Tag Archives: rss

Where Do You Read the News?

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My dog, Wicket, decided to demonstrate how to use Google News. I figured I’d let him.

Wicket proved in a matter of seconds how easy it is to consume your news right within Google. You’re likely already using it as your search engine or home page on your desktop, laptop and mobile devices. Why not use it to find out what’s going on in the world around you, as well?

How do you find the news? Do you use a particular website or service to alert you? Where do you go to read up on the latest happenings around the globe?

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Top 10 Signs That You're a Social Media Douchebag

Listen. I don’t have a problem with the world of “social media.” I have a problem with the carpetbaggers inside of it. This video better explains the type of person I’m referring to:

And lest you forget, “social media” was once referred to as “new media.” Any guesses as to what the next label will be? Hopefully, it won’t be “douche media.”

So, are you a social media douchebag? Here’s a checklist:

  1. You haven’t done anything but regurgitate what other people have done.
  2. You can call yourself a “Social Media Expert” without giggling.
  3. You suggest everything is a “fail” before you’ve moved out of your parents’ house.
  4. You think the world begins and ends with one or two blogs.
  5. You once had “marketing” or “PR” splashed across your business card.
  6. You make liberal use of the word “conversation” when nobody is talking to (or about) you.
  7. You only attend events that provide professional “opportunity” advancement.
  8. You have no industry perspective or prowess, yet you offer it.
  9. You use the term “Web 2.0” without knowing what it actually is.
  10. You think this list doesn’t really apply to you.

And before you point a guilty finger in my direction, Gnomedex was covering blogging and RSS back in 2001 before half of you assclowns had your own feed. In 1996, WordPress and Twitter and Facebook didn’t exist – but that didn’t stop some of us from sharing information with the world.

To the best of my knowledge (and understanding of history): it’s IMPOSSIBLE to define or label an era until we’ve passed through it completely. Nobody was wandering around during the “Dark Ages” talking about how they were living in the “Dark Ages.” Web 2.0 is a conference – not a technology or period of time.

Do you realize just how ridiculous some of you sound?

Record Your Life with AudioBoo

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Brian Person was a Gnomedex attendee this past summer. During our open mic show-and-tell session, he wanted to share his favorite iPhone audio recording app with us.

Not only does AudioBoo work on the iPhone, you can also use it from your home telephone, using PhoneBoo! It will record up to five minutes’ worth of high-quality audio, and will immediately publish your Boo to the website upon finish.

You can also send it out over your Twitter stream, so that you can share it with the World. In addition, you will be provided with an RSS of your recordings, so that you can later turn them into a podcast if you wish.

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How to Get a Lifestream

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Devir has a very important screencast for you today. He’s going to show you how you can become an active member of my new venture site, Lockergnome.NET. This is different from the original Lockergnome, so pay attention. Registration on the new site is open to anyone and everyone. It’s a place where you can easily integrate all of your social media activities into one spot on the web. Add a blog, pull in all of your feeds, and connect with others… all for no cost to you! Thanks to Devir for the screencast!

When you first visit the new site, you’ll of course need to sign up. Choose a screen name, and fill in your information. After you receive the activation email (usually within a moment or two), you can begin! I suggest first choosing a unique avatar, one that reflects you and who you are!

Next you’re going to want to set up your activity stream. This is pretty simple to do. At the top of the Lockergnome page, you’ll see where it says “My Blogs”. Hover your mouse there, and then hover over your blog name. From the second pop-out of choice, you want to choose “Dashboard”. If you’re not familiar with WordPress, don’t panic! It’s not difficult to learn.

On the left, down towards the bottom, you’ll see where it says “Lifestream”. This will take you to the page where you can add all of your feeds! You’ll see a huge list here. First, select a feed from the list. Once you do, you’ll need to enter your feed URL, and name it whatever you wish (or leave it at the default name). Lastly, you want to click “Add Feed” at the bottom. The page will refresh, and your feed is added.

You can make a status update or a blog post whenever you choose. However, you don’t “have” to do this. All of your activity on the social networks you add to your account will automatically be aggregated right there in one place!

Another thing you can do to personalize your page, is to play around with the widgets available. On the Dashboard, go to Appearance (over on the left), and then choose “Widgets”. You’ll see a number of different things you can drag-and-drop to help customize your Lifestream page a little more. For instance, you may want to have your personal blog or website content show up here on Lockergnome. You can do that! Drag the “RSS Feed” icon over to the right where it says “Sidebar 1”. Drop it right there when the little box shows up. Add the RSS feed URL from your blog or website, name it, and save it!

