Tag: <span>Google Reader</span>

It was only back in December that I pondered this but with the news that Google Reader is to shut down I find myself revisiting some of those choices.

I still use Google Reader heavily, I consume it mostly through the website itself and via Reeder on my iPad, so it’s annoying that they are pulling this service.

But, as the adage goes, you get what you pay for, so I find myself, once again, revisiting the ‘what am I willing to pay for’ line of thought.

There are a few alternatives to Google Reader out there, I’ve tried some myself in the past, and already the tech blogs are offering their ‘best alternatives to’ posts.

But for me, the new consideration has to be whether I have the option to pay for the service with the hope that it offers a level of protection against the service disappearing on me. It’s either that or roll my own, or perhaps a 3rd party option like Fever (I have a server, and it is an option I might look at when I have more time, i.e. probably never!).

So far, of the many suggestions, the one I’ll be trying is NewsBlur precisely because it has a ‘paid for’ option.

As well as the specific impact of Google closing Reader to those that use the service, the fact that a company as rich as Google is (rightly) shutting down services that it sees no value from is a trend that is likely to start to pick up momentum.

Instagram prompted my original post on the “Going Paid” trend, how long before FaceBook push that application behind a paid for subscription?

Time will tell how this trend will pan out, but one thing remains constant and that’s the ever shifting nature of social media applications and their usage models.

Work

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I have an admission. I’m lazy. I work hard to get around that basic character trait but it remains there in the background, nagging away at me. Professional pride stops it influencing my work (I manage a lean, mean to-do list to keep me on track), but when it comes to things on the periphery I happily admit I’ll look for an easy, hassle-free solution if I can find one.

This has lead to me develop some little working habits which help me keep on top of the mass of information which I divert my way, largely through RSS feeds. I monitor many different feeds as I like to keep up with latest developments and discussions about our profession, it also makes it easier for me to write my monthly column – Blog News – for the ISTC Newsletter.

The workflow includes monitoring RSS feeds in Google Reader, and a web application called Instapaper which, with one click, bookmarks posts I want to read later. I then have another web application called Twitter Feed which monitors the RSS feed from Instapaper, and sends the links to my Twitter account as “retweets”. One click, gives me collation and sharing of articles and posts. Quite powerful.

Of course, at some point, there needs to be time to digest all this information and when it comes to that there have been a few interesting ideas appearing recently. These services will aggregate content by monitoring various places, and displaying the articles (links) they find in a more readable format.

In a way, Instapaper will do this, allowing you to read the text of an article without having to visit the website (a bit like Google Reader), but other services are starting to offer more graphical views, such as that provided by Paper.li.

The idea behind Paper.li is to create a ‘newspaper’ built from focussed articles. You tell it where to look for links and it does some nifty processing. Here’s one based on my Twitter account. It’s a bit basic at the moment, but has a lot of potential. I can see me using a few of these as ‘starting pages’, fire them up, get some coffee and spend a few minutes looking at intelligently collated content.

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The blogs I read are written by a reasonably diverse group of people. Naturally I steer clear of people who have hateful views, or from which I’m not going to learn anything except that they like the sound of their own voice, but on the whole I read interesting posts written by intelligent people.

When people ask me why I blog, what I get from it, why I bother, I tell them this. I tell them that, whilst there is a level of chaff which you need to sort through (that ‘Next’ button in Google Reader is a lifesaver at times), there are times when you get a series of blog posts on a particular topic that really make you sit back and think.

I quite like being challenged, being made to think, so I consider this a good thing.

And so it was recently when Clay Shirky wrote a piece titled A Rant About Women, which tempted Tom Coates out of hiatus to write a post titled Should we encourage self-promotion and lies?, which was followed yesterday by a piece from danah boyd titled whose voice do you hear? gender issues and success.

Such things are an example of why blogging is a good thing. Someone states their opinion in a fairly even handed way and people respond like adults (the downside of the internet can be found in a lot of the comments, Twitter posts and other ranting nonsense that erupted after Clay posted his article).

As for the issue being discussed in these posts I have to agree with Tom, particularly when he talks about how arrogance and confidence have a place in your “personality toolbox”, but the person who only has those tools is all the poorer for it. Unfortunately society, and certainly the workplace, still seem to favour people with confidence when what we should be doing is cutting through the noise to see what substance lies underneath.

Interestingly I did have in mind a post about how men objectify women (which I’ll still write up for another time) but got sidetracked by danah’s article. Well worth reading all three of them.

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Whilst my bagels toast, in prepartion for a rather unhealthy yet delicious slathering of coronation chicken, I thought I’d quickly jump on the computer to google a couple of things.

That was about an hour ago. The bagels have long since popped up and announced themselves by distributing a salivating scent throughout the house, yet here I sit, working away.

I’ve just sent off a mockup to a new client, and this afternoon (in lieu of gardening, again) I’ll be finishing off the design of another website.

Whilst here I nipped onto Google Reader and found myself absorbed in the latest post from the Queen of the Internet. I currently have a post languishing in draft that touches on a little of this, but as ever someone else, someone who is actually qualified to say something in this area, says it much better than I could (and, as ever, posted before I did too!).

Ohh and whilst I remember, tomorrow is the first weigh-in of the new regime. I did look back over the information I logged through January and February and I’m quite pleased that I have managed to keep off some of the weight I started the year with (8lbs). So at least I won’t be starting completely from scratch.

