Maintaining multiple feed lists

said, “Hey, I want to read News in the morning and Hacking in the evening. I have a list of feeds for each. How do I use my reader to do this?”

I said, “Create multiple accounts. Simple. 🙂 ”

I was joking. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was thinking of a solution to this. I have been facing this problem especially after the explosion of blogs/feeds that I have subscribed to. I seem to have different interests at different times and want to read different set of feeds. What can I do?

As a co-incidence, the founder of Feedblendr updated me on an earlier request of mine asking him to remove duplicate feeds that result due to subscription to different tags that result in the same feed. (Grammatical error: Extremely long sentence) He said he has fixed it and this is the link he sent.

I started experimenting with it and it works like a beauty.

Now this seems to be a good solution to the earlier problem that we are facing. Just create a subscription list (or a blend) using Feedblendr containing a set of related feeds you are interested in and then use its RSS in your Reader. So basically this boils down to having ONE RSS to define each of your interests. Howzzat?!

Firefox extensions – my picks II (a web developer's heaven)

Are you into development of scripts using JS and DOM? Do you do AJAXian scripting (using XMLHttp etc)? Then you might have realized the pain of not being able to debug them when faced with problems. A set of 'alert's is not always elegant.

So here's what you do:
1. First things first : Use Firefox
2. Install these extensions.

* Venkman Javascript Debugger : https://addons.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?id=216&application=firefox
If you start using this, you will forget that you are using a browser. You will see how the browser is changing into something like an IDE. More about it here.

* Firebug : https://addons.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?id=1843&application=firefox
This extension shows you errors that occur during rendering of a page. Click on the line no and it will transfer you to the appropriate line in the appropriate file. Not just this, you can also use this to inspect different values of the HTML DOM, by just clicking inspect element and then clicking the item that you want to inspect and find request/responses of XMLHttp Requests.

* Hypertext DOM browser : https://addons.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?id=1584&application=firefox
Yet another cool extension that helps you view the DOM values. This is more 'navigable' than the one that Firebug provides. It also has an evaluator, which helps you to navigate to the appropriate node and then start inspecting the values.

HTML scripting has never been as much fun before!

The evolution of the pub-sub model on the web

Recently, I have seen a new trend emerging on the web. Until quite recently, we had people publishing their information as RSS feeds and others subscribing to it. This was the first step towards the pub-sub (publish subscribe) model.

Then came tagging and people started publishing 'relevant' tags along with the feed entries. This has helped in the emergence of a new trend, wherein I am able to track not just websites, but information pertinent to certain keywords (or tags).

A major advantage of this is that I don't have to subscribe to RSS feeds, rather I just subscribe to a set of keywords (optionally combined using a regular expression) and then get information based on it. I have been trying this for quite sometime now and have been getting wonderful results.

In fact, this is how founders of websites are able to track the popularity of their tool by just subscribing to the keyword that relates to their website. The moment someone tags their blog entry with this tag, it arrives in the feed readers of the founders and they are quick to comment and 'show interest'. Here's more information and an example of how the founder of a website tracked my blog entry within a single day and here's another.

Hoping that tagging is not misused (remember what happened to <meta>?), we have a new way of tracking relevant information.

6 months up in IBM

I just crossed 6 months in IBM and it has been great!

I have had really successful days in IBM. In fact every day brings in new challenges and I am liking it.

Most of the work I do in IBM is confidential and I am urged to blog about it. But unfortunately, I am not allowed to. These days I am involved in activities other than my core work of product development. I should say it has been a successful start to the year.

Miles to go before I sleep…