Student & Programmer. I reverse engineer stuff. Moderator for @MarioMarathon 5 for @CPCharity.
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Waiting for Saturday night…

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Waiting for Saturday night…

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nicatronTg
3972 days ago
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Aurora, Colorado
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See you tonight at midnight.

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See you tonight at midnight.

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nicatronTg
3974 days ago
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Aurora, Colorado
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Desktop Notifications for Google Voice

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Some readers of this blog spotted a new feature of the Google Voice extension for Chrome: desktop notifications. I didn't notice it, since Google Voice can't be used outside US.

"I've recently started getting notifications from the Chrome Google Voice extension every time I receive a SMS to my GV number. Of particular interest is the icon, which looks like an amalgamation of communications services' icons. Is it a harbinger of the new unified messaging service rumored to be on the way?" says Alec, a read of this blog.


Apparently, Google works on a new product called Babel that integrates Google Talk, Gmail Chat, Google+ Hangouts, Google+ Messenger. "You'll get a seamless messenger experience across Android, iOS, Chrome, Google+ and Gmail. From what we have seen, there is no mention of Google Voice or other services outside of the five we just mentioned, but that doesn't necessarily mean they won't be there at some point. As of now, this is being tested internally as a cross-platform service," reports Droid Life.

{ Thanks, Alec and Evan. }
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nicatronTg
3976 days ago
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Noticed this today.
Aurora, Colorado
MEVincent
3975 days ago
Me too
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The power of the RSS reader

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With the decreasing use of RSS readers over the last few years, which will probably be accelerated by Google Reader’s shutdown in July, many are bidding good riddance to a medium that they never used well.

RSS is easy to abuse. In 2011, I wrote Sane RSS usage:

You should be able to go on a disconnected vacation for three days, come back, and be able to skim most of your RSS-item titles reasonably without just giving up and marking all as read. You shouldn’t come back to hundreds or thousands of unread articles.

Yet that’s the most common complaint I hear about inbox-style RSS readers such as Google Reader, NetNewsWire, and Reeder: that people gave up on them because they were constantly filled with more unread items than they could handle.

If you’ve had that problem, you weren’t using inbox-style RSS readers properly. Abandoning the entire idea of the RSS-inbox model because of inbox overload is like boycotting an all-you-can-eat buffet forever because you once ate too much there.

As I said in that 2011 post:

RSS is best for following a large number of infrequently updated sites: sites that you’d never remember to check every day because they only post occasionally, and that your social-network friends won’t reliably find or link to.

Building on that, you shouldn’t accumulate thousands of unread items, because you shouldn’t subscribe to feeds that would generate that kind of unread volume.

If a site posts many items each day and you barely read any of them, delete that feed. If you find yourself hitting “Mark all as read” more than a couple of times for any feed, delete that feed. You won’t miss anything important. If they ever post anything great, enough people will link to it from elsewhere that you’ll still see it.

The true power of the RSS inbox is keeping you informed of new posts that you probably won’t see linked elsewhere, or that you really don’t want to miss if you scroll past a few hours of your Twitter timeline.

If you can’t think of any sites you read that fit that description, you should consider broadening your horizons. (Sorry, I can’t think of a nicer way to put that.)

Some of my RSS subscriptions that my Twitter people usually don’t link to: The Brief, xkcd’s What If, Bare Feats, Dan’s Data (and his blog), ignore the code, Joel on Software, One Foot Tsunami, NSHipster, Programming in the 21st Century, Neglected Potential, Collin Donnell, Squashed, Coyote Tracks, Mueller Pizza Lab, Best of MetaFilter, The Worst Things For Sale.

Many are interesting. Many are for professional development. Some are just fun.

But none of them update frequently enough that I’d remember to check them regularly. (I imagine many of my RSS subscribers would put my site on their versions of this list.) If RSS readers go away, I won’t suddenly start visiting all of these sites — I’ll probably just forget about most of them.

