Dear Safari RSS Team

Dear Safari RSS team,

Updated 2005/08/01 with thoughts on Flagged vs. Star Ratings

I’ve been using your cool RSS aggregator for a while now, and while it’s really quite good, there are a couple of things you could do to make it really kick ass.

  1. Have a “new items only” view – rather than just sorting by New, or sorting by Date, or filtering by “last 7 days” – just show me the new stuff. I’ve got like 15,000 items that appear to get loaded every time I check my feeds. That would drop down to just a hundred or two if I could limit to “New only”. The “Today” filter doesn’t cut it – what if I miss a day? What about Monday mornings? Vacation days? “Last 7 Days” isn’t granular enough. A “New Items” filter should be possible, with the SQL Lite engine storing the feeds and items…
  2. Let me collapse/expand entries – sure, the slider dealie to set displayed article length is nice, but what if I could set items to show title only by default, and just twiddle a little knob on the items that I want to read more about to view the full content – without having to affect the displayed article length of every other item on the page
  3. Make Safari’s scheduled RSS updates actually, you know, run on a schedule. Often I find that Safari’s forgotten to update for a couple of hours (or it refuses to update after launching, even if it’s the first run of the day). Seems like clicking on my “feeds” folder in the Bookmarks Bar and causing it to start loading the feeds seems to trigger an update. It’d be nice if I didn’t have to babysit an automated update though.
  4. It’d be really nice if I could override the default “Remove Articles” setting – so I could set it to automagically purge items after a couple of months, but I could set a feed (or folder of feeds, or whatever) to keep items for a different period (shorter, longer, infinite, whatever). I know it’d be a bit more confusing for the UI, but if I could “Get Info” on a feed, and have access to the settings there, it wouldn’t be in any newbies’ faces…
  5. While I’m at it, why can’t I “Get Info” on any bookmark and add additional information? Have it capture the text of the page for searching by Spotlight? Add additional keywords/tags to a bookmark (you know, like the Finder’s “Spotlight Keywords” field) – personal folksonomies in my Bookmarks…
  6. How about a “Flagged” bit on a blog entry? With a corresponding “Flagged Items” filter view? Makes it much easier to find stuff that I’ve found interesting before, and kinda makes the persistent store of feeds and items, you know, useful…

OK. That’s it for now. Keep up the great work. If there’s anything I can do to help out, just give me a shout.

Update: Just had a “duh” moment – instead of just having a “flagged” bit (which is by definition a binary toggle), what about following iTunes and iPhoto by having star ratings for feeds and items? Then I could filter on previous items that were ranked 3 stars or higher… Actually, following the iTunes/iPhoto model for “get info” would work as well – being able to set multiple DublinCore-ish fields to help find stuff later…

iPodder.org Educational Directory Update

Keeping the “too hot to go outside, so getting trivial tasks cleaned up” theme for today, I finally got around to updating the iPodder.org Educational Directory – adding 18 new feeds.

Sorry for the delay – a couple months on some of them – and I’m hoping most/all will find their ways into the iTunes podcasting directory…

It’s supposed to hit 36˙C today and tomorrow – that’s darned near 100˙F, which is waaaay hotter than we’re used to in Calgary. Heck, it’s even hotter than Honolulu or the Caribbean right now. At least it’s a dry heat 🙂 We’re roughly on par with Las Vegas or Phoenix for the next couple of days… Melting…

Slight theme tweakage

The tabs in the header of this site have been bugging me for months – just never enough to prompt me to do anything about it. For now, I’ve just moved them to the top of the banner, so they don’t fight with the image description on the right side.

I’ve also added 8 more images to the banner image rotation. Several from the summer trip to Hawaii (including my new personal fave, from Hanauma Bay on Oahu), and a couple from around town. If you don’t want to keep hitting Command+R to see them all, just view the image list.

If you only read the blog via RSS, then this won’t affect you. Move along. These are not the banners you’re looking for…

Of course, this means I’ll get more emails from people asking me why I have pictures of other places in the blog banner. The pictures are for me – serving a similar purpose as iPhoto and Flickr – to help me remember places/events. Like having my own personal flashcards to help the memory. That’s the major reason I do the blog in the first place…

BBEdit + Automator = Happiness

For the Mavericks project, I get to manually “fix” several large xml documents that are spit out of a couple of piped legacy databases and content management systems. Each time a file is exported, it is slightly different, and after the file is handed off to me I get to go in and manually massage the distressed bits so I can use it in a meaningful way.

Until now, that meant going in and doing the tweaks by hand – fixing stupid MS Word quotes and dashes and stuff, and replacing some crazy legacy-induced formatting tags etc… I’d occasionally miss something, or do what comes naturally to a mundane repetitive manual process – screw it up.

But, BBEdit 8.2 now has a boatload of handy Automator actions, and it looks like I can now trivially automate this tedious task. Here’s what the workflow looks like:

BBEdit + Automator