This site is simple to use, free to use, and important to use. You want to keep all of your information in one place. Lockergnome gives you a way to do that!

Thanks, Devir, for an excellent screencast that will hopefully help others get their new Lifestream set up!

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How to Get RSS Feeds via Email

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Wicket is one who believes RSS is dead. He thinks that Twitter has replaced RSS as a means of receiving information. Just about every site out there has an RSS feed, which can be delivered to you via your Email if you choose. Did you know that every Twitter user has their own RSS feed? At one point, I swore that Email was dead, and was being replaced by RSS feeds. So it’s funny that Wicket claims RSS is now dead!

Let’s get back to the whole receiving RSS feeds via your Email. There’s a service out there that will easily allow you to add and manage your feeds, and have them delivered right to your inbox. Feed My Inbox is a free service that allows blogs, feeds and news to magically show up in your inbox.

Find the site you would like to track, such as a blog, a news site, twitter feed, or even craigslist search results. Most browsers will display whether there is a feed on the page or not. Find the RSS icon on the right side of your browser. Once you find a feed you would like to subscribe to, simply type in the URL for that site on Feed My Inbox. The service will locate feeds available on that site, and allow you to choose what you want to subscribe to.

After you verify your email address, you’re set. You’ll receive an email each time the feed is updated – but not more than once in a 24-hour period. This cuts down on clutter in your inbox. So, if there’s one update or twenty, you’ll receive only one email with everything inside.

You can also easily unsubscribe to any or all of your feeds whenever you choose. At the bottom of each new update/email, there will be an unsubscribe link. Click it once, and you’ll never receive updates from that particular site again.

Feed My Inbox is a great way to stay connected, and stay on top of the news, without having to go searching for it.

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Google’s FeedBurner Problems on the FrontBurner: You’re SOL

I held off on transferring my feeds to FeedBurner, but was eventually convinced that it was going to help more than hurt.

Today, I’m strongly considering taking my feeds back – out of the hands of FeedBurner / Google. I’m definitely not the only one who is discontent with FeedBurner’s service. There have been several reports of problems, but very little reassurance that FeedBurner has stayed true to the users that helped build the service.

I noticed the other day that when I was the fifth blogger to write about the TechCrunch tablet, my post did not show up in TechMeme. Odd. I know I’m in the list, and I know I sourced the original post and wrote plenty about the topic.

Turns out, my freakin’ FeedBurnered feed isn’t rendering much more than the first two sentences of any given post – without links. I knew something had been off for a while, but didn’t realize the problem was THAT bad. For some reason unknown to FeedBurner engineers, items that used to show full content are no longer showing full content to some aggregators.


Their response? I’m “SOL” (their term, not mine):

This is an issue of the particular browsers choosing to render the description element in their display instead of the content element. I think he’s SOL. In fact, I see the same artifact in both his source feed and FB feed in Firefox. If you force the system to do server-site browser-friendly rendering… you see full content.

So, is it my source feed that’s causing problems, or the FeedBurner feed?

https://chris.pirillo.com/feed/ – Source

http://feeds.pirillo.com/ChrisPirillo – FeedBurner

Do you see any difference between those two feeds in your aggregator / browser? I know this post won’t show up on TechMeme, either – so there’s little chance other FeedBurner users will see…

What Kind of Magazines do You Like?

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Years ago, my Dad sold magazines for a living. I really haven’t subscribed to any for a long time. Do any of you actually subscribe to any magazines, and actually have them delivered to your house? It seems that with some of them, even if you stop paying for them… they keep showing up! I’ve had several in the past that I just quit paying, because I no longer wanted to receive them. Yet they still keep coming! Usually, by the time news reaches your mailbox in a magazine… it’s already old news. You’ve read it online, or watched it on television. Even weekly periodicals can be out of date by the time it gets to you.

What if you want to create your own magazine and archive it forever and ever? You might head over to Tabbloid. You don’t even need to sign up to get started with things. You really can create your own ‘magazine’.

Enter in the RSS feeds that you want to read. Choose what email you want it sent to, along with the day(s) and time(s) you want it sent. Voila! That’s all there is to it. As soon as you set your options, you can click on “generate now” at the bottom. Your .pdf will be created and opened, ready to read or even print.

