Awasu » 2003 » September
Tuesday 30th September 2003 9:39 PM [Awasu News]

OK, so I told a teeny, tiny fib when I said the next release of Awasu would let you keep copies of Awasu running on different machines in sync.

Something that I really wanted to get into the last release was a better Import From OPML feature but unfortunately, I just ran out of time. But since OPML seems to be getting more popular now, I re-jigged the schedule a bit and put it into this release. And of course, a few other things as well 🙂

If you're looking for an OPML file to try this new feature out with, kyodylee posted Chris Pirillo's OPML file here. Almost 500 channels - where does he find the time?! Have fun 🙂

Testing of the Windows 98/Me version seems to going fine so I'll release a 98/Me version of 1.1.3 probably in a few days.

Saturday 27th September 2003 11:52 AM [General]

I hang out here quite a lot (OK, too much :-() and one of the regulars had a really nice idea today: set up a blog where each of your family members can contribute as a means of letting each other know what you're all up to.

I live in Australia, my sister is in London and the rest of my family is in Holland so this would be way cool for us except for the fact that only I am really into computers. But if it works for you, let us know!

Friday 19th September 2003 11:42 PM [General]

Awasu already has some support for working together with a PDA but this is an area that I would really like to explore further. I think there is a lot of scope for using Awasu to monitor channels and then transfer the content to a PDA for reading offline, perhaps while you're on the train to work.

I am not really a PDA kind of guy so I'm looking for suggestions for what sort of features PDA users would like to see in Awasu. I was working with somebody a while back about this but he seems to have lost interest and disappeared. However, he did tell me that even as it stood then, using Awasu as a means of downloading content onto his PDA was significantly better than anything else that was currently out there.

So, if you have any suggestions or something you'd like to see added, add a comment here or send me an email and I'll see what I can do.

This, of course, holds in general: if you have an idea for a feature, I'm very open to suggestions. I've just shipped a special build to somebody who asked if he could use Awasu as his default browser (wow! how's that for a vote of confidence!). You only have to ask!

Friday 19th September 2003 11:26 PM [General]

I finally have an version of Awasu 1.1.2 running on Windows 98/Me. While I have a few people testing it already, more is always better so if you would like to be involved, send me an email and I'll let you know where to get it.

Monday 15th September 2003 11:10 AM [General]

I finally got around to fixing the Fark plugin - they keep changing the HTML in their page which breaks the scraper 🙁

I've started tagging plugin releases with a release date so if you notice something has broken, check the release page for an updated version. It might take a while for me to get around to doing since I'm usually really busy with Awasu itself so feel free to fix it yourself and send it in 🙂 or send me an email and I'll try to push it up the list.

Sunday 14th September 2003 11:33 PM [Awasu News]

I'm really happy with this release. It contains a lot of cool new features, runs a lot more quickly and smoothly and is just much slicker all round.

Major new features:

  • Added the ability to search feeds
  • Added support for auto-discovery that automatically finds RSS feeds in web pages.
  • Added support for Dublin Core, xhtml:body and content:encoded.
  • Made the presentation of feed content highly configurable. Channels can be configured to show only unread or new items, short extracts if there is too much content or plain-text if you are concerned about HTML security.
  • Optimized many parts of Awasu. It runs much more quickly now and the overall operation is a lot smoother.
  • Added support for secure channels using SSL i.e. URL's that start with https://.

This release still requires Windows NT, 2000 or XP. However, I already have a basic version running on 98 so hopefully the first cut will be going out to the alpha testers later this week. Let me know if you would like to help out with testing.

Those of you who know me (or have had the misfortune pleasure of working with me) will already know that I'm pretty serious about quality in software and the development process. It's taken me a bit longer than I would've liked to get Awasu to where it's at now but it's been worth the extra effort. There has been a lot of clean-up of the code and Awasu is pretty solid now, both inside and out, which will provide a strong foundation on which to build and start adding special features. First on the list is the ability to synchronize copies of Awasu running on different machines. Most of it has already been written so it shouldn't take too long...

Wednesday 10th September 2003 12:27 AM [General]

My mate Earl raises a few points about my earlier posting about blogging and their possible uses for PR.

Personally, I think that blogging and PR are diametrically opposed to each other. One is very much about controlling information and the other is about letting it go.

I think Earl is missing the point that I was making. The important thing is the flow of information, not whether it is being pushed or pulled, if it's coming in via a browser, an aggregator or email. Blogs facilitate this by creating a new way of disseminating information, one that is very well suited to a fluid, agile exchange of ideas, news and information.

I have already raised the point of the loss of control that publishers will incur by blogging and this is exactly the kind of thing that the public will find appealing. Maybe one day soon, corporate PR departments will set up official blogs as a matter of course, pumping out the company line. But how many people will subscribe and therefore, how effective will they be? There is stuff floating around in the blogosphere right now that suggests that the company with the largest number of bloggers is Microsoft and many of these blogs are popular precisely because they are not "official" blogs, because they present a personal side to the company which is, after all, composed of individual people.

Cross-media activities, guerilla marketing, etc. are already blurring lines that were not so long ago well-defined. Advertising and PR are going the same way. Consider this conversation we are having now, Earl. Two years ago, we would have had it via private email but today, we are having it in public in our respective blogs. People are seeing a side of my company that they would never have been able to before, how I think, the direction Awasu will probably be taking and what we're trying to achieve. They can chip in with their own comments or ask how Awasu fits into all of this. So is this simply a discussion between two people, or advertising, or PR? Or is it a blend of all of the above, something a little more sophisticated?

Friday 5th September 2003 11:11 AM [Awasu News]

Major new features implemented since my last update:

  • Optimized channel updating (it's much faster now!).
  • Added the ability to only show unread or new feed items.
  • Handle unescaped ampersands in feeds.
  • Exposed in the UI the ability to use different templates for the channel summary pages. This feature has been in since day one but you had to tweak config files to do it. People might actually use it now 🙂
  • Changed the way Awasu handles channels that have errors when updating.
  • Feed items have the time that they were published displayed in channel summaries.

And, of course, lots of smaller changes and bug fixes. The next beta release will be in about 10 days to two weeks.

I need a holiday. Sigh... 🙁