Scripting News for 4/14/2007

AppleTV has an intriguing profile 

I like the way 901am describes the connection between flickRivr and AppleTV: “He uses FlickrRivr to pull in Flickr RSS feeds on his computer and then sends them wirelessly to his Apple TV device, resulting in a stream of photos displayed on his TV screen.” He goes on to suggest that Yahoo Pipes might be able to do what flickrRivr is doing, but I’m pretty sure the software has to run on the desktop, at least for now.

At some point Apple will build in a RSS aggregator that sucks down feeds with pictures, probably in Media-RSS format, in fact I suspect they’re already doing it for movie trailers, but there’s no way for a non-Apple server-based app to get in there, at least not now.

AppleTV has an intriguing profile, it has a full Internet connection through wifi, and it can connect up to any server Apple wants it to. It’s kind of a weird beast that way. I was surprised when the movie trailers were already pre-loaded, current ones. I’m pretty sure it’s checking for new ones periodically. I wonder if any of the people hacking up AppleTV have been monitoring the network traffic it generates. I’d be very interested in seeing it.

Is anyone from Apple is presenting at the Web 2.0 conf next week? They seem to be doing some of the most interesting software right now in this domain, as interesting as my own. šŸ™‚


For OPML Editor users, a new version of flickrRivr.root.

I’m planning a new release of the OPML Editor, designed mostly for Mac users, although of course it will run on Windows. It’s designed to add on to AppleTV and provide a media subscription service, starting with photographs.

That’s why I’m reviving flickrRivr — which I’ve been using constantly, and wowing visitors to my house with how cool it is to have a stream of photos of friends on my home entertainment center.

Apple is obviously heading in this direction as well, AppleTV has a very beautiful screen saver that displays photos synchronized from your desktop or laptop computer. That’s what flickrRivr ties into.

The next steps in the development of flickrRivr are to make it even more turnkey than it already is.

Another coooool application for RSS. šŸ™‚

PS: Movie demo of flickrRivr.

How to update any root 

Along with the new version of flickrRivr.root, I’ve also released a new version of the OPML Editor Tools menu that allows you to update any Tool file, using the new RSS-based updating method. Here’s how you do that.

1. Launch the OPML Editor.

2. Choose Update opml.root from the File menu.

3. Click on OK to confirm that you wish to update.

4. You should receive 2 or more new parts.

5. Quit the OPML Editor. Re-launch.

6. You should see a new command near the bottom of the Tools menu called Update Front Tool.

Now, when you want to update a root here’s what you do.

1. Choose the root file corresponding to the Tool from the Window menu.

2. Choose Update Front Tool from the Tools menu.

3. Click on OK.

That’s it. It should work for newsRiver.root, dotOpml.root, even opml.root.

A smarter net? 

On Twitter, earlier today I saw that Jason Calacanis was in Barcelona. Hmmm, I thought, I wonder what he’s doing there.

A few hours later, I see that Jeff Barr is in JFK waiting for a flight to Barcelona.

Okay, now I know something is up. So I ask Jeff, and he sends a pointer to a conference he’s going to. I’m sure Jason is going there too.

Now I wonder, who else in my network will be there?

And of course I’d like to have been alerted of this coincidence two weeks ago, so I could have planned a trip myself. While the conference doesn’t look that awesome (do they ever?) I’ve never been to Barcelona, and here’s an excuse to party with people in my network in a new city. And a trip to Europe would be interesting right about now.

Someday, probably not too far down the road, our nets will be smart enough to make these connections for us. All we need is a few hooks and a data interchange standard or two, or enough motivation to enter our data into a new app. Maybe there would be enough of a payoff.

Disclaimer: I invested in Confabb thinking they might solve this problem.

Today’s links 

Sylvia went to Om Malik’s party last night in SF.

Tim O’Reilly reviews Spock, a search engine for people.

Update on RSS spec site 

James Holderness sent me a long list of small issues with the new static RSS 2.0 spec site, most of which I fixed today. I also fixed the bluearrow I wrote about yesterday, so that all instances now are relative, so the site should be totally relocatable. I also fixed the home page link on each page, it was pointing to the top level of, now it points to the home page of the RSS 2.0 site. All these are small things, but it’s always good to get the small things fixed.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Dave,

    I think your first thought about “hooks and a data interchange” is more likely that another app we put our data into.

    For one, no app, however great, will get everyone to join and use it (heck there are even people – perhaps even still a majority of the world who don’t yet have an email address, about the lowest barrier to entry and most standardized app on the web, and that’s even including phone numbers that can function as email addresses)

    What I could see (and full disclosure my new company is trying to do this at least to a small degree) is a generation of applications that increasingly are less about you putting your data into the app – and more about that app interacting with your data IN OTHER APPS – to add value and services to you. i.e. in the case of (my new company not yet but very soon to be launched into beta) we do let you upload data (in our case .csv files with your contacts) but we actually recommend that you rather link NELA to a web service such as or which is more directly in the business of storing, syncing and maintaining contacts. NELA then enhances that collection of data and allows you to do something new with it.

    In what you describe I could see services such as Confab, conference websites directly,, evite, iCal, Exchange servers with public views into calendars, plaxo, facebook, linkedin, twitter, aim etc all being mashed up to allow you to:

    1 – identify and maintain your “network” (across many services and sets of data – with some rule to help avoid duplication)

    2 – synch up data such as events, presence, location into a view that was centered on your view of the world (i.e. relative to your timezone)

    3 – manage your own metrics about who’s calendars etc you most want to follow – or variations such as no one person in particular but if x% of your network say plans on being in Austin TX the week of SXSW tell you about that)

    and increasingly the results of that mashedup data should be available to you via a variety of forms – sms, mobile web, web, email, synced into specialized applications (calendars for example), via widgets or apps such as twiterrific with each app taking, displaying and managing only the subset of data it requires (potentially this could happen via rss feeds though likely it would require additional layers such as microformats on the entries to embed say all the data a calendar might want)

    Could be a fun next few years!



  2. A friend mentioned this a few weeks back:
    but it looks more to be about “what are my travelling colleagues doing” rather than common conferences in particular.


  3. Posted by chris on April 14, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    I’m wondering why you ‘rolled your own’ flickrRiver when you can use iPhoto to subscribe to a flickr photostream? I don’t have an appletv to play with yet, but I thought you could sync photos from iPhoto, no? Use a web service like photocastr ( to pull in full-size versions of those photos from flickr and you’re all set, no?


  4. Dave,

    I posted an issue with the new FlickrRivr in OPML Support, any ideas?

    Will follow up over on the OPMLSupport list.



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