mfioretti: rss*

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  1. -
    Tags: by M. Fioretti (2018-01-17)
    Voting 0
  2. Google doesn’t generally make money from Google News itself, because it doesn’t place advertisements in the service (though it does of course place ads in its main search service, where results are sometimes augmented with Google News results). In contrast, ancillary copyright destroys the entire business model of small aggregation startups. CEDRO, Spain’s equivalent to VG Media in this arena, recently decided that aggregators should pay €0.05 per user per day in ancillary copyright fees – for the popular local aggregation startup Menéame, this works out as 20 times the company’s turnover. Obviously, this is completely untenable for a small business.

    So, given the German and Spanish experiences, what is the push for ancillary copyright actually trying to achieve? On the face of it, the aim is to get Google to pay publishers for sending readers to their articles. This is in itself a very strange idea, as publishers get to make money from showing ads to those readers, but let’s take it at face value for a moment. Even if Google were to continue to use those snippets, and if it started to pay those fees, the law would kill its small, European competitors in the news aggregation space – no-one would invest in them, because their businesses would haemorrhage money. Wealthy Google, if it stayed in the space, would end up dominating the EU news aggregation market even more than it does now.

    But this isn’t going to happen. Google is not going to start paying anyone to link to their online content, because that would be the beginning of the end for Google’s core business model – a win-win situation where the company benefits from being the gatekeeper for the public’s attention, and linked-to sites benefit from the traffic Google freely sends them.

    Günther Oettinger has claimed that the might of a pan-EU law would force Google to open its coffers, but he’s wrong. Nobody can force a company to engage in a line of business that will lose it money. If pushed, Google would undoubtedly do across the EU what it did in Spain: shut down Google News. This may benefit the traditional press publishers that hate online competition – and perhaps this is why they, with their vast offline marketing budgets, have lobbied so hard for an EU ancillary copyright law. But it would cause infinite harm to smaller European publishers and the innovative European startups that are trying to develop cleverer ways of connecting publishers with their readers.

    There are many flaws in Article 11 as proposed – its vague wording could penalise social media users; there’s no guarantee that journalists themselves would benefit from the fees; and it could lead to the last two decades of journalism becoming less accessible to the public. But even if the wording were tweaked, the basic concept remains fundamentally flawed. Nobody would benefit, apart from the handful of large press publishers that are trying to turn back the clock to protect their bottom lines.

    There’s no doubt that the news industry is in crisis, nor that digitalisation is largely to blame. It’s a deeply complex problem, and solutions are urgently needed. But ancillary copyright is not one of those solutions. If anything, it would hold back the innovation that’s so desperately needed to rescue the industry – innovation that might come not from Google, but from the bright minds in the EU.
    Voting 0
  3. There are plenty of as-yet undocumented features and options in Hugo (or so it felt when I was trying to solve various things), one of which is specifying the URL of your RSS feed. It’s not covered in the Configuration section, but you can add:

    rssURI = "feed"

    (If you’re using the TOML format, you’ll have to add the equivalent if using YAML.)

    This tells Hugo to output the RSS feed to:


    Which seems to work (I was trying to match WordPress’ path). Obviously put in rss.xml and you’ll get:


    I believe the default is index.xml if you don’t specify anything.
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2017-01-14)
    Voting 0
  4. So what did I do? I wrote a small web service that parses the HTML of those websites and returns an RSS feed based on that, together with having it update regularly in the background and keeping some history of items. You can find it here: html-rss-proxy. The resulting RSS feeds seem to work very well in Liferea and Newsblur at least.
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2016-08-27)
    Voting 0
  5. As well as taking a closer look at how we publish and maintain our own content, there are also frustrations with how we retrieve and access the content we want to see. Given the limited time available, we often end up habitually returning to one or two new websites during our commute, working day and evening to keep up-to-date. This involves becoming a human sifter of information. Parsing and filtering page after page looking for interesting content whilst trying to ignore the uninteresting leads. This is often tiresome, slow (traffic heavy) and feels like something avoidable.

    Hunting content is inefficient and not a good use of our time. It also narrows the field of sites we use due to lack of time, and therefore we rely on one or two to give us good content in the time we have. Would it not be better if we had a broader field of sites to chose from. If we could efficiently parse these sites for good, interesting content and have a broader picture to chose from.

