Bob Stepno's Other Journalism Weblog
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Saturday, August 26, 2006, the group aggregator of Tennessee weblogs, has a couple of new wrinkles, including a special aggregator for users of portable devices, which sitebuilder Johnny Dobbins calls an "XHTML Mobile friendly RTB Roundup." I suggest he call it "" if the name is still available.

Here's what it looks like: view with a mobile phone, PDA, or with any browser. It's similar to the aggregation on the main home page, but minus the page's pictures of Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Elvis and other Tennecentric elements.

(Of course, since the popular and prolific blogger Glenn Reynolds is one of the RockyTopBrigade of Tennessee bloggers, the Tennessee River of Newsl often looks like a River of Instapundit.)

Elsewhere in the world, syndication sage Dave Winer recently fell in love with a Blackberry PDA, and promptly created "river of news" headline and story-summary aggregators for the New York Times, CNet and BBC newsfeeds, calling them, and (Aaron Swartz, did something similar with Dave's original New York Times RSS feed a couple of years ago, posting the results at )

But Dave's "rivers" don't just have the catchier name. He does an extra trick with the Times and BBC feeds: His aggregator links to the "printer friendly" version of each story, not to the story page with advertising, menus and other features that apparently wouldn't play well on a Blackberry. (The next step could be to combine the Times and BBC into one "river," but handling multiple feeds is already the point of another project.)

Once the original Web page version of the news services' site contents are stripped of advertising and some or all of their graphics, they are re-presented in a last-received-first order, which reminds me of the first ATEX wire service terminal I worked on.

News Nerd Nostalgia: Ah, ATEX. Back when Jimmy Carter was president, anyone with a big computer downstairs and tens of thousands of dollars in wire service subscriptions could read a daily "river of news" on our computer screens. (The people I'm talking about were editors at daily newspapers. I was compiling a daily page two "People" column using wire news, so I got one of the first wave of terminals at The Hartford Courant.)

We could scroll down through all the days stories in reverse-chronological order, even split the screen to compare the AP and UPI wire stories about the same event, then move paragraphs back and forth to create a "combined wires" story. You could choose whether to just browse the headlines, or expand them all to whatever number of lines of the story would give you enough information. It still felt very "Buck Rogers" as late as 1979! When I went back to grad school that year, I was disappointed to find that the university's computer terminals couldn't do anything like ATEX. Most of them didn't even do upper-and-lower-case letters. Times & technology do change.

10:52:38 PM    comment []

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