Updated: 25/08/2004; 00:55:41

 29 May 2004

Another short article that describes whats important about RSS

This site has just appeared http://www.reallysimplesyndication.com it includes the following bullet list of things that make up RSS.

RSS is...

1. A format.

2. Content management tools that generate feeds in the format.

3. Aggregators and readers that subscribe to the feeds.

4. Search engines and utilities that crunch the information and ideas.

5. Services from technology companies like Microsoft and Apple.

6. Authoritative publications like the BBC, The New York Times, CNET, InfoWorld, PC World, Time, Wired, Salon, Yahoo, Reuters -- that distribute news and opinion in RSS.

7. Many thousands of weblogs covering virtually every aspect of life on this planet.

8. A vast and growing community of thinkers, writers, educators, public servants, and technologists.

The revolution of RSS is what people are doing with it, what it enables, the way it works for people who use technology, the freedom it offers, and the way it makes timely information, that used to be expensive and for the select-few so inexpensive and broadly available.

RSS is the next thing in Internet and knowledge management. It's big. A lot bigger than a format.

- Posted by Steve Richards - 9:56:37 PM - comment []

Where I live continued ...

The web site for the Time and Tide exhibition is now available.  Its full of fab images of Victorian Seaside Towns and their Piers, like St Annes on Sea, my home town.  I took a few photo's myself which are in my My Images folder.

- Posted by Steve Richards - 6:24:16 PM - comment []

More details on Smart Documents

More details on Smart Documents for anyone wanting to really get stuck in, the author evangalises smart documents below:

I am in love with the user experience for smart documents. They do an amazing job of making document-centric tasks smoother and more productive by integrating data, processes and help right where the knowledge worker lives in Microsoft® Office Word 2003 or Microsoft Office Excel 2003. When I first saw smart documents, it was one of those "Ah-ha!" moments: instead of building, deploying, supporting and training users for yet another new application, put the application smarts right into the documents themselves. Ah-ha, beautiful idea!

Makes me want to spend a couple of hours playing around, I like "Ah-ha!" moments. 

- Posted by Steve Richards - 5:22:49 PM - comment []

Anyone planning a migration to Access 2003, needs to take a look at this when its released!

Joe reports:

We announced this week the Microsoft Office Access 2003 Conversion Toolkit which will be available around the time that Office 2003 SP1 is released this summer. In marketing-speak: the Access 2003 Conversion Toolkit is a set of tools and documentation designed to help organizations discover, evaluate and convert their Access databases as part of the upgrade process. Sounds useful? You bet! Companies considering moving to a new version ...

Companies considering moving to a new version of Office have not had good tools to help them understand the how to manage Access solutions. This toolkit will help IT understand what type of Access databases they have out there and will provide guidance as to what might be done with them Ė upgrade, migrate to SQL server, keep as is.

- Posted by Steve Richards - 5:19:15 PM - comment []

Just getting the idea of smart clients, now we have smart documents

Joe describes the concept of a smart document:

A smart document is a document-based solution which provides a user with help information, auxiliary data, actions and custom tools that are pertinent to WHERE a user is in the document and that are presenteddynamically WHEN a user enters that region of the document.

Then describes the tools that Microsoft is working on to develop Smart Documents here

This is not an area that I know much about, but given the amount of time people spend authoring documents and forms, and the amount of times people get them wrong it looks important.  Even more important when document content is tagged in XML and that tagged content can be mined, document content quality will need to increase and it sounds like Smart Document concepts are going to be key to driving that quality improvement.

- Posted by Steve Richards - 5:13:41 PM - comment []

Giving tablets another try

I must admit that whilst I love my Tablet I rarely use it for text input.  For flexible browsing, reading, reviewing etc its a great machine.  For text input and voice recognition the quality is just not there.  In this article Tom Yager of Infoworld agrees, and gives the tumbs up to Tablet PC 2005, part of XP SP2, which radically improves the recognition quality and the general usability of text input, although I am not sure about the voice recognition yet.  He also notes that hardware innovation is continuing.

- Posted by Steve Richards - 5:06:52 PM - comment []

Tablet PC programming Video

If you want more on the tablet PC programming, and don't have one, or want to read then check out this 2.5 hour! video.

- Posted by Steve Richards - 12:55:37 AM - comment []

RSS Extended Attributes

I blogged here and here about my ideas for the future of RSS and similar XML based technologies and how I use them myself.  I then came across some stuff on RSS extended attributes, and the support for them in NewsGator and outlook 2003.  So I built a little demo, hereís how:


  1. First I took a copy of my RSS feed and put it here
  2. I edited it to add a private namespace <rss version="2.0" xmlns:steve="http://example.org/cool">
  3. Then I added an extended attribute Technology to about half of the entries in the feed, for some I set the technology to DATA, and for others to DESKTOP, like this <steve:Technology>Desktop</steve:Technology>
  4. Look at the actual RSS file for more details
  5. If you want you can subscribe to this feed for your own demo, but its not very impressive, so I encourage you to build your own!
  6. Next in NewsGator, select the folder you want and pick Options
  7. Then go to the render tab and the column mappings dialog.
  8. Add a new namespace, in my case its prefix is Steve and its URI is http://example.org/cool
  9. The add a column, name Technology, Type Text and Xpath originalItem/item/steve:Technology
  10. Then create a folder under your RSS root folder called Steve Richards Test Blog
  11. In Outlook click on the new folder and right click on the column headings and pick customize.  Add a new custom column called Technology.  Fields -> User Defined Fields In Folder -> New Field
  12. Then subscribe to my feed, it should get delivered into the customised folder
  13. The custom attribute should then be displayed for the feed items as they arrive, you can sort, group by etc on this attribute
  14. Here's what it looked like in outlook in the end 

Now that was a lot of work for not much gain, but thatís how it is with hand crafted demoís.  If the RSS feeds were already created, and the client side UI a bit more integrated, (i.e. no separate NewsGator and Outlook configuration), and the UI already understood the most common extended attribute sets then you can see that the experience would be pretty rich.


I guess this is exactly where MS want to take us with WinFS and the Longhorn shell, so its worth thinking around the concepts now. 


The examples for how to use this stuff that immediately spring to mind are RSS feeds for:


  • Documents libraries
  • Film reviews
  • Book reviews
  • Scheduled events
  • Price lists 

Poking around the web I found the following:


  • A proposal of an extended attribute set for scheduled events
  • A simpler proposal for events
  • There are quite a few standard attributes to play with as well, not sure if they work the same though, if at all as they donít have a namespace
  • This is where I got the idea from
- Posted by Steve Richards - 12:39:45 AM - comment []