On not noticing new Feedburner features, acceptable feed outsourcing and the inner nature of the Tubes
As I was setting up my sister’s website I had one of those “How on earth did I manage to miss this?” moments: namely, the use of custom domains has been supported in free Feedburner accounts since early July this year. This is yet another example of how the Google empire is taking over the world by giving away excessive amounts of non-suck.
Giving users control over the domain name used in a free “feed-cdn” solution, or any other free service, not only makes stuff look much better. This also gives the user much more freedom, one may even stop using said service without killing any old links and losing “Google juice”, but for me this is yet another reason to keep using what is being offered.
Back in the day when I was setting up my site and wanted an efficient system that didn’t require engineering skills, a post on reducing bandwidth costs on the Coding Horror blog convinced me that Feedburner was worth taking a look at even though the custom domain option wasn’t available for free then. As of today I definitely don’t have bandwidth issues, in fact the entry-level web host I use makes it entirely doable to distribute ridiculous amounts of static files. However, one shouldn’t expect stellar performance from a shared server already under fairly high loads, if a few thousand different (potential ;) ) feed readers regularly were to request non cached/dynamic feeds from a CMS. Feedburner solves this: giving away the whole post in the feed efficiently makes serving users of feed readers Somebody Else’s problem.
Since I hardly have any economic or other reason to fanatically track individual readers, I even hope to find some method of making mega-aggregators like Google Reader cache enclosed media content, at least thumbnails of pictures. Letting go of my ramblings isn’t problematic for me: there’s a difference between not controlling my own blogging software, the database it uses, web server logs etc. as caused by utilizing a free blogging service and using replaceable services for different niches to make self-publishing even cheaper than before.
The above issue boils down to the fact that any material made available publicly in any way on the Internet, has ceased to be controllable. I prefer to put it like this: The Internet of today is for its bored post-modernistic participants, with all its trackable behavior and user generated content, very much like a voluntary stay in a Panopticon shaped theme park. Everyone should simply keep good track of what is being posted and enjoy the fact every cheesy poem, whiny blog entry and accidentally posted embarrassing photo of oneself engaged in various illegal activities will be available to all incarnations of The Man/BB for detailed studies of your habits… at least until the power goes down.