RSS Bandit Update Released

The latest update of my favorite RSS aggregator—RSS Bandit—has been released.  Find the full announcement at  Notable new features include:

  • NNTP Newsgroups (no more Outlook Express!)
  • Synchronization with NewsGator Online.  The synchronization features are what make RSS Bandit my favorite aggregator, since I read posts from home and at work.  With a free Newsgator Online account, now I even have a web-based aggregation and sync.
  • Atom 1.0 support

Tag Those Posts About KB Articles, Methods and Properties

Scott Swigart started this off with his post about undocumentationJeff Atwood picked that up and suggested Wikis in his post, which has generated some follow-up comments.  I dislike wikis, mainly because the community which is supposed to contribute is generally too busy or apathetic to do so, and that makes them next to useless.  Take, for instance, the dasBlog Wiki, in particluar  It’s not to say that Omar and Scott aren’t putting out a great app–they are, and it’s truly wonderful.  But the release notes are a minor version behind.  Most wikis-as-software-documentation that I’ve seen usually end up like this.

Rather than Wikis, or moderated comments, or whatever, I think we could already use the tools we have at hand–our blogs.  All Microsoft would need to do is add an RSS filter similar to Memeorandum or Blogniscient to the bottom of a KB article or method documentation, and interested parties could easiliy see any additional comments, examples, etc. in the blogosphere.

On our end, tag your posts.  You can find some tagging information at  Basically, a tag is a link with rel=”tag” added to it.  I suggest making the HREF link back to the KB article or MSDN documentation page, and using the KB article ID or the full namespace declaration as the tag’s text.

Think about it–if you have a namespace or particluar method you need to follow, you could set up a search at Blogdigger, and subscribe to the RSS results.  There’s probably an MS Live gadget in the future as well.  Finding relevant commentary would be significantly easier for newbies, and presentation or results could be finely tuned by advanced users.

McAfee Installs Its Own Adware

Last night my McAfee was updated, as it does automatically every day or so.  One of the updates was to teh Security Center itself, which required a reboot.  After the reboot, a toast popped up, looking for all the world just like the ones when McAfee catches a virus in my e-mail.  But this one was an offer for the full security suite for 20% off, one week only.  I don’t think so.  I patch and install updates specifically to keep crap like that from showing up on my machine, and I’m less than happy that McAfee thinks they can use their presence on my machine to interrupt my work with their own ads.  Looks like it’s about time to investigate Panda, Trend Micro or AVG.

Microsoft and MP3 Players

An article in the WSJ yesterday looked at Microsoft’s new focus on hardware with the introduction of the Xbox 360.  Some speculation of a Microsoft MP3 player (which I giuess would technically be a WMA player) was also mentioned, as the quest for an iPod killer continues.

I’m not sure MS should get into the iPod killing biz.  Let Rio, Dell, etc. duke that out, because I doubt a single device will do it.  Apple’s hit on something with its design, which appeals to a lot of people.  The other players are different in some areas by necessity–size, capacity, controls, and the appeal is to a smaller crowd not happy with the iPod features.  What Microsoft could/should do, is get all the different manufacturers together, and get everyone to standardize on a single connection.  That’s the true key to unseating the iPod.

For the past several generations of iPods, Apple has used the same “dock connector”.  Millions upon millions of iPods all connect to computers, car audio systems, FM transmitters, chargers, portable stereos, etc. using the same connection.  For the other players in the market, everyone has a different connector.  My car charger will work with my 15GB 3G iPod just the same as my wife’s Nano.  With iPods, reaching a small percentage of users means sales of several hundred thousand to a few million units; for everyone else, a few thousand tops.  If I’m Griffin or Pioneer, I’m pretty much going to ignore everyone but iPods, since that’s where the sales are.  But if Rio, Dell, etc. all had the same interface, accessory makers could market to all of them at once, and build the “not iPod” community as well.  BMW has an iPod connector, and Honda and others are working on them as well.  Imagine what that says to people looking at the devices–tremendous support across industries for the iPod, zilch for the others.  I spend a lot of time in my car, and my next one will have an iPod connector.  The others don’t stand a chance without standardization.

Microsoft did a great job with hardware standardization in the PC world.  How about the audio player world?  After that, get on the cell phone manufacturers.

