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Big Brother RSS feed yet again

Big Brother are apparently introducing RSS feeds amongst other changes. Hurrah: I shall see what it looks like. In the meantime, try mine. Incidentally, in the comments to the last article, David Holtz suggested using FeedFire. I couldn’t get any satisfactory results with it myself as the feed David had set up confined itself to headlines and, more importantly, the site needed payment as far as I could tell in order to do even the most rudimentary configuration.

Getting back to Big Brother, it does seem odd timing to introduce such changes to their site. I can’t believe my own comments have had that much impact, but I do notice that even the Sun is offering a Big Brother RSS news feed, though not of course matching the news as delivered by Big Brother.

On a related note, I came across the Radio Times Big Brother Blog (via Jack Mottram), which is worth a read, though mostly opinion rather than news as such.

Unstoppable passengers meet immovable passengers

A wonderful occurence this morning on the train from Sandy to Finsbury Park. There is a special timetable today with fewer and shorter trains only running to Finsbury Park instead of Kings Cross because of yesterday’s fire at Kings Cross. The crowded and delayed train eventually made it to Finsbury Park with only one woman nearly fainting through standing. However, the driver then said that they couldn’t let us off said crowded train because of overcrowding on the platform. A dilemma that one, but they managed to solve it by getting people dressed in yellow to walk and down and look exasperated for a bit.

The resultant tube journey to cover the last leg to Kings Cross was actually not as unpleasant as many I did at rush hour when I lived in London. I’m tempted to take the Midland Mainline to Bedford again tonight and get the rail replacement bus to Sandy: the Meridian trains they use have declassified first class seating for plebs like me who know about it to fill up (because of a mistake when ordering the trains). This made yesterday’s journey very pleasant if it wasn’t for the woman next to me slamming her phone down all the time because she couldn’t get a signal. Anyway.

Buffy library playset

After the toy librarians comes a Buffy school library playset (again via Catalogablog) which actually looks to be genuine: $51 and delivered in three days.

Arlesey still strange for the World Cup

The Biggleswade Chronicle reports that the house in Arlesey with the cross of St George on it has gone football crazy by not removing said cross, although I notice that the picture does have the word Robbed removed. Will they have to get back up a ladder to write it again or will they try and fit in Fairly beaten on the day in the space provided?

Paul Daniels’s eBay transactions

I recently found a weblog recording all the eBay transactions of Paul Daniels (via Jack Mottram). It contains quite stunning descriptions of the items bought, mainly DVDs it seems, as well as blow by blow accounts of sales:e.g.,

On March 20th 2006 Paul Daniels sold two different Mamiya cameras on ebay making £328.80 in the process. Well done Paul!

I’ll do what I can to describe the two auctions with as much detail as possible although it might get complicated because they both had multiple bidders involved.

The resulting description reads like Rimmer‘s description of a game of Risk:

…That was soon doubled by rcdrake but eleganceglassware stole a march on them with bids of £55, £59 and £63 before dewdropn announced a presence with a £70 bid. mahluf was in the lead with an almost unbelievable £70.03 but surat19 made a more sensible offer of £75. dewdropn reentered the game by also bidding £75 and so surat19 went to £77…

Fascinating stuff. I really wish I had that much time on my hands.

Toy librarians

I’m not normally a fan of self-conscious library humour, but these toy librarians in the manner of toy soldiers (via Catalogablog) are wonderful.

Big Brother 2006 RSS feed that actually works

The Big Brother rss feed I created with Feed43 didn’t work. Although the feed seemed OK if you went and checked it, and although it presented very nicely when it did work, it never seemed to update on Bloglines, giving an error signal for days on end before spluttering into life again. No good and it seems I am not alone. I experimented with a few other screen-scraping feed creators:

  • FeedYes which is scarily automatic and therefore bordering on easy to use. It works and updates, which is important, but would repeat the headlines in the description, which is not too much use as Big Brother use rather obtuse headlines. The Feed43 also let me put the day and time of the event in the feed (e.g. Day 12 9:30) which FeedYes didn’t. Ok if nothing else worked, but otherwise poo. To be fair, I would certainly try it on other web pages, just not this one. Feed:
  • FeedTier which is even more shockingly easy to use and managed to get the correct stories with no configuration at all. However, it only gives headlines and it bizarrely formatted the feed title as Big+Brother+-+the+official+Big+Brother+UK+website+from+Channel+4 in the rss feed: there was option- unless I missed it- to change the feed title. In all, no good. Feed:

I therefore had a go at doing it myself using PHP and a couple of regular expressions, and managed to make a feed identical (in output if not in XML coding) to the Feed43 one. And it works. Feed: After doing this I wonder whether Feed43 will really have a market as the sort of people who can make sense of terms like ‘whitespace’ and symbols like {*}, {_}, and {%} will probably be OK doing their own exactly as they want it with a little code and a regular expression.