Monitoring my feed reader fluffy rambles


Every time I get hyperfixated on a thing, I end up doing it at the expense of all else. Right now my hyperfocus is on working on making a sellable version of my VRChat avatar (which is almost ready!)

But I needed a break, so I checked my feed reader, and realized, oh wow, I haven’t checked my feed reader in a few days. Oops.

So anyway, I did what any good nerd would do, and gave myself some alerting and monitoring to track my feed stats.

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🔄 Reading blogs - anywhere but Feedly Notes


I removed Feedly from my Get Blogging resource for people who want to read and write blogs.

If you’d like to read blogs, there are some great other feed readers recommended in the list. I start every morning with Reeder and NewsBlur.

Molly White has written a great summary of why I can’t endorse Feedly anymore:

In a world of widespread, suspicionless surveillance of protests by law enforcement and other government entities, and of massive corporate union-busting and suppression of worker organizing, Feedly decided they should build a tool for the corporations, cops, and unionbusters.

I cannot support union-busting in any form, and it’s very disappointing to see a tool like Feedly attempt to capitalize on corporations who would like to engage in this activity. So it’s gone from the list, and I’d like to suggest: while they offer this product and cater to this market, please don’t use Feedly.

Personally I’m still a fan of self-hosting Feed on Feeds, which is pretty straightforward to do if you have even basic PHP webhosting. It isn’t the fanciest thing but it’s reliable and won’t sell your data to others, and it’s got the exact UX I want in a reader app (YMMV of course).

💬 Re: Building a Feed Reader to Follow Blogs and Websites: Part 1 Notes


Out of curiosity, have you put any thought into adding TicketAuth/bearer token support so that folks can get private subscription content as well? There’s a bunch of security aspects to consider with that but it’s a thing I’d love to see come into a reader.

There’s also a few UX things implied by microsub which I’m not a fan of, personally, and when I get around to finally building Subl (which I’ve only been talking about for as long as I’ve been talking about Publ) I was planning on building it as a standalone thing which could maybe optionally support microsub readers later, but the UX I want to build isn’t cleanly supported by the data model implied by microsub.

(Basically I want to build Feed on Feeds except in Python and with TicketAuth support.)

Federated access control with Atom and WebSub fluffy rambles


I’ve been ranting about ActivityPub vs. RSS/Atom a lot lately, and I think I’ve proven to myself (and maybe a few others) that for fully-public content feeds, Atom (combined with WebSub and WebMention) is superior to ActivityPub; it’s simpler to implement, works with many more hosting environments and configurations, it generally scales better (and handles scaling failures better), and it’s modular and allows for much eaiser migrations between hosting setups and so on.

But one thing ActivityPub supports which Atom does not is the notion of private content. The way it does support this is a bit hamfisted (in that ActivityPub publishers choose to only push content to endpoints which have a trusted user, and endpoints only forward that content over to the trusted users, albeit in a not-very-trustable way). It doesn’t inherently support the ability to backfill older content (or make it otherwise browseable) to someone who is granted friends-only access after-the-fact, though, and it has many scaling and security implications in how this works (since it requires push to be reliable and requires the recipient’s storage of said push notifications to also be reliable).

I’ve put a lot of thought into how to add friends-only stuff to Atom on and off over the years; my previous blog (which used Movable Type for publishing and phpBB for comments) actually had an ad-hoc implementation which worked sort of okay; people could authenticate with my site’s forum, and people in a trusted friend group would see private content. On the public feed, if their reader were logged into the forum (via cookie sharing etc.) it would see the private content in the feed, otherwise it would see placeholders saying “THis is a friends-only entry, please visit the site to read it.” It worked okay but it was never great.

Anyway, I think I have finally come up with an auth approach that works with Atom and offers a… well, least-bad solution all around, which scales better and more reliably than ActivityPub while working with WebSub and existing/legacy feed readers.

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