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More self-hosting and my qualm with RSS

July 23, 2021

Self-hosting? Again? Haven’t you learned you’re stupid?

Yes, I have. But I got bored and moved onto another project. Right now, I’m hosting a Tiny Tiny RSS locally and it werks, the web-ui is so damn slick with awesome-ttrss, it’s perhaps the nicest RSS reader. I normally don’t dabble into RSS too much, but I saw this project and again, messed around with it in hopes of success.

As a nice integration, I am using the default app on f-droid and although there is no in-line reading mode (the article loads text-only instead of throwing a link to the website). Of course, all articles will have to be saved offline once I leave my house.

You probably didn’t stick to such a janky solution, right?

Correct. I stopped this now due to being unable to host it. The point of an RSS reader is so that I can browse anywhere with a connection. Yes, I can pre-emptively save articles offline, but I’m connected to the wired most of the time now, there’s little point using a local set up like this. For now, since I have swallowed the CLI-pill, I’m currently using newsboat on my pc and Feeder on my phone. They’re not synced but I don’t mind.

A philosophical aside on RSS

RSS is something I really, really want to integrate into my daily flow, and it’s not because I’m a zoomer and therefore don’t know what it is and how it works, I can’t seem to prefer it to directly going onto the pages I browse. I guess it is more correct to treat RSS as an aggregator that puts together a collection of links you can click on and visit, and it works for some people, but it doesn’t work for me. Firstly, I won’t be reading everything I subscribe to, so having unread just seems irrelevant. If I’m surfing, I will scroll until I’ve gone through all the posts that are new this session. I won’t necessarily open and read, especially with news where the headline usually tells you enough on topics you care less about.

Secondly, there is a charm to websites having their own unique layout and design. No, I’m not talking about dailymail. Popular news are difficult and maybe they deserve the RSS treatment (gosh I fucking despise banners and noise on your typical news website), but with personal blogs, smaller sites, forums (like lesswrong) or even y-combinator, they all have unique look and feel to them. Shoving the text content into a monotonous RSS reader, no matter how beautifully designed it is, seems to ruin the experience for me.

That aside, I see a good use of RSS, that being your own Youtube feed if you don’t care about the recommendations. I only need my subscriptions most of the time, and having RSS is good to see new videos coming out.