Scripting News for 4/20/2007

RSS miscellany 

Looking for sources of photo feeds for flickrRivr

I came across an OPML file listing all the NY Times feeds. Now that’s cool. I wish they had told me about it, could have saved a bunch of time.

Here’s the OPML in a browsable form.

I’m finding I can’t use as much of Yahoo’s stuff as I hoped to. They have feeds of news pictures, but they’re too small, when they are displayed on a TV screen they’re grainy and hard to look at. There were some other problems with Yahoo feeds, but I’m going to try reporting them directly to Yahoo people before writing them up here.

Basically I’m looking for RSS 2.0 feeds with either Media-RSS photos, or enclosures, with medium resolution photos, between 100K and 1MB, with family-safe pictures.

Today’s links 

Computerworld: “A hacker managed to break into a Mac and win a $10,000 prize as part of a contest started at the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver.”

SF Chronicle: “The Virginia Tech shooting is the first major U.S. news story in which traditional media and new-media technologies became visibly interdependent.”

Microsoft is hosting a blogger lounge at Mix 07, April 30-May 2 in Las Vegas.

Tim O’Reilly defends Amazon, who is suing Statsaholic, a site that builds on Alexa, which is owned by Amazon. Amazon is an O’Reilly customer and also sponsors their conferences.

Reuters: “The Vermont state senate passed a symbolic resolution on Friday calling on the U.S. Congress to impeach U.S. President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney over their handling of the unpopular Iraq war.”

Frank Shaw: The Press And Iraq.

Dan Ruby’s Festival Preview.

Engadget: Wal-Mart $299 HD DVD player.

Oh Valleywag 

I think they’re all smoking crack down there, or abusing small animals, or sticking things in orifices god never intended things to be stuck in, or maybe all of the above (at the same time), because their brains seem to be shrinking, visibly, every day.

Sorry, but I had to even the score before I could write about them. 🙂

The latest evidence of self-abuse is this piece where they say Apple won in podcasting. I strongly disagree. The users won. And the people with programming that the users like won.

It’s not all about technology. One would think the Valleywag guys would get that. Sure there’s a little bit needed, and Apple helped distribute podcasts, enormously. If I were Evan Williams or Adam Curry I never would have invested in the systems they invested in, even before Apple came in to the market. I put my stake in the ground when both these systems launched. No future here.

It was kind of obvious — podcasts aren’t like photos, you can’t make a social network form about them because people get ideas about podcasts when they’re nowhere near a computer, unlike photos or blog posts. Apple didn’t make this mistake. Their goal was to help the MP3s make the trip from the podcaster’s server to the user’s iPod, and that they do fairly well, so god bless them, they helped us get this thing going. Thank you Apple.

So it’s shaken out as it obviously would. There was no boom in podcasting technology, and there won’t be. There’s still lots of opportunities in players, iPods are the best available, but they’re designed to play music, not podcasts, and there’s a lot of room for improvement. Whether the VCs will bet on that is a good question, or any consumer electronics companies other than Apple, but that’s where they should be putting their money, not on fakeouts like Odeshow and Podeo.

Today’s MSM monologue 

Can they only do one story at a time?

Today they’re only reporting on the second floor of Building 44 at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Is this news? Barely.

In the meantime our government is in crisis.

And who knows what else is going on.

The news doesn’t mention anything other than a nameless sub-contractor who may or may not have taken hostages. Not much is known, but massive amounts of attention are focused on it.

Podcast Hotel, day 2 

Live stream from Podcast Hotel on

We cracked the code 

The Republicans are quick to jump on Harry Reid saying he’s undermining the troops, but I don’t think Americans are so dumb that they fall for that kind of BS. They’ve been selling corrupt logic for a long time, and we’ve cracked the code.

The best way to find out what the troops think, if that’s their real concern (of course it isn’t, their concern is that they might get blamed for the mess they created) is to ask them.

It could be that soldiers in Iraq have very little idea what we’re doing there, and don’t relish dying to keep Bush from going down as the disaster that he is. Who loves Bush so much that they’d be willing to die for his legacy? Isn’t the next President going to have to own up to Bush’s mistakes? At that point, how will Bush spin it? The tools available to ex-presidents are nothing compared to the power of the incumbent.

