Thursday Aug 07, 2008

Help with making a personal feed using SaaS

I have for a while tried to create a personal feed of stuff I put on the internet, in the hope that someone might be interested. Historically this has been a planet but I now have a FriendFeed account. I am considering aggregating my bookmarks from into the feed and wonder what my correspondents, that's you that is, think. The reason I worry is that I issue a lot of bookmarks.

The current feed is at My Planet, (hover over the link for a preview). It has been implemented using an old version of planet planet, and so is available in RSS, ATOM and HTML (?). However it has a couple of problems (see below). One of my facebook correspondents pointed me at FriendFeed. Prior to finding this, Richard Morgan pointed me at, (see below). One of the things that makes friendfeed so useful is that it has a generic feed service, so if their specific services, and they have a lot, don't suit then you can use the generic service, which is how I subscribe this blog, and my bliki to the friendfeed.

One neat gadget they offer is a weblog widget, which looks like this...

<script TYPE="text/javascript" SRC=""> </script>

I am currently post into the feed from my blog, my bliki blog, my google reader shares, my flickr and my twitter. The Flickr subscription consumes both my photostream and favourites.

The ones I have syndicated at planet/davelevy and not yet syndicated on friend feed include my bookmarks at, which is the nearest thing I have to a microblog. You have to work at it and it tells you what I'm reading on the internet i.e. what I am thinking about not what I am doing. I also syndicate my digg posts at my planet and I have displayed the digg stories on the full article page.

The final feed consumed at my planet is my slynkr posts. I have decided to stop using this. See Au revoir Slynkr, below.

This leaves my plazes feed as unforwarded. Since I use the plazer, each time I move computer or network, it generates a new plaze. This can lead to many entries for the same place on a single day. I expect that people want to track location, and most importantly timezone, not my connections. The plazes feed needs a filter to restrict the feed to first of day and change of location and I have considered using planet or venus to do this.

The one feed that I think would add to the Friendfeed is my bookmarks. On some days, when researching something I may write number of bookmarks in quite short periods. Is this a burden to my correspondents?

When done, I can pump friend feed back through planet for any legacy users. Perhaps I should check its actually used by anyone other than me.

Use the [Read More] button for more on my usage of Twitter, Digg and Planet.


[Read More]

Friday Jun 06, 2008

Video Conferencing for free

I was introduced to last year by colleagues in the US, and its a quite cool video conferencing feature. The lag in Europe is appalling, so I use the phone to host the voice channel. You can use whatever string you want to act as the meeting name, which you can enter on the home page, [ hover or click on the link above] or in your browser's URL entry box.

So I use IM and the phone to support the video channel. I was having some problems connecting up with some Mac using colleagues, so connected to Hans Joerg who is a bit of wiz with the Mac. I am on the left, and you can see the IM dialogue box.


a mebeam conference

and he explained that the configuration needs to be changed using the panel that is opened by pressing the 'settings' button on the bottom right hand side of one's own picture. Mac Users may default to 'DVD Video Class' and they require 'USB Video Class'. (The picture below was scrapped from my screen, and I am using a windows XP machine, which is why the text says something else.)


mebeam devices configuration


Tuesday May 20, 2008

tweeting your plaze

Plazes now have a twitter feed for people to publish to. They contacted me, but I need to consider what I think about that. I have made promises to people about how I propose to use it. I hope that other Plazes followers wont be disappointed.

Monday Nov 12, 2007

More about Plazes

As you may know, I am a fan of Plazes and one thing I havn't had time to document is that our friends as plazes have fixed one of my informal RFEs (More...). You can remove a traze from your trail now. The remove activity button is all over the site. This'll make managing the plaze trial easier and more accurate. The mobile phone interface seems to remain problematic, but the whole site is becoming useful for keeping touch with highly mobile colleagues.

Sadly there is no Solaris agent and the Linux one seems to have gone into hiding, but I have a few ideas and am trying to work on an answer between other projects.


Tuesday Oct 09, 2007


Earlier today I had lunch with Jonathan Schwartz, Constantine Gonzalez asked him to join his podcast round table, which we were making in the backstage area just after the general sessions. You can hear it at cecpodcast . We spoke about CEC and whether Web 2.0 helps, or is just a waste of time?


