RSS what?

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According to a report from Marketing Sherpa:

Currently at least 75 million consumers and businesspeople in the USA and UK use RSS on a regular basis. However, depending on which study’s stats you believe, only 17-32% of RSS users actually know they’re using RSS.

I don’t find this at all hard to believe. I use RSS all the time, lots of people I know use RSS, but without knowing what RSS actually is or how it works. Before trying to write a definition of RSS I did about 10 minutes of fruitless searching, attempting to find a definition that you didn’t have to be a techie to understand. I couldn’t. I’m sure that there are simple definitions out there. But all the ones I found tended to stray off into scary things like XML definitions.

Having tried (and in most instances failed) to tell clients about RSS feeds the most useful description of RSS I’ve found is something like this:

“Using RSS you can make your website content very portable. It takes the most important information: titles, text, links and images. And makes it easy for you, or other people to display it in the way they choose. An RSS feed enables people to view your site content on their phone, on their computer, on other websites (MyYahoo, Google personal home page, etc.). It gives you extra distribution channels for your content with almost no extra effort.”

That’s the fundamentals (as I see them). Of course there’s loads more you can do with RSS, but as a basic description this sort of works for me. If my dummies definition misses lots of important things please let me know.

Smart Error Page – Odeo

Odeo Error Page

You know those pages that come up when a web page has moved, or you’ve typed the address in wrong? (For the technically minded they’re called 404 errors, but you don’t really need to know that unless you’re in the business). You don’t see as many of them as you used to, but they’re still around.

This is one of the best ones I’ve ever seen, from Odeo. Why do I like it? Well it’s not the copy, it doesn’t even read proper to me. It’s the fact that they’ve got a cute little tickbox that allows me to say that I’m not happy about the page being missing. From what I can tell it doesn’t actually do anything (maybe it gives them some reporting behind the scenes, but it’s invisible to the user).

But that’s not the point. It lets me get the frustration of ‘the machine’ not working off my chest.

I’m halfway through writing a piece on ’emotional architecture’; how you can create emotionally positive results by doing simple things with your website. And how this should be built into your site planning process. I may never finish it, but this is a good example of the kind of thing I’m talking about.

Videos From the Googleplex

Google have released a heap of videos from their internal archives:

In addition to helping distribute content from across the world, Google would like to share videos featuring our company.

Some great stuff in there, especially the ever-brilliant Seth Godin doing a presentation that seems to cover the central themes of a selection of his books in under 50 minutes. I saw Seth present years ago when he was at Yahoo! and he’s always stuck in my mind as one of the most natural and compelling presenters out there.
Visit Videos From the Googleplex


virgin radio imageVirgin Radio have another one of their infuriating but brilliant ‘see how many artists you can spot‘ thingies. This time it’s moving video not just an image. Unfortunately I can’t keep up, it’s too quick for my puny brain. I’m a big fan though.

Original iPod announcement

1st gen iPod37 Signals pull out some highlights from the original iPod announcement thread at MacRumors. You can normally judge the reaction of Mac fanatics to Steve’s announcements by dipping your toes into these forums. This snapshot from 2001 show people’s reactions to the iPod.
My favourite:

I still can’t believe this! All this hype for something so ridiculous! Who cares about an MP3 player? I want something new! I want them to think differently! Why oh why would they do this?! It’s so wrong! It’s so stupid!

As 37 Signals so rightly point out, Apple really should just have listened to their consumers. What were they thinking?

Sony Ericsson and Blogger/Google

sony ericcson w950Sony Ericsson are adding Blogger support and Google Search to their new phones – nice tie-up for all concerned I reckons. Scheduled for Q2 this year.

Some nice views of the new Sony Ericsson handsets on their Cebit 2006 site. My current favourite is the W950.