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mobifeeds - the development weblog

Empty feeds & Feature requests

July 2nd, 2007


Due to some surprising changes on the behalf of my hosting providers, all feeds started appearing empty today! Every single one of them!

I apologize for any inconvenience this might have caused you. The problem was noticed earlier today and despite all my efforts, only now was I able to solve this issue with the tech support.

Feature requests?

Also, you might have noticed a “Todo-list” on the sidebar. These are the features I’ll be implementing for the Beta.

Please don’t be shy and request any feature not on the list through the contact page. Also, feel free to discuss any of those up there. I’m all ears… so to speak.

Thank you.

Publishers who don’t understand the medium they’re in

March 4th, 2007

Yes, this is yet another rant directed at everyone who only publish a couple of words of their feeds. Are you really so afraid to get your content stolen? If so, there are others ways! Use the HTTP request fields to filter those! Preventing YOUR readers to read your content wherever they want is not just selfish… it’s stupid.

What lead me to write this is the increasing volume of this kind of feeds I see being submitted to our collection. More and more feeds end up in the ever-so-hated […].

Let’s do an exercise:

  1. Imagine opening a feed in your mobile device.
  2. You see an interesting title and you actually want to read it. Even if it requires heavy scrolling. It’s that interesting.
  3. You start reading it and get even more interested… until you come up to the limit and you have to open a whole different page, which most likely will not be ready for mobile consumption, to read the rest!

See where I’m getting at?

With this in mind, I’m going to start exploring ways of filtering the feeds that do come in. In a first phase, I’ll simply implement mechanisms to let me know when such a feed is submitted. Later on, I expect to deny all incomplete feeds being submitted and actually I’ll even go as far as removing some from our present database.

I know I’m not alone on this:

I hope this reaches some of those publisher’s ears and if not for me, listen to Darren Rowse. He’s a blogger worth listening to… if you take your readers seriously, that is.

Happy Birthday, Opera Mini!

January 26th, 2007

Today we celebrate the first anniversary of Opera Mini, the best browser for mobile phones out there. If you don’t use it, get it, if you do, recommend it to your friends!

As a tribute, I feature here the comic strip Opera has put up on their birthday page. (spread it among yourselves)

Opera Ninja vs CheeseTel Inc.
Opera Ninja vs CheeseTel Inc.
(We won’t stop supporting it just because it has feeds now. We acknowledge the competition and leave the choice up to you, the users.)

Sorry for the downtime

November 24th, 2006

Earlier this week–from monday to wednesday, to be exact–you might have bumped into an error page saying my account had been suspended. First of all, I apologize.

What happened was that my hosts ( decided to suspend my account due to some performance problems. In a nutshell, I received a burst of spam and since that part of the site wasn’t protected by cache mechanisms, it overloaded the mysql server. Let me state publicly that even though this started as a mistake on my behalf, the way they handled this was very unsatisfactory, to say the least. Suspend an account with various websites because of a single query. Without so much as a warning. Hell, not even a notice! I had to bump into the error page myself. I would be fine if they removed/renamed the script, blocked access to mysql server, or even suspend the account, if they didn’t take 3 days to re-active it.
I hope the problem is behind us now, but nevertheless, I am on the prowl for a good hosting account (php+mysql support, nothing fancy) somewhere around the United States. I accept sponsors, so if you want to get in touch, use the contact form in the main page.

Thank you and once again, I do apologize.

Keep on mobifeeding!

First update

October 17th, 2006

Slug-less feeds don't have to beDuring the last couple of days I’ve been carefully analyzing the submitted feeds and seeing the typical behavior of our users. I’ve seen that some feeds are submitted with no slug at all, which is kind of… well, bad. What do you prefer, remembering an id number or a word that represents the feed at hand?

I could make the slug mandatory and reject feeds without slugs, but I’ve chosen not to. I want to give you as much freedom as possible.

Therefore, starting from now, anyone can specify a slug for a slug-less feed. Just make sure you add your feeds with slugs, or someone else might end up choosing their own name for your feeds!

By the way, would you be interested in being able to add multiple slugs to feeds? As in, a maximum of 5?

Want to help us?

October 15th, 2006

Even though we have just started, we are already thinking of ways to improve the current service. The state of the mobile web at the moment is quite chaotic, with myriads of phone models, almost each brand offering a proprietary browser, each with their own flaws, different screen sizes, etc. It’s much worse than the usual webdesigners’ unavoidable question: 800×600 or 1024×768?

With this in mind, I ask those of you willing to help to let us know how we are seen from your side. The whole platform has been tested with Opera Mini and the S60 Browser on a Nokia 6630, but we need much more testing to extend and improve our support.

Oh! PDAs and smartphones are also a target audience. If you have one, give us a spin under your browser and let us know the results!

How do you send the results?

You don’t! Just post the screenshots / pictures to your Flickr account and tag it with mobifeed.

See all public photos with tag mobifeed at flickr.

Also, if you really want to help us, include the model and brand of your phone.

Thank you all!

mobifeeds are a go!

October 11th, 2006

I’ve finally come forward and publicly announced the service.
Read the full launch post at my personal blog:

Finally launching: mobifeeds - get feeds anywhere

More technical information will be made available right here. Stay tuned.

Happy mobile reading! Remember, I want to hear from you.