Android on your laptop

Android on x86

Iris Todorovic showed me her netbook and I was interested in the fact it had Android on it along side Ubuntu. It was Android Donut (or 1.6) so a very early version of Android, plus it was a Intel ATOM CPU. So I got thinking surely someones ported Android to a x86 / AMD64 processor architecture and made it work on a standard PC?

And I wasn’t wrong…

This is a project to port Android open source project to x86 platform, formerly known as “patch hosting for android x86 support“. The original plan is to host different patches for android x86 support from open source community. A few months after we created the project, we found out that we could do much more than just hosting patches. So we decide to create our code base to provide support on different x86 platforms, and set up a git server to host it.

Excellent, I’ll be giving it a try…

RSS in 2007 finally something for casual users?

RSS badge on a shoe

Richard MacManus over at the Read Write web, suggests that 2007 will be the the big year for RSS. Although I agree, I think 2006 was also a big year for machine use of RSS. 2007 looks to be a big one for casual users or consumers. The main reason seems to centre around every single browser supporting RSS in some way once IE7 is launched. Outlook 2007 also supports RSS so this pretty much covers all of Microsoft's bases. Pretty much now, if its not got RSS, its either a old site or the site can't be taken seriously. Pretty much everything has RSS including yahoo mail and google reader./p>

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Language support in RSS readers slowly getting better?

Real right to left support in greatnews

real right to left support in greatnews rss reader. At long last the rss readers are starting to do right to left languages correctly now.

How can I tell? The position of the unread items. Yes its kind of weird, you would think things would be directly mirrored. But nope, see the issue is that the farsi text is unicode encoded right to left, while the numbers and brackets are left to right. When you put the two together like that on the same line then read it left to right. Things get a little messy.

Oh the feed in question… Which I modified from the standard Moveable type template.

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Eventful events turned into signs with xsl

How my posters turned out after printing

Its so funny, I tend to shy away from printed media. But I can see the value in some printed content. So anyway this is the result of my XSL which simply takes an Eventful ATOM feed and transforms it into simple XHTML+CSS for printing (next stage would be PDF). Here it is if you would like to do the same before Monday. Please bear in mind this works with ANY eventful event, as long as you take the id of the event and add it to the end of this url –{eventful id}. Here's a couple more for the hell of it.

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Consistency between browsers? No this simply cant be true

Rss icon

The Microsoft RSS Team has a blog post about the consistency between IE7 and Firefox, at least when it comes to Feeds. The Firefox RSS icon will be used on IE7 when it finally launches next year. Mind blowing would you not agree? Oh and lets not forget the Website indentification stuff too.

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Go vote on the RSS poll of only 3 short questions

I found this poll on KBcafe yesterday. Its only formed of 3 questions.

  • Which RSS client(s) do you use?
  • How many RSS feeds do you read regularly?
  • How often do you read news in an RSS reader?

At the moment the results seem to a little bias, so it really needs a little more circulation around blog space. There is also another one at the RSS weblog.

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Full over excerpted feeds

From Dave Slusher the evil genius and his post titled excerpted RSS feeds

  • When I read postings in my RSS reader, it takes effectively no time to move from item to item because they have all already been downloaded before I look at them.
  • When I open the webpage of an item from that feed it takes time, usually from 1 to 10 seconds per item.
  • When I sit down to read my feeds, I typically have between 40 and 200 individual items in there. At an average load time of 3 seconds per item , that would add from 2 to 10 minutes to my reading time just in waiting for pages to load if everyone did this.
  • Most excerpted feeds are really excerpted. Here’s a real world example of something that came down a feed, the information I was given to decide whether I want to pursue reading this or not:
  • While Wharton claims he may now have been “assimilated” into the culture of Action Greensboro, I seriously doubt it. While I, too, attended last night’s follow-up meetin

  • If you knew how often I looked at the first 18 words of your post and decided that although I care enough to subscribe to your RSS feed I don’t care enough to chase this post down, it would probably hurt your feelings. Sorry kids, you have to make tough calls in this life.
  • I’m actually becoming a full-text hardass again, and by the end of the week will be purging out all the excerpted feeds from my newsreader. If you don’t care enough to make it easy on me trying to follow lots of information, I don’t care enough to read your stuff. That’s harsh, but quid pro quo often is.

