Ed note: In this guest post, veteran Hacks series author Paul Bausch takes on a challenge that’s been on my todo list for a while, providing a solution that should be of immediate interest to all readers of this site and just might serve as a seed for future hacking around here.
I have a shelf full of O’Reilly Hacks books across a wide range of subjects. I contributed a couple in the Web Applications category, but I also have Hacks books about digital photography, hardware, scripting languages, gaming, and operating systems. The series has introduced me to a number of authors who are doing unusual things with technology in their particular area of expertise. I thought it would be interesting to follow each of these authors outside of the Hacks series by subscribing to their blogs, collectively. I figured it would be a good way to keep up with areas of technology that I’m not necessarily tuned into. I have a collection of blogs that I read to keep up with what’s happening in Web Applications, but I don’t have a sense of what’s going on with gaming, for example.
So I went on a mission to gather the Hacks authors’ blogs using the tools I know best: Web Applications. I started with an Amazon power query for books by O’Reilly with “Hacks” in the title via the Amazon API, and ended up with a list of 80 authors’ full names. I plugged each name into Google by hand, adding the word “blog” (or if that didn’t turn anything up, “hacks”). Then I visited the blog to make sure it was the Hacks author I was looking for, clicked the orange feed button in the Firefox address field to get the feed URL, and copied the URL to a text file. I ended up with a list of 40 feeds. (A 50% blogging rate among an arbitrary group isn’t too shabby.)
I plugged the feeds into Google Reader, and renamed each feed the author’s full name. Here’s what the final list looks like (click for larger view):
Here’s the list of feeds as OPML if you’d like to try it: Hacks Authors.
I’ve only been tuning into this list for a few days, but I’m already getting to know these authors in a new way. And I was right—I am finding out about developments in tech areas I don’t normally tune into. I especially found Brian K. Jones’s recent post about Fighting Specialization appropriate, something I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.