Posts Tagged ‘Feeddemon’

Ping.fm – not so great for conversation

June 18, 2008

I have been a Twitter addict for about 14 months now and have been playing (lemming like) with other microblogging tools as they have come along been bought to my attention via Twitter.

Plurk was launched recently a few of my Twitter friends went over there so I went too- just to have a look at the shiny new toy.

The trouble was that not everyone did. While Twitter has had problems recently no-one quite wants to abandon it completely. These social network sites are all about the community. If your friends are not there they do not have much value. So the issue becomes how to keep up with those on Plurk and Twitter at the same time.

Plurk is great for conversations but at the moment it has no integration with other sites as Twitter does. It is not yet supported by Friendfeed and I couldn’t get Feeddemon to see the RSS feed – but that could be because I have a private feed.

Ping.fm is designed for those, like me, wanting sometimes to update their status on several sites at once eg Plurk, Twitter, Facebook. It offered a iGoogle gadget from their site so I added it to my iGoogle page and had a very convenient place to post status updates. I shut down Twitter etc when I don’t want distractions but I always have my homepage open.

Trouble happens when someone responds to the status change i.e. wants to start a conversation. Great but if you havent got the site open in your browser or desktop client (like Twirl) you will miss the response and the opportunity to connect. If you had those sites open you wouldn’t need Ping.fm in the first place. It all depends on how and why you are using these types of sites whether you will find Ping.fm useful.

Second change(s)

June 15, 2008

1. In the first iteration of this blog I had a theme in which the RSS feeds for the blog were displayed via a link (not an icon) on the “Meta” widget and I placed it low on the right hand column. On the top of that column was (and is) a widget displaying my recently shared and clipped posts which because it uses an RSS widget also displays an RSS icon/link. One of my readers (my hubby) mistook this for the link for the feed for the blog and subscribed to my shared posts instead of my blog feed. A lesson in usability- make things obvious. I could have made a RSS icon by placing some HTML in a text widget but I decided to change the theme instead. I will probably change themes fairly often. It gives me the opportunity to discover what I would require from the perfect theme. Using WordPress.com as my host means my choice of themes is relatively limited and I can’t change the CSS without paying for an upgrade.  Something for the future- I’ll build up to it.

2. I also wanted to add a library blogroll to the sidebar – in part to pay tribute to all the wonderful librarian bloggers out there and in part to suggest possible sources to anyone new to the biblioblogosphere who may happen to pass this way.  Ideally a blogroll is a dynamic thing and stays in sync with where ever I am reading these feeds. I often add and delete feeds. However the way Newsgator (and Google Reader and Bloglines) generates the link to your feeds is via a small piece of javascript – something not supported by WordPress.com for security reasons. The compromise was to temporarily sync my library folder feeds from FeedDemon to Newsgator. Then in Newsgator find Settings/Edit locations/Web edition/OPML which gave me an OPML URL (after I ticked “expose OPML to all users“). Then in the admin for this blog under Manage links/add new I found a link to Import links. This allowed me to specify an OPML URL. It sure saves adding the links to a blogroll one by one or even downloading the OPML file to a local drive then uploading it to this blog. The compromise it that it will not stay in sync. I will have to repeat the process from time to time until I find another workaround.

Sharing bookmarks and clipped posts

June 11, 2008

One of the things we want to be able to do as librarians is quickly and easily share our newest discoveries with our clients and each other. I wanted to add a display for my shared, bookmarked and clipped items to this blog.

Sharing from an RSS reader
Social bookmarking like del.icio.us is an obvious choice but how about from my feedreaders. Google Reader makes it easy providing an RSS feed for both starred and shared items. But I recently shifted to Feeddemon, a desktop reader because Google Reader cannot see firewalled feeds such as those generated by our internal wiki. Feeddemon has a “add to clippings folder” which acts much like “starred items” in Google Reader. The trick to sharing them was to synchronize with Newsgator – Feeddemon’s online partner.

Problems along the way
Initially I synchronized all my feeds making them available to myself at any computer. The trouble was that for some reason a great number of my feeds stopped updating all at the end of May. It was a busy time for me so I initially didn’t notice. A trawl through Newsgator’s support forums indicated I wasnt alone but that Newsgator were treating incidents on a one at a time basis. I wanted my feeds back quickly. When you use Feeddemon the request for an update for a feed comes from your own PC. When you synchronize via Newsgator they come from the Newsgator servers then are downloaded to the PC. Switching off synchronization updated my feeds again.

Resolution
However, thankfully, turning off synchronization doesn’t turn off synchronizing the “Clipping folders” (don’t ask me why). And there is a RSS feed for it (very hidden but they give you the URL in very tiny font right down the bottom to the page). There is one last step. I wanted to have one place where everything I bookmark online can appear and I use del.icio.us for items I come across not in a reader. I took the RSS feed for my del.icio.us bookmarks and the RSS for my Feeddemon clippings and added both to a  Google Reader folder. I went to (confusingly) “tags” under the Google Reader settings and there made that folder “public”. Then going to “view public page” for the folder gives me the RSS feed for the mashed up feeds which I could add to a widget to display in the sidebar of the blog.