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Reading your morning paper

RSS aggregators are going in the wrong direction. Here’s the problem. A good number of my friends use LiveJournal, as do I, mostly to read their journals at this point. One of the coolest things about LJ is the friends list concept, which allows you to interleave the journals of everyone you’ve marked as a friend. Good stuff. Certainly you can do that with the various desktop RSS aggregators.

Only for yourself! What if Trip decides he wants to use an aggregator, and moves his daily reading link list over there? Suddenly I don’t have access to that corner of his brain; I can’t see what he finds interesting. This is a lose. It reduces the information flow, and involuntary information flow reduction is just wrong.

There are a couple of Web-oriented RSS aggregators. Amphetadesk is cool but it is not oriented towards people who want to share their aggregations. Peerkat is cool but it is not an active project as far as I can tell. Ditto blagg, plus blagg doesn’t do RSS 1.0. There’s an RSS plugin for Movable Type (not to mention a decent RSS perl module) but now we’re moving away from the grail of easy configurability.

Actually, the closest thing to what I want is LiveJournal, come to think of it, now that they’ve allowed people to add RSS feeds to their friends lists. You’re kind of stuck if you want to read a feed that hasn’t been added to LJ yet, though, since you need a new account code to add such a feed. I’m installing Peerkat to see if that suits my needs; however, an end user shouldn’t have to dick around with installing Python and so on.

(Sidenote: Dave Winer’s aggregator list arrogantly excludes aggregators that don’t read RSS 2.0. Geeze, at least include a subcategory for ‘em or something.)


  1. So I wonder how hard it is to install LJ. I have often threatened to do so, either on a home server or here at work. That is probably NOT the grail of easy configurability.

  2. Dave Winer? Arrogantly?

    Next thing, you’re going to tell us that the Pope acts somewhat religious.


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