Subscribe: The RSS Blog
Preview: The RSS Blog

The RSS Blog

Randy Charles Morin blogs about RSS, OPML and the XML platform.

Published: Sat, 05 May 2012 23:58:20 GMT

Last Build Date: Sat, 05 May 2012 23:58:20 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2005 Randy Charles Morin

Sat, 05 May 2012 23:52:40 GMT has an interesting RSS feed of all NFL game weather reports. They also have widgets.

FriendBlab Update

Sun, 29 Jan 2012 15:36:43 GMT

Just a regular update post on FriendBlab indexing FOAF. We broke 40k indexed profiles and we have more than a million in queue.

  • Found = 1162667
  • Downloaded = 42619 (3.67 %)
  • Errors = 2147 (5.04 %)
  • Total profiles = 40472 (3.48 %)

One Million FOAF Files

Thu, 19 Jan 2012 16:03:58 GMT

Yesterday, discovered it's 1,000,000th FOAF file.

  • Found = 1003472
  • Downloaded = 35558 (3.54 %)
  • Errors = 1943 (5.46 %)
  • Total profiles = 33615 (3.35 %)
  • = 2983 (8.87 %)
  • = 2361 (7.02 %)
  • = 3036 (9.03 %)
  • = 2446 (7.28 %)
  • = 2757 (8.20 %)
  • = 2713 (8.07 %)
  • = 2427 (7.22 %)
  • = 2838 (8.44 %)
  • = 562 (1.67 %)
  • = 2374 (7.06 %)
  • = 2690 (8.00 %)
  • = 2701 (8.04 %)
  • = 2907 (8.65 %)
  • = 2400 (7.14 %)

Extending FOAF

Thu, 12 Jan 2012 01:49:26 GMT

I've been compiling a lot of extension to FOAF for the FriendBlab project. I'm simply amazing that FOAF doesn't have most of this stuff. And there's lots more to come. Ten plus years of FOAF and we have a half baked spec with massive amounts of holes the size of Lake Michigan. Anyhow, feel free to use my extensions. Some of which, I believe, break the RDF model. I couldn't figure out how else to extend FOAF while preserving it and still allow my extensions to be extended. I guess that's the problem with trying to jam everything into tuples. It becomes increasingly difficult to build up, without starting all over.

More FOAF Data

Fri, 06 Jan 2012 05:47:42 GMT

Here's the most recent FOAF data for FriendBlab, which is trying to index all the FOAF on the Internet.

  • Found = 720123
  • Downloaded = 22740 (3.16 %)
  • Errors = 1066 (4.69 %)
  • Total profiles = 21674 (3.01 %)
  • = 1997 (9.21 %)
  • = 1375 (6.34 %)
  • = 2050 (9.46 %)
  • = 1460 (6.74 %)
  • = 1771 (8.17 %)
  • = 1727 (7.97 %)
  • = 1441 (6.65 %)
  • = 1852 (8.54 %)
  • = 562 (2.59 %)
  • = 1388 (6.40 %)
  • = 1704 (7.86 %)
  • = 1715 (7.91 %)
  • = 1921 (8.86 %)
  • = 1414 (6.52 %)

I'm also working on FOAF'ing user profiles and injecting them into this database. If anybody else has a collection of FOAF, then please do forward me details. I'm also considering injection data into

You can always get the latest data on the webpage.

XML All Over the Web

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 10:44:16 GMT

It's funny. If you look, there's neat little XML Web services all over the Internet. And behind those Web services is data. Also known as virtual gold.

Thoughts on FOAF

Sat, 24 Dec 2011 21:48:09 GMT

The last week or two, I've been playing extensibly with FOAF (Friend Of A Friend). This is an XML/RDF vocabulary intended to describe people and their friends. This is a great idea and something we really need to tie the Web together and make it work the way us uber-geeks invision the Web working. Imagine if social websites could share information? The similar friends. Import friends. Import profile data.

