Hacking Radio by Charles Miller
Tales of my hackery with Radio Userland, and useful links thereof.


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  Wednesday, 12 June 2002

developerWorks: Seven tricks that Web users don't know. About what developers assume non-technical web-users will know, but they really don't.

5:02:02 PM    

Found in radio.html.viewNewsItems:

  • (local flSkip = true)
  • if adritem^.url == xmlUrl
    • flskip = false
  • if flskip
    • continue

flskip isn't used anywhere else. I am now officially afraid of reading Userland code. :)

2:55:53 PM    

Dave Winer responds, but his response makes my head hurt. We seem to use one definition of "journalist" when talking about professionals, and another definition when talking about webloggers, but this proves webloggers are journalists. Back when I did Philosophy 100, this was called equivocation.

If declaring your interests up-front is a valid way out for webloggers-as-journalists, then it must be for journalists-as-journalists. Otherwise, we have to declare the two to be fundamentally different ideals.

Journalism for self-interest is called publicity. Perhaps we're not journalists, we're self-publicists.

12:23:15 PM    

Radio News Aggregator features I want, in order of importance:

  • Multiple categories for RSS feeds, each with its own aggregator page
  • The ability for news items to remember that they'd previously been marked "don't delete", so I don't have to keep un-checking their delete boxes as I go through the rest of the list
  • The ability to navigate past the first page of items

The first is the most wanted. Categories in the aggregator would make my life so much more pleasant, and make my news-reading much, much more efficient.

I am subscribed to about 20 news sources of varying volumes, and the news still gets on top of me. With the three features above, I could probably subscribe to an order of magnitude more.

11:04:14 AM    

Matthew Thomas indirectly poses a question.

Assume most "tech bloggers" are employed. This puts them in a position to have detailed knowledge of the field in which they work, including the goings-on within their employer, and the exact position of the competition in their market. This also puts them in a position to be in really big trouble if they disclose that information. If part of the definition of a journalist lies in the editorial freedom to criticise one's employer, can bloggers be journalists?

For example, you work for vendor X. Your employer has published benchmarks, but you know the truth, your product does X and Y better than anyone else (and you're proud of that), but people probably shouldn't use it for W and Z. This is information that really should be given to the Real World. And devotees of the Cluetrain Manifesto (or at least that subset of it that I agree with wholeheartedly) would tell you that making the knowledge public would only increase peoples' confidence in your product, because they finally had some obviously honest advice.

But if you say so in your weblog, marketing is going to nail your ass to the wall.

Bloggers' employers are generally not media companies, and so are not at all pre-disposed to grant employees any leeway for public criticism. A journalist may get away with writing that their boss lost a few million dollars in a stupid deal, a programmer wouldn't.

On top of that, I've lost count of the number of NDA's I'm subject to at the moment. Every project I go on, I'm under some kind of non-disclosure agreement, so if I were to start blogging about things that were happening at work, I might be open to serious liability.

There's a reason I don't name my employer in my blog. I'll disclose that we're a small IBM business partner doing Java development in Sydney, and that we're home to a large number of Davids. You may work out who we are from that, but if you do, you probably know me already.

10:51:32 AM    

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Last update: 19/6/02; 4:04:37 PM.

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