My first thoughts are right on Dave, I'm with you but I cant quite bring myself to be that Harsh. For example, Microsoft watch from Mary Jo Foley. I cant unsubscribe because its really timey content. I mean compare it to the unofficial microsoft weblog's content. Enough said… In the mainstream RSS space you just have to expect headline descriptions, very few dare do full text, and so it would be difficult to just remove them all. Some others feeds worth mentioning include infosync which is not the full text but damm putting medium resoultion pictures in with the description is a great idea. I would say its one of the most beautiful feeds you can get if your a gadget geek. Saying all that, they could take the route of Inhabitat, which has beautiful pictures and full text.

So generally, I agree with Dave, but I wont be so harsh. Its all about the content.

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Should we solve one click subscriptions by turning the html off?

Thinking about RSS in a slightly different way is Bill de horas (found via Paul James).

at some point weblogs flip over and the HTML website bits will become secondary fluff to the XML content, like how PDFs are secondary web fluff to HTML today

It certainly looks like the first site is actually down at the moment. But even the title and quote raises a load of questions which I've been thinking about.

When (if ever?) will RSS, Atom, or something reading out grows HTML browsing?
Will it be via RSS, Atom, Web Api's, Webservices or something else?
How will the write nature of the web fit with such a change?
Is it worth having a specification beyond XHTML 2.0 in the light of this title?
Should the w3c push for a standard of RSS or go along with Atom?
When will the first lot of RSS only services and sites (maybe not the best term now) emerge?
Is content negotiation really your friend or actually your foe?

Maybe some of these questions are answered by the post, but I still cant access it. Here's the google cached version.

So now finally seeing the entry fully, heres some more thoughts…
Bill certainly thinks along the same lines as Miles. But he certainly does make some good points.

While the browser wars continue on their merry percentage-driven dance, it all seems somehow kind of pointless and wistful, like having a really satisfying argument over the pros and cons of various 8-track tape players, while the rest of world are sucking down MP3s into their iPods.

Indeed, the upcoming browser wars is largely irelevent for a small but growing group of internet users.

The idea of turning off the website for this place and just serving up the feed does not look unreasonable at this point. I'm betting 90% of traffic to the archived html files here is only driven because the permalinks and trackbacks point there instead of direct to feed entries. It's slavish. Honestly, permalinking to a html file is starting to look more and more like a bug. Why not point to the XML entries? (Answer: I'm not sure, but in my case it might have something to do with having a Perl Deficit).

Good point, but RSS archiving is pretty important when you consider this point more deeply. I guess it would make sense for myself to link directly to the blojsom entry files which are simply subset xhtml files. This would also make sense if you consider client side transformations.

The frontpage would be the feed, the archives would be Atom entries, and instead of a “subscribe to the feed” buttons, you could have “read this stuff in a browser” buttons

Nice idea, I love the idea of a view this with a browser button.

Web browsers are still good for the following however:

1. Testing webapps
2. Shopping
3. Posting to delicious
4. Search forms

That list is pretty much what Miles came up with too. How odd… But following on.

1 is a self-fulfilling prophesy (or a death-spiral, I can't tell). 2, well, Better Living Through Shopping obviously, but it's only conditioning to be unlearned – how long can it be before I start buying stuff via an aggregator? 3 and 4 represents feature deficit in today's aggregators, insofar as they they don't have much by the way of tool bar goodness. A Mozilla based aggregator will eventually fix that right up.

Mozilla based aggregator, how great would that be? And before anyone replies, I'm aware of Sage, newsmonster and a couple more. The ability to shop or transact within a rss aggregator is the next logical step for paypal/ebay, amazon, etc. Its also interesting to see this already happening when you consider the field bigger than simply aggregators. You know little applications/widgets which interact and transact with Amazon and Ebay webservices.

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The new simple API, RSS and Atom?

A Web API lets you use a web site’s computers, data, algorithms, and functions to create your own web services. Google, Ebay, Amazon, Yahoo, and many other web services have APIs.

