Streaming attention

Universal Gadget:

"I can imagine using my OPML and other feeds to display things I’m interested in, such as tailored Amazon products I might want to buy that are on sale and new content on the sites I like to get my information from. I can imagine, in the near future, LCD screens scattered around a house, streaming attention information to a person based on their current physical location (if I’m in the kitchen I might want to see feeds related to food and current events, while in my living room, my wall is attending me productivity and work related items."

Tags: Attention, , ,

Comments (7)
  1. Tim Post says:


    I’d like to throw out an idea regarding opml and get your take on it.

    Why are we limiting our measurement of "attention" through opml to just the urls associated with rss feeds? Your post above, "Streaming Attention," touches on the amazing possibilities of extending the types of data which can be captured within the framework of an opml file.

    When I read Attention I think "personal profile."

    I feel the key common denomitor in the opml file, and hence "Attention" is the ubiquitos url.

    Everything in life, really, can be "captured" through a url.

    The url might already exist (e.g. my high school can be represented by This might be called a direct url.

    Or the url might not currently exist (e.g. my mother-in-law would have to be represented by a url, I would need to create, pointing to a photogrpah of her in This might be called an indirect url. Flickr would host this url.

    Bottom line, I can create a profile of myself using urls. This becomes really interesting when combined with the emerging tool of opml files. The opml file enables me to "own" my profile. Opml allows me to capture, organize, share, and port data.

    Imagine a opml profile file that was created using the following websites

    The fun part would be the graphical representation of everyone’s opml file. Forget the "boring" text list of urls for rss feeds. What if this full-bodied opml looked like a blog with all sorts of graphical treatments? Your opml file is your yearbook page on steroids.

    Bottom-line, you ARE your opml file. Your








    bad habits

    frequent flyer accounts

    favorite ice cream

    favorite bloggers

    wish list of books

    music you own

    courses you’ve taken

    choice of toothpaste



    are captured in your opml.

    Once you have this continuosly growing opml file you can really begin turn traditional marketing/advertsing on its ear. You could activate one of the "sockets" in your opml file through an rss feed and all interested companies could bid for your business.

    The key is opml. Fun stuff. Is this what you had in mind with your post above?

    Tim Post

  2. Tim Post says:

    quick update. check-out this link. i went to my opml manager and began building my alter ego profile. it’s here:

  3. MSDNArchive says:

    Tim, thanks for the comments. Yes, I’m with you – there is plenty of potential in opml. My thoughts on the Attention / OPML here.

    My opml is viewable too:

  4. Chris says:

    Good evening Alex and everyone. Thanks very much for using a snippet of our blog on your own. Great to get noticed!

    Tim, just in reference to your comment. As my friend and partner mentioned in his post, Touchstone is actually about a broader definition of attention and content.

    The goal with our project is to create a gadget that streams in content from many sources (including RSS of course) and takes into account many types of attention data to give you information you care about while you’re being productive.

    This post that Alex paraphrased was actually Ashley’s musings about a future world based on our gadget where part of the attention information included the user’s physical location, and extrapolated their most likely priorities based on being in that room and previous rules they had set.

    It’s great to start getting feedback on our little project.

  5. Ashley says:

    Just in case anyone is interested, we will soon be at public alpha – anyone interested in being one of the elite few to see it sooner-rather-then-later feel free to let us know.

    We’re extremely interested in user feedback about TouchStone. Our primary goal from thestart, is to shift attention data rules onto the client, and while this isnt typically very web 2.0 of us, we feel that the person BEST suited to managing your attention data is, well, you!

    Very excited to be on Alex’s blog, and we hope to hear from all of you ASAP.

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