Tom Insam

Stupid Feed Tricks

Ok, so RSS feeds turn out to be even more amazingly broken than I’d assumed that they were. I’d like to pull out some favourites, but they’re all amazing and you should read the whole list.

Brent does point out another horrible failure case, which is hotel / airport / etc gateways that hijack your HTTP requests and redirect you somewhere else. This is so annoying. Not that I have an alternative. Does lead to some nasty app failure cases, though.

When a feed reader gets a permanent redirect, it’s supposed to take that to mean: “Hey, the feed moved. It’s over here now. Save the new URL and use the new one from now on.”

And if you don’t do that in your reader, and your feed reader is popular enough, smart people who quite rightly care about proper behavior will call you out. You have to do that.

Google Reader never used to do that. It would drive me crazy, because I move my feed around a lot. (I’m crazy). I guess this is why.

Most days, I’m mildly astonished that the internet actually works.

Suppose you have a naïve datetime object (one without associated timezone information) that you know is in, say, Austin localtime, and you want the equivalent in another timezone, say, UTC.

print my_dt

import pytz
austin = pytz.timezone("America/Chicago")
utc_dt = austin.localize(my_dt).astimezone(pytz.utc).replace(tzinfo=None)

print utc_dt

localize is important. my_dt.replace(tzinfo=austin) is not correct during summer time, for instance.

When I start drinking it’s the commit messages that get weird first.

If you’re looking for a company that encapsulates the queasy ephemerality of this economy, you couldn’t do better than Amazon. It’s a company whose initial core business (still accounting for a third of its revenue) is selling media, ie intellectual property (IP), which, like money and corporations themselves, is nothing but a useful legal fiction. At first Amazon sold IP mainly by physically shipping the media such IP was once housed in (books, CDs), but it can increasingly dispense with the physical part entirely. The market considers Amazon incredibly valuable even though it earns virtually no profits. And Amazon now wants to provide the IP it sells partly in exchange for “virtual currency”, which is the most discomfiting mimesis of all, either on Amazon or within any other game, market, platform, corporation…what’s the difference again?