Unfortunately, FOAF has major problems and as such is not good enough for this job. The biggest part of the problem is ownership and intellectual violence. By this, I mean that this vocabulary is controlled by few people who are unable to put the time into the language that is necessary to make it succeed. Also, these people suffer from an intellectual superiority complex that makes working with them impossible. This is true of pretty much anybody involved with RDF or for that matter XML.

FOAF was apparently created in 2000 (11 yrs ago) and remains in the pre-version 1.0 state. How can it possibly take 11 yrs to create the initial version of this language? I've been complaining on this blog about the half-baked FOAF spec since 2004. In fact, no updates to the specification have been made in the last 16 months.

Eleven years now and only one version of the grammar exists; 0.1 according to the namespace. Yet this 0.1 version contains archaic elements. A large percentage of the published FOAF is using elements which are no longer valid.

The slow pace of this spec is allowing it to fall behind the times and get further away from the reality of today. Old news Internet chat sites like AIM and ICQ are tightly integrated into the vocabulary while modern day Web successes like twitter and Facebook are rarely ever implemented by publishers.

Today, I was wondering how to implement cell, work and home phone numbers. I was unable to discover a method that doesn't break the basics of RDF. In fact, I found threads discussing this problem that date back years and no acceptable solution was found.

Recommendation: Either the people who control FOAF release it to people who have the time to move it forward or they deprecate the XML and allow something else to step in and take it's place.


State of FOAF

Tue, 13 Dec 2011 18:15:28 GMT

Today, I started fooling around with FOAF. I found a database of source and started building a database. I decided that I only wanted to download one FOAF file per secondary domain. I quickly built up an index of nearly 2000 files over 189 secondary domains.

Of the 189 FOAF files I tried to download, 87 were invalid or 46%. That's an awfully high error rate. 39 times the server returned 404 Not Found (twice 410 Gone). 11 times the remote server could not be resolved. There were a few well formed XML issues. 3 redirect issues. I'll keep y'all updated.

More: I setup my server to download new data every hour. At most one file per hour per secondary domain. Don't wanna piss anybody off. I might increase that in time. I'm gonna make the data available online at some point.

Update: Most recent stats

Playing with Twitter API, Part Deux

Thu, 06 Oct 2011 16:25:13 GMT

Continuing to play with the twitter API. See Part Un.

Last couple days, I made a new C# program to find ppl I'm following on Twitter that didn't follow me back. I, of course, unfollowed them.

I had to cache my friends XML, since the 150 call per hour rate limit, made it impossible to run once. The code follows. Hope you like and re-use.

        static string userid = "137692493";
        static void FindNoFollows()
            string s = string.Format("{0}", "talkSportscom");
            System.Xml.XmlDocument doc = new System.Xml.XmlDocument();
            if (!System.IO.File.Exists("ids.xml"))

            foreach (System.Xml.XmlElement e in doc.SelectNodes("//id"))
                    if (e.HasAttribute("done"))
                    e.SetAttribute("done", "true");

                    // need to sleep 30 seconds between calls to avoid 150 rate limit per hour
                    //System.Threading.Thread.Sleep(30 * 1000);

                    s = string.Format("{0}", e.InnerText);
                    System.Xml.XmlDocument d = new System.Xml.XmlDocument();


                    System.Xml.XmlElement dt = (System.Xml.XmlElement)d.SelectSingleNode(
                        string.Format("//id[text()='{0}']", userid));
                    if (dt != null)

                    s = string.Format("{0}", e.InnerText);
                    d = new System.Xml.XmlDocument();
                    dt = (System.Xml.XmlElement)d.SelectSingleNode("//screen_name");

                    System.Diagnostics.Process.Start(string.Format("!/{0}", dt.InnerText));


