Otterman speaks... (2003-2007)
Weblog about cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore.
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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Mon 27 Jun 2005

Blog tech explorations

Category : mac and the internet

After setting up Habitatnews" and a few other blogs, several others were encouraged to start their own blogs, and a few good writers joined the fray, creating a naturalists community of bloggers.

And as a group, they are getting prolific.

Too many blogs - RSS saves the day
With more dedicated blogs emerging with a focus on natural history observations, and most of them infrequent and sporadic, it became important to investigate RSS.

RSS is invaluable now, and helps me keep track of rare posts as well as regular updates.

Which news reader?
Mac users can easily adopt News Wire Lite - its free, competent, and has a three-paned window similar to an email client. Forget using web browsers like Safari and Firefox. It's confusng and messy.

PCs too appear to have a few options. I've also plugged Thunderbird but people get distracted by the fact it primarily handles emails.

You will never run out of options. There are some interesting cross platform options - I am now trying BlogBridge out of curiosity. Looks interesting and it nice and orangy! And NewsMonster isn't afraid of missing feeds.

RSS to Email
Most of my Habitatnews subscribers appear to prefer the low frequency email delivery direct to their inboxes. So I am examining RSS -> email tools.

I will be looking at ERA and Newspipe for starters.

One page to rule them all - public feed aggregator
Besides blog posts, RSS feeds are available for public yahoogropups, keywords in news items and even flickr uploads. This adds up to a potential 20 feeds, maybe more, for the interested Singaporean naturalist to follow.

However, most readers I knew did not embrace feeds - they weren't reallly sure what to do. Most are just getting comfortable with email, and can harldy use google effectively, so expecting them to use newsreaders without a