RSS and Facebook

One of the more bizarre things I’ve found recently now that I consume content on the go is that people don’t publish full articles to RSS. A good example of that is The American Thinker. While it started out as a blog, it’s sort of grown into a columnist site. The problem is their RSS Feed just doesn’t have the content. This means that to actually read their site, I have to visit the site. My workflow at the moment is “Wake up, sync my nook simple touch to the RSS via Opera, drive to the train, read”. It works really well. The problem is that it only works via Opera, and it’s low bandwidth. When I say low bandwidth I mean that it has the same speed a typical tablet or cellphone does – if wifi is there, great. If I’m lucky, I can tether 4G. If I’m less lucky, it’s 3G. The final word in all this is that the train spends a good portion of it’s time below ground or in a trench, and the cellphone and wifi doesn’t work at all. My content is either all stored locally, or I don’t see it.

For something like a blog, this is killer. People don’t really want to see the pictures, and for something like a nook people can’t see them well anyway on the 16 color greyscale screen even if they want to wait to see them download. The mobile market is particularly vexing with this since the browsers tend not to load content in a threaded fashion, and to add insult to injury there’s still a lot of web servers (looking at you, microsoft) which can’t use HTTP stream. If theres’s a picture at the top of the page, you don’t see the article until it loads. Sometimes this is simple esthetics, sometimes it’s intentional branding. I tend to think the IT staff doesn’t give a shit either way.

Facebook is particularly hilarious. I had the ah-ha moment when I realized I still didn’t like google+ enough to make the jump but every time Facebook rolled out a “feature” I liked it less and less. The mobile app is a mess, it still doesn’t cache content, text is (bizarrely enough) rendered as images in android land until you go to select it and it changes the font, and now I don’t get a link preview in an email. Instead I have to click on a link to go to Facebook to visit a link I may or may not be interested in. Got help me if I’m at a library or something which blocks Facebook. I used to be able to copy and paste the link text (the link itself always visited Facebook first) but now that’s gone. I find myself reading Facebook less and less except for groups, which is the only leg up it has to google plus, and publishing to my blog more and more.

Yes dear reader this means more content is coming.

Possibly the worst offense is that google plus works with the nook, wordpress works with the nook, but Facebook says it works with the nook and then refuses to install. Now, not only do they make it a pain to read anything, but they make it a pain to update the device which has my eyes most of the downtime in the day from the device itself. Frankly, what’s the point of Facebook? I can’t help but feel like they wanted to get their hands so deep in the phone that they’ve neglected everything else.

I have a weird feeling they’re going to finally produce a mac/windows app which lives on your computer as a service.

All this speculation and ranting aside, if you have a blog, enable content in RSS. While you might not count every single person visiting the blog, your mobile readers will appreciate it.

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