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Thursday, November 17, 2005

RSS too much to ask?

I've just had a meeting with the Press Association about signing up to its Mediapoint service. The service basically means users get access to PA news copy at the same time as the press gets it, as well as view first editions of daily papers as they roll of the presses.

Now, there is a LOT of information held in the system, and it's all searchable in hundreds of ways, from tag searches to free text to topic to writer.

It's possible to get search alerts emailed to you, based on the results of the search criteria you set up. I could have any number of new searches arranged, which might spit out every blogging story that day, or every headline that mentioned penguins.

So I asked the obvious question - 'Where are the RSS feeds?'

'Er, what?' said the salesperson, perturbed.

'Well, you know, I don't really use email for alerts any more,' I said. 'I use RSS. This would be ideal to scan my searches.'

The salesperson leaned across the desk. She laughed.

'Look, everyone's got their preferences. It's taken us two years to get the email alerts incorporated,' she said. 'It'll take another two to get anything else added.'

I tried to argue, but it came out a bit like a horrified splutter.

The salesperson moved in for her big finale: 'Look, you've got a Blackberry,' she said, noticing my handset on the desk. 'With email alerts, you'll be able to read the news on the bus.'

How can I argue with that?


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