RSS aka RDF Site Summary aka Rich Site Summary aka Really Simple Syndication is a standardized web format that works for you.
At least it would work for you if you would use a a tool which would allow you to “subscribe” to RSS feeds from all sorts of websites. These tools are called feed-reader.
The website you are reading this on offers such a link. By subscribing to its feed you will be able to see all content but without having to actually go to each of your subscriptions one by one. That is done by the feed reader. This process of aggregation is it why feed readers are also called aggregator.
Invented exactly 20 years ago this month on the back-end of a feverish dot-com boom, RSS (Real Simple Syndication) has persisted as a technology despite Google’s infamous abandonment with the death of Google Reader and Silicon Valley social media companies trying and succeeding to supplant it. In the six years since Google shut down Reader, there have been a million words written about the technology’s rise and apparent fall. Here’s what’s important: RSS is very much still here. Better yet, RSS can be a healthy alternative…
I am using Liferea as my feed reader on desktop and Reeder on all that is iOS/macOS.
I’ve found that by using RSS feeds and not following a pre-filtered timeline I would not “follow” 1000 sources of information but choose more carefully whom to follow.
Some do not offer any feeds – so my decision in these cases is wether or not I would invest the time to create a custom parser for their content to pull in.
After RSS being just another XML format you quickly realize that HTML is just another XML format as well. There are simple ways to convert between both on the fly. Like fetchrss.com or your command-line.
Of course RSS is not the only feed format: ATOM would be another one worth mentioning.
Many use and love archive.org. A service that roams the public internet and archives whatever it finds. It even creates timelines of websites so you can dive right into history.
Have a piece of history right here:
You can have something similar hosted in your own environment. There are numerous open source projects dedicated to this archival purpose. One of them is ArchiveBox.
ArchiveBox takes a list of website URLs you want to archive, and creates a local, static, browsable HTML clone of the content from those websites (it saves HTML, JS, media files, PDFs, images and more).
I’ve done my set-up of ArchiveBox with the provided Dockerfile. Every once in a while it will start the docker container and check my Pocket feed for any new bookmarks. If found it will then archive those bookmarks.
As the HTML as well as PDF and Screenshot is saved this is extremely useful for later look-ups and even full-text search indexing.
I just recently learned about Krita. An open source drawing application that allows you to… oh well… do free-hand drawings.
Krita is a FREE and open source painting tool designed for concept artists, illustrators, matte and texture artists, and the VFX industry. Krita has been in development for over 10 years and has had an explosion in growth recently. It offers many common and innovative features to help the amateur and professional alike. See below for some of the highlighted features.
MyFitnessPal is a great online service we are using to track what we eat. It’s well integrated into our daily routine – it works!
Unfortunately MyFitnessPal is not well set-up to interface 3rd party applications with it. In fact it appears they are actively trying to make it harder for externals to utilize the data there.
To access your data there’s an open source project called “python-myfitnesspal” which allows you to interface with MyFitnessPal from the command line. This project uses web-scraping to extract the information from the website and will break everytime MyFitnessPal is changing the design/layout.
Since the output for this would be command line text output it is not of great use for a standardized system. What is needed is to have the data sent in a re-useable way into the automation system.
This is why I wrote the additional tool “myfitnesspal2mqtt“. It takes the output provided by python-myfitnesspal and sends it to an MQTT topic. The message then can be decoded, for example with NodeRed, and further processed.
In the end it expands into a multitude of topics with one piece of information per MQTT topic.
And with just that every time the script is run (which I do in a docker container and with a cronjob) the whole lot of pieces of information about nutrition and health stats are being pushed and stored in the home automation system.
This way they are of course also available to the home automation system to do things with it.