It’s not enough to interleave their posts into a “river” or “stream” paradigm, where only the most recent N items are shown in one big, combined, reverse-chronological list (much like a Twitter timeline), because many of them would get buried in the noise of higher-volume feeds and people’s tweets. The fundamental flaw in the stream paradigm is that items from different feeds don’t have equal value: I don’t mind missing a random New York Times post, but I’ll regret missing the only Dan’s Data post this month because it was buried under everyone’s basketball tweets and nobody else I follow will link to it later.

Without RSS readers, the long tail would be cut off. The rich would get richer: only the big-name sites get regular readership without RSS, so the smaller sites would only get scraps of occasional Twitter links from the few people who remember to check them regularly, and that number would dwindle.

Granted, this problem is mostly concentrated in the tech world where RSS readers really took off. But the tech world is huge, and it’s the world we’re in.

In a world where RSS readers are “dead”, it would be much harder for new sites to develop and maintain an audience, and it would be much harder for readers and writers to follow a diverse pool of ideas and source material. Both sides would do themselves a great disservice by promoting, accelerating, or glorifying the death of RSS readers.

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nicatronTg
3985 days ago
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I agree. I wrote a post very similar to Marco's (after his original one, apparently), but we came to the same conclusion. Subscribing to hundreds or thousands of items doesn't add any value. Only sparse feeds are worth subscribing to, because missing information from those sites is painful.
Aurora, Colorado
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careyhimself
3985 days ago
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One thing I've found in Newsblur that was missing in Google Reader is being able to skip reading parts of feeds, like all posts from lwn.net with [$] in the title. Marco doesn’t say anything about this here.
Christchurch, New Zealand

Tipping and Tooting - A comic about people who wait tables

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Tipping and Tooting - A comic about people who wait tables

A comic about people who wait tables

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nicatronTg
3986 days ago
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I witnessed someone complaining about tipping anything at a place where they waited 30 minutes to get in. Granted, the wait was bad, but the server *did nothing* to deserve a low tip just for that.
Aurora, Colorado
kazriko
3985 days ago
I don't use low tips to display disappointment in service anymore... Good or great service, I'll give 20% and round up to the nearest dollar. Terrible service? I'll break out the calculator and tip EXACTLY 18% on the dot.
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4 public comments
ktgeek
3985 days ago
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I'm more laid back than most people with servers, I can't imagine getting that angry unless they obviously willfully did something to you, such as screw your wife on the table before serving the entrée, unless you're into that.

Also, I will always excuse someone for farting. Those who have glass anuses should not cast the first stone.
Bartlett, IL
huckncatch
3985 days ago
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Amen
drengy
3985 days ago
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Great, as always. Bad tippers are a scourge.
Cambridge, MA
pberry
3986 days ago
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Queue a bunch of jerks quoting Mr Pink in Reservoir Dogs...
Chico, CA

Google Reader Data Points

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It's hard to estimate the number of Google Reader users, but here are some data points:

- the most popular feed has more than 24 million subscribers (CNN):


- the second most popular feed has 6.6 million subscribers (Engadget):


- the third most popular feed has 1.7 million subscribers (NY Times)

- Google's official blog had 100,000 subscribers in 2007 and now it has about 353,000 subscribers


- JoelOnSoftware.com had 42,000 subscribers in 2008 and now it has 148,000 subscribers.

- according to FeedBurner, 87% of the subscribers to this blog's feed use Google Reader or iGoogle. Google Reader says that this blog has 115,035 subscribers, while the total number of subscribers is 144,173. Here are the FeedBurner stats (the green lines show the number of subscribers):


Here's the Google Trends chart for [google reader]:

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nicatronTg
3997 days ago
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Proof once again that Google Reader wasn't a small product.
Aurora, Colorado
mako
3995 days ago
Depends on what you mean by a small product. That's a miniscule portion of Google users, for example..
nicatronTg
3995 days ago
Sure, but it definitely isn't a wasteland (see Buzz).
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marcell
3996 days ago
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"It's hard to estimate the number of Google Reader users, but here are some data points: the most popular feed has more than 24 million subscribers (CNN); the second most popular feed has 6.6 million subscribers (Engadget); the third most popular feed has 1.7 million subscribers (NY Times)"
zagreb, croatia