LittleBITS: iCloud Delivery Issues, Naples MUG, Howard Oakley

Originally published at: LittleBITS: iCloud Delivery Issues, Naples MUG, Howard Oakley - TidBITS

Many Mac user groups have dissolved or are a shadow of their former selves. Not so the Naples MacFriends User Group, which has embraced the Internet and attracted hundreds of members from around the world. Adam Engst shares more on that, plus recommends Howard Oakley’s work at the Eclectic Light Company blog and provides an update on iCloud delivery problems for TidBITS subscribers.

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You mentioned using RSS to subscribe to Hoawd Oakley’s blog. I agree completely, but RSS is a bit harder to use today than it was several years ago, because popular web browsers (including both Safari and Firefox) have dropped built-in RSS support.

Fortunately, convenient access is still available via add-ons.

On Firefox, I use the Want My RSS add-on (Github sources). It puts back the RSS functionality that used to be built-in to Firefox. When you visit a web site that advertises an RSS feed, it creates a menu item in the location bar you can click on to view the feeds. It also registers itself as a handler for RSS data, presenting it in a good looking human-readable format (with links you can use to download the feed’s XML and hand it off to one of several popular RSS reader apps and sites).

I haven’t installed a similar extension for Safari, but a quick search through the App Store shows that there are some available.

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It’s true, but I am delighted to be using NetNewsWire 6.x to manage my RSS feeds again, so that joy offsets the browser support failure.

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Howard is an absolute treasure for his clear writing, his kindness, and his breadth of knowledge—plus all the utilities he’s released!

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NNW is a good RSS reader, but having something integrated with your web browser is still useful, even if it’s only to see the alert icon to let you know that a site has a feed to browse.

That’s how I use Want My RSS. To get/view the URL and then hand it off to my reader (Feedly).

Unfortunately, it requires a URL for handing a feed URL off to a reader site. So I don’t think it can directly hand-off to NNW, unless NNW registers a URL type (maybe feed:?) with macOS.

This is a perfect example of why this piece was in LittleBITS rather than an article. :slight_smile: I knew that comment was going to trigger some suggestions, so thanks for the pointers to the Firefox add-on, and to @glennf for the mention of NetNewsWire. There are other RSS readers out there too that are worthwhile—in this day and age of social media, I think a lot of people have forgotten how to follow traditional blogs.

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Just to let you know I did receive this week’s TidBITS issue at my mac.com address.

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Yes, Howard Oakley blog I read regularly. Not only the new stuff. It is the reference for understanding the newest MacOS systems. I have been returning to his Boot disk layout in macOS Monterey several times lately.

I have been meaning to ask for some time now which blogs and sites people that follow Tidbits like to check out regularly. In the more general category, I read Macrumors, The Eclectic Light Company, Mr Macintosh and Hacker News regularly. For more specific things like my love of old MacPros, I follow some threads on forums.macrumors.com.

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Big fan of Eclectic Light. And now more with his articles on Art work. Nice tips on the RSS, which I added to my site. Which still bums me out when Apple dropped their own RSS feeds of downloads, with only itunes, a news feed (marketing), dev news and movie trailers remaining.
(I was trying the iTunes RSS builder but it limits you to “most played”. Why not let me get feed of latest Alternative Artists/Songs available? …)
Re: MUGS… there used to be a local group, and maintained by some diehard Apple/Mac users. Nice to see Naples MUG!

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I’m sad that Macintouch has gone the way it has. I used to pay $10 a month to support the site, but when there was no longer any forum I moved over here (at Ric Ford’s suggestion) and cancelled the payments. I was a bit surprised to see a snarky comment there about people cancelling their support when he took away the forum, but quite honestly that was what we were paying for access to. I can see that it was a lot of work for him to read every post and often edit it before actually posting it, but it would have been much more useful if he had simply made it a phpBB forum and appointed a few moderators to police it, instead of doing a nuke and pave (old Forge reference!)

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I agree with @drmoss_ca about MacInTouch. I used to be a regular reader, but something about how they write their articles has just rubbed me the wrong way for about the last year or so. I can’t describe it, but the words “whiny” and “boring” seem to come to mind.

Everything posted is laced with editorializing (xyz’s proprietary software, bug ridden xyz software, macOS has yet another security bug). And I also see that many of their postings for new versions of products recycle the descriptions they’ve used for ages.

It has become a tired, uninspiring read. I don’t know if there’s a “chicken or egg” situation with it - is the decline of MacInTouch due to the change in style, or was the current style a result of the decline? Either way it seems to have gone into a death spiral of irrelevancy for me.

It has, however, drawn me here to TidBITS (which I should have paid more attention to for years even though I knew it existed), and (circling back to the original point) Howard Oakley’s Eclectic Light Co.

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Not that I want to do down TidBits, but I’d be pleased to see Ric set up a bulletin board forum that would entail little work for him, and I’d take part in it. There were so many very knowledgeable posters in the old forum that it would be good to capture them before they all wander off elsewhere. Should they all move here, that would do equally well. But after so many years of interaction on Macintouch, I suspect many will just shrug and give up. Mac users are not the same few rebels anymore, and while that’s great for Apple, it doesn’t give the same exclusive feeling we had when there were so few of us struggling through OpenDoc memory issues etc! I think the closest thing to a religious experience I ever had was when I walked into the first Apple store in Toronto. Before that I had been in three physical Apple resellers and it was a bit like what I imagine going into a drug dealer’s would be like. Exciting, strange and familiar at once, but certainly a sense of being among fellows. All three died as soon as official Apple Stores opened.

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Very nice write up about Howard, I have always enjoyed reading his updates & using his programs!

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Thanks for the link to the Naples MUG - they have my admiration.
In the 1990s I helped run the Australian Open Access Users Group. We typically had 10 or 15 members attend the meeting, which covered all sorts of computer-related topics, not just the Open Access Suite (a pioneer DOS-based package that Microsoft copied with Office):
http://www.vdrsyd.com/aoaug/oaug.html
Some topics I covered:
Quantum computers:
http://www.vdrsyd.com/aoaug/qtm_comp.html
DNA computers:
http://www.vdrsyd.com/aoaug/dna_comp.html

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And here I thought the Australian Open Access Users Group was to support those looking for tickets to a tennis tournament!