Quash my iDeas

Everytime I think up something new that I think would be great and cool and incredible and what not, it turns out that someone else has already thought of it before me. I mean, think about it - there are 6,394,668,853+ people in this world. Although I happen to be one of the intelligent ones, there are still at least 63,946,688+ persons who are smarter than me. What are the chances that not one of these 63,946,688 smart guys has had the same idea that I had? The odds are vanishingly small.

Unless it’s a singular idea. An idea, the odds of whose sprouting are vanishingly small! 1

Theorem: Almost all good ideas are duplicates.

Corollary: Only a remarkably remarkable idea can be unique.

Unfortunately, today’s idea wasn’t one of those remarkable ones; it was pretty simple. I have a feed for this blog. I also have a feed for my Bloglines clip blog. This afternoon, Prerit asked me where the feed for his Flickr photostream was. And that got me thinking that if I had a Flickr account too, I would have a third feed.

Anyone tracking my feeds would have to deal with three different feeds, although all are syndicating stuff that comes from me. The solution is obvious - a feed muxer that takes all my feeds and publishes a combined feed.

Since the solution is obvious, by the theorem above, someone must have already got the same idea and must have even implemented it. So I searched and sure enough, came upon this feed_combiner script which does pretty much what I had in mind.

But this idea is so blindingly obvious that more than one person ought to have done something about it. Turns out, there’s a company betting their next round of VC funding on this idea. Feedburner takes your feed and does all sorts of nifty things to it. One of them is to take your blog feed, Flickr feed and Bloglines feed and mux them all up into a delectable sundae. It even applies some XSLT voodoo to make it look good in plain web browsers.

Take a look at my muxed feed, which you can subscribe to now.

The question of why you would want to subscribe to my feeds is left as an exercise to the reader.

1 This odds game is somewhat like the odds of Arthur Dent being picked up by Zaphod in the latter’s Infinite Improbability Drive driven ship.