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July 9th, 2002

If you've been anywhere near me in the last month, you will no doubt know about my current obsession with RSS, and what it means for online discourse and knowledge management. If you read either (in ADA or PC Plus) of my columns you'll soon know even more, but that's beside the point...

My regular feeds went "bing" this morning, and I found this snippet in Ben Hammersley's Blog about the forthcoming O'Reilly RSS book he's working on. It turns out that as well as exporting RSS, LiveJournal can now import feeds - treating them as a variant of Friends.

Quoting Mark Kraft in Ben's entry:

"We are currently adding the feeds manually, but will soon be supporting the ability of users to add any feed that interests them. This will be instrumental in not only allowing LiveJournal users to easily read RSS feeds from news and weblog sources, but it will also tie together users on sites that are running LiveJournal Server. For instance, LiveJournal users will be able to add users from DeadJournal, beringsea.com, livejournal.ru, etc. to their friends list, and visa versa. This will help us tie together over 900,000 users of our server software.

This feature benefits both LiveJournal users and everyone else on the Internet too, since anyone can view or comment on these html-ized RSS feeds. Since these webpages are also of low bandwidth, they are also well-suited for using with applications like AvantGo in order to read RSS feeds via PDAs.

It is also a very valuble paid feature for LiveJournal -- the over 30,000 paid and permanent users of LiveJournal can now add RSS feeds to their friends lists, reading them in the same way they already read their friends lists. See http://www.livejournal.com/~markkraft/friends for an example of how this works with RSS feeds. Since friends lists can be sorted into named, customized groups, it is possible for people to create custom lists of their favorite feeds, sorting them into any categories they would prefer (news, technology, sports, weblogs, friends, etc.)"

Can't wait for this to be automated! It's a bit of a pig porting my feeds from work PC to home desktop to home laptop to iBook...
I was on a street in Hong Kong when I saw the strangest piece of kawaii I'd ever seen. It wasn't the usual Hello Kitty tat, instead, this time it was a neck holder for a mobile phone decorated with a Snufkin. Somehow, Tove Jansson's Moomins had made it from the Finnish end of the Baltic archipelago to the Far East, and had become "cute".

Moominpapa's Memoirs isn't what I'd define as kawaii, as like Moominvalley in November or Moominpapa at Sea there's a certain darkness lurking in the back of the usual moomin whimsy. Mominpapa's memories show a certain self-serving editing, intriguingly noted in italicised conversations with the familiar younger inhabitants of Moominvalley. His life story is a rollercoaster of adventures that starts with his foundling birth (which changes every time he tells the story) and ends with the heroic rescue of Moominmama (reminiscent of the first meeting of Moomintroll and the Snork Maiden).

A rewrite of the more familiar Exploits Of Moominpapa, this is a short novel that adds much to our understanding of the Moomin way of life, and the drives that push our heroes over the horizon in pursuit of Hattifatteners. There's also a redemptive edge to some of the descriptions, with the Hemulen's Aunt finding fulfilment, as well as closure, in a sunrise ending that rounds off the whole series.

A great escape back to a childhood favourite.