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My first game changer

In the early 2000’s, I used to regularly visit a lot of videogames websites. Browsing them one by one was time-consuming, so imagine my happiness when I stumbled upon that cool tech with an equally cool name: Really Simple Syndication (RSS).

Instead of wandering on the internet website by website, I could now use one software to automatically retrieve the news and read them offline. It was the first game changer in how I consume the web (using Feedreader, maybe?), to the point I ended up reading the whole RSS spec and coding a feed generator in PHP.

RSS feeds for all kind of deviances and tastes.

This blog now has multiple flavors of RSS feeds: big ones with all the content, lightweight ones with only excerpts or notes. I think it’s best to let you decide how you want to consume that space.

The web is decentralized

Since Google sent Google Reader to the graveyard, many considered RSS as dead and irrelevant. These claims did not stop me to use them because there’s always enough websites providing them, and RSS are powerful: they allowed to gather my decentralized web in a centralized place way before Facebook started to centralize a big chunk of the (in-)humanity around cats videos and shitty engagement algorithms. I’ve always seen the web has decentralized.

Did you know YouTube has RSS feeds, too?

Find the ID of a YouTube channel (I don’t know if there’s a fast way to do this), and get the RSS feed by using this pattern:


Nowadays with the Fediverse, an additional layer for the decentralized and interconnected web is technically layed. RSS usages are straightforward to understand, but ActivityPub can change the web at another level of magnitude. I can’t really grasp the future it can enable and I hope to live long enough to see it, whether it becomes popular or stays at the margin.

If that topic is of any interest for you, a good place to start is on Aran Balkan’s blog: in 2019, he talked about our dear internet at the European Commission. Enlightening.

Aaron Schwartz

Among all the persons who made RSS awesome, Aaron Schwartz especially stands out. Aaron was a brilliant person, a hacktivist, and his legacy includes many creations or contributions that are still very important: the RSS spec, the Markdown spec, the Creative Commons, the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto, and more. The documentary The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz is a must watch (on PeerTube, Web Archive or YouTube).

I don’t remember when I discovered Aaron Schwartz, it was maybe five years ago. His story is definitely moving and I feel a bit ashamed not having been aware of it sooner. It was strange to discover it and be like “damn, I read his RSS spec a decade ago!”

Surprisingly, his blog is still online.