rssCloud: FTW or WTF?

Waves and White CloudsrssCloud: what is it? Well, the cloud part refers to cloud computing: “a style of computing in which.. resources are provided as a service over the Internet. Users need not have knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure in the ‘cloud’ that supports them.” Cloud is a good metaphor: just as we don’t need to understand how clouds work in order to use the rain for drinking, irrigation, or an excuse to stay indoors, we don’t need to understand how the internet, the web, etc. work in order to use this style of computing.

I have both good and grumpy remarks to make about rssCloud. I’ll make some of the good ones at the end of this post.

My first grumpy remarks are about the term rssCloud and, in particular, about the first three letters. Although RSS itself has been around for about as long as the current millennium, the term RSS hasn’t really caught on. To illustrate, here’s how Ben at Mashable started his post on rssCloud.

RSS, short for Really Simple Syndication, helps you stream all of your news and blog sources into an easy-to-manage RSS reader such as Google Reader (Google Reader). Millions of people use RSS to keep up with Mashable (Mashable), The New York Times, and even LOLcats.

However, it does have its limitations. The big one is speed. It can take minutes to hours for a blog post to reach the reader through RSS. This has been a big reason why more and more people are turning to real-time services like Twitter (Twitter) and FriendFeed (FriendFeed) for their news. In the real-time web, delayed news and information just isn’t good enough.

Now WordPress has done something big that eliminates that RSS delay problem and brings WordPress.com’s 7.5 million blogs into real-time… It has implemented RSSCloud…

Ben took two paragraphs before he even got to RSSCloud itself, even though he writes for a pretty web-literate audience. Matt at WordPress also felt the need to start with an explanation of RSS.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and it’s a way for people to subscribe to updates to your blog using a client like Google Reader or Bloglines. You may not know what RSS is but chances are people are using it to read your blog…. Today we turned on support for… RSS Cloud.

By the way, you might be wondering why I use rssCloud when Ben and Matt both capitalize RSS. It’s because I went to the source and found rssCloud. By the source I mean Dave Winer, and rssCloud.org, where he boasts: “Great domain name, don’t you think! (And they say all the good ones are taken.)” While I’m handing out links, I’ll add the recent posts at ReadWriteWeb and at TechCrunch.

So, given that RSS still requires explanation, rssCloud hardly seems like a very intuitive term for this fast feed technology. I’d have preferred something involving feed and fast, or feed and speed, or… OK, maybe lots of those domains are taken, or it seems best to use the buzzword du jour cloud.

I rather like LightningCloud, and indeed LightningCloud.org was available. It isn’t any more, since I grabbed it (and pointed it at a new WordPress.com blog). There is a problem: there’s a firm called LightningCloud Technologies.

There must be something better than rssCloud (the term). And with that, enough about the name and about enough with the grump.

The good news is that rssCloud (the technology) fits well with the impatient internet (which is similar to what Mashable Ben called the real-time web). It does so by allowing old school web services (similar to what we used to call Web 2.0) like WordPress to fit in to the now web. rssCloud also allows you to get a fast feed of this blog, since it’s hosted at WordPress.com.

So rssCloud may be FTW and WTF.

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