I just finished installing the latest version of Mac OS X (10.4, Tiger) on my PowerBook G4. I backed up all of my data to an external FireWire drive and did a fresh install. It certainly feels faster, especially Safari.
Right now I only have one serious problem with Tiger, Desktop Manager is broken. There is a development version that at least runs, but some of the features don’t work and it causes some other strange things to happen (like the dock disappears some times). It also crashes from time to time. I’ve generally got nine or ten virtual desktops going, I REALLY want to see DM working again.
It turns out that I was mistaken the other day when I mentioned that I had spotted ads in my PubSub feed. While there are ads in the feed, they aren’t from PubSub, they are part of the original RSS feed that PubSub had picked up on, in this case it was from Freshmeat.
This raises an interesting issue for PubSub, if they decide to show ads in their feeds (why not, most everyone else will start doing it), how am I as a regular user supposed to be to tell the difference between an ad placed by them and one that was part of the original data (in this case an RSS entry)? They could certainly include some formatting that would make it obvious, but then that would also allow feed readers to also easily distinguish the ad from the data and hide the ad. Just more to think about when it comes to ads in feeds.
Good news, Dave Hyatt is reports that Safari now passes the ACID2 test. So when will be seeing an update for Safari via Software Updates that has all of these fixes?
Congrats Dave and thank you for your work on this.
I wonder if IE, Firefox and Opera have made any progress on this.
It looks the days of most feeds having no ads are quickly coming to a close. I just noticed Google AdSense ads in the feed from The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW). As has already been noted, Google been letting a few sites test out this new feature recently. When Google turns on this feature for all AdSense users I expect the flood gates will be thrown open and feeds without ads will quickly become the minority. Just this week I’ve gone from one of the 80+ feeds that I read having ads to four. I don’t know how long Google is going leave this feature in the testing phase, but I’d expect that by the end of May ad free feeds will become pretty rare.
When you combine the idea of Google allowing ads in feeds and their purchase of Urchin you end up with a strong FeedBurner competitor.
UPDATE 5:00pm 27 Apr 2005: Now my PubSub feed has AdSense ads.
I started thinking that the ads in Slashdot feeds I noticed yesterday may have just been a fluke since they disappeared as suddenly as they showed up yesterday. After looking at the Slashdot feed in Bloglines this morning though, it appears that the ads only show up in specific entries. It isn’t clear how they are determining which entries should have ads, but it is clear that at this point there are not ads for each entry.
So I copied the URL for the one ad I came across this morning on the story about iTunes coming to Australia. It was run through feedstermedia which in turn ran it through DoubleClick which then pointed to page on Sun‘s website (which is what the the ad was advertising).
If you go to the feedstermedia.com website you’ll see there isn’t really much there. They appear to running phpAdsNew manage the feed ads. The only other interesting tidbit was that in addition to Slashdot, Freshmeat and SourceForge also have some data there. Which points us to the Open Source Technology Group (OSTG); which owns Slashdot, Freshmeat and SourceForge. None of this is really surprising, just interesting. It looks like there may come a time when every website run by OSTG will have ads in their feeds.
The general idea of ads in feeds appears to be ready to explode, with Google AdSense testing them out. Talk about timing.
UPDATE 1:30pm 27 Apr 2005: I’m now getting ads in the Freshmeat feed that I subscribe to.
Advertising on the web is more or less an accepted fact of life. Things have to get paid for some how and often that “how” is via advertising (at least in part). With more and more content being viewed via feeds (RSS & Atom) the advertising discussion has been focusing more on how to advertise in feeds in addition to websites. The debate over advertising in feeds is going along in much the same way that advertising on websites did.
At first there was something of a backlash to sites with advertising, that they had some how sold out and should be shunned. Gradually this attitude has drifted away, with only those who really want to avoid ads still making use of browser plugins or proxy servers that filter out ads. It is still fairly early in feed advertising game and we are still in the backlash stage. Most feeds (at least the ones I read) don’t have advertising, but there are some. Those who are doing it (like Russell) often use FeedBurner to insert ads.
