Archive for Tag ‘RSS‘

YouTube Downloader and Feed Parser

So I decided to spend a bit of time over the holidays scratching an itch and writing some PHP code. The result is a new open source project: YouTube Downloader.

Its main purpose, for me, was to enable me to subscribe to a user’s YouTube videos as a podcast, and have the episodes downloaded in Downcast on my iPad. In the process though I also found it useful to make it usable as a form-based script, where you input a video’s ID and get a list of the available formats for download. So, the project does both.

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New Project: iTunes Feed Generator

The Waiting Room Podcast at

One of my consistently favorite podcasts of the last few years has been The Waiting Room, a new music show out of Cardiff, Wales. The show is broadcast on a number of internet radio stations, but I generally listen to it as a podcast, so that I can timeshift and listen when I have time not when it is being broadcast.

They’ve been hosted for some time now on, a site which allows users to post tracks and playlists, make them downloadable, make them embeddable, and the like. does produce an RSS feed of a given user’s tracks (there’s a little grey RSS icon at the lower left corner of a user’s page), but the structure of that feed doesn’t work for podcast clients, including itunes.

A while back I made a Yahoo! Pipe that would translate the appropriate feed into something that Downcast (my podcatcher of choice) would be able to handle, but it annoyed me that this still wasn’t usable in iTunes. (iTunes requires that the enclosure file end in an appropriate extension like .mp3, which means the /download style links produces cannot be used in an iTunes feed).

So this weekend I hacked up the iTunes Feed Generator (github page). It takes an username (and some other metadata used by iTunes) and creates an iTunes appropriate RSS feed.

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At last month’s North Shore Web Geek Meetup, I met Gal Arav, the creator of Newsflashr (and formerly creator of InstantBull):


Newsflashr aggregates feeds from a large number of news sources, and lets you scan the headlines from those feeds as a tag cloud (what are the interesting terms which appear frequently in the headlines in those feeds) as well as in a list sorted by Alexa rank.

It’s the kind of site you can spend a lot of time in, if you’re a news junkie, playing around with different sorting options and looking for trends in the data.

Here’s the tag cloud, for example of the “elections 08″ topic as I am writing this post:

Tag Cloud for Election 08

You can also switch into feed view, in which case you’re arranging feeds on a grid, as you might in something like pageflakes or netvibes.

Worth a look if you’re a news junkie or just obsessed with the upcoming election.

Liveblogging Enterprise 2.0 – Using RSS to Bridge the Information Gap

RSS: Bridging the Gap Between the People and Information that Drive Business

Speaker – Sam Weber, VP Technical Services, KnowNow

Customer story – large outsourcing company and the challenges they face in keeping over 40,000 employees in 120 countries up to speed.

Roughly 30 intranets, portals, and knowledge bases, over 1000 internal blogs – the challenge is how to distribute information in such a mess.


[Sounds a bit more like a pitch than I was expecting this morning . . . didn't even get my grande soy latte this morning, so I may just be less receptive, or more snarky, depending on your perception.]

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Movable Type Open Source

(via among others)

The folks at SixApart have announced that coinciding with the release of Movable Type 4, there will be an open source edition of Movable Type, which will form the basis for the commercial products.

The Movable Type Open Source Project was announced in conjunction with the launch of the Movable Type 4 Beta on June 5th, 2007. The MTOS Project is a community and Six Apart driven project that will produce an open souce [sic] version of the Movable Type Publishing Platform that will form the core of all other Movable Type products.

I can understand Rod Begbie’s quip (“I’ll take ‘Two Years Too Late’ for $400, please, Alex”) and I too found the inability to spell “open source” correctly rather strange – I guess MovableType doesn’t have built-in spell check, even in 4.0 beta?.

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