Help with Radio's .root files

· Products

I was doing a period check of very large files on my computer, planning to backup or remove the largest ones to make some room, and I noticed that among the top five files, four of them were .root files used by Radio:

  • aggregatorData.root (149 megs)
  • weblogData.root (128 megs)
  • manilaBloggerBridgeData.root (79 meg)
  • Radio.root (31 meg)

Now, I know Radio.root is the guts of the program itself and I shouldn’t mess with it, and I know that weblogData.root contains the actual posts for my Mediajunkie blog and if I remove it they will be upstream-killed, so I’m not going to mess with that, for the time being, but I have questions about the other two.
First of all, is aggregratorData.root just a complete archive of everything I’ve ever gathered in my aggregrator (and/or not deleted)? If so, I don’t need it, don’t plan to search it, and would like to wipe it out, but I won’t do so until I know it won’t take the whole program down with it.
Secondly, why the heck is the manilaBloggerBridgeData.root file so freakin’ large? I’m not even using it anymore. Can I wipe this?

Radio UserLand woes

· Products

The Salon blog community servers (hosted by UserLand) have been down since sometime Friday, which is frustrating for the Salon bloggers who rely on the community server to host their blogs (and their comments) and to track updates and traffic figures. As far as we can tell, UserLand is down to two (no-doubt overworked) employees, and attempts to reach Lawrence Lee have thus far failed.
Scott Rosenberg, our local blogfather, is at BloggerCon, as is Radio’s emeritus CEO, but neither of them are really in a position to help. Meanwhile the Salon blogger mailing list gives people space to vent their frustrations.
I don’t rely on UserLand to host this blog, although this is a Salon blog with a local usernum (I do use the Radio community server for notification of updates and for tracking traffic), so this site is at least still reachable, unlike sites whose domain name start with, however I am having problems with the one part of network of sites that still relies directly on Radio for its engine, the Mediajunkie site.
For some reason, Radio has been unable to upstream any updates since last Monday, September 29. My page for tracking events shows a series up apparently successful upstreams, but clearly nothing’s been updated on the publicly visible site. I do get a TCP/IP error when I start Radio and it tries to check for updates to Radio.root, but this could be an effect of the current UserLand server problems and possibly unrelated to my upstreaming problem.
I’m not sure how to even diagnose this problem. The usual mantra of quit and restart, shut down and reboot and try again, isn’t working this time. This may force me to go to a different backend for Mediajunkie’s aggregrated post listings, possibly a table full of MTrssfeed-driven headlines? It wouldn’t be as dynamic and interlaced, but it would approximate what I’m trying for now and free me from relying on what can only be charitably described as flaky software.
UPDATE: Typically, as when you call a TV repairman only to find your television set behaving perfectly when scrutinized, it appears that my posting a public complain about the Radio software has coincided with it starting to work again properly. It appears to be upstreaming entries from October 1 this moment and should be caught up to the present day soon. Still no idea why it works when it does and doesn’t when it doesn’t.

Microsoft, Apple blog plans?

· Products

The Blog Herald reads about a panel at the upcoming Microsoft PDC conference and predicts that MS will roll out a blogging tool as part of MSN or SharePoint. SharePoint 2003 includes a “Web Log” web package for including a blog-like element in a SharePoint collaborative website, but it’s only semibakes from my perspective. MSN would be a more likely platform to launch an actual service to compete with AOL Journals, LiveJournal, Google’s Blogger, and Six Apart’s TypePad.
Over at BlogRoots, mathowie notes that iBlog is being folded – ever so delicately – into Apple’s official .Mac offerings. Matt speculates that Apple is trying not to stomp on the independent iBlog product.

Products Comments are off for this post.

Clarifying the freeing of Blogger Pro

· Products

I was a little confused by the news announcements about the end of a fee-based Pro version of Blogger and folding in of most of the Blogger Pro feature set into free Blogger.
I emailed Steve Jenson a few questions and, though he was on vacation at the time, he graciously passed them along to Jason Shellen who told me Google plans to offer syndication to all users relatively soon and is working on the email features as well.
In the meantime, existing Blogger Pro users retain the use of the full feature set, but Google is not supporting new signups to Pro. Existing Blogger users can enjoy a large portion of the advanced features (hey, titles!), but will have to wait for syndication.

Does Xanga offer RSS?

· Products

A reader just sent me a comment looking for a tutorial on how to add RSS to a weblog. I saw from his URL that he is a Xanga user (The Populist), so I went to the Xanga site looking for info about RSS or syndication support and didn’t find any. Does Xanga offer RSS in its basic or premium service?
INSTANT UPDATE: Looks like there is RSS support. To find the RSS feed for a Xanga site, just replace home.aspx with rss.aspx in the URL. So, for example, here is The Populist’s RSS feed.

Google to make Blogger Pro free

· Products

According to Ev, Blogger Pro’s features will be folded into the free version of Blogger.
Ev: “Google has lots of computers and bandwidth. And Google believes blogs are important and good for the web.”
Susan Mernit asks these questions about the announcement:

  1. Is this the rich company Microsoft-like tactic of offering a free product that will undercut people trying to charge?
  2. Is this an expression of the belief, “We’re no longer in the product development business, the real money is in selling ads on this thing – and everywhere else in the universe for that matter?”
  3. Or is it a corporate branding issue – i.e., Google does not charge for premium services. It makes its money from search results and paid search and ad word placements. Therefore a product offered by Google should fit into those models.
  4. Or it it they’re so loaded they don’t give a %$%K ? ( I don’t believe that one.)

She thinks its No. 2.
After my hour on blogs and RSS yesterday at Seybold, one of the questions I got was about why Google may have bought Pyra and exactly this question of whether they were planning to monetize it somehow. I explained my theory that:

  • Google values the “memex” trails that bloggers leave as they provide custom indexes of the Web, filtered with a human perspective
  • And, with a BlogThis! button on Googlebar 2.0 and AdSense, Google is approaching a very tightly held content input, indexing, and retreival infrastructure with a financial component. A barrier to entry of even a small payment doesn’t help them.

Still, I wouldn’t rule out Susan’s explanation No. 1, despite Google’s “don’t be evil” dictum, (which Craig Newmark quoted yesterday in his personable and well received talk about what he’s learned from Craigslist and how it fosters a community of trust).