Playing with Twitter API

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 08:18:53 GMT

Yesterday, I did something fun and played with the twitter API. I was trying to reduce my twitter followings and want to purge all followings with no activity in the last month. With 900+ followings, that would be too much to hand manually, so automation to the rescue.This required the use of 2 API calls.{0}{0}One to load the list of my friends and the 2nd to turn that list of ids into user profiles. You can then check the creation date of the users status to get his last activity date.Because of the REST XML API style, this was trivial to use. Not to mention the documentation on the website was better than adequate. I did find a few problems using the API.Complete lack of use of XML attributes. Even when attributes are called for, they use XML elements instead. Not the 1st time I've seen this usage style. Not a biggy either.Date times don't use the standard XML date-time format. In fact, I don't recognize the format at all. Neither did the C# Convert.ToDateTime function.Usage rate of 150 calls an hour was completely inadequate. I needed almost 1000 calls to accomplish my simple task.Code followsusing System; using System.Collections.Generic; using System.Linq; using System.Text; namespace ConsoleApplication1 { class Program { static void Main(string[] args) { string s = string.Format("{0}", "talkSportscom"); System.Xml.XmlDocument doc = new System.Xml.XmlDocument(); if (!System.IO.File.Exists("ids.xml")) { doc.Load(s); } else { doc.Load("ids.xml"); } foreach (System.Xml.XmlElement e in doc.SelectNodes("//id")) { try { if (e.HasAttribute("done")) { continue; } e.SetAttribute("done", "true"); doc.Save("ids.xml"); // need to sleep 30 seconds between calls to avoid 150 rate limit per hour //System.Threading.Thread.Sleep(30 * 1000); s = string.Format("{0}", e.InnerText); System.Xml.XmlDocument d = new System.Xml.XmlDocument(); d.Load(s); System.Console.WriteLine(d.OuterXml); System.Xml.XmlElement dt = (System.Xml.XmlElement)d.SelectSingleNode("//status/created_at"); if (dt != null) { string dt2 = dt.InnerText; dt2 = dt2.Substring(4, 6); System.DateTime dateTime = Convert.ToDateTime(dt2); if (System.DateTime.UtcNow.AddMonths(-1) < dateTime) { continue; } } dt = (System.Xml.XmlElement)d.SelectSingleNode("//screen_name"); System.Diagnostics.Process.Start(string.Format("!/{0}", dt.InnerText)); } catch { break; } } } } } Fun and task accomplished. Thanks twitter. I got rid of a few dozen twitter followings. [...]

Making Room in Gmail

Thu, 29 Sep 2011 15:20:07 GMT

Are you running out of room in Gmail and constantly trying to find ways of clearing older unnecessary emails? The biggest space waster in Gmail is attachments. I would search for attachments, but never quite knew how to find them effectively. I kept running over 80% usage in Gmail. Then finally I discovered the following search options "has:attachment before:2010/1/1". Then I selected all and deleted. Now I'm below 60%.

Facebook Crackberry App Sucks!

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 01:53:11 GMT

I installed the latest facebook app for my Blackberry about a week ago. Wow, this sucks. It keeps giving me false positive notifications. I tried turning off notifications, but this didn't stop anything. My blackberry is constantly beeping with a new facebook notification, but when I check notifications, there's nothing new.

Even when I get notifications, its usually pokes. I really don't want to be notified of pokes.

The only thing I like about is the Places functionality which allows me to put on my wall my cureent location. Other than that, FB for Crackberry royally sucks.

Browser Stats

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 14:02:36 GMT

Thought I'd publish some interesting Web browser stats from my site.

  • Internet Explorer fell from 53% share of visits to 43% comparing the last 12 months to the 12 previous to that.
  • Firefox fell from 23% to 18%
  • Safari is up from 17% to 23%
  • Chrome is up from 4% to 8%
  • Android browser went from 0 visits to 1%


  • Windows fell from 78% to 67%
  • Mac grew from 14% to 15%
  • iPhone from 3% to 7%
  • Android from 1% to 4%
  • Blackberry from 1% to 2%
  • iPod from 1% to 2%
  • iPad from near 0 to 2%


Google Single Signin Sucks

Fri, 22 Jul 2011 00:43:08 GMT

I'm starting to get very annoyed with Google single signin. You see, I have multiple Google accounts. My email all goes thru, but I have a YouTube account for the website that uses the Google account. In order to upload videos to YouTube, I have to sign out of my email. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, cause I would simply uses two browsers (IE and Chrome), but lately I've been working a lot on my Dell mini and I don't have two browsers on it. Instead of taking 5 minutes to upload a new video, today it took an hour. Argg!

