Technology Gets Old One Day at a Time: Broken Blog Feeds and What You Missed

Technology gets old. While we know that intellectually, we might not know it as it pertains to us. Here's a story about how technology changes one day at a time and everything is okay—until it's not. (Don't want the long sad story? Go to Here's What You Missed.)

A Short History of My Site

I started my site back in 1995. I hand-crafted the HTML, possibly in PageMill or whatever we used for our sites back then. (There were several versions of easy-to-use HTML site builders. I'm sure I used most of them.)

When I started to blog in 2003, I used Blogger. As I published more, I realized Blogger was not sufficient for my needs. In 2006 or 2007, a little too late, I moved to WordPress. Why “too late?” I had to hire someone to move my Blogger blog and HTML site from old technology to new technology.

That's my pattern. I wait to make sure the new technology works and I think it will stick around. If you happen to look at the first couple of years of posts for my blog, you'll notice there are no comments. Zero. Not because I didn't have comments, but because at the time, we needed a separate commenting system. I didn't want a site without the ability to integrate comments. The person I hired could not export the comments from the other system and integrate them into WordPress.

As far as either of us could tell, the comments were captive in the old system. We gave up and did not move the comments over.

However, WordPress worked well, and I was pretty happy. Except it wasn't quite enough. I needed more tech to get everything I wanted.

When We Need More Tech to Make Everything Work

While WordPress is quite robust now, at the time, WordPress did not easily offer RSS feeds as part of the ecosystem. And even if WordPress offered RSS feeds, I sure didn't know how to create them. That's when I started to use FeedBurner to create and publicize my feeds. Then, at some point soon after, I used FeedBlitz to deliver blog posts by email. I used the Feedburner feeds for Feedblitz.

I thought I had an elegant solution: WordPress blog + RSS feeds (FeedBurner) + FeedBlitz delivery. (Does that look elegant to you? It doesn't to me right now, but remember, my hand-crafted HTML was just a few years before.)

Things worked for at least a decade, maybe longer. Then, in mid-February 2022, “everything” broke.

That was the signal. Once I started investigating, I realized my tech started to break a little every day starting from when Google started to deprecate FeedBurner. I hadn't noticed.

The Too-long Sad Story of Broken Feeds

Back in February, Feedly rejected both my blog RSS feeds. (Create an Adaptable Life and this blog.) My feeds no longer validated. (I'm still not positive what the problem is.)

I spent way too much trying to debug those problems. Behind the scenes, I tried tons of things to fix my feeds. In the end, I removed captions from my images to fix my feeds.

However, in the course of debugging in March, I deleted my Feedburner feeds. That's when FeedBlitz stopped delivering the posts from this blog. That was reasonable, because I gave them the FeedBurner feed, not the direct feed from this blog. If you signed up with Feedblitz to read this blog in your email, you should see this email. Fingers crossed.

At this time, both my feeds work. They both validate and Feedblitz sends them out.

However, Feedly still thinks my feeds are broken. Sigh. Since I used Feedly to read the feeds I want to read, now I need a new RSS reader. Yes, I had an old RSS reader, which worked perfectly well. However, Feedly persists in marking my feeds as broken. They also persist in marking other working feeds as broken. (Another indication of waiting too long to change my technology.)

So yes, I discovered a problem, created my own cascading defects, and now, my blogs might be stable. However, you missed what I wrote.

Here's What You Missed

I've been writing even though you missed posts. Here are the posts you might have missed:

You might just want to see the MPD Archive.

Are you also using “old” technology? I bet you are.

Technology Gets Old One Day at a Time

Because everything worked, I didn't realize my technology was old. Until it stopped working. Very few of us realize our tech is slowly breaking until it stops working.

If I'd investigated other blog feeds, I might have realized Feedly has a strange perception of working feeds.

Or, if I'd paid more attention to the fact that Feedburner was the source of my feeds everywhere, I might have changed how I publicize my feeds.

I don't have a good suggestion for how to keep in touch with tech changes, except to say, “Stay in touch with tech changes.” Just as I suggest you refine your strategy more often than once a year, consider how you will stay in touch with the technology that allows you to deliver your product to your customers. I now have a quarterly todo to review all my technology and see when it's time to change it.

If I had done a Wardley Map, I might have seen my problems years ago. (See LearnWardleyMapping for more details. Yes, I just enrolled.) However, I now have a system to use to assess my technology.

Our strategy depends on our execution. Our execution depends on our tools. So we have feedback loops from strategy to execution and tools and back again. (That's the point of the image at the top of this post.)

Summary

Here's where I am:

  • My blogs validate properly.
  • Feedblitz is sending out emails.
  • Feedly doesn't recognize any of my feeds. if you use Feedly, you won't' be able to read my blogs.

And I'm about to learn all about Wardley Mapping.

I hope you read what you missed. And I hope that when your technology breaks a little at a time, you recognize that early.

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