back to article How Apple's early VR experiments accidentally led to RSS

Industry talk has it that Apple is working on "something" to do with virtual reality. If true, it will not be Cupertino's first such effort: twenty years ago the company's first attempt in the field flopped, but ultimately and unintentionally spawned the RSS metadata format used by just about every website everywhere. This …

  1. BurnT'offering

    Thanks RSS dudes

    And Feedly

  2. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Haha, Wired's predicting the death of the web browser isn't that unusual a booboo for them, bless. I don't know if anyone actually takes them seriously, but I occasionally read as I might the The Onion.

  3. Gecko

    I'm surprised your article makes no mention of Aaron Schwartz, as he's frequently quoted as the inventor of RSS, but he would have been about 14 in 2000.

    1. Alister

      I thought he was an actor...

      Aaron Swartz, on the other hand, was involved in the development of RSS.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RSS - Repetative Strain Syndrome . . .

    Funny cos I get that a lot walking into the same, (feckin) physical, brick wall whilst prancing around in me nu VR gaming headgear, don't you know.

  5. Peter Simpson 1

    Point Cast Network

    I remember that. Not only news, but ads as well.

    I never installed it, but a co-worker raved about it.

    This was back in the days of the 386 and Win 3.1, IIRC, and it involved, of course, TSRs and extended/expanded memory.

    1. chris 17 Silver badge

      Re: Point Cast Network

      yep, had it on my mac performa tower thingy, was great as it downloaded stuff whilst i surfed for reading later so the rest of the house could use the phone.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Apple fairly recently removed native RSS from their OS. . .

        . . . was that so they could charge €65 for some RSS readers (for Financial news) from their Mac App store? more at

  6. BoldMan

    I remember all those "fads" with Portals being the way to access the web, how "Push" was going to kill the browser, how XYZ was going to kill the browser, how Active Desktop would kill the browser (instead, it killed the PC it was running on!), how every little damn thing would kill the browser...


    1. The Indomitable Gall

      I wouldn't trust Portals with my data -- GlaDOS apparently has a backdoor put in by the NSA.

  7. Paul Hampson 1

    Where is the Apple VR angle?

    Where is the Apple VR angle again?

    Project X was a 3D project not VR.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where is the Apple VR angle?

      Not only was it not VR, it was really more of a 3D hypercard UI for the web. The author apparently doesn't understand what it was, despite the example he provides. How in the world is moving through links "VR", except in Hollywood's odd vision of how hacker's computers work.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Where is the Apple VR angle?

      Actually "VR" in those days also referred to the stylized cyberpunk Lawnmower Man sort of stuff... not as we think of VR today. They would have labeled a lot of Minority Report as VR.

  8. thames

    And still going strong.

    And I got to this story via my RSS reader (Liferea). I monitor about 5 dozen feeds in my reader. Several hundred headlines go through my reader every day. Without RSS, it would be impractical to follow such a diverse array of sources of information. With it, I just have to glance at the icon in the launcher bar (Ubuntu) to see how many unread stories there are, click on it to go to the desktop with the reader and mark interesting ones, mark the rest as seen, and then click on the winnowed down list of stories to read them in Firefox.

    I can't imagine how I ever did without one. If a web site which publishes regular content doesn't have an RSS feed, it may as well not exist so far as I am concerned.

    If you use a bit of imagination, you can see that it is useful for more than just news. A lot of internal business applications would be good as RSS feeds. For example, is some automatic process late or delayed? Make monitoring it an RSS feed. People who care about it can subscribe or unsubscribe themselves as they see fit, and you don't have to fart about with email subscribe or unsubscribe. Since there are standard RSS readers out there already, you don't have to create your own custom "app" client. There are loads of other potential applications.

    I've implemented RSS feeds, and it's no more difficult than creating a web page. I just picked out an existing RSS feed that I liked, picked apart the source, and used the general layout as a template for my own.

    RSS deserves to be recognised as one of the nearly invisible bits of glue holding the Internet together.

    1. TheTor

      Re: And still going strong.

      Check out Desktop Ticker (no affiliation to myself btw)

      Not dependant on a browser, stand alone program, has a nice little customizable rss ticker I can position just about anywhere on my desktop. No icons to click, just headlines scrolling past like those annoying mid program advertisements on American TV, but without being intrusive.

      After being unable to find a browser ticker that worked to my needs, this is the best I could find online today. Not sure how I would keep up with the news without it.

  9. Gene Cash Silver badge

    I used that!

    Pointcast ate your bandwidth, especially when several dozen people at your small biz had it loaded, and you have a tiny DSL link. We had to outlaw it.

    However I did use that "hot sauce" plugin. It was slower than molasses on a standard 486, which is probably a big reason it died. It would probably actually work today.

    VR is only finally taking off because there's finally 1) decent resolution small displays, courtesy of cell phones, and 2) graphics hardware hefty enough to drive TWO of them, for the stereoscopic effect, and fast enough to have very little lag, to avoid nausea.

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