The Arab Spring and the Fate of Social Media Freedom

Sat, 21 May 2011 14:27:44 GMT

Much, if not all of the success of the ongoing Arab revolutions of 2010-11 has been attributed to the organizing and information spreading made possible by sites like Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook. Armed not with rifles but smartphones, laptops, and cameras, the youth of the Arab world has been able to Tweet their way to toppling regimes and seriously challenging others once considered unmovable. The atrocities of their opposition are no longer occurring behind the brick walls of compounds but on grainy, shaky, but nonetheless gut-wrenching video made available to millions on Youtube. Governments the world over have invested billions into domestic defense systems designed around the threat of an armed insurrection. But nothing in their battle plans ever anticipated the power of social media in the revolutions of the modern age. That's going to change, and don't think the United States isn't included. You might already take issue with many of the online restrictions already in place in the freest nation on Earth. Maybe you took the time to seriously learn about online poker strategy only to find out internet gambling is pretty much illegal in this country. That probably upsets you very much. But the internet poses potentially bigger problems to those in charge besides gambling complications. The United States and other stable countries are just a catastrophe away – whether economical or natural or otherwise – from undergoing domestic crises similar to those in the Middle East. Not even that – even localized issues can generate paramount protesting and upheaval if they're bad enough. This will obviously be fueled by the same social media tools used to launch the Arab Spring. Leaders and lawmakers here are undoubtedly interested in inhibiting the revolutionary power of social media. The freedom of assembly, along with the other free speech rights entailed by the first amendment, were not written to anticipate the potential for information to be spread instantly and to millions. These issues have their origins in radio, television, and the internet in general, but not since social media has the information been completely outside the control of the government. Radio, television, and the internet are at least in some ways regulated by the FCC, and not only that much of the information that gets processed by the public is filtered through corporate influence and the industry focus of pushing commodities through communication: commercials. There are no such filters in social media. People can say just about anything to just about anyone who wants to listen. How will lawmakers attempt to maneuver around our first amendment rights and restrict the social media inspired revolutions of the future? If legislators are good at one thing it's getting around the constitution as much as possible without actually infringing upon it. Watch for the way the internet itself is regulated in coming years – it might be the fate of online poker that you're most interested in but the political posturing may be less about such immediate concerns and more about keeping the ability to access one another so easily through social media to a minimum. Just remember, until then you'll have the power of social media on your side to prevent it. Take a lesson from the Arab Spring and prevent the fall of social media freedom. [...]

What is a Pharmacy Technician?

Mon, 09 May 2011 14:54:18 GMT

As health care expands in the coming years, those who work in related fields have opportunities to find good careers. One of the careers that you can consider is that of pharmacy technician. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the middle 50% of pharmacy techs earn between $13.32 and $15.88 an hour. Some pharmacy techs earn as much as $19.00 or more an hour, according to the U.S. government.   What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do?  Pharmacy technicians help licensed pharmacists in their work. A pharmacy tech can provide customer service, perform administrative duties, and get prescriptions for customers. They work under the direction of the pharmacist, and, depending on the state regulations, can usually receive prescription requests, label medication, and count out tablets.   If a pharmacy tech works in health care facility, rather than in retail setting, he or she might deliver medications, and record information in a patient profile. These duties are usually performed in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, community clinics and hospitals. In some cases, pharmacy techs are required to work odd hours: Weekends, holidays and evenings might be required. Those working in retail settings may have more regular hours, though.  Certifying as a Pharmacy Technician  It is not always necessary to certify as a pharmacy technician. Some states do not require special training. However, if you want an edge, it can be helpful to earn the proper certification. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians are both organizations through which you can receive recognized certification. You usually have to pass an exam. You can improve your chances of passing the exam with the help of a formal training program, which can last between six months and two years. The longer programs include more   Before you can take the exam, you do need to meet certain qualifications. You usually need to have earned a high school diploma (or GED) in most states before you can be a pharmacy tech. Also, you cannot have any felony convictions or misdemeanor convictions related to illegal drugs or pharmaceuticals. Once you are certified, you usually need to re-certify every two years to maintain your certification as a pharmacy technician. Some of the basic skills you need as a pharmacy technician include:  * Good customer service  * Oral and written communication skills  * Phone skills  * Basic computer skills  * Basic math skills  * Reading skills  * Ability to follow directions  Also, realize that the pharmacy environment is clean and orderly. You will be expected to maintain this cleanliness, as well as present yourself in a professional manner.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the outlook for this job is fairly good. So, if you are looking for a job that commands a degree of respect, and allows you to make a reasonable wage after a relatively small amount of education. Because the entire health care field is expected to grow in the next decade, pharmacy technicians should enjoy fairly stable jobs, and opportunities for advancement if they are willing to continue on with education, and if they do a good job.  [...]

