Forgotten software, space junk

Over a year ago I wrote a column called The First Mass Web Extinction . Among the casualties was Netscape's Open Directory-based custom RSS channel mechanism, which had just been summarily abandoned. Notwithstanding, I was still receiving error messages from Netscape's RSS aggregator, and I wrote :

I'd appreciate it, anyway, if somebody at Netscape could at least track down that poor aggregator and put it out of its misery.

This morning I received this missive from Netscape:

Dear JudellJ,

We experienced a problem retrieving your Rich Site Summary file. The error is:

Range Error: occurrences of 'item' must be between 0 and 15 when in 'channel'

We are currently displaying the content we successfully retrieved earlier in your My Netscape channel window and will continue to display this content until the problem is corrected. Please fix this problem as soon as possible. If you would like help in correcting the error noted in the above message, please visit

If the problem lies in the URL you have submitted to us, you can correct it at

You do not need to contact us when you resolve the problem; our systems will automatically check for a corrected file. Thanks for your help and participation in this program.

The My Netscape Team

It's touching to imagine that poor aggregator process soldiering on, day after day, running on a forgotten machine somewhere in the bowels of Netscape. Software, once it has been made to work, tends to just keep on working, and we should all be grateful for that.

But it's a little frightening, too. Reminds me of the space junk that's accumulating in orbit.

Former URL: