I’ve been a fan of Yahoo Pipes since it was first released to the public. I first used it to combine a number of feeds1 from sites I contributed to so that my home page was constantly updated with recent work and personal updates. It allowed me to include only my just my posts from sites with multiple authors and to strip the boilerplate and ads tacked on to items. I’ve since used it to prune feeds from sites based on certain criteria or key words to reduce the noise in my feed reader and to experiment with ideas for mashing up or repurposing data from other services.
If you’re still reading, then you probably also know that Yahoo, the company, hasn’t exactly been operating smoothly of late. Many of my friends who once worked there have either quit or gotten pink slips, leading me to joke in an aside to an item about rumors of further layoffs that I would have confirmed the news with my contacts at the company, but I don’t have any left. I understand that new CEO Carol Bartz has her work cut out for her, but her stated mandate to slash parts of the business that aren’t turning a profit scares me.
Why? Because Pipes is free, and while I imagine it isn’t terribly expensive to operate, any costs it generates are strictly revenue-negative. Regardless, though I can’t say for certain there have been significant outages, neither would I assure anyone that it’s speedy or reliable2. Nor can I think of any significant new features added, or any further development at all, since it’s been released. So my question is: If you use Pipes, what would you pay to keep it going, assure some degree of dependability, and even fund continued development?
Hilarious advertising, via my old comrade Nicholas Carlson. I can’t count how many times the vagaries of Soviet toilet paper (or lack there of) have been cited as an example of why anything besides unfettered free markets are doomed to fail.
Anyway, have been quiet of late thanks to the collapse of said unfettered free markets indirectly leaving me hustling for work. Speaking of which, I’ve updated my home page and my about page to reflect some new publications and sites I can be found at.
And I promise even more soon, even though blogging is apparently killing the very business of writing I try to make a living in. Good times all around.