The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Tuesday, January 27, 2004

The RSS problem...

...continues. I've decided to treat it, not as a snafu but as a challenge: hopefully thereby postponing the onset of cardiac arrest and dementia long enough to sort matters out for patient RSS customers. (Who, as an interim measure, might like to try this RSS URL, courtesy of Blogstreet - as mentioned before.)

There's a book by mathematician George Polya, How To Solve It, that suggests, amongst other things, [1]
If you cannot solve the proposed problem try to solve first some related problem.

I can't figure how switching on Atom should have turned the product of the blog from XML-compatible to the reverse.

But suppose - this may be true - that this change means that the XML conversion device [2] expects a simple character set like UTF-8 (which, so far as I can tell, is the simplest charset going), rather than the Windows 1252, in which the blog is actually produced.

That should mean that a blog originated in UTF-8 should have no problems with Atom. And UTF-8 has no problem in rendering Western European language accents.

I've tried it on a test blog; and it doesn't work [3].

The puzzle persists.

  1. A crib-sheet taken from the book.

  2. How lay can you get?

  3. A few minutes of head-scratching before manually changing the encoding on the window displaying the blog page to UTF-8 (via View>Encoding).


The more I read - and I so do not want to have to do so! - the more I find that Atom is still in the geek stage, for those who speak XML more fluently than their mother-tongue. In the hands of rank amateur, such as your humble blogger, it is unsafe at any speed.

Take this BBS-type piece from a nerd hangout: it's headed Does Atom work?

Uh oh! If the geeks can't get the fucking thing to work, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Atom, it seems, is not RSS. It's even, maybe, anti-RSS. Newsreaders that read RSS with no difficulties need a translator to understand Atom.

And, just in that piece, I find the dread expression UTF-8:
I did leave in one slight modification, added "encoding="UTF-8", as that seems to be mandatory, according to the start of this sample, minimal entry from the specs site...

Needless to say, the geniuses at Blogger do not give the civilian the option of any such tweaking.

Such civilian might suppose that that was because the interface they are given is foolproof.

Quite clearly, it isn't.

The problem is, you learn a sort of protocol of what you can do with assurance (get up most websites, for instance) and what you must never do (open email attachments you're not extra sure of).

I never knew the morons at Blogger would invite the Great Unwashed to play around with something so dangerous that looks so innocuous.

More fool me.

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