LiveJournal is Bizarre
After reading about Michael’s attempt to turn his homepage into an aggregator for all his computer activities, I got inspired to try LiveJournal again. I last used LiveJournal when it was cool because it was running on Linux, and Linux was really cool because it had the singular ability to wipe out huge chunks of nominally backed-up data if you didn’t understand how UMSDOS worked. Since (as you “old-timers” have already figured out) I was thirteen at the time, I had of course forgotten my password, so I decided to make a new account. After a few moments reflection, I opted to name my new account “bitquabit.” I filled out the new user registration form, clicked a button, and
started using my new account got a violent, red error:
Username already in use; please select a different one.
Now, I know that the name “bit qua bit” was new at the time I created this site, because a) I googled it thoroughly on all the major search engines, and b) most people I know who speak Latin can’t agree on whether “bit qua bit” is even grammatically legal, let alone what it means, so chances were low that someone just happened to come up with the name independently. Furious to find out what nefarious scoundrel would dare abscond with my originality, I rushed over to bitquabit’s LiveJournal and was greeted with…
…the headlines for my own blog, linked to my own blog.
It turns out that LiveJournal has a feature called syndicated feeds, whose sole purpose in life, as near as I can tell, is to let you friend arbitrary RSS and Atom feeds that aren’t on LiveJournal. I understand the underlying motivation, but I’m perplexed by their implementation. It wouldn’t be hard for LiveJournal to implement the same functionality without pseudousers; as-is, they’re conflating two radically different classes of accounts behind the same user interface. Even if, for some technical reason, they do need pseudousers, I don’t get what the point is of hosting an HTML version of the RSS feed on LiveJournal. There already is an HTML version of the RSS feed. It’s called bitquabit.com.
I’m not complaining, mind you; the way they’ve implemented the feature—just the headlines, with links to the full content—all it can do is boost my pagerank, and since I only wanted to log into LiveJournal to see what it’s like these days, I don’t really care that I had to go back and come up with a random user name. I just find the whole concept truly bizarre.
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