Formspring Mobile B0rk

Mon, 09 May 2011 14:53:53 GMT

One thing I can't stand is websites that are designed for mobile devices, but that simply don't work on my Blackberry. Are they testing on the Blackberry. Makes you wonder.

Today my complaint is There's a nav bar at the top of the page that is repositionned when you scroll. I scroll down to see more content and the nav bar repositions itself, quite often over top of the area I'm trying to read. When I try to scroll right, the nav bar respositionning forces the screen back to the left. I can't see anything on the right side of the screen.

IE8 New Tabs

Thu, 14 Apr 2011 14:09:59 GMT

You know when you click on a new tab in Internet Explorer 8. The tab is created and the tab title says "Connecting...". It actually takes a second to connect. Then the tab appears with the address about:Tabs. Why is that? What is it connecting to? Why does it take a second? Just a thought for any Microsoft engineers out there.

Why Expert SEO is Essential for a Successful Business

Tue, 29 Mar 2011 16:08:14 GMT

If you want to have an effective and successful online business it’s essential to have a visible web site. Regardless if your business is new or not, you’re main goal should be to increase your online traffic. More traffic translates into more clients, advertisers, and sales. If you have these essential components then you’re going to make more money.  

The quality of your product or service is key, but if no one knows about it then you’re not going to be successful. There are several methods of increasing traffic but most of this derives from the use of search engines. High traffic received through free sites, such as Google, Yahoo, and others, make the effectiveness of your site’s search engine ranking paramount. 

If you’re currently looking for ways to improve your online traffic and ranking, then you’ve probably already come across an SEO consultant offering their expertise. If you’ve never contacted an SEO company before, you’re probably wondering if using this service is right for you. There are several reasons why this service is not only worth it, it's essential to your success.  

While your time might be split between the day to day operations of your website, an SEO consultant is 100 percent dedicated to increasing your websites overall online effectiveness, by applying a wealth of information, services, and approaches that are worth the cost.  

Some SEO services cost more than others, but they will deliver results.

You might be focusing too much of your time and resources towards doing your own SEO work with ineffective tricks and methods, will cost your business both precious time and money. SEO companies are constantly up to date on the latest approaches to advertising and improving how consumer trends are applied. 

Focusing on your site’s search engine optimization takes time, but it’s long term results will pay you back in dividends. In the end, it can be more costly not to seek the assistance of one of these companies.

Twitter Integration

Sat, 26 Mar 2011 23:27:39 GMT

I'm looking for ways to integrate twitter into the website. Listing a few URLs that I've found.

I'll report back with my successes latter. TwitThis looks like an easy 1st step, but I've suprised you'd need a 3rd party hack to get this. Search apiwiki for similar.

Update: Tweet Button is exactly the 1st step I was looking for.

