September 30, 2008

RSS SOS

Like most of us who hang out a bit on the internet, I read blogs (possibly too many blogs but that's another post altogether).

I don't use any sort of blog aggregator (basically, I cannot be bothered learning how to use one and setting it up etc etc). However I do love my RSS feeds and have the very low tech solution of when a blog I read regularly has a feed, I save the link to the feed in a folder in my bookmarks menu. So when I open the bookmarks menu and there are new posts it says something like:

Blogs I like (3) to let me know there are 3 new posts to the feeds. Open up the folder and each blog name has the number of new posts next to it if it has any ie:

Blog A (1) Simple. Who needs an aggregator, right?

Except, er, lately my RSS feeds seem to be toying with the laws of mathmatics. I've noticed a couple of times that when I've read all the blogs with new posts, the folder will still insist that there are Blogs I like (1) even though none of the blogs have any new posts. Which I figured was just an occasional glitch in the browser clearing the feed or something. Until I came home to day to discover that apparently my RSS has gone for broke and invented some entirely new system of mathematics altogether.

I opened the bookmarks menu to see "Blogs I like (23)". Hmmm, thinks I, that seems like a lot of posts for one day (I don't have heaps of blogs in this folder and those I do, I often read during breakfast as lots of them are written by people who live in places where it is daytime while I sleep and post then). So I go in and see something like.

Blog A (1)
Blog B (1)
Blog C (5)
Blogs E - N, say had 11 between them. So that adds up to 18, not 23. I thought maybe Blog C was being weird so opened it up to read it and clear the RSS count. The Blogs I like figure dropped to 17 (which you will note is not what 23 - 5 equals). Worse still, Blog C still said Blog C (5). So I click on Blog C again to see if it will clear. Blogs I like total becomes 15 (17 - 5 equals 12 last time I checked). Blog C still insists it has 5 posts. So I read a couple more of the blogs and the Blogs I like number dropped to 10. Which was then less than the total of what the individual blogs said. The math, they no like it. I know how they feel. As someone who often works with numbers in the day job, I can relate to the "math, I no like it" vibe. But that doesn't change the fact that 1 + 1 = 2. Something appears to be rotten in the state of RSS (or maybe rotten in the state of Safari). As I type, Blog C is still insisting it has five new articles despite being opened several times, all the other blogs say they have none and the Blogs I like insists that 2 is the correct count. Maybe it's using the same math that the financial systems has been relying on. Oy.

I think all this adds up to it's time to have some dinner and a glass of wine while we put the browser in the naughty corner and threaten it with remedial arithmetic. Maybe it's time to work out that whole aggregator thing after all....

4 comments:

Bronwyn Parry said...

Mel, both Google Reader and Bloglines are easy to use. I use Google Reader now - you need to set up an account, but that's quick, easy and free.

Mel said...

Thanks Bron, I'll have to check them out....maths that doesn't add up makes my little virgo head hurt lol

Keziah Hill said...

I use Bloglines. Easy peasy.

Mel said...

I've gone with Google reader for now...if I decide I don't like it I'll try Bloglines....