Yesterday afternoon, composer Nick Norton, with whom I’ve had an email correspondence for at least a year, linked to a blog post from his Twitter account. The post started with one of Ryan North’s Dinosaur Comics, which I read religiously. I was, obviously, hooked on Nick’s blog. Jerry McGuire may have had whatsherface at “hello”, but Nick had me at “T-Rex”. I needed to have his blog in my gigantic pool of Google Reader subscriptions.
The only problem was that Nick didn’t have an RSS or Atom feed to subscribe to.
So, I did what any web-obsessed person would do: sent Nick a Tweet asking if he had a feed. This, as I’m standing on the corner of 142nd St & Riverside, overnight bags at my feet, waiting for my boyfriend to pick me up to spend a long weekend at his parents’ house in Montauk. (Rough life, huh?) What would I do without a smartphone, to ask such pressing questions?
It turned out that, no, Nick’s site was sans RSS, despite his blog being prominent on the site. Nick uses Frog CMS (seriously, Nick, dump the Frog – it’s not worth the trouble), which I’d never heard of. As a semi-serious web designer, that was a pretty major red flag. Frog also – let me digress for a moment – hasn’t had a new stable release since April 2009, which tells me that it’s essentially defunct.
Because I’m a glutton for punishment, and I genuinely love helping out my fellow composers, I said, “Let me research this and get back to you.”
By the time we got to Bridgehampton, I had it all planned out in my brain: use PHP to create an XML file from the blog info in his MySQL database, and run a Cron job every hour to update it. Or, in layman’s terms: Use a bunch of acronyms and jargon to do magical things. Then we got to the house, unloaded the cat, had a few drinks and watched some episodes of the Ricky Gervias Show on HBOGo before crashing.
Morning came. Ok, late morning came. Ok, almost noon came, and I rolled out of bed, showered, and sat down with the laptop at the dining room table (i.e., my Montauk office). Several hours of work later, I realized that my initial plan was, in effect, stupid. It wasn’t going to work for reasons that I don’t want to talk about, largely because it’s boring and I’d like to spare your brain cells, Dear Reader.
Fortunately, Nick had sent me the log-on to his site to get things working (mwahahahaha), so I resigned myself to working within the Frog Content Management System to get things done since my original idea wasn’t going to work. *Sigh*
After several more hours, interrupted by giving the cat a bath, nearly drowning in the torrential rains while attempting to get lunch, and making dinner for the family, I finally – at 11pm – and in the past-tense words of Tim Gunn – made it work. You don’t really want to know how, even though it involves none of the XML/Cron/MySQL stuff (though it did involve some PHP, and working with code like “$this->find()”). Fewer acronyms, just as much magic.
If, like me, you want to read Nick’s blog via Google Reader or whatever aggregator you use, you can now.
And the link is: http://nickwritesmusic.com/rss.
Let me tell ya – that’s a lot of work to go to just to be lazy and not have to check in on the blog regularly.
And while we’re at it…
I made a little change to my own blog recently and added a blogroll. Check it out over to the right. Or, if you’re reading this via Google Reader, come on over to the site and check out the stuff I decided is fun enough to read. I’ve got several categories of sites that I link to: the Blogroll is general stuff, including the NewMusicShelf and articles that I “share” via Google Reader; Composers is pretty straight-forward; Fun Stuff is just that; Gay News, self explanatory; and Publishing Blogs gives you a sense of the stuff that I read that makes me so hardcore about self-publishing and being entrepreneurial.
And say hello to my little Twitter feed just below the blogroll.