Insert the url of the feed you want to read here (e.g.


cURL error 28: Connection timed out after 10001 milliseconds

Or try one of the following: Ajaxian, BBC News, BBC China, Brent Simmons, CNN, Digg, Digital Point Forums, Flickr, Forex Events, Blog About Libraries, Google News, Harvard Law, Killer Startups, Movie Trailers, Poker Blog, Swimming, Yahoo! News

Brent Simmons’s weblog.

Reruns 8 Feb 2024, 11:16 am

It’s not a bug in your RSS reader if recent articles in this feed all suddenly appeared as unread. You may even have seeming duplicates.

Sorry about that! It’s due to my changing settings in my blog generator. Pages now have a .html suffix where before they had none. This change impacts permalinks, which also changes the guids in my RSS feed — and NetNewsWire and other RSS readers use the guid property to identify articles, which means these will show up as new articles.

(Note: I’ve created redirects so that old links pointing in will still work.)

Why NetNewsWire Isn’t Available for Vision Pro 5 Feb 2024, 1:39 am

I’ve been getting questions about NetNewsWire’s unavailability on Vision Pro. Why isn’t it there? When might it be there?

Here’s the scoop:

I consider it risky to support an app running on a device I don’t own. Imagine writing a Mac or iPhone app and not actually running it on one of those machines — you wouldn’t.

I realize that the app would act as if it were running on an iPad — but the Vision Pro is not really an iPad. It’s a device with very different interactions from the direct manipulation we’re used to on iPad. And the compatibility mode is a new thing because this device is a new thing — we don’t know how well it works and what the gotchas might be.

I could test it on the simulator, sure, but the simulator is a convenience for developers. It’s no replacement for running it on a real device.

And, yes, the app is open source, which could mean that other developers with a Vision Pro could help support it — but it’s important to remember that I’m the only person who has to support it. The NetNewsWire team is awesome, but I’m the one on the line for this.

So I want to be careful and go slowly, because if I made it available it would be extremely difficult to reverse the decision and take it away, even with an excellent reason.

I’m hoping that a consensus will form among developers that running apps on Vision Pro as iPad apps is fine, that it’s a cakewalk. If that happens, I’d go ahead and do it too. But it’s too soon for us to know that.

PS Why don’t I have a Vision Pro? I’m sure it’s an incredible technical achievement and an amazing experience — and pretty damn wonderful in just about every way — but it’s just not my thing. I like reading and writing mostly, plus making apps for reading and writing. My personal future of computing has been here for all these years — the Mac.

PPS Eventually the price will come down to where I’d consider buying one as a test device and for a little fun — but that may be a few years away. I’m hoping that we’ll find, sooner than that, that running as iPad on Vision Pro is a-okay.

Corporations Are Not To Be Loved 17 Jan 2024, 1:25 pm

I started using Apple computers — and writing code for them, starting with BASIC — 43 years ago, before the Macintosh, even, and I’ve made this my career. I’ve had all these decades to really, thoroughly delight in these incredible machines and software, and to give a little back with my own apps.

Apple’s positive effect on my life should not be underestimated. My Mom once (lovingly, teasingly) said to me that my alternate career, had all this never happened, was “criminal genius.” Which might have been fun too, but possibly more stressful than I might have liked. At any rate, Apple has saved me from a life of crime, and I should love Apple for that.

But I need to remember, now and again, that Apple is a corporation, and corporations aren’t people, and they can’t love you back. You wouldn’t love GE or Exxon or Comcast — and you shouldn’t love Apple. It’s not an exception to the rule: there are no exceptions.

Apple doesn’t care about you personally in the least tiny bit, and if you were in their way somehow, they would do whatever their might — effectively infinite compared to your own — enables them to deal with you.

Luckily, Apple has just provided us all with a reminder. Just like the sixth finger in an AI-rendered hand, Apple’s policies for Distributing apps in the U.S. that provide an external purchase link are startlingly graceless and a jarring, but not surprising, reminder that Apple is not a real person and not worthy of your love.

On Mastodon Support in NetNewsWire 17 Dec 2023, 9:56 pm

Tim Chambers, admin of the Mastodon server, which hosts my personal account and the NetNewsWire account, asked me if ActivityPub support is on the roadmap for NetNewsWire. Great question!

Tim was responding to Richard MacManus:

Are there any RSS Readers that are trying to integrate ActivityPub too? Pondering the glut of email newsletters in our inboxes these days, and wondering if we are due for an RSS Reader renaissance, except with a fediverse twist this time…

I hear this. It’s not the first time this has come up, and I’ve spent the past year or so thinking about it.