“The Big Moo” Arrives

Thanks for the book, KenSeth Godin’s “The Bog Moo” arrived today:

But how do you create a big moo—an insight so astounding that people can’t help but remark on it, like digital TV recording (TiVo) or overnight shipping (FedEx), or the world’s best vacuum cleaner (Dyson)? Godin worked with thirty-two of the world’s smartest thinkers to answer this critical question. And the team—with the likes of Tom Peters, Malcolm Gladwell, Guy Kawasaki, Mark Cuban, Robyn Waters, Dave Balter, Red Maxwell, and Randall Rothenberg on board— created an incredibly useful book that’s fun to read and perfect for groups to share, discuss, and apply.

You can find 10 chapters for free at  All the chapters are very short—only a couple small pages or so, and I’m enjoying them greatly.

Ken Yarmosh is a fellow Naked Conversations galley reviewer; his review is at  I’m noticing that my blog-reading habits are slowly changing.  I’m paring out a few technical-focused blogs (informational as they may be), and adding ones that make me think more deeply.

Business Objects Launches Crystal Xcelsius

Like I don’t have enough new things to play with already…

Crystal Xcelsius is the award-winning data visualization software that lets you display complex Excel spreadsheet data as interactive and visually stunning executive summaries, scorecards, forecast models, visual analytic models and more.

Simply import your spreadsheet into Crystal Xcelsius and connect the data to dozens of pre-designed components, including drill down charts, visual sliders, and alert-enabled gauges, all with the ease of “point-and-click”…no additional programming required.

Think “dashboard for dummies”.  Full story at, or cool one-screen view at

Record Internet Radio To Your iPod

Oh how cool is this:

iFill streams mp3 files from thousands of free radio stations directly to your iPod. You can choose several stations at once and select from many different genres. And since iFill goes directly to your iPod, it won’t clutter up your hard drive with extra files.

More at

This was reviewed in the Wall St. Journal today by Walt Mossberg, who found a problem with Windows PCs, but a new version was released just as the paper went to press.  Full review at (free site, no subscription required).  As Walt says, provided the Windows version works as well as the MAc version, this is a product to have (cheap, too!).

Testing Yahoo! Publisher Ads

Color me curious.  I heard about Yahoo! Publisher, and I figured I’d see how it works.  I know how AdWords works from both sides—we use AdWords for the flower shop, and I know many of my fellow bloggers make gadget money from the program.  But I have to be different.

Yahoo! Publisher is still in beta, but you can sign up at  It was pretty simple—fill out a form and wait a couple of days.  I got my enrollment message today; I completed the registration and inserted my first ads a few minutes ago.  Setting up the ads is extremely easy—you pick any of the standard color schemes (or create your own if you’re feeling spunky), choose an ad size, create a reporting category, and copy a small JavaScript.  The script was an absolute cinch to insert into the default dasBlog template, and I’ll add ads to the other skins when I get some more time.  You can blosk ads from specific domains, and choose category ads to provide more general targeting to your site visitors.  You can even insert ads into the RSS feeds, but currently only on Movable Type or WordPress.  No big deal since the half banner fits nicely in the ItemTemplate anyway.

In addition to the ads, you can add additional services like Yahoo! Maps, Add To My Yahoo! and Y! Q, which is a contextual search (for instance, if you’re looking at a page about Apple computers, and you search for ‘apple’, results will be slanted to the company and not the fruit or child).

So far, I have to say this is a lot easier than I thought, and I’m going to try not to be annoying as I mess around with the different ad types and templates.

Now playing: Ryan Shupe & The RubberbandEven Superman

Trojan Hides Behind Sony-DRM; Class Action Suit Against Sony-BMG Filed

First, the Trojan:

A computer security firm said on Thursday it had discovered the first virus that uses music publisher Sony BMG’s controversial CD copy-protection software to hide on PCs and wreak havoc.

Full story at

And now, California consumers have filed a class-action suit against Sony-BMG:

Record company Sony BMG Music Entertainment has been targeted in a class-action lawsuit in California by consumers claiming their computers have been harmed by anti-piracy software on some Sony BMG CDs.

The claim states that Sony BMG’s failed to disclose the true nature of the digital rights management system it uses on its CDs and thousands of computer users have unknowingly infected their computers, according to court documents.

More on that at