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Thursday, November 06, 2008


Some things about the internet, I know about. Some things I don't. Some things I don't know are known unknowns, and some are unknown unknowns, but one of my known unknowns is the whole subject of feeds, aggregators, and the like.

My blog hosting company, TypePad, has provided some sort of feed, which I think I have turned on properly, so that those of my readers who use aggregators or feed-readers (is there a difference between those terms?) can see when I've posted new stuff. I think it's linked from the very bottom part of my right-hand sidebar, where it says "Syndicate this site (XML)," but I'm not 100% sure of that. But no one's complained lately. Me, I like to use the old Mark I eyeballs rather than a feeder/aggregator, and I just hop around using my bookmarked favorites and/or my own blogroll.

However, in doing some other site maintenance today (especially futzing with the width of the text container in my style sheet, which is very much a trial and error process in which I'm slightly afraid that I will crash the entire internet), I also decided to enable a new TypePad feature which is connected to something feed-related that Google has apparently recently acquired, something called "Feedburner." Now it might be that if I knew what it was and how to configure it, it would make my life 20x easier and ensure that both sides of my toast were the same color every morning. But in the process of turning it on — which included "republishing my site" — I've noticed that what that link now produces when I click it is a summary of my 10 or so first-ever posts from 2003.

I think that's a function only of having "republished," which I've actually done now three or four times as I've been figuring this out. And if so, then with this post, folks who have feeders/aggregators should see it at the top of the list as "new content." If that's wrong, I hope someone will clue me in. And if I've caused anyone confusion — even a fraction of my own — from suddenly getting posts dating back to 2003, welp, consider this a Steve Martin "Excuuuuuse Me!" moment. And if I'm wrong about the whole thing and this hasn't inconvenienced or confused anyone except me, then consider this an Emily Litella moment: "Never mind."

Of course, it occurs to me that if I've broken the feed, then anyone using an aggregator probably won't get this post. Catch-22!

Posted by Beldar at 09:40 PM in Weblogs | Permalink


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(1) Paul_In_Houston made the following comment | Nov 6, 2008 10:21:31 PM | Permalink

Computers are a passing fad, Sir.

Keep those tablets and pencils in stock :-)

(2) Donna B. made the following comment | Nov 6, 2008 10:38:33 PM | Permalink

Since I use the old-fashioned method of clicking here from my blogroll, none of this has bothered me in the least.

If you and I were in a contest of being the last to bring a new feature to our blog, I think I might win!

(3) Beldar made the following comment | Nov 6, 2008 10:50:59 PM | Permalink

Paul, thanks for the suggestion.

Actually, I'm pretty handy with computers in general for a guy my age -- minored in computer science in college, was among the early adaptors to Lexis/Nexis and Westlaw in law school, then was the first lawyer at any of the big firms in Houston to have a PC on my desktop (an IBM PC-XT, which I adored even though the older partners accused me of "doing secretaries' work at a lawyer salary"; that stopped when I showed 'em how we could, for example, telecommunicate briefs for filing via local counsel across the country and thereby get an extra day's work in on crash projects).

I'm reasonably good with HTML. But I just haven't had the desire to use aggregators/feed readers ... sort of like the folks who prefer manual transmissions even today, I guess.

(4) Joanna made the following comment | Nov 6, 2008 11:31:38 PM | Permalink

You do seem to have broken the feed. I use a newsreader to see when a blog has been updated and then follow the link to the new post. I then read the new post and the comments on your site. By doing things this way, I don't have to keep checking to see if something's been updated. If it's updated, my newsreader lets me know. 'Saves me a lot of time.

Now that you've switched, the only new posts on your feed are the 11 old posts from 2003. This post was not in the feed. I only saw it because I came to the main page to see what was going on. Since the bloglines stuff isn't working, I'd sincerely appreciate a switch back to the old feed. Since it was working.

I've commented...what?...3 or 4 times ever on this blog (which I've been reading faithfully for 3 or 4 years) and now you get two comments in one day and they're both complaints. My bad.

(5) Beldar made the following comment | Nov 6, 2008 11:49:33 PM | Permalink

I need wheels that are sticky right now to squeak so I can grease 'em, or at least try to. Thanks, Joanna.

(6) Beldar made the following comment | Nov 7, 2008 1:12:09 AM | Permalink

I think it might be fixed. But I'm not entirely sure. Joanna? Anyone?

(7) Joanna made the following comment | Nov 7, 2008 9:00:06 AM | Permalink

It's all good now!

(8) Paul_In_Houston made the following comment | Nov 7, 2008 10:18:44 AM | Permalink

"PC-XT" - Lord, that goes back aways.

I came up in the slide rule days (younger readers may have to google that :-), when the only electronic aide was an adding machine (one of our engineers actually had an abacus, and loved it).

Around 1969, someone tried to interest us in a new 4-function calculator, about the size of a typewriter (another google? :-) and costing $600.00 (in 1969 I was paying $50.00/month for a small garage apartment, a new Volkswagen went for $1799.00).

We decided to pass.

A couple of years later, I bought my own (still 4-function) calculator (A Miada, about the size of a hardbound book) for $179.00.

I was the first in our office with such an extravagance, which got very popular when they saw how handy it was. I even developed a 3-step averaging method of getting square roots from it using only division.

A couple of years after that, I replaced it with a handheld (also for $179.00 - magic number or something? :-) with over 80 functions. And we've all seen them get smaller and so ridiculously cheap that the only thing keeping them from turning up in Cracker Jack boxes was fear of lawsuits if a child swallowed one.

In 1981, our office got its' first microcomputer, beginning a self-learning odyssey worthy of a blog of its' own.

But, I will show mercy by not inflicting it on you.

(And, sometimes, I still feel thay are a passing fad. :-)

(9) Karl made the following comment | Nov 7, 2008 2:35:21 PM | Permalink

I got the feed just fine in Google Reader.

Maybe Google screwed up at the same time. :-)

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