RSS feeds are everywhere. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be an RSS feed… it could be an Atom feed. Any website that has a feed is able to be placed into your magazine. You can read and delete it, save it for later, print it out, or even just archive it forever. It may be what you’ve been looking for all these years.


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The State of Tech Culture in Iowa

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On my recent trip home to Iowa, I was able to meet up with several business and personal friends at a Des Moines Tweet-Up. We discussed RSS Feeds and how Twitter has replaced them for me. Nathan played “interviewer” on this video with me.

Back in ‘the day’, we used to have to visit web pages to get our information. Those pages didn’t tell us when they updated, so we had to find out manually. Then, along came RSS. The idea was you could subscribe to something, and it would tell you when there was a new update. Now comes Twitter, with its flood of information that allows me to spot trends in general. Twitter has supplanted the information I used to receive in my news aggregator. I don’t follow many websites anymore, and don’t really ‘subscribe’ to anything. For me, if something is going to be relevant, I’m going to read about it on Twitter. With Twitter, I’m able to follow people much easier. As disorganized as it is, it’s easier for me to learn about personalities. You can understand thoughts and feelings much easier than you could with a simple RSS feed.

Nathan then brings up my hometown of Des Moines, Iowa. He wonders what sorts of things does Des Moines have to do to attract and retain a creative class of people? My answer is simple… imports. The chief export of the Midwest is people. The problem is that as much as you could hope to attract people with the similar mindset, to change the culture is nearly impossible. The path of least resistance is to find your way to groups, such as physical meet-ups like this one. You want to look for forward thinkers, people who have new ideas and aren’t afraid to put them into action.

Back in 1992 when I was in college, the Internet was just starting to really get off the ground, and was being offered to students. When I was ready to start having a presence on the Internet, people in Des Moines looked at me like I was a crazy man. They just weren’t ready for it. It’s the culture, and it’s not that there’s anything ‘wrong’ with it. It’s just the way it is. People have to be shown that technology isn’t a thing to be feared… it should be embraced. Iowa’s infrastructure is there, but the mind structure isn’t.

I love that I’m no longer the “ugly duckling” when I return home to Iowa. There are more and more people like me! We’re a group, and I love it! The only way to change that culture is to teach that culture. Don’t keep it inside an echo chamber. Make it real. Make connections with people online and offline. Educate them. You’ll find then that your treasures will come pouring in.


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RSS and OPML for Feed Subscriptions

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When RSS first hit the web, no one really knew about it. It started to become a little more popular as more people started to post content. All these blog platforms started to publish these syndicated feeds. I give full credit to Dave Winer. If it weren’t for Dave, RSS and Blogging wouldn’t even exist in my mind.

I got a question from a reader who asked if there’s any way to import and export RSS subscriptions back and forth between RSS readers. The answer to that is yes, there is a simple way. If you use a Web browser, you have probably seen the RSS icon.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines or podcasts. An RSS document contains either a summary of content from an associated web site or the full text. RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with their favorite web sites in an automated manner that can be piped into special programs or filtered displays.

RSS content can be read using software called an “RSS reader”, “feed reader” or an “aggregator”. The user subscribes to a feed by entering the feed’s link into the reader or by clicking an RSS icon in a browser that initiates the subscription process. The reader checks the user’s subscribed feeds regularly for new content, downloading any updates that it finds.

All of the newer Operating Systems come with built-in Feed Readers. Safari is the only Web browser that hasn’t picked up on the universal RSS icon yet. An RSS feed is designed to be used with a news aggregator. It checks to see which of your Feed subscriptions have updates, and then delivers them to you. But how do you synchronize all of your RSS feeds? I have plenty, let me tell you.

Leave it to Dave… he came up with something called OPML. In your news aggregator there’s going to be a way for you to export your subscriptions. When you export your subscriptions, it should save it as an OPML file. That file should be able to be imported into any other news aggregator. You can easily move your subscriptions back and forth as often as you want, from and to any news aggregator of your choosing.


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Aaron Johnson

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Aaron Johnson talking tech with Molly Stanberry at Gnomedex 2007.
Aaron claims to be writing with 50% less caffeine now. How the heck any Geek could do that is beyond me!

Aaron Johnson is a programmer living in Portland, Oregon. Aaron is the creator of InstantFeeds. InstantFeeds feed bot he wrote that allows RSS feeds to be instantly delivered to an IM client.

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