Archive for April, 2005

MXNA 2.0 Beta: Day 2

I want to thank everyone for all the feedback we’ve gotten on the MXNA 2.0 beta
so far. We had about 50 additional feed submissions, some great feature requests,
and even a few bug reports. MXNA 2.0 automatically emails errors to me as soon
as they occur, usually with enough information that I can get them fixed pretty
quickly, and you guys helped me uncover a couple good ones faster than any QA team
could have.

I installed a new build last night with the
following changes:

  1. Added the Danish, Turkish, and Indonesian languages.
  2. Fixed a bug in mobile smart categories. If you’ve been trying to view smart
    categories on your mobile device (I know you’re out there because I saw the bug
    reports), they’re working now.
  3. Fixed a bug in the search term RSS. MXNA 2.0 lets you create
    custom RSS feeds
    from aggregated data, including feeds based on search terms.
    Yesterday search-based feeds were broken, today they are not.
  4. Added the number of feeds being aggregated in the header. Expect that number
    to continue to rise, especially for non-English feeds.
  5. Removed the code that automatically focused the cursor in the search box so
    you can now use the space bar or arrow keys to scroll down without having to
    click on the page first.
  6. Fixed a bug that was causing the application to fail when rendering pages that
    we can’t translate yet. Yesterday, I added our first Russian
    weblog
    which threw
    things off a bit since MXNA 2.0 does not support Russian translations yet.
    Anyway, I fixed the bug on our end, and will add support for Russian translations
    as soon as it’s supported by Google (our translation engine).
  7. Added about 50 new weblogs, most non-English. I’m really glad to be able to
    include the rest of the world in MXNA 2.0.
  8. Worked out some kinks in the ping mechanism. After you make a new post, be sure
    to ping MXNA 2.0 so
    we can aggregate your work right away. You can configure
    your blogging application
    to do the ping automatically, or you can easily do it manually just by typing
    in your site’s URL.

I think that’s all. Anyway, on to today’s list of updates!

Yahoo! 360 Beta Plea

Does anyone have any spare invites? I’m dying to get a look at it.

Update: Thanks Bryan Rieger, Danger, and Oscar Trelles for the invites!

MXNA 2.0 Public Beta

I’d like to invite you all to participate in the MXNA
2.0 beta
.  MXNA (Macromedia
XML News Aggregator) 2.0 is a complete rewrite of the original version of MXNA
with several new features including:

  1. Smart Categories.
  2. Support for non-English feeds.
  3. Localization support.
  4. Self-service site submission.
  5. Improved ping support.
  6. Ability to translate posts (using Google’s translation
    engine).
  7. Ability to generate custom RSS feeds from MXNA 2.0.
  8. Improved search including
    an advanced search option.
  9. Huge performance improvements.
  10. Improved (we think) interface.
  11. New design (thanks to Josh Dura).
  12. Much better web service API.
  13. More powerful mobile interface.
  14. Atom support.
  15. Pre-fetching and caching of top rated items.

You can find the new version of MXNA here:

http://weblogs.macromedia.com/mxna

If you are not already aggregated by MXNA, you can submit your feed
here:

http://weblogs.macromedia.com/mxna/SubmitFeed.cfm

If your language is not listed, let
us know
, and we’ll add it. All languages are
supported.

Keep in mind that this is a beta, which is fancy way of saying that there are
bugs to be fixed, and kinks to be worked out. Please email any issues you find
to mxna@macromedia.com. Some additional
notes:

  1. The original version of MXNA will remain active for the time being, but eventually
    all MXNA traffic will be redirected to MXNA 2.0. You might as well start
    updating your bookmarks now.
  2. All new weblogs will be added to MXNA 2.0 only.
  3. The MXNA 1.0 web service API will be deprecated eventually in favor of the much
    more comprehensive 2.0 API.
  4. If you have a ping URL, you will need to update it by replacing "www.markme.com"
    with "weblogs.macromedia.com". Eventually pings will be redirected, but it’s
    still best to start using the new URL.
  5. Some non-English feeds are not parsing correctly for some reason which I think
    has to do with character encodings. The majority are working fine, but some are
    not readable. If you have any insight into what the problem might be, let
    me know
    . Otherwise, I’ll get it figured out and fixed during the beta period.

Thanks for helping us test, and let us know what you think.

Wikipedia and Pope John Paul II

Look up Pope John Paul
II on Wikipedia
, and you’ll find the following paragraph
in the introduction:

Pope John Paul II died after a long fight against Parkinson’s disease, among
other illnesses, at the age of 84 on April 2, 2005, at 21:37 (GMT +2). His final
hours were marked by an overwhelming number of younger people who kept vigil
outside his Vatican apartments. In his last message, specifically to the youth
of the world, he said: "I came for you, now it’s you who have come to me.
I thank you."

Look up the
same entry in MSN Encarta
and you will find no mention of the Pope’s
death, much less any details.

Of course, the logistics of thousands of people updating the same resource, especially
around a historic event, can get complicated. Before any mention of the Pope’s
death was allowed to stand by the Wikipedia community, several mentions
were removed with log messages like "Removed date of death, due to the fact that
he is alive." Then there was plenty of editorial debate over exact time, formatting,
and how his death should be expressed. The end result, however, is an extremely
thorough and remarkably current account of Pope John Paul’s life and work.

This is not to say that Encarta, World Book, and Encyclopedia Britannica are not
valuable resources. They obviously are. And this is not to say that Wikipedia is
more valuable than more traditional encyclopedias (I can’t believe I’m already
referring to Encarta as a "traditional" encyclopedia). Wikipedia is simply a very
different kind of resource — one which I think makes an immense amount of sense
in a world where rapid change has become the norm.

Research is to Yahoo! what Labs is to Google

If you’re a Google worshiper, and a big fan of labs.google.com, keep an open mind and check out reserach.yahoo.com and next.yahoo.com for
a list of very cool beta technologies that Yahoo! is working on. My favorite? The
Yahoo! Buzz Game
. Anyone here already playing?