Avoidance behaviour, or, wanted: video RSS feeds

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I’m avoiding doing paper work for work, and chapter edits for the MythTV book by writing a video aggregator. I have Media RSS feeds working, and normal RSS 2.0 with enclosures working. I have two questions:

  • Are there any other feed formats I should worry about?
  • What are some good (as in not horribly boring) feeds that I should now watch?

That’s right, I built the aggregator, before I had anything to aggregate. Now I have this hammer, and must hit things with it… I’ll talk more about the aggregator itself when I’ve done a little more testing, but I think it’s pretty cool.

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ScobleShow only available as MP4?

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I’ve been playing with a new video aggregator (more details later!), and wanted some content, so I headed over to scobleshow.com. I’m disappointed to see that the videos only appear to be available as MP4s, and that the feed doesn’t use anything but enclosures — I was hoping for something nicer like Media RSS which would let him have content in lots of other formats.

It just seems silly to me that if I watch a video on a laptop or a television, that it has to be encoded for an iPod… Especially if he’s using a nice high resolution camera, and then throwing all those extra pixels out…

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Why RSS annoys me

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Not to pick on Matt Palmer, but what do you notice is missing from his entirely compliant RSS 0.90 feed?

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!-- name="generator" content="blosxom/2.0" -->
<!DOCTYPE rss PUBLIC "-//Netscape Communications//DTD RSS 0.91//EN" "http://my.netscape.com/publish/formats/rss-0.91.dtd">

<rss version="0.91">
 <channel>
  <title>Brane Dump</title>
  <link>http://www.hezmatt.org/~mpalmer/blog</link>
  <description>The Thoughts of Matt Palmer</description>
  <language>en</language>

  <item>
   <title>More Ruby Zen</title>
   <link>http://www.hezmatt.org/~mpalmer/blog/general/more_ruby_zen.html</link>
   <description><p>
 A method to find all files in a directory <tt>INCOMING</tt> which end with
 <tt>.changes</tt>, prepend <tt>INCOMING</tt> to the matching files, and
 return the results as an array (desk checked, but not run in anger yet):
</p>
<pre>
def changes_files
  Dir.entries(INCOMING).find_all { |f|
    f =~ /\.changes$/ }.map { |f| File.join(INCOMING, f) }
end
</pre>
<p>
 Line noise it may be, but I'll be damned if it isn't <em>succinct</em> line
 noise.
</p>
</description>
  </item>

That’s right, this starting snippet of RSS entirely lacks any indication of the date and time the post was made at… The excellent universal feedparser documentation discusses this more.

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Online aggregators

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Yes, I really am catching up… Gordon mentions a new online aggregator, but it costs money, so I am unlikely to try it… There are so many good free options out there, and I suspect that aggregation will very soon be a part of the operating system (well, I believe Vista has already announced that). When you think about it, presenting an interface to the changing world certainly seems like something you would expect to be baked into every computer.

I’ve been finding Bloglines to be increasingly unreliable since I moved to the US a couple of months ago. I think the two are unrelated, but it’s possible that there is something there… Although it hasn’t really died on me in the last couple of weeks.

Gordon also needs to be reminded that Google reader is a sample app. To quote from that blog post:

Update 10:40 p.m.:Jason Shellen, PM of Google Reader, called me to let me know that Google built its feed API first and the Google Reader application second as a demonstration of what could be done with the underlying data. Jason confirmed my documentation below is very accurate and Google plans to release a feed API “soon” and perhaps within the next month! Google Reader engineer Chris Wetherell has also confirmed the API in the comments below.

I suspect there are some really cool apps waiting to be built on top of that API, and it’s a little surprising that I haven’t seen anything yet which is doing that.

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