In 2007, consumer groups asked the FTC to come up with a “Do Not Track” list, which would work like the “Do Not Call” list. Naïve Internet researchers then proposed a “Do Not Track” header for the web. The idea was that users would set a preference in their web browser; the browser would then send a “Do Not Track” (DNT) flag each time it fetched a web page. Advertisers would then voluntarily be good and not track the user.
So, Google decided to kill one of their most useful products: Google Reader. If you don’t use a feed reader, well, it’s a way you can subscribe to one or more web sites, and collect headlined summaries of what’s published. You can then sort, browse and filter the summaries, and click through to the articles that interest you. In short, it’s the only reasonable way to keep up with more than a handful of web sites.
I’ve been testing to see which feed readers support authentication sufficiently to enable you to log in to LJ somehow and hence see LiveJournal protected posts in your web feed reader. Do work, by prior login: Sage. Akregator. Opera*. Safari*. Do work, by modifying URL: Mozilla Thunderbird. Do not work: Google Reader. Bloglines. Other people report that they work: FeedDemon. NetNewsWire. *Not tested, but I’m pretty sure they do because the feed reader code is part of the web browser.
(It was obvious.)
Tom Tomorrow has his panties in a bunch over the outrageous behavior of Internet users. He was shocked this week to discover that some people were reading his published web log using special purpose web log browsing software (aka “news aggregators”), rather than the software he wants them to use (a web browser). Worse still, the miscreants were skipping the ads! Quel horreur! It rather reminds me of the CEO of Turner Broadcasting, who declared that skipping TV ads using fast forward was “stealing the programming”.