When I reviewed (update) the mobile edition of the Feedalot RSS aggregator a while ago I noted that images in feeds were removed and replaced with the text “[image removed]”. Links in feeds got the same treatment, being replaced with “[link removed]”. Given the constraints of most phone browsers, I think it’s reasonable for Feedalot to remove images and external links, although I could do without the …removed messages which break up the flow of the item text.
But what if you have a powerful smartphone or are using Opera Mini on your not so smart phone? Wouldn’t it be nice to see the images and follow the links? Well you can. I found a couple of alternate urls, apparently intended for PDA’s which will show your feeds with images and external links intact. A word of warning, the images are NOT resized to mobile friendly dimensions so proceed with caution if you have metered data access. If you’re using Opera Mini, you should be OK as images are resized on Opera’s server which helps to reduce the amount of data sent. The image on the right shows how Opera Mini resizes a 450 pixel wide image to just fit the phone screen.
The two URL’s (both of which seem to return identical results) for accessing the PDA version of Feedalot are:
A couple of caveats. The last part of these urls, after .com/, is case sensitive so watch the capitalization. Also, when logging in to these urls, the option to “Remember Me” seems broken, so you have to login every time. The whole “Remember Me” thing on Feeedalot is a little iffy. Even with the normal phone url (http://mob.feedalot.com/feedalot/Mobile60/) , you will only see the “Remember Me” checkbox if your phone or your provider’s WAP gateway, sends a unique identifier in the http headers. With the Openwave gateways used by Nextel, Cingular and Verizon the header is x-up-subno. I don’t know if the Nokia gateway that T-Mobile uses sends a unique identifier or not. I do know that Sprint’s gateway only sends one if the site you are visiting is a Sprint partner. Feedalot won’t remember you unless your phone sends the same value in x-up-subno every time AND Feedalot can set and retrieve a persistent cookie. Most mobile sites just rely on a cookie which works reliably on more different networks and phones. For WAP1 users, I’ve updated the Yeswap html to wml transcoder to pass through custom headers like x-up-subno so Feedalot can remember you – providing your provider’s gateway sends a unique ID. It works for me on Nextel, I don’t know about other networks.
Finally, I want to share what I found out about how Feedalot’s browser detection works. Everyone, regardless of what kind of browser they are using, is supposed to connect to http://mob.feedalot.com and Feedalot will theoretically optimize it’s presentation to the browser. I’m OK with this sort of browser detection as long as there is some way for the user override it when it doesn’t do the right thing. Of course, the browser detection override has to be published to be useful.
As near as I can figure out what happens when you connect to mob.feedalot.com is:
1) If Feedalot detects a phone browser, it redirects to:
2) If it sees a Palm OS device, it redirects to:
3) If it finds a Windows Mobile device. it redirects to:
4) Anything else is assumed to be a desktop browser and gets redirected to the full PC site at:
So, if your not seeing the version of Feedalot you want, just use one of the above URL’s to change your experience.