Mofuse: Instant iPhone-savvy web sites?

The tagline for Mofuse is a little overhyped. As far as I can tell, they provide a nifty self-provisioning capability to take an RSS feed and turn it into a mobile device optimized page—kind of a turnkey version of Dave Winer’s NYTimesRiver. Of course I’m oversimplifying and it’s more than that, like the ability to put in custom entries. But to say, as TechCrunch does, that MoFuse “instantly converts sites for the iPhone” is overstating things a bit. But is what it does (as opposed to what is claimed) useful?

I set up my own MoFuse site to check it out. If you point your mobile device to, you’ll see a mobile-optimized version of my site. My one criticism so far: the stylesheet they are using on the iPhone seems to strip way too much out of the source text. Taking a look at one of the articles (my What makes a good product manager post, for instance), you’ll see that there are neither indents nor vertical separation between paragraphs, and that the bullets are stripped out of unordered lists. So for lengthy posts it’s not a pleasant reading experience.

Considering that the mobile-savvy version of Bloglines already allows you to get updates from an arbitrary number of RSS feeds, it would seem that the main value-add of MoFuse is the ability to insert mobile-only content, and the ability to present a custom look and feel to mobile users. If more and more people only have a mobile user experience, that’s probably worth something.

Typography is everywhere

I think that at the beginning of the campaign season, I was quite happy to handicap the field of candidates by their typography and logo decisions. Now that we’re down to three, an article on the typography of the 2008 presidential candidates seems a day late and a dollar short—not to mention, didn’t the Boston Globe already do this article? And the New York Times?

In fresher typographic news, a word for what happens to type when it is poorly kerned: keming. You have to be a type geek to get it, unless you look at an example.