Tuesday, September 28, 2004

From Ed Cone:

Onion: "Freshly unearthed public documents, ranging from newspapers to cabinet-meeting minutes, seem to indicate large gaps in George W. Bush's service as president."

(Via EdCone.com.)

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Dave Winer talks about Bloglines' new API

Dave talks about the Bloglines effort to centralize RSS subscriptions and content. I like the concept that Mark Fletcher has started (web-based XML aggregation) but I agree with Dave's central point that we don't need this.

I think that blogs are ready for a changes.xml file, a file that represents only the changes in the last few hours or similar. Some aggregation services put out a lot of content and aggregators waste a lot of bandwidth pulling the entire file at once. A changes.xml file would go a long way to helping the top end of the bandwidth issue, but enclosures create another problem. Enclosures by design are large bandwidth hogs, but in most cases, are worth the download wait. Dave's original idea to schedule enclosure downloads in Radio is fine for 80% of the population--content delivered while we sleep. What we need now is some intelligence and a network and the problem is licked.

Network:

Community servers, big and small, would be welcome. We all run the same software written for your platform of choice. Servers would aggregate feeds and deliver to users. It's your choice if you want the server-fetched version or the original source.

Intelligence:

Servers tell each other what bandwidth they have available and use a bit of "history" to predict what bandwidth they will have. When the client asks for the file, the request is redirected to a network server with more available bandwidth.

BitTorrent:

Make all of the enclosures BitTorrent files. Each server in the network serves torrents of the community's enclosures, enabling the network to route request to the next server with more bandwidth availble. If there's an enclosure in a user's RSS file, the server network remembers it and gets the file *only when someone wants it*. Once the file is "in the network", it's torrented and redistro'd to the network.

If people stop asking for a particular enclosure, the server network deletes it and sends enclosure requests back to the source. Simple. Server software would have a pref for how many enclosures to torrent and a request threshold before torrents are deleted.

Client Software:

Creates the RSS master file and the changes file. Pings the network server and uploads the two files. When it wants the enclosure it asks the network first and uses BitTorrent to pull it down *from the community* of servers, thus ensuring consistent download speeds and efficient use of bandwidth.

Sources:

Mark Fletcher's post. A pointer to Dave's post on Scripting news. Nick Bradbury's post.

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SMSU surplus auction

At the SMSU surplus auction, hoping to find a couple of Mac bargins. So far I found 6 machines, 2 G3 iMacs, 2 blue and white G3 400s and 2 G4 PowerMacs. In about 10 minutes I'll get the chance to bid. I'll let you know what happens.

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Frontier Source Code Release

Dave Winer has released the source code behind Frontier:

"Today's Morning Coffee Notes explains the open source release of Frontier..."

Frontier is the technology behind UserLand's Manila content management and Radio UserLand weblog products. Congratulations, Dave!

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