Since RSS is an open web thing that brings you stuff people write, and ActivityPub is also an open web thing that brings you stuff people write, it’s an obvious good idea to do both in the same app. Totally.

But the question was specifically about NetNewsWire.

We will make NetNewsWire work better with Mastodon-generated RSS feeds. There are some things we’re not doing yet that will make reading these a better experience.

But should NetNewsWire become a Mastodon client? That’s where the answer is not so obvious.

* * *

Let’s compare the NetNewsWire and Mastodon experiences.

NetNewsWire is a three-paned RSS reader. Sidebar (accounts, folders, feeds) on the left. Timeline (titles and/or first few lines) in the middle. Article on the right. See these screenshots to get the idea.

Each article has a read/unread status. Selecting an article marks it as read, and there are commands to mark all as read (and mark all as read above or below the selection).

This is not the only good model for an RSS reader, but it’s how NetNewsWire works — and it’s a bad fit for a Mastodon reading experience.

Whether you use Mastodon on the web or in an app you’re used to a single timeline per account (with perhaps side streams for mentions and such). All posts from everyone you follow appear in that single timeline. You don’t deal with read/unread status — instead you have a chronological position.

The timeline shows the entire post (usually), instead of an optional title and first few lines. There is no third article view, because the entire post is displayed in the timeline.

This experience isn’t unique to Mastodon, of course — that’s how X, Threads,, Bluesky, and other social media apps work.

But it’s not how NetNewsWire works, and if we try to mash that experience into the app — but have it on only when a Mastodon account is selected — we’d end up with a confusion that feels like two very different apps. Because it would be.

* * *

A second option: we could not change the experience and just assume that some people would like to use Mastodon in a NetNewsWire way instead of in the usual social media way. I’m extremely skeptical of this idea — I think it would be a pain, and I think most people who try it would drop it.

The third option, which I think is best, which we already do, is to support Mastodon via RSS. (Mastodon feeds are usually available as RSS — you can add .rss to the end of a URL to get a feed.)

There might be some Mastodon accounts you want to follow in your RSS reader instead of in your Mastodon client. Think of an account for a website that doesn’t have an RSS feed, but that reliably posts links to articles. Or a person you want to follow — but you don’t want to show up in their follower list. (Sounds a little antisocial, sure, but you can imagine good reasons.)

We can, and will, do more to make Mastodon-over-RSS a good experience in NetNewsWire. Right now we’re not picking up avatars or image attachments, which we can fix. There might be more things like that to do. We might add the ability to post to Mastodon, since it’s a natural thing to want to share stuff from your RSS reader to Mastodon.

But I don’t think we’ll make NetNewsWire a real Mastodon client.

* * *

It still seems like RSS and Mastodon could fit in the same app, though! If I were designing it, I’d start with the social media experience: the single timeline of posts. Very simple sidebar. No article view. No read/unread status — just position in the timeline.

You could add RSS feeds, but they’d be treated like Mastodon posts. Any article short enough would appear in full in the timeline, but most would probably have to be truncated. You’d open articles in your browser, just like you do now with social media apps (there’d be no third article pane).

Such an app could be a nice unified experience. Get your Mastodon, Threads, RSS feeds, and, hopefully, other services — anything that supports ActivityPub, RSS, or some other open format or API — all in one place, in a way that’s already familiar to everyone.

Sounds pretty great! But it’s not NetNewsWire.

Seattle Xcoders this Thursday 27 Jun 2023, 5:32 pm

Seattle Xcoders meetups are at 7 pm on the first, third, and fifth Thursdays of each month, lately at the Bale Breaker x Yonder Cider Taproom in Seattle, in Ballard.

We meet outside, usually in the uncovered area that has some benches and small gas fire pits. (Not actually pits. More like small coffee tables with rocks and fire on top.)

There are no presentations or anything like that — we’re not back to doing indoor meetings with slides. We’re just talking. (Seattle Xcoders has always had a strong social game, so this is no surprise.)

Everybody’s welcome! You don’t have to be a coder. Designers, support folks, testers, writers, and anybody interested in Apple-land apps are all encouraged to come hang out. Even managers.

If you’re interested, be sure to subscribe to the calendar, so you don’t miss any changes of date, time, or venue.

I myself don’t make it every time, but I do plan to be there this Thursday (June 29). See you there!

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