Part of why I have so many RSS feeds in my reader (234 at the moment — picked up three more this week) is because it is so easy to subscribe to things I run across in my day-to-day online activity. I’m currently using the Better GReader plugin for Firefox, which compiles some of the best Greasemonkey scripts for Google Reader. One thing I really like about it is the “Auto Add to Reader (Bypass iGoogle Choice)” feature, which saves me a few clicks.
This particular assignment asks us to make use of directories like Technorati and Feedster to locate feeds we want to subscribe to. I’m going to not do that, since I already have more to read than I have time to read. In any case, those tools have not been particularly useful to me in the past. I tend to find new feeds through links from the ones I’m currently reading.
The first part of the assignment is to set up a feed reader. I’ve used a variety of feed readers, from desktop readers to online readers, and by far I prefer the online readers. The mobility alone makes them a winner, since I read feeds using several different computers. Here’s my current OPML file, which has been slightly edited and reorganized for public consumption (i.e. you don’t need to know about my ego feeds).
Over the years, have had to cull my feeds periodically. There are several news sites or blogs that I would love to be able to keep up with, but I don’t have the time to process the volume of content they generate on a daily basis. Currently, I have about 231 subscriptions, several of which are for dead feeds that I haven’t cleaned out yet.
I am perpetually behind on reading all of my subscriptions. There are a few that I hit regularly, but the rest are saved for times when I need to take my mind off of whatever problem I am working on at the moment. With this many feeds, RSS is a time shifting or bookmarking tool, and I’m okay with that. Twitter has become my source for the latest OMG news.
I first thought I might write about my new iMac and falling in love with the OS, but instead I’m going to write a bit about a new mashup tool that a colleague introduced me to today. It’s called Widgenie, and it takes Excel or CSV files and makes nifty graphs and charts out of the data.
I’ve done this several times using Excel, and often I find that there are too many things to tweak to do just a quick and dirty graph or chart for a meeting/presentation. With Widgenie, I found the opposite to be true. Cell formats are limited to text, number, and date/time, and for the life of me, I could not get it to show data for resources over a period of time (i.e. one year of use stats for a collection of databases).
That being said, the tool is in Beta, so it’s possible that greater functionality will come. For now, though, it’s probably useful for only simple graphs and charts, such as this:
So, we’ve been doing this thing at work following the Learning 2.0 model that Helene Blowers developed for the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County a few years ago. We’re on week three and thing five & six, which involve posting something on Flickr (been doing that since March 2005), adding it to the pool, and then blogging about the experience. Alternatively, participants can find an interesting photo on Flickr and include it in a blog entry (with proper attribution, of course).
For me, doing the basics was nothing new, so that part was… well… boring. However, it leads into thing six, which is to explore Flickr mashups. I made this using the Spell with Flickr tool:
I have played with Tag Galaxy before, and I have an old Librarian Trading Card. I decided to make a new card, and I’ve bookmarked the color pickr for later use.
For my fellow TechLearners and anyone else out there who cares, I suggest you don’t use Flickr’s Uploadr if you need to upload a bunch of images (as in, more than 10). Something broke with version 3.0 and more often than not I get upload errors when I try to use it. I have not tried it on the Mac, so it’s possible that my problems are Windows-specific.