Friday, May 09, 2003

A former cow-orker has posted an article over at his weblog discussing meta-weblog issues. It's a pretty good read and even though I usually try to keep the navel-gazing to a minimum here, after encouragement from the author here are a couple comments regarding this...

First, while I agree that RSS/RDF has potential for helping create a semantic web, I'm still a little skeptical about the predictions of massive impact of syndicated blog content. Speaking purely about my own habits, I don't have the interest or time to scan even RSS summaries of many blogs. I don't see people caring much about the idle ramblings of random bloggers.

I haven't yet read the story linked from this article concerning blog reporting on Presidential primaries, but it's an intriguing idea.

The other issue I have with the current state of weblogging is what Moveable Type, Blogger, and other blog frameworks have done (or more accurately, not done) to encourage printable versions of their content. For example, this review of blogging APIs appeared on a major blog. But look at it... two wide columns of fluff bordering a narrow column of content. This is an important issue for me because I tend to do a lot of reading on the subway and I like something printable. In such cases, I tend to copy the text to a document in a word processor where I can make it more usable for subway reading.

One way to fix this at the blog level can be accomplished with the help of modern implementations of CSS have the ability to specify different stylesheets for different media... e.g. look at the source of a news story on and you'll see a line like this:

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" media="print"  href="http://blahblah/wnPrint.css" />
This stylesheet does nice print-version friendly things like hiding the menu bars and ads and switching from the screen-friendly font verdana to a more readable serif font. (No, I haven't added such a stylesheet to this site... new css for this site is in the works.) Of course this doesn't address the issue of reversing the order of blog entries -- a problem which I addressed with the one-off hack shown in my recent entry.

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