Post 360 Activity To Twitter

I use Twitter when I feel it’s appropriate my friends know what I’m doing.  When I’m playing a video game on my XBox 360 chances are it’s a multiplayer game and I might enjoy some company.

A few months ago Internet Duct Tape posted an article with several methods on how to obtain your XBox 360 activity.  I subscribed to their Yahoo Pipe for my gamertag.  I never really came up with any good way to use this but I finally have.  My XBox 360 activity (game activity only) now automatically updates my Twitter account.

XBox 360 Twitter Updates

To do this All I’m using is the Yahoo Pipe mentioned previously and TwitterFeed.  TwitterFeed allows you to update your Twitter status using any RSS feed and the pipe feed works just fine.

twitterfeed

Feed Oriented Browsing

RSS ImageHow do you browse the internet? It’s a funny question to ask really, but you’d be surprised at the different ways people will respond.

  • I look at the front page of Digg
  • I check my friends new Del.icio.us bookmarks
  • I search
  • I visit my bookmarks and see if there is anything new of interest
  • I browse my friends profiles on Facebook
  • I check MySpace updates
  • I watch top rated YouTube videos
  • I see whats new at CollegeHumor

There are many many many more ways to browse the internet and far too many to list here.

I use none of these and yet all of them. I prefer to call how I browse the web Feed Oriented Browsing or FOB for short. It’s something I’ve only begun doing this year. As my final post in 2007 I thought I’d share it.

What is Feed Oriented Browsing? It is a way of browsing the web that gives you the most relevant and up to date information at your fingertips without looking for it.

How can I get the information I want without looking for it? It’s not as hard as you might think. Instead of checking if there’s new information, you are told that a website you found interesting in the past has a new update.

Everytime you go to a website you already make a relatively quick decision on whether or not the site contains relevant information for you or not. It could be the information is not immediately useful but could be used as a reference in the future or it could be the answer you’re looking for right now. Normally, in these cases you would bookmark it either in your browser or using a web service such as del.icio.us.

Bookmarks are stale and not useful. We all know that technology in general changes so fast what you know today is outdated tomorrow. Since Bookmarks point to a particular page this means that information is likely to be outdated by more relevant and better information somewhere else. Does this mean you should just forget the site and move on? No! Your mind has already made the determination that the site contains relevant and useful information. Chances are the website you found is likely to share new information that you will find interesting and relevant in the future. This is the power of Feed Oriented Browsing. Instead of bookmarking a stale link to the site, add the site’s feed to your Reader. If the site doesn’t have a feed create one using a service like feed43 or feeditiy. Often times the feed will contain items that does interest you and items that don’t interest you. If that’s the case use a tool like feedrinse or yahoo pipes to clean up the feed so that it best matches your interests.

The real benefit of FOB appears after you’ve built up a good set of feeds. At that point you can stop browsing the old way all together. Instead use your reader to find new relevant sites. If you like discovering new feeds and new sites still, rather than searching for common phrases all the time, subscribe to a feed of your search. You can easily do this on sites like Digg and Del.icio.us. You can subscribe to searches or tags so that if a new item appears in that list you’ll get notified. If you’re using FOB correctly it will be rare that you need to leave your reader except to discover a new feed and even that is possible within some readers.

Observe your browsing habits. If the first thing you do after leaving your reader is visit the front page of Digg then it’s time to subscribe. If you then hop over to your friends blog to see if he posted last night… it’s time to subscribe.

It takes time to build up a good list of feeds. Making the switch to FOB doesn’t happen over night. You begin the process by visiting your reader first every day. Only once you’ve read all the items or marked them as read should you move on to the other sites you use.

Once you adapt this method of browsing the web it will truly change your web experience. A few months ago I read a study that made a bold claim that 2 out of every 3 ‘clicks’ on the internet were wasted because the content at the other end of the link had not yet been updated (I cannot speak to the accuracy of the numbers but the point is clear regardless). Meaning if someone checked a particular website three times in a day chances are that the website would only be updated one of those times. What a waste!