RSS is like an API for content. RSS gives you access to a web site’s data just like an API gives you access to a web site’s computing power. Most important, RSS gives you access to your data that you have locked up on a web site.

Every Web 1.0 company will have to decide what content they will open with RSS. For example, Amazon already makes their content like their book catalog available through their API. But will Amazon open up user-contributed content through RSS?

This is a quote from this post titled RSS is an API for Content, which is part of the series – RSS is the TCP/IP Packet of Web 2.0. I've been kicking the same idea around for quite some time now. The overheads of SOAP and XMLRPC are already quite clear and although there really good, there too heavy weight for most general use (which makes up most of the use of webservice use out there). Using a range of RSS or ATOM with Namespaces, Microformats and RSS-extensions its possible to model most syndication type content. I've wrote examples of SMIL and SVG in RSS which a newsreader will still accept as plain RSS. Theres tons of tools and frameworks for RSS, much more than SOAP or XMLRPC. Imagine trying to parse SOAP with a lightweight Javascript library… But I'm going on. This isnt about webservices, this is about the pipelines of the net being RSS.

Someone once said, they dont visit sites which dont have RSS. I laughed then, but now I dont. I wouldnt dare join a service or site which doesnt support good clean RSS/ATOM output. Its important to get my data out on my own terms, but I would also like to get my attention data out. This is the next step but RSS will have a role to play in this too. I remember listening to a podcast (cant remember which one) where they spoke about how the public will be expecting tools and services like they experience online. Its happening, I've noticed a large amount of discussion about gmail vs thunderbird just recently. Why is search online better than search on the desktop or on your companys intranet?

Blogdigger has a good entry explaining why there using RSS through-out there system.

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The opening keynote from SVG Open

Taken from Kurt Cagle's presentation at SVG Open 2005The Future of SVG and the Web

I think a few of us (okay, maybe all of us) wish that this process was going faster, but its worth putting things into perspective. Two years ago, I had to explain to most programmers I worked with what SVG was. A year ago, I had to explain to most non-programmers I worked with what SVG was. Today, companies are hiring SVG developers, SVG is on our phones, is moving into our browsers, is appearing in embedded display systems on our trains and planes. This did not happen in a vacuum. It occurred because you took the message of SVG, of open standards, into your workplace, into your schools, into your government offices.

And thats the only the start. Kurt later runs through different points which he feels add to the changing landscape of the net. One of the key points I feel is his one about the rise of domain experts and platform independence.

Rise of Domain Experts, Not Programmers. XGUI based systems separate the abstract representation of applications from their implementation, which means that increasingly (likely using tools) specialized programmers will be replaced by domain expert non-programmers. This is already happening in fields like GIS. GUIs for designing such XGUI applications will similarly look more like flash editing tools or web layout tools with a few “access points” into scripting exceptions than they will complex IDEs. This doesn't make programmers obsolete, but it does increasingly push them into a component developer role.

Data/Platform/Language Independence. XML is increasingly abstracting the form of data access, turning complex and arcane queries (and updates) against LDAP servers, SQL databases, web services, mail services and so forth away from dissonant technologies and towards common XML ones. XML based XGUIs abstract the underlying platform interfaces and turn them increasingly into XML-oriented virtual machines that can degrade gracefully in the face of more limited capabilities, and makes such religious issues as Java vs. C++ vs. C# vs. flavor of the month language irrelevant – you use what works on the system to implement the abstraction. This doesn't eliminate the need for software – you still need to have those component implementations, and many of them may be extraordinarily complex and specialized in the back end, but it goes a long way toward eliminating the need for re-engineering the 90% of actions that we still do using the web now, from gaming to e-commerce to communication.

I have to say this is key! XSLT is so powerful once your able to get everything down to a XML level. Proprietary ways are moving aside while bridge applications are being used to open the data into XML. I actually remember when I first started using Cocoon and my fear was that there would not be enough XML sources to really make use of its ability. Boy was I wrong. I'm seeing lots of new web API's built on a RESTful interface, Bridge Apps for IM, email, newsgroups and even operating system information stored and generated in XML. SVG adoption has indeed been slow but its growing and it will be just another common place namespace.

Its well worth reading the whole of Kurts entry yourself, I actually found it quite moving….

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