Bloglines press release: “In addition to helping address bandwidth concerns, Bloglines Web Services transform hundreds of thousands of existing feeds into ‘clean RSS’ and insulates developers from the current blog syndication format wars. This interoperability will encourage broad adoption of news feed technology among content publishers and consumers.” Step back and ponder for a minute what a bold statement that is. I don’t mean the bits about the politics or bandwidth savings. How do you feel about the prospect of having a Bloglines middleman at the heart of your blogosphere? This is a fundamentally different kind of play than spec’ing a format or running a ping server. We’re talking about handing over control of the individual transactions between publishers and readers in all respects: when, what and how. Why would I want to give it all away to a little startup with no discernible revenue? As a weblog consumer, there’s nothing in this strategy that benefits me concretely. Just remedies to vague concerns about potential future bandwidth problems and vague promises of increased adoption. I think adoption is doing just fine. The bandwidth problems may come, there are occasional hints of it as new publishers figure out RSS, but in the meantime it’s a bad bet, not to mention centralized and unbloglike. Beware of strangers offering candy. Particularly when you can’t see the candy. A better solution is out there somewhere. Maybe it involves Jabber, or clever Apache modules that know how to parse XML as they deliver a feed, or BitTorrent, or…

Digital cameras fast enough?

One of my big beefs with digital cameras is slow auto-focus time. Photographing people I found myself constantly apologizing, “hold on a second for the focus to kick in, no wait, it didn’t take, okay let me try again, just one more second.” This was my Nikon Coolpix 990 from 2000. When the baby was born, I actually went out and bought a film camera to make sure I wouldn’t miss a shot, and since then it’s been mostly analog.
This weekend some friends were shooting with a Nikon D70. What a nice camera. The autofocus time was fast, indistinguishable from my film camera, and it could shoot at least a couple of frames per second. Still a little on the pricey side, but I’m very much looking forward to being digital again.