Google Reader OPML Export Converter

In case you haven’t heard, b5media in partnership with Virtual Reach released a mobile RSS reader. I’ve been using it for several weeks as we’ve been testing it in-house. I must say, it’s very nice. While a Windows Mobile version will be available soon, the Blackberry client is currently available – b5media branded and all. If you’re a Blackberry user, you’ll want to have this because:

  1. It’s important to look at your Blackberry while you’re driving,
  2. It’s fun to read feeds when you have nothing else to do while sitting at a bar, and
  3. It’s an easy replacement for that Popular Science magazine while you’re sitting on the toilet.

For real. Like I said, we’ve been testing it! :-)

At any rate, one annoying thing I’ve experienced is that Google Reader OPML files cannot be imported in the form they are provided. For this reason, I’ve developed a handy OPML conversion tool that will allow you to make Google Reader OPML exports valid for our Virtual Reach software as well as, in theory, other applications that don’t particularly like the OPML file.

Feel free to go wild.

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Hacking and Slashing the RSS Reader

The time has come once again for the Great Purge and Clean™ of my feed reader. My apologies to all who did not make the cut. My criteria has become very clear over the past month: Read only what contributes to your job or your hobbies. Everything else is a distraction.

With that in mind, my feed reader has dropped from 135 feeds to 71 and for those playing at home, here’s your OPML file.

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Case Update: Columbia Pictures v Bunnell

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a California magistrate in California who ruled on behalf of the motion picture industry and issued new precedent which claimed that IP addresses stored only in RAM were subject to preservation for discovery (text of decision). At that time, I wrote:

The curious part about this ruling has nothing to do with the MPAA or TorrentSpy. The real issue, and much bigger, is the precedent set by the lower court. If this ruling is to stand, for the first time ever, temporary data in RAM would be considered under the law “œStorage” and subject to subpoena. It does not take a whole lot of imagination to extrapolate how government and complainants can get access to information that they really shouldn’t have access to.

I’ve been paying attention to the “details” here and yesterday I received an email from an EFF.org attorney noting that the EFF has filed an amicus brief in District Court urging the judge to overturn the ruling. The hearing will probably be late in July sometime.

A portion of the text of the brief (located here) is as follows:

If allowed to stand, this Order would mark a radical expansion of the scope of federal electronic discovery obligations, far beyond anything contemplated by the drafters of Rule 34. Virtually every business in the United States relies on digital technologies for all kinds of communications. And virtually every function carried out by those technologies depend on and results in the temporary creation of RAM data that is not ordinarily retained. The, the order threatens actual and potential litigants with the specter of having to capture and compile an avalanche of RAM data that would otherwise be automatically overwritten in the ordinary course of computer processing. Further, the court’s expansive reading of Rule 34 undermines the right to read, speak, and associate anonymously online by making it impossible for businesses to stand behind strong privacy policies intended to foster those constitutionally protected activities. As a result, the Order destabilizes the carefully crafted balance that Congress and the courts have erected in the discovery context over the past two decades. Finally, the Order unnecessarily puts federal discovery obligations on a collision course with federal electronic privacy laws.

And this, my friends, is a wonderful smackdown of the MPAA and demonstrates why they should keep making movies and leave the tech to those who are competent to know how the interwebs and computers work.

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