That seems to have changed now. Slashdot, the old man of geek sites, has started including ads in their feeds. With more than 30,000 people subscribed to Slashdot on Bloglines, the number of people exposed to feed advertising is going to increase significantly. This will likely increase the heat in the debate over advertising in feeds. In the end I believe that ads in feeds will become less of an issue and more of an accepted norm for most people.
Much of the discussion about ads in feeds will continue to focus on how to do it. For websites Google AdSense pretty much rules the market. This is a rather unfortunate situation, I’d like to see more competition in this area. There is the possibility that Yahoo! Publisher Network will provide this, but so far this isn’t an available option the same way that AdSense is. So that seems to leave most of us with FeedBurner as the only serious option for feed advertising. I don’t think that will be the case in the long term. In the long term I suspect that FeedBurner will get absorbed by someone else with much deeper pockets. Although the likely targets might seem to be Google (combined with AdSense) or Yahoo! (combined with their Publisher Network), I don’t think it will be either one. Although both Google and Yahoo! should make feed ads an option in using their services.
I think the mostly likely buyer is someone much closer to the feed end of the equation. I’m thinking of Bloglines (now owned by Jeeves) as one of the most likely to buy out FeedBurner. This would actually give Bloglines a business model (which so far seems to consist of simply selling out to someone else) and would be a good fit for FeedBurner because Bloglines already gets the idea of feeds and how they work. I’m not going to bet money on it, but this is where my gut says FeedBurner should be.
Speaking of Bloglines, I never did get my I love Bloglines shirt.
UPDATE 3:20pm 26 Apr 2005: I’m not getting the ads in the Slashdot feed that I read via Bloglines anymore. Perhaps this was just an experiment?
Chalk this one up to strange looking things, Safari now has an option for transparent windows. If you have the 10.3.9 update and the debug menu enabled you can turn on “Use Transparent Window”. I’ve tried this a few times and it only works for pages that don’t have a color or image set for the body tag. It also works in empty tabs. From the comments it seems this has something to do with the Dashboard feature in Tiger (OS X 10.4).
It seems that there are still plenty of applications where only the big boys (DB2 and Oracle) really succeed. As much as I like to apply PostgreSQL (or even MySQL) to back end solutions, there are still times when one of those insanely advanced (and usually complex) features are needed to meet your requirements. Oracle being the biggest player on the block is often the one turned to to tackle those types of problems. These installs often end up on “big” hardware, which puts the idea of Oracle on Apple in an interesting position. The new Apple server hardware seems to perform well with a more reasonable cost than the traditional big hardware players (Sun, IBM, large x86, etc).
Remember what a big splash the Virginia Tech Apple supercomputer made when it was first announced? It wouldn’t surprise me if someone is doing something similar for their database back end using Oracle on top of a whole bunch of Apple hardware.
The Virginia Tech system is still ranked #7 on the Top 500 list.
So the big news today is that Adobe is buying Macromedia for $3.4 billion in stock. Although I’m not a huge fan of flash, it does have some interesting uses. Certainly Flickr has found a nice use for it. I wouldn’t want to get rid of flash, but I also can’t stand all flash sites. I guess I’m just picking on flash because that is probably Macromedia’s most wide spread product/technology. They certainly have plenty of other products.
So what is Adobe going to do with this? How about the ability to play flash content in Acrobat Reader? Adobe has shown that it is perfectly willing to take a reasonable document platform and turn into a huge ugly mess of features (maybe they were looking at MS Office for inspiration?).
Over the last few years I’ve grown increasingly disappointed with Adobe and their products. At work we use FrameMaker 7.1 for our books that we print. From FM we generate PDFs that then go to the printer. Sounds like a relatively straight forward process right? If only. Just last week I spent a whole afternoon working with our editors trying to figure out why some solid black lines were turning into dotted lines when going from FM to PDF. After going through all of the different variations possible in this process we finally discovered that FM simply doesn’t render these lines correctly when they are too close to a graphic. Fortunately one of the editors (kudos to Robert) was able to make this work by adjusting the tint level on these lines.
Hopefully both companies are doing this because they believe things (products, technologies, $$, etc.) will be better off this way. We will all have to wait and see if that is really the case, but at this point I’m having a hard time seeing this as “a good thing”.