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February 28, 2008

Checking Out

The "upgrade" to Movable Type (MT) 4 was a bilious bumble. Basically, it blew chunks, and it was no self-revelation that I make a cantankerous janitor. MT seemingly gave no consideration to backward compatibility. Among other tedious wankings, subscription notification went to hell in a bucket without leaving a "thank you" note. So now it's a Kenny Rogers moment: know when to hold 'em, and know when to fold 'em.

Many weblogs offer a subscription service: you can subscribe, and unsubscribe, to notifications that a new entry has been posted. Particularly helpful if weblog entries are infrequent.

The Patent Prospector has offered a subscription/notification service. Until it broke.

The notification emails always looked cheesy: plain text, with bad formatting to boot. I want to send shiny web page presentations; don't wake me up, I want to keep dreaming. So I checked out external notification services, which vary in their ilk. They all conform to the anti-spam act with a "may I see your passport please" confirmation ordeal. And the look of the notifications was less than thrilling.

After the upgrade, MT notifications didn't work, then the formatting looked like bad news after I wrestled them back from the brink. Tweaking brought small satisfaction.

Then the discovery that the subscribe/unsubscribe bit dust with the upgrade. It's a "this script calls that script which relies upon the other script that just left town on a bus to Milwaukee" kind of thing.

Finally subscribe works, but alas, no unsubscribe forthcoming.  There are bread-crumb clues to debug that. It's only a question of how many hours and how much hair I want left on my head to get it done. So, right now, if I turned on the faucet, you could conveniently subscribe, but not unsubscribe. I'll be damned if I'm going to have the Patent Prospector subscription service become a blog roach motel: you can check in, but you can't check out.

So, I'm pulling the plug. This is the last notification you are getting. Thanks for subscribing!

Check in often; there's almost always something new. The Patent Prospector isn't some blue-moon blog, like The Fire of Genius, Just a Patent Examiner, or Anything Under the Sun; they're all good stuff, but so infrequent that they could seriously use a subscription service to keep folks coming back.

But here, well..., we're living it, loving it, putting it out daily like fresh baked lasagna, only smellier. But that's not our fault. It's a stinky patent world out there, and we're dishing it out. Hmm... somehow I don't think that's going to make it as the Patent Prospector tag line. But please, keep reading.

Posted by Patent Hawk at February 28, 2008 1:05 AM |


May I suggest the use of Wordpress - along with plugins for Feedburner (for RSS) and subscription via Feedblitz.

Posted by: Amit Goyal at February 28, 2008 1:58 AM


Posted by: Josh at February 28, 2008 5:02 AM

To cut down on emails, I have been switching most info sources to my Google WebClips window. It handles all sorts of RSS feeds and opens the links very sweetly in my FireFox browser.

Patent Prospector works great with this method.

Posted by: Bernie at February 28, 2008 6:51 AM