Often times you search the web to find the answer to a particular problem. You find an excellent resource that tells you exactly how to solve your problem and then forget all about that site again. If you have the same problem in the future you can always get back to that site by searching again right? Well, maybe. Search indexes change and you may or may not be able to remember the search you used. However; If you subscribed to the feed for the site, that piece of information will be in your reader and if you use a reader (such as Google Reader) that allows you to tag and search items it will be incredibly easy to find.

In addition to finding old pieces of information, it is likely that the site that had that great piece of information for you in the past will have more great information for you in the future. If you subscribe you’ll see new information posted by them whenever they update which means you’ll get new information before you even realize you need it.

if you subscribe to every feed you come across won’t your reader get so bloated its unusable? Yep. That’s why you need to be selective in your feeds. Determine whether or not the site has relevant information to you or not before subscribing. To find out if the site has other useful information browse for a moment and see if any other articles besides the one you’re looking at are interesting. If not then don’t subscribe simply use del.icio.us or digg or some other such service to bookmark it. You have already subscribed to your bookmark feed right? If so then that one article will show up in your reader and nothing else from the site.

Once you subscribe to a feed your job is not done. That feed needs to satisfy your interest. If it doesn’t then it needs to go. I give every feed I subscribe to one month. If i don’t receive at least one more piece of relevant and interesting information within one month of subscribing then that feed is gone. Additionally if the ratio of articles posted to articles I find interesting is too low I either attempt to clean it up with feedrinse or yahoo pipes or simply unsubscribe.

Hopefully Feed Oriented Browsing will get you started on the road to a better web experience. It has certainly helped me.

If you’re struggling with feeds and need to learn a bit more before you dive in check out this great video presentation entitled RSS in Plain English. RSS is a type of feed.

If you found this post interesting you might like to subscribe to my syndication category in which I try to post tips to help you deal with all the available feeds out there.

Youtube Subscriptions via RSS

YouTube Subscription FeedYou’re probably aware of the subscriptions feature in YouTube. It allows you to ‘subscribe’ to users (or channels) who’s videos you enjoy. This means when you sign into YouTube you’ll get a list of videos updated by the users or channels you’re subscribed to.

This is great but unfortunately YouTube doesn’t provide any other subscription update notification systems besides logging into the site itself. For someone like me who doesn’t like to visit sites without a particular goal in mind this is annoying to say the least. I’d much rather know there is a new video I care about before visiting YouTube.

At first I thought YouTube simply didn’t support syndication of any kind. However; with a little bit of searching I found they have a whole list of different types of RSS feeds that are available. You can create an RSS feed for anything from a ‘tag search’ to the ‘Top Rated videos.’ They don’t yet have a way to create an RSS feed of your subscriptions. That’s where I come in.

I’ve used Yahoo Pipes to do things in the past but most of them were very custom and not usable to anyone but myself without quite a bit of effort. This time around I thought I’d make one that’s parameterizable to allow anyone to build an RSS feed of their subscriptions. I have created a pipe that does just that. You simply provide your username and the number of videos you want displayed in the feed. The Pipe does the rest and you can subscribe to it using any feed reader you’d like.

I’ve published it on Yahoo Pipes public page and you can now use it as well. So check it out and let me know what you think!

Subscribe to Feeds using TwittFeeder

RSSTwitter is a great update and notification system. You can send it messages with a variety of tools including Instant Messaging, Text Messages and the Twitter website itself. Twitter’s mission statement reads:

Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?

One of the most useful features about ‘new web’ is feeds. Getting updated whenever the sites you check change is probably the best enhancement to come out of the internet. No more wasting time checking sites that haven’t updated yet.

TwittFeeder asks the question: What are your favorite websites doing? It allows you to easily subscribe to feeds using twitter. Once subscribed you’ll get updates via Direct Message.

To use it first start following TwittFeeder. Once you are it will automatically start following you. When it does you can start subscribing to feeds. To do so simply send ‘subscribe http://feedurl’ to twittFeeder as a direct message. If you’re using one of the standard Twitter tools this is accomplished by sending the following message to twitter:

D twittFeeder subscribe http://feedurl

That’s it! once you’re subscribed twittFeeder will start sending you direct messages using any notification system you’ve already setup in Twitter. The great thing about this service is if twitter ever adds another notification type you automatically get your feed subscriptions sent there for free.

