If the IE team and the Firefox team agree on something, can it be a bad idea? Accordingly, pages at ongoing now have a little orange here’s-the-feed splodge at the bottom of the right margin. Despite that, it is a bad idea; a temporary measure at best. Based on recent experience with my Mom and another Mac newbie, this whole feed-reading thing ain’t gonna become mainstream until it’s really really integrated. By integrated I mean that that if a page has a feed, there should be a standard button somewhere in the browser, one click and you’re subscribed, and on that button should be the word “Subscribe” in your native language. The notions that this should depend on a button that the author has to put in the page, that it should be decorated with a vacuous icon or a geek acronym, and that the the user has to copy the link and paste it into some other program, well that’s just lame-brained, and Mom won’t do it. To be fair, the Mac now gets this partly right; it has the notion of a “default feed reader”, and it does autodiscovery, and a blue RSS glyph appears in the browser chrome as appropriate, with dispatch to the default reader. There are still two problems: First, a blue rectangle with a white “RSS” on it means approximately nothing unless you’re already feed-savvy. Second, when most people click on it, they get the Safari reader, which is pretty feeble. Steps in the right direction, but I look forward to amputating the orange lozenge sooner rather than later. [Update: It’s better than I thought; this will end up in both browsers’ chrome. So in a couple of years, when maybe half the population has a browser with one-click subscription, we’ll find out if feeds will ever become mainstream.]

author · Dad
colophon · rights
picture of the day
December 18, 2005
· Technology (90 fragments)
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