Free Breakfast Seminar in Alexandria, VA on 4/9

Join association thought leader Jeff DeCagna, Chris Hopkinson of DC-area startup DubMeNow and Chris Bucchere of The Social Collective for a free breakfast seminar entitled “Strategies for Association Success in the Era of Social Business” on Thursday, 4/9 in Alexandria, VA.

Registration is limited, but there are few spots left. Sign up now!

Sneak Preview of Chris Bucchere’s SXSW RSS Preso at the Oracle Open World Unconference

oow(2)For anyone attending Oracle Open World, I’m planning to give a preview of my SXSW 2009 talk entitled “Not So Simple Any More: RSS’s Bleeding Edge” in the unconference track at OOW. (This will happen regardless of whether or not SXSW selects my talk for inclusion in the 2009 agenda.)

The talk is scheduled for Monday, 22 September 2008 at 2 PM Pacific in Moscone Overlook II. BTW, I’ll probably be spending most of my time in the unconference track at OOW, because I’m just that kind of guy.

Shameless Self-Promotion

panel_picker_voteAt last year’s SXSW I said to myself: “Self, you need to be speaking at this conference next year.”

Help me fulfill my self-fulfilling prophecy and please take a minute to vote for one (or both) of my proposed talks! Unlike the SXSWi Web Awards last year, you don’t have to vote every day — once is plenty.

The first is a solo presentation on the future of RSS.

The second is a panel discussion on whether it’s better to have one horizontal social network like Facebook or loads of smaller, niche social networks.

Thanks for your support.

How the New Facebook Utterly Destroyed my Favorite Application (and Why That Makes Me Sad)

I used to love Feedheads. It’s a simple, elegant and beautiful application that does one thing really well: help you share your Google reader shared items.

Unfortunately, the “new” Facebook has rendered the application utterly useless and I can’t think of a good way, as an end-user, to fix it. In fact, as someone who’s built two facebook apps, I can’t even think of a way that the Feedheads developers can fix it. What a calamity.

So here’s the problem: the News Feed (and the Mini Feed) introduced an option that allows end-users to set the story “size.” When a Google shared item story comes through Feedheads now, it defaults to the “one line” size and as a result, it doesn’t say anything other than “Chris posted an item to Feedheads.”

Thank you very much, Facebook. That piece of information is completely useless. People who are reading your feed need to click through into the Feedheads application in order to see what story you posted — and the whole point of Feedheads is to help you share your shared items, not make them harder to find.

(As a result of all this, Facebook also broke one of my applications, called WhyI. It has < 200 users, so very few people care, but . . . the point of the app was to help people ask themselves and their friends questions that have to be answered in five words or fewer. And of course, the questions and answers would show up in the Mini Feed and News Feed. But not anymore! Now it just says: “Chris posted a new mini-update using WhyI.” Again, a totally useless piece of information. Drats.)

As an end-user, I can set the “size” of each feed item. So that means, after I hit Shift-S in Google Reader — which doesn’t take much effort — I have to wait for the story to be published in Facebook and then, if I remember (which at this point is unlikely), I have to go into that little drop down on the right and set the size to “small” instead of the default, which is “one line.” And here’s the best part: I can’t tell Facebook to remember this, so I have to do it every time.

All this just to share a shared item on Google Reader through Feedheads . . . ick.

Here’s the best part. I just noticed that Facebook added their own feature to the new and “improved” news feed. You can import your shared items from Google Reader! And, not surprisingly, the news feed actually shows the stories’ titles. In other words, Facebook took a great application — Feedheads — and replaced the functionality with their own feature; in the process, they rendered Feedheads useless.

This makes me sad. I only have one thing to say:

Wow, Facebook, how very Microsoft of you.

Not resting on our laurels

Feedhaus_StickerTeam Feedhaus put out a new release tonight. This was primarily a bug-fix release. Here’s a run-down:

1) Speed up history detail pages — we’ve got more than 1.2 million stories stored up since our private alpha began in early September. Finding those records to show required some heavy lifting, but by adding some indexes to that table and making a few code changes, you can now play with the history slider all you want and pull up old stories almost instantaneously.

2) Speed up regular detail pages — some browsers were having trouble displaying some of the detail pages, mostly just because they were too big! We’ve capped the number of stories now at 20 per detail page. Eventually we’ll add pagination, but for now, there’s still plenty of news and blogs for you to read, with the latest and greatest stuff always bubbling to the top.

3) Detail page clipping — some tags returned feed content that was too wide for the detail page, which required you to scroll horizontally to see the full extent of the content — yuck! (We’ve had lots of complaints about this.) Using some CSS hacks, we fixed that for all the major offenders that we could find. If you find any other “wide loads” (i.e. detail pages that are too big for their britches), please let us know.

How to Build your own Temple of Ego in Five Minutes

My wife is arguably my biggest fan, although my mom probably deserves “honorable mention.”

If you too are a fanboy or fangirl of someone, like, say Robert Scoble, you may want to know what he’s blogging about, pod/vod-casting about, Twittering about, etc. Someone put together this great aggregator called Robert Scoble’s Temple of Ego.

I thought, wouldn’t it be great if we all had our own Temples of Ego?

Back to my wife. Despite her self-professed fanhood, she’s been having trouble lately (well, okay, ever) keeping up with all my web activity. This all stems from the fact that Feedhaus, a site I built and launched last fall, was selected as a SXSW Web Award finalist and I’ve been blathering about this fact in every online setting imaginable, including here on dev2dev. (Please vote for us, BTW.)

So, with upwards of five different blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader shared items, flickr, YouTube and del.icio.us — keeping track of my enormous ego is a formidable task.

But now, with the power of the semantic web and a great tool called Yahoo! Pipes, you can create your own Temple of Ego in five minutes.

Here’s mine.

Simply go to Yahoo! Pipes, log in and create a pipe. In the “Fetch Feed” node at the top, simply enter the RSS or ATOM feed from whatever you want to include in your Temple of Ego. For example, I included all my blogs, my tweets (from Twitter), my Facebook posted items, my Google Reader Shared Items, my del.icio.us links, my flickr photos and my YouTube videos. That’s a good start.

Now, drag in a “Sort” node and sort by descending pubDate. This puts all the newest stuff first, known to geeks as “reverse chronological order.”

Finally, wire together the Fetch Feed node with the Sort node and then the Sort node with the Pipe Output node.

Now, if you’re really egotistical, you can email all your friends a link to your Temple of Ego and encourage them to add the pipe’s outbound RSS to their feed reader of choice. (Here’s mine.)

So, what on earth does this have to do with ALUI?

ALI 6.5 — which the good folks at bdg are using to build social applications for Participate.08 — has some pretty slick RSS capabilities and some really beautiful user profile pages. Imagine if everyone’s profile page had the output from their Temple of Ego embedded in it. How powerful would that be? And, with ALI 6.5 and a little Yahoo! Pipes magic, setting this up in your ALI deployment will be a breeze.

Comments

Comments are listed in date ascending order (oldest first)

  • Thanks for helping me keep the title of “your biggest fan” — your Pipe implementation is working beautifully.

    Posted by: allisonbucchere on February 13, 2008 at 1:17 PM

  • this reminds me of a similar feature on google reader that lets you create a public feed based on your tags. so i could tag multiple feeds with the same tag. then if i make that tag public, it results in a feed that combines all feeds with that tag. pipes looks to be a little more powerful with respect to sorting, etc, but if you don’t need that, reader offers a little bit of the same. james

    Posted by: jbayer on February 13, 2008 at 5:17 PM