The Null Device

A different disguise

A few days ago, a LiveJournal creation code fell into my hands (ta, jwz!); consequently, I now have a LiveJournal. It's probably going to be a bit on the sparse side, as I have this blog for most of my writing, though I may find a use for it.

The most interesting thing about the LiveJournal system is the social-software side of it; the interests/friends thing. It's a pity that one cannot fully participate in that with an external blog. It'd be good if there was an option to make one's journal get its content from an external RSS feed, whilst retaining control over one's profile.

There are 9 comments on "A different disguise":

Posted by: mitch http:// Wed Aug 6 14:34:26 2003

I'm trying to think of a way to extent LJ-style interests/friends networking to the blogosphere at large. It could be like having a counter; embedded information served up by a "social server" (like Friendster or Friends links could take you straight to their blogs, interests would take you to a listing at the social server (cf. webrings).

That all still requires a centralized server, though. I'm especially interested to see how much of this can be implemented in distributed (P2P) fashion. That probably involves a move away from the web, though. Any object that you view "through the web" usually comes from a single server.

Posted by: acb Wed Aug 6 14:44:24 2003

Have you looked at the XML FOAF document type?

Posted by: mike farahbakhshian Thu Aug 7 13:39:30 2003

You can get a content from an RSS feed, I think it's syndicated as XML, but I don't know what you mean by 'retaining control over one's profile.'


Posted by: acb Thu Aug 7 13:51:46 2003

I know; the LJ user "thenulldevice" is a RSS mirror of this blog. Though "thenulldevice" belongs to no-one, and as such has no profile, no ability to choose friends, and so on.

If I could rig up kineticfactory to get its data from a RSS feed rather than (or as well as) through the LiveJournal database, that'd be good. Preferably without manually copying everything into LiveJournal or using a script to do so.

Posted by: mike farahbakhshian Thu Aug 7 14:09:25 2003

Why not make a perl script that runs as a cron job; fetches the rss feed and then pipes it into a command line batch-mode client like clive ( or sclj ( ? Then you could have friends, profile etc.

Posted by: mike farahbakhshian Thu Aug 7 14:12:58 2003

Why not make a perl script that runs as a cron job; fetches the rss feed and then pipes it into a command line batch-mode client like clive ( or sclj ( ? Then you could have friends, profile etc.

Posted by: acb Thu Aug 7 14:22:51 2003

that's inelegant; it'd be better if LJ could be configured to fetch its data from an external server in the first place.

Anyway, my blog code is in Python; there was a Python LJ client module a while ago, though it seems to have disappeared.

Posted by: acb Thu Aug 7 14:26:07 2003

I'm still undecided, however, on how to divide content between this blog and the LiveJournal. Whether (a) to just use the blog, (b) to mirror the blog to the journal (which means there are two separate sets of comments), (c) post some things to both and some to the blog only, or (d) post some things to my blog, some to the LJ, and some to both.

I probably won't post anything exclusively to the LJ, as I can't imagine writing much that won't fit in my blog. Unless I join a goth clique or get into the habit of publically kvetching about my lovelife or something. (If I do, please shoot me.)

Posted by: mitch http:// Thu Aug 7 15:34:50 2003

I've read about FOAF, but I don't know anyone who's part of the existing FOAF network, which seems to be a prerequisite for putting it to work (unless you're part of a whole community which will take the plunge together).

Thinking more about this P2P-vs-web dichotomy... FOAF is built for spidering. One model is the Google model: someone maps the whole network, and puts the data on a single server. Another way is the "browser cache" model: you run a FOAF-webcrawler from your PC, and build a local map that suits your needs. Data-sharing can clearly take many forms: I could be part of a P2P-style network whose members regularly and automatically synchronize their FOAF maps (I'll call them "friendscapes"); or I might rely on a central server, but locally cache the information it provides; or I could be part of some socially minded project, in which a global P2P network reproduces the functionality of a central server. I'm not sure how it would all shake out.