    RSS/Atom feeds are the one option for us here. Today, RSS feels like a last remnant of a future that never quite materialised. Using RSS is a somewhat esoteric pursuit that many are unaware of. And yet it encapsulates how content should be shared. It allows multiple sources to be parsed by computer (they are good at that!), consolidated, sorted and presented which leaves us to just pick what to click. It could even be smart and learn what we like - is that too far-fetched?!

    And whilst RSS feels like a dying model, it is in fact the template for how all content should be shared. On an automated, pull-based system that queries our many sources of content, not just news, and consolidates it. Bringing together news, photos, friends updates and new blog posts for us.
    The future

    With so much to amuse us and enrich our lives on the web, it can seem at least misguided to suggest it is flawed. And yet, it is fundamentally flawed in many ways. Our entrapment by global platform providers is growing. We are losing our content, losing control of our online-selves and the sticky power of these platforms is increasingly difficult to resist.

    But there is an alternative. Things could be different. More about that in my next post.
    Voting 0
  6. Breaking things right down into the individual atomic unit, including the content and actions. The atomic unit separate from the container of the app itself, so that it can show up anywhere, on any device. The atomic units are then reassembled based on context. Aggregated in a centralised stream. Or pushed to you on your watch.
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2015-03-02)
    Voting 0
  7. Creating a daily reading list involves a few manual steps. In only a few minutes, you have the information you need for the day and you can use your mobile device for something more than just checking email and social media. On top of that, you might just be able to trim down the number of sources from which you get information and free up more time to do other things.
    Voting 0
  8. What is the role of Facebook in today’s journalism? The debate has been recurrent in the past few months, and was revived by the Pew Research Center's study that we discussed last week (the impact of social media in the diet of readers, and how that impact is very strong on their opinions about the news). The issue has been discussed again, this week, gutted by many and enriched by one of the most read and commented articles in the past few days. It is the interview by Ravi Somaiya of The New York Times with Greg Marra, a 26 year old Facebook engineer, among the "people responsible" for the algorithm by which users find the news on their news feed (usually ordered on the basis of the behavior of the members and not in chronological order as Twitter is - for now) and that, indirectly or not, affects the relationship of users with the news and the number of readings and sharing of editorial content.

    According to research by SimpleReach, in fact, one in five visualizations on news websites came from Facebook - and the numbers continue to grow. Therefore, it is not a surprise that publishers study Facebook with some interest, trying to get the best possible from it while guarding a crucial area
    Voting 0
  9. The tech industry has a set of questions that are really talking points that "prove" that there's no reason to support RSS in publishing products. I've heard it ever since RSS started taking off about 15 years ago, so my answers are well-rehearsed.#

    Amazingly the essence of the questions are captured in a 140-character tweet from Internet entrepreneur Jonathan Abrams. He says: "Over 1 billion people on the Internet read news. What percentage of those people use RSS? What percentage know what it is?"#

    I don't like Twitter debates, they never accomplish anything. I prefer to spread out in a blog post and bloviate at length. I invite Mr Abrams to do the same. #

    First, I don't have percentages on any of these things, I doubt if Mr Abrams does either. But they're not really questions are they? I guess he's really saying that 1 billion people get their news from Facebook. So why bother with anything else?#
    But how does the news get to Facebook?

    Most people on the Internet don't use JSON and have never heard of it. So by Abrams' calculation it doesn't matter either. But it does very much matter! The last few steps in the process of getting news from reporters to readers involves publishing it as either JSON or HTML. It's pretty much got to be one or the other. How many of those people even know what JSON or HTML are? Probably very few. No one is losing any sleep over this. Or sponsoring public service campaigns to educate people on the importance of JSON. It's not a huge problem. #

    See, the point isn't how many people know about RSS.
    Voting 0
  10. There are two things I think RSS already has that aren’t being utilized (enough).

    One is RSSCloud, a way to get notified immediately if a feed has changed. I worked with Dave on getting some of my code to work with that feature of the spec a few years back. Need to dust it off because I’m pretty confident its day will come. In some ways it has, but it’s more of a plumbing aspect of app creation. I want to see it used for distributed real-time blogs. Like a distributed Twitter. Still some work before we get there.
    Voting 0

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