Thursday, December 16, 2021

New delivery rhythm for FOSS Patents emails: post by post, no longer a daily digest

Many of you follow my blog by means of an email subscription to new posts. I once had a conversation with a reader who had even forgotten that it's actually a blog, i.e., a website, and thought it was just an email newsletter :-)

In the summer I had to switch from FeedBurner, whose email notification service Google unfortunately discontinued, to All in all, migration worked well, but there were three practical issues:

  1. If I did multiple posts on a given day, there were no headlines at the start of the email. FeedBurner generated those when there were at least three posts on a given day (they should have done so for two posts as well, but doesn't do that at all). As a result, people who found the first post not to be of interest to them often failed to see the one below.

  2. When FeedBurner generated those emails, it used the latest version of a post, and I fix typos all the time. Most oof them I identify myself, but the posts are easier to read after publication than in "edit" mode, or readers point me to them., however, stores all new posts in a cache that it never seems to refresh. Only when I made corrections within a minute or two of the original publication of a post did I see those changes reflected in the emails.

  3. aggregates articles from multiple sources in a "newspaper" (a daily digest). What happened is that some readers who also subscribed to Professor Thomas Cotter's Comparative Patent Remedies blog missed my posts because his posts (if they went live on the same day) appeared at the top of those emails. I like Professor Cotter's blog, but I don't want my own posts to be hidden below his. Especially when multiple news sources are aggregated into a single "newspaper" email, there should be headlines at the top, and I've been telling this to the folks since the summer (their current multi-source newspaper format makes no sense, though with headlines it would be a nice idea). But they're not going to make that daily newspaper format work anytime soon, so I have opted for a workaround based on the features offers at this time.

I've changed two settings: you now get a separate email for every post (I promise to switch back to daily newspapers if and when finally provides headlines), and they won't go out immediately after publication but only when I hit an "approve" button in an email the server sends me. That gives me control over which version of a post actually gets sent out.

Single-post emails would have cluttered people's mailboxes in the first few years of FOSS Patents, when there were sometimes five or six posts on a given day at the height of the "smartphone patent wars." Now I typically do only one post on a given day, sometimes two, and only rarely three or more.

All going well, this new delivery method should already work for the emails with which this present post is delivered to my esteemed subscribers.

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