right now. At least two of those things, pubsubhubbub and rssCloud, deal with adding elements to feeds that tell subscribers how to sign up for quick update notification.

The painful part of this new tech is that not everybody who wants to enable it has a choice.

Sure, we could all publish our material directly and be responsible for the structure of our feeds, but that isn’t reality. We rely on Twitter to publish our Tweets, Google to publish our Shared Items, to publish our Blogs– the list goes on and on.

Example. I’m aching to try rssCloud concepts out on every feed that I can get my hands on. But I can’t. The only feed I can immediately provide the cloud element in is the one generated from the application that I wrote specifically for the purpose.

In a perfect world (ha), Twitter, Reader, WordPress would say – “Hi User – here are the optional elements available in ..insert publishing spec.. that we aren’t using. Would you like to fill them in?” – Then bam, I get to test cloud support on several different feeds immediately. There would still be a little manual work in notifying the cloud server when things are updated, but everyone who subscribes to the feed would know what server they should subscribe through for instant updates.

Now, spread the concept out a bit — if I can choose where the material is published, which specification is used, as well as what’s included in it, then I as a user have a wonderful amount of freedom in being able to do what I want to with my data. That is what publishing tools should be focused on.

A Multi-User rssCloud Implementation

Now it gets more interesting. πŸ™‚

Sitting in my chair watching myself type status updates to myself along with Dave’s automatic lifeliner feed that does a wonderful job of showing different state names and times go by is great and all, but playing with some real content would also be nice.

So. As of now, anybody can signup for an account at and start using the concepts of the rssCloud in tandem with Twitter. Or without Twitter, that’s always an option too.

Yes, yes, this is too early. And it’s probably buggy. But you can still give it a go if you want. I’ll try to sum up what it does in a few blurbs.

  1. It is a basic authentication Twitter client. You can Tweet and push to the rssCloud at the same time.
  2. It is an rssCloud client. You can push to the rssCloud without Tweeting.
  3. An xml feed is generated on your first update.
  4. A cloud server ( is notified of every update.
  5. A 24 hour subscription is maintained with that cloud server.
  6. Every user is automatically subscribed to every user. This is temporary, but should be fun to watch the flow.

That should get you by for now. If not, sign up anyway and play around. Then, checkout the material at and my personal Week 1 status report to get caught up on what this is all about.

Beyond fixing bugs that should be fixed when found, these updates are coming within the next few days:

  • OAuth. Then you may feel comfortable using your main Twitter account. πŸ™‚
  • Aggregation Code. It will work by streaming or refreshing, but streaming is on the fritz a bit.
  • Subscription maintenance.

I got a late start, but it looks like Week 2 is still shaping up to be a productive one.