Feed Me

Time to pare down my RSS feeds again, and this time I'm taking full advantage of 's ability to perform timed checks to minimize entropy. Thanks to the magic of set fdm=syntax in vim, I'm currently rebuilding my OPML file in broad groups like:

  • Sites that are updated once a week or so, which I want to keep an eye on (like Pixelhuset, which occasionally has some nice artwork), or sites that I don't need to follow on a daily basis but like to keep track of (like Russell, which I get in a neat weekly digest).
  • Sites that are updated every two days or so, which I like to read on a post by post basis in some peace and quiet. Michael, photoblogs, etc.
  • A similar, but separate group for stuff like Cringely and Gruber, for whose blogs I get the full page contents.
  • Daily morning/breakfast reading stuff (BBC, local news sites, cartoons, etc.)
  • End-of-business stuff (stocks, tech news that I want in my inbox when I get home, etc.)

And, of course, sites that I need to track on the usual 30-minute basis (I'm thinking of aggregating those into a single feed, so that I get a single digest for all updates).

Some of the above are also sent to my , and as a last resort I have my simple XHTML interface for any mobile phone I happen to be carting around - which I'm revamping, and which has prompted me to start doing a few enhancements to that I hope to be able to push out the door soon, but that's not quite on-topic.

This massive reorganization is being done with a sort of feng shui, in order to maximize the usefulness of these information flows around what ought to be my daily routine and the machine I'm normally using at the time (, work laptop, , etc.). More importantly, grouping feed collection according to my work habits lessens opportunities for distraction, while ensuring I get enough food for thought throughout the day.

Besides removing all individual feeds that aren't part of the usual "Planet" aggregators, I also got rid of a lot of dead wood like the Bluetooth weblog, All About Symbian, which and the Planet Rails feed (which takes up too much time, especially considering I've recently come to the conclusion that I'm not taking up Rails until it matures a bit more).

Most of the Weblogs, Inc., feeds are actually tagged as "must find replacement", since they do two things I find absolutely obnoxious: they add a bunch of extraneous junk (glib non-informative text and advertisements), and they cannibalize each other's content (either directly or by linking, invariably using the old tired formula of putting up a vacuous post saying "hey, our sister blog Foo has an article on Bar"). It's a nice business, but makes for poor reading.

And while we're in the topic of sister blogs, I probably need to revamp Planet Tao of Mac a bit - maybe it's time to remove the "Europe-only" rule, but then again I haven't done anything whatsoever to promote it (after fixing the most obvious Planet bugs to my satisfaction, I kind of let it lie there...).

Any users out there want to join? Heck, it's for free, and people can read more blogs via a single feed :)