Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Scoble Video: explaining RSS and feed readers


Robert Scoble posted a great video with Eric Englemann, general manager of Bloglines.

I can't imagine how I would keep up with all of the things I'm interested in without a feed reader.  Having converted from NewsGator to Google Reader I can't imagine how people can live without them.

This summer I set my mother up with a GMail account so she could use Reader to track the her favorite blogs.  She's never looked back.  Explaining RSS isn't always easy.  This video does a pretty good job, even if it's couched in a very geeky context.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Moo now offers postcards...great for notes back home

I've enjoyed the quality and versatility of Moo cards.  I first imagewrote about them here, last September.  In brief, Moo is a "print on demand" service.  From the Moo website you can bring in your photos from Flickr, Facebook or your own computer and receive high quality, inexpensive cards back very quickly.

In May I ordered and used a two hundred for a national conference.  My wife did the layout of three different pictures from Kosovo, each representing a different theme.  On the back we had printed a number of prayer requests for each theme.  We handed out these beautiful little cards (28 mm x70 mm) as reminders to friends and acquaintances. 

Moo just added post cards to their line-up too.  I regularly use post cards as thank you notes and reminders.  They're much cheaper to mail than a regular card, and include a picture of the country in which I live.  The downside is that the local post card pictures are usually very lame.  I might just order a batch of Moo Post Cards from my own Flickr feed!

via Download Squad

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Consumer Trends in Social Networking

I think that most Americans believe that Social Networking is a North American phenomenon.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  According to comScore the Asia/Pacific region is growing at nearly three times the rate of North America.  Europe, a more comparable North American demographic, is growing at nearly twice the rate.

Social Networking sites and tools are a growing global phenomenon.  While the current batch of "biggies" (FB, MySpace, Orkut, M5, etc) will certainly change with time, it's clear that the phenomenon will have a long (and wide) tail.


HT Mashable

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

GMail adding IMAP support?

Everyone is a-buzz this morning with the news that GMail may be adding support for IMAP.  There are two main ways you get email off of  (or out of?) the Internet and into your email program: POP and IMAP.  POP is by far the most common for average folks like you and me.  But IMAP has some powerful features that may be important for you.

Among other things, IMAP support lets you synchronize your email between computers, handhelds and the web. Mark a message read on one computer, and it will show up as read on another.  Move a email folder from one place to another and it will replicate on another.

It appears as though GMail is adding this functionality.  Here's a screen shot from DownloadSquad

Read more from these guys: Mashable and DownloadSquad

Getting Things Done Intro video

David Allen is the creator of the "Getting Things Done" productivity model.  If you're still struggling with how to organize your stuff this five minute video will give you an taste of what the GTD methodology looks like.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Kawasaki Interview with Chris Brogan

Guy Kawasaki posts one his "ten questions"  series with Chris Brogan, social media guru.  Most of the Q's/A's revolve around the use of Twitter as a social networking tool.

It's worth a quick read if you're still trying to figure out what Twitter is and why you should care.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Frequent trawlers, let someone else put together the details

If you're a frequent traveler you may find TripIt just the thing for those missionary speaking tours. TechCrunch has a good write up on it:

It’s dead simple to use and it keeps you organized - all you have to do is forward confirmation emails to them when you purchase airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rentals, etc. Tripit pulls the relevant information out of the emails and builds an organized itinerary for you. You can send emails in any order, for multiple trips, whatever. It just figures everything out and organizes it.

I don't do that much regular travel now that I'm back in Kosovo, but this would have been handy while on speaking tours last year.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

From Pownce back to Twitter, through Facebook

It's a little difficult to keep up with all the status-updater/micro-blogger type of apps (Twitter, Pownce, Jaiku, etc).  What's worse, until recently, Facebook was disconnected from all of them, requiring its own periodic attention.

My own understanding of the utility of micro-blogging is still in development.  But unfortunately, to know how to apply the app, one must use it regularly to see how it fits into his work flow.

After playing with Twitter some, and having few friends "tweet," I moved on to Pownce.  In comparing the two I actually came out in favor in Pownce back in July.  Pownce actually has a more powerful feature set.  But the usability of a social networking application sometimes has less to do with its features and more do to with its interconnectivity and the social cloud around it.  In other words, if it doesn't connect to anything, and/or your friends don't use it, it's pointless.

I still don't have many close friends "tweet-ing", but I do have quite a lot of friends on Facebook.  And so I've been doing most of my status-updating there.  Also, both Pownce and Twitter have released Facebook apps that offer functionality from within Facebook.  I dutifully installed both of those apps, but still knew something was missing.

Then I learned that the Facebook status messaging is also available in an RSS feed.  So in an attempt to keep all my status-messaging synced, I added the FB feed to Pownce and then, using Yahoo Pipes and TwitterFeed, fed it all into Twitter.  Actually, I'm not sure how I built this house-of-messaging-cards, but it did work, though teeteringly so.

Recently two developments have sorted it all out for me:

  1. The FaceBook Twitter app added the ability to set Facebook status through Twitter.  That is, tweet in Twitter and it shows up as your Facebook status. 
  2. The creative folks at TechHit created a little app called OutTwit.  From their website: "Now you can update your Twitter status and follow your friends without having to open any other applications. OutTwit seamlessly integrates Twitter into Outlook." 

These two developments have me sold (again? temporarily?) on Twitter.  The first means that I don't have to have FB open to update my status.  it also means I can update my status in one place and have it reliably replicate elsewhere.  The second mean that I can both tweet and follow fellow Twitterers in the one application that is always open on my desktop.

And so the experiment continues.  Though I keep reading blog articles (like this one) trumpeting the productivity or business uses for Twitter (or micro-blogging in general), I've yet to find its niche in my life.  Closer integration into FB and the OutTwit plug-in bring it close to ubiquity.




Then I found an Outlook plug-in for Twitter, called OutTwit via Mashable