Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Georgetown Law Library Blog Aggregator -- More Proof RSS Isn't Dead

A cool project from Georgetown Law Library: a blog aggregator that mixes the latest posts from their faculty blogs.

If you follow some of the work we do at Stem, or some of my RSS feed mix tinkering from years' past, the concept will sound familiar. Sites like or the homepage of use RSS feed mixing to roundup content sources into a single visible location.

More recently, we've used the same technology to display current blog content on firm websites; or to mix multiple publishing sources such as Waterstone's aggregation of firm news and blog posts.

It pains me to admit it, but RSS never became the household technology that I hoped -- at least not for reading and consuming content. I still think those of us who use feed readers are better for the practice; and it certainly beats trying to manage one's current awareness via social media. But the concept of 'building your own news' based on personalized interests never became simple enough for the average user. It might some day. But it hasn't.

What's been missed, however, is the fact that RSS has become 'the plumbing' for inter-website publishing. You don't see these underground pipes running between websites, but they're there. Make no mistake. And that alone makes RSS critically important; and a success in my view. 

Will RSS have a resurgence? Probably. We're in a down cycle with web technology these days; being pushed towards social media and publishing under the rules of large corporate entities. I have a tough time believing that we'll still be using Facebook the way we do in 10 years time. Some of the old tools of web publishing may again rise up, and hopefully the web is ready to rediscover the concept of unfiltered personal publishing.

Any kind of backlash (remember: even AOL had its days of dominance) is likely to involve tools like RSS as the basis for new kinds of distributed connectivity.

One way or another, I wouldn't bet against the web staying static very long. Or personal publishing making another stand.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Quickscribe Manual Updates for December 2012

Two Quickscribe Manuals were updated in December: the BC Forest Legislation Manual and the BC Local Government Legislation Manual.

As always, daily updates to BC statutes and regulations can be found at 

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Youtube Remote Gives Reason to Buy a Smart TV?

Interesting. Google is making your smartphone or tablet into a remote control for YouTube videos, which can then be pushed onto your smart TV. This works right now if you have a Google TV, but will available for many of the 'smart TV' manufacturers after the CES conference later this month.

You can even create a queue of videos, or line up your subscriptions; delivering full control over your evening entertainment. See it in action:

A lot of people will gloss over this; seeing as playing YouTube videos on your TV has been possible for quite some time. For me, I see this as an interesting connector between how TV is evolving, and how mobile tech will interface with it. The word seemless comes to mind -- It's a very 'Apple' announcement for Google.

Similar to how web-technology lowered the personal publishing threshold, home-created or quasi-professional online video will be pushed further into mainstream consumption. Watching niche online video channels will be even easier. And it wasn't that hard before.

Let's also remember how much entertainment has changed in recent years. Individuals have generated huge viewership numbers based on recording themselves playing a video game. And little more. Pop on a head-set, mix the video and commentary, and a star is born. Really? Yes. That's entertainment for many under-30.
And what of syndicated cable programming? Seems to be still going strong with big audiences for now; but as the population ages, there's going to be more variety and competition than ever before.

The YouTube remote is a solid stepping stone in that direction.