Yes, of course, the war is lost 

Harry Reid says that the war in Iraq is lost. Yeah. That’s been obvious for a long time. We don’t even have any goals for the fighting. If we did, maybe then winning or losing would mean something.

I don’t think there was any way for Reid to win by saying what he said. So maybe he was motivated by something that the Republicans don’t understand, maybe his conscience dictates that he tell the truth, if it might possibly save one life, no matter what kind of a Republican shitstorm it provokes.

When the Republicans say we should stay so we don’t lose, they’re playing politics with the troops lives.

And Reid is to be applauded for saying what’s so obvious that no one else in politics seems willing to say.

BTW, if you want to find the bug — we didn’t have a national discussion about the war before we started it. Instead skeptics were shouted down as unpatriotic. Look at what a mess that created. Will we learn the lesson? Seems we have another chance to do that. Reject the Republican smear. I don’t think Reid is wrong, but he simply expressed an opinion, and as majority leader of the Senate, we want him to do that, even if we don’t agree.

7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jim Posner on April 20, 2007 at 9:16 am

  2. Dave, that could be. But I doubt it. Everything I hear in the MSM – a decidedly anti-war crowd – is that a significant if not vast majority of the troops want to stay and complete their mission – whatever it is.

    I’m sympathetic to those guys who are getting shot at over there. But I ask myself what I think the future holds if we pull out of Iraq today and it’s not pretty. Leaving won’t help and will probably make things worse. Everything else is irrelevant.


  3. Dave, just give up on what everyone calls “cable news”, ’cause it ain’t. The networks treat it as entertainment, with the same expectations of revenue, and so should we.

    Expecting real news from the cable guys is like expecting real competition from professional wrestling.

    Just don’t watch. You’re in as much in control of your TV as you are of your browser. Turn them off.


  4. On the war: Bush will find a way to keep troops there until the next President is sworn in. Then, the new person gets to clean up this entirely avoidable disaster.

    Marc, our troops did complete the mission that was assigned to them more than 4 years ago: Topple Saddam. Sadly, our leaders apparently felt that magic would happen after that and, consequently, failed to prepare for what would inevitably happen next: Iraq would become a flashpoint for for the creation of new terrorists angered by the occupation. It’s never been a secret that most people in the Middle East loathe U.S. policy, so why would Bush, et al, expect our troops to be received as liberators and saviors? Yes, Iraqis didn’t like Saddam, but that’s nothing compared with the hatred many feel about America’s alliance with Israel. As long as that equation doesn’t change, there will be a direct relationship between the number of American troops in the Middle East and the number of new terrorists.

    The best solutution, then, would have been to continue and strengthen the isolation of Saddam, rather than invade. Having invaded, and magic having failed to occur, the best option is to remove ourselves, wait until the next anti-American strongman arises, and work to isolate him.


  5. Soon, we’ll have another kind of social network around podcasts and the RSS feeds they come from and also the OPML directories those feeds are to be found in.

    Stay subscribed – this might not be *just* about podcasting – it’s also about ‘curating’ – and who wants Apple to be the only/major curator???

    Not me. 😉


  6. Re: flickr feed

    This might help – but code would be flickr specific:

    Depending on the original image dimensions, flickr will create resized copies of every image. The urls end with _o.jpg, _m.jpg and _s.jpg for original, medium, and small(square) sizes respectively.

    Notice in feed for each item, the media:content url value of the url ends in _o.jpg only if the original is larger than about 400 pixels wide (ish)

    So, if you don’t want to see smaller images, you could ignore those which don’t end in _o.jpg

    just a thought


  7. Re: photo feeds:

    Little known, undocumented, extremely useful Flickr feed feature:

    Append “_enc” (without the quotes) to the end of any Flickr RSS feed, and it will provide the photos in the feed as enclosures.

    Couple that with the fact that Flickr provides a feed for just about any grouping of photos (by tag, user, group, etc.), and you should be able to get feeds with enclosures of just about every photo on Flickr.

    Hope that helps! 🙂


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