The notification system twittFeeder uses is whatever your notifications are currently sent to by Twitter since it simply sends you the updates via a Twitter Direct Message. If you’re not a user yet you should be but the notifications currently supported are:

  • Text Message
  • E-mail
  • Instant Messages
  • Twitter website
  • Lots and Lots of 3rd party applications

To unsubscribe to a particular feed simply send ‘unsubscribe http://feedurl’ as a Direct Message to twittFeeder.

Disclaimer: at the moment twittFeeder is scheduled to run every 10 minutes so updates won’t necessarily be immediate. That number might go up or down depending upon usage and several other factors.

FeedCrier

Feed CrierA few days ago a new webapp hit the streets. FeedCrier claims to keep you instantly alerted to any news from any feed you subscribe to using their service. It’s essentially a new feed reader that sends new items directly to your instant messenger account.

If you subscribe to a lot of feeds like I do I wouldn’t suggest putting all of them into FeedCrier but it is great for those few that you want to get immediate updates for.

A great thing about the site is there’s no account required. Simply provide your Messenger account (MSN, Jabber and AIM are all currently supported) and the feed’s URL.

Initially I was very cautious because I saw no mechanism for unsubscribing or maintaining your subscriptions. Luckily they explain it all here.

The Modern Web In Plain English

Stumbled upon this the other day and thought I would share it here.

We made this video for our friends (and yours) that haven’t yet felt the power of our friend the RSS reader. We want to convert people and if you know someone who would love RSS and hasn’t yet tried it, point them here for 3.5 minutes.

I'm NOT Partial

What is with all these partial article feeds? I know the discussion has been beat to death and nobody really has a definitive answer of whats better. Honestly though, isn’t that definitive in itself? The fact that it doesn’t really matter either way and people (LIKE ME) get irritated at having to leave their reader of choice (see Google Reader) would make any sane person just use full article feeds. Don’t you want to make your readers happy after all?

I’m sick and tired of having to navigate to the article in order to get the full benefit. I already subscribe, I comment when I deem appropriate, I contribute where I can, Is it really necessary to force me to your site? The thing that bugs me the most about it is the reason you’re doing it is most likely ad driven. Do you get that many more clicks? I doubt it. I bet the same people that are savvy enough to be subscribed to your feed are savvy enough to utilize the Adblock Plus extension.

I would just like to proclaim that

No blog I maintain will EVER have a partial article feed.

I have noticed this more and more as of late and it MUST STOP!

It's your content

If you’re on the web you’re creating something whether you like it or not. If you’re watching a youtube video, enjoying a post by Matthew Mullenweg, letting your friends know what you’re up to on facebook or just doing a search for some needed info your actions are likely recorded somewhere and this becomes part of the giant repository of information that is the Internet.

There are basically 3 types of information about you available on the Internet.

  1. Your Content. This includes things like comments on a video, Blog posts, uploaded photos and forum topics that you replied to.
  2. Your Status. Things like your away message, your facebook status and Twitter let people know what you’re up to and where you’re at.
  3. What You’re Reading. You can intentionally share what you find interesting via tools like Digg, Del.icio.us or Google Reader shared items or you can let general web trends speak for you.

Different people are probably interested in different information about you. Luckily we live in a world that includes syndication feeds. This means that if you’re interested in a person’s contributions to the Internet, and they’re savvy enough to help you, you can subscribe to ‘groups’ if Information about them.

So, If you’re interested in what I have to contribute to the Internet I’ve created the following feeds to help you.

My Content

My Status

My Shared Items

Replacing Feed43

I happened across Kathleen Connally’s Photostream this morning and couldn’t find a feed for it through Google Reader or Firefox. Eventually I did find the RSS 2.0 button at the bottom, but before I found that I thought I’d create a quick (should take less than a minute) feed using Feed43. Unfortunately it appears Feed43 is down this morning. This is not good as I have several feeds created with the service that I read regularly. I’m hoping this is just a temporary hiccup and that they’ll be back but we’ll see.

If you’re looking for a replacement for Feed43 here are some options:

I’ll probably try them all in the next few days (especially if feed43 remains down) and offer my impressions of each.