Zynga Continues to Increase It’s Market Impact in Real World Ways

Thu, 24 Mar 2011 00:05:24 GMT

Every once in a while a company comes along that catches everyone off guard. Often filling a void that the market didn’t even know was there. Zynga is no exception to this rule. Although this wasn’t done through innovation, but carefully planned branding and usage of social media. Zynga founder, Mark Pincus, noticed the trend of online gaming in social media, and met the market’s demand more efficiently than the competition. This was done, in part, through its partnership with the social networking giants Facebook and Myspace. Zynga seems to have its finger on the pulse of a larger social consciousness that has galvanized an audiences that continues to increase daily. Part of Zynga’s overall success is due, in part, to its commitment to aggressive and successful marketing campaigns. Tech Crunch reported that the company recently signed a deal with 7 Eleven to promote its online games, through product pairing with some of the convenient store’s most popular items. In culmination with its connection to other social networking platforms, Zynga has managed to stay relevant and popular with a broad audience. Libeck Integrated Marketing reported that Zynga has more users than Twitter’s 200 million registered accounts. Even if this were just a liberal figure, just a fraction of that would still be an astounding figure. The game CafeWorld has 14 million users, and Treasure Isle has 10 million,. CityLife has over 93 million users, and the hugely successful FarmVille has over 45 million active users. Zynga seems at no risk of slowing down. The company hasn’t just focused on online promotion but has steadily increased its real world presence. Through advertising channels, such as TV, radio, and print, it’s impossible to know how vast Zynga’s impact has been. The company continues its promotions through events, such as the impending Zynga Poker Tournament that’s taking place in the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. The company has capitalized on the increasing popularity of online poker that generates massive annual revenues. The goal of this event is to bring its online poker users in real life interaction with other users. This is a bold move for this online networking powerhouse to bring its sphere of influence to a much larger community. Zynga’s self-professed mission to connect the world through online gaming seems to be working. The company continues to grow and impress the market with its influence and ability to generate real market value. Through its branding, marketing campaigns, and promotional partnerships, Zynga is quickly become a household name. [...]

Expression Encoder 4

Mon, 07 Mar 2011 22:16:36 GMT

Downloading Expression Encoder 4 SP1 to do some screencasting. It's free from Microsoft. It replaces Windows Media Encoder, which I used a few years ago when I was into screencasting. I'll report back with my findings.

Update: Had to install dotNet 4.

Crazy Update: So I started installing Expression. I thought I did, but in fact, it downloaded, realized I didn't have dotNet 4 and asked me to install that. I installed dotNet4. I couldn't find Expression. Had to download and install it again. Then it starts up and starts installing again. Good ol' M$FT.

Facebook Family

Fri, 28 Jan 2011 14:44:10 GMT

Today, I went thru all my Facebook friends and added our relations; like daughter, cousin, uncle and aunt. It was kinda fun to do. Of course, I did this on my private fb account that I share with real family and friends. I don't do the same on my fb account. I did this months ago and a Talk-Sports troll figured out who my wife was and started sending them harassing emails.

This exercise started when I setup my daughter's fb account. She turns 13 today and I told  her she could get an account on her 13th bday. I added her mom and me as friends. I logged onto mom's fb account and confirmed the friendship. I'll tell her in 15 minutes that I did that. She won't mind.

Online Survey Tools

Fri, 10 Dec 2010 19:56:06 GMT

I've been looking at new online survey tools. First, I checked out You can create a username-password on Survey Monkey or simply sign-up with your Facebook or Google account. That's convenience. I used my FB account. The GUI for creating the survey is trivial to use and visually appealing. Within a few minutes, I had created a small survey and posted it on the Talk-Sports blog and the TalkSports Facebook wall. Someone complained that they had to login to complete the survey. I tried on a separate computer and couldn't figure out what they meant. Most likely the UI was too confusing for them. I didn't get any results from the survey other than the ones I entered. I do a lot of text surveys and get a lot of responses. I suspect the UI  is too confusing for the average user. Next I looked at KISSinsights. Another great online survey tool. It took less than a minute to get embed code. You simply place the code on your website and manage the surveying from their UI. Then I was off to the races. Very nice. I also found a great site with survey software reviews. Lots of survey tools there to check out. But in my opinion, the best web survey software is