Right, off to reheat some bagels, then I’ll come back and, at some point, finish off that blog post.

Well, it’s either that or gardening (something I am beginning to think I am genetically programmed to loathe).

Life

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Since getting my iPhone I’ve tweaked my working practises a little but, thankfully, not a lot. As most of the applications I use for my daily life (email, RSS reading, that kind of thing) are well served on the iPhone it’s been a painless transition and it’s great to have everything working, sync’d up and serving ME (unlike my previous phone which I spent far too many hours wrestling with). One thing that it has improved is my use of list/task (To Do style) based applications.

I’ve never really found an application I was comfortable with but, since shifting the rest of my productivity based activities to the web and with the iPhone providing an excellent platform for such things, I’ve been trying out a few other list applications and finally I’ve settled on Zenbe. Why? Because you can sync between the website and the iPhone app, giving me something akin to GMail and Google Reader. It’s working well for me so far.

That aside, I’m currently working on some web design with two websites in mind. The priority work is for a client but whilst I’m in the mood I’m jotting down ideas for another website as well.

Mind you I’m still a little amazed that we are heading towards the end of September and, looking ahead at the calendar, I’m pretty busy right the way through October and early November with a variety of nights out, family events and gigs (Elbow, Aimee Mann and Sigur Ros) to attend by which time, dare I say it, Christmas will be the main consideration. Erk!

Still, I’m finally able to start jogging with jogScotland again, kicking off the usual 10 week block on the 1st October and I have to say I’m quite excited by the prospect of getting back out there again on a regular basis and getting a basic level of fitness back, something which will help me in other areas of my life as well.

Life

Having been off ill for a couple of weeks, almost completely off-line for that time, I’m still catching up with work and my blog reading. The beauty of monitoring RSS feeds is that all I need to do is check through my unread items list in Google Reader and, finally, it’s approaching zero.

Over on the right you can download a file which contains links to all the RSS feeds I monitor (it’s an OPML file and most RSS feed reading applications will be able to import it). That said I am always on the lookout for more good quality blogs in the area of technical communications, design, information development and anything else that may be of interest. If you have any favourites you think I, and everyone else, would enjoy, please let me know by leaving a comment.

There is another reason for this, namely that I’m about to start writing a monthly summary of what is going on in the technical communications blogosphere. And that’s the last time I’ll be using that horrible word.

Work

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It took me a while to ‘get’ RSS feeds but now that I have I find myself quite happily subscribing to them, willy-nilly. I figure I’d rather have a lot of sources than not enough.

This does mean that sometimes I don’t read all the posts, but I’ve made my peace with the “Mark as Read” option in Google Reader.

Since I first posted the feed compilation I’ve added a few different sources and it’s about due an update, and here it is.

Due to the rather cumbersome way this is created I’ve not, yet, got a “what’s changed” list, but I’m working on that, I’ll post it to the feed page once it’s done.

Work

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Dear, …grayblog…, A beautiful revolution: blog, Amateur Shutterbug, An Unreliable Witness, Autoblography, Back in a Bit, Becky’s T-Blog, bitful, Blackbeltjones/Work, Blogging and Knitting; The Home of Domesticated Bloggage, Blogzira…, bloomfield.me.uk, Blue Witch, bob’s yer uncle, Boob Pencil, Boob Pencil, Chasing Daisy, Comfortable Disorientation, d4d, Dave Gorman, Day to Day Life of a Very Lazy Gardener, Delboy’s Daughter, diamond geezer, dooce, eachman.com, frizzyLogic, Fuddland, furtive minx, Girl with a one-track mind, GirlonaTrain, Glenn Wolsey, greavsie!, Hydragenic, I like, iand.net, JonnyB’s private secret diary, Justin Blanton, Kitchen Witch: a farrago of obscene witlessness., le petit hiboux | owls gone wild, Life Without Toast – Sibling Rivalry, little.red.boat, mattobee.com, McFilter, meish dot org, Mental Kipple, minor9th.com, My Boyfriend Is A Twat, naked blog, neil writes the blog, NON-WORKINGMONKEY, Not a blog, Pandemian, Peregrinations, Pete Ashton’s Weblog, petite anglaise, Pewari’s Prattle, plasticbag.org, Private Secret Diary, problemchildbride.com Blog, Quixotic Evil, Random Acts Of Reality, Random Burblings, Razor-blade of Life, Real E Fun, reasons to be cheerful…, Redemption Blues, Rise v4, S A S H I N K A, s e v i t z d o t c o m | all feeds feed., Sad, Sweet Songs & Crazy Rhythms, Scam City version 9.0, slothblog, Smaller Than Life, Some Guy On A Journey, Sometimes Funny is All I Have, Sore Eyes, Speaking as a parent, status anxiety, SwissToni’s Place, Symbolic Forest, Tabula Rasa, the blog, The Misssy M Misssives, The Scottish Lemon, the Ulterior, TheCatGirlSpeaks, This Is The Goo I’ve Got, This Is This, timboblog, Tired Dad, Tired of Men, troubled diva, washing-up, What makes you happy ?, what’s new, pussycat?, Woke Up This Morning, www.croila.net,

Just wanted to let you know that I may not have commented in a while but I’m still reading.

Your avid reader,

Gordon

(no, this post didn’t take long to pull together at all, read on if you want the how to…)

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