Saturday Jun 23, 2007

Plazes 2.0

Plazes, which I wrote about here...  just updated, actually a couple of days ago,  their agent and presumably the back-end infrastructure and proved the Web 2.0 permenant Beta adage as the true as ever. Its an interesting problem with their architecture that they need to update the laptop clients. I hope they have improved their network update functionality as the automatic update failed to work on my XP client and the manual downloads did not become available for a couple of days. I was still able to use the phone to update the web site though so no catastrophe.

The web site functionality seems much richer so thats good.

To me one of the biggest outstanding problems is that they don't stimualte a self-help community. It would be easy enough to copy the games companies, or even Dell and Sun's developer forums. Its sort of interesting who does and who doesn't. For instance I can't find a Sony-Ericcsson official community site but have found an unofficial bulletin board for Sony Errison users. Flickr has a help site although I have only found two forums, New Ideas and everything else. My favourite of the official sites are the games sites of which Bioware Forums are a good example offering personalisation tools to allow people to track their own interests. Several of the Bioware fan forums use Invision's community management software. Two implementations that illustrate the strength of community and the personalisation capability within this tool  are Gibberlings 3 and Spellhold Studios, while RPG Dungeon uses Simple Machine Framework. As ever, you need to read the small print to discover which are free and open source. Both these solutions have RSS.


Tuesday May 08, 2007

Where am I now?

During my last trip to the USA, I took out a subscription to plazes, this'll allow people to know roughly where I am. They have a flash badge which I have inserted onto the sidebar on my "About me!" page.

Its also here...

Download Flash plugin

Unfortunately, I can't find the Linux version of the plazer (their client agent), despite having asked them for a pointer, and attempted to 'google' it  and so given I'm mainly using Solaris as my desktop, which they rudly describe as 'legacy' the timeliness of the geographic data is less than it might be, but it should give you an idea of where I am. Let's face it, a bit of inaccuracy is probably good, close enough for my friends, far enough away for the rest of you :)

They distribute agents for windows and the mac, and they claim Linux. I propose to see how good the Solaris Express Linux compatability offerings are when I get myself a Linux agent. 


Wednesday Nov 15, 2006

Have we moved on?

Last year, Richard Morgan showed me Protopage, which I looked at today. Here's a screen shot.

My Protopage


I think it might be interesting to see how it tries to keep up with the new emerging tools. It seems an odd cross between a personal portal and a collaboration tool. The post it notes metaphor is good, I assume they can be read by others but surely is a better bookmark manager and any wiki better for collaboration. I think that for these sort of applications specialisation is becoming the key. The application needs to be excellent at something and protopage neither excells at anything, nor assembles well, although it does have an RSS display panel.I have set up a personal protopage for Dave Levy to see how I feel about it, but I can't see it replacing in my usage since it lacks the FX gadget. It does claim a mailbox interface, but I can't find a calander (not that I use Yahoo's calendar) The weather feature seems very comprehensive and easier to use than Yahoo.


Wednesday Jul 19, 2006

Is Web 2.0 relevant to a systems architect?

Sun are pushing the new x4500 (See Jonathan's Blog) server as the Web 2.0 server, coz that's what Tim O'Reilly said. Actually, he's said a lot about web 2.0 and his most focused comments (that I've found, or more accurately been pointed at,) are at his site, where he has published an article called "What Is Web 2.0 Design, Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software" . I recommend you read it, ( I have bookmarked it on and in my sidebar in the "Links" section.).

One of O'Reilly's Web 2.0 tests is that data becomes crucial (again) and that the move towards (user driven) assembly for purpose and the "perpetual beta", his words, he should trademark them, as illustrated by all sorts of internet companies makes the new hybrid systems more useful as things move on. I have recently created a Yahoo MapApp (which I'll document at some time), but this uses the MapApp server and my web site, together with a Yahoo Group in order to allow people to use the application. The application is build to serve a small closed community (a school year reunion), which is why the Group is used, but also a proof point that collections of data (originally owned by users) are more valuable than the items themselves. (The Application is designed to allow people to plan sites for physical re-unions and drinking). This sort of application will become more common not less.

Sun's announcement page headled with Tim O'Reilly's quotes is here.... Marc Hamilton whose blog is here..., brought my attention to the synergy between the new system product and the new internet phenomenon, with this article, entitled "Thumper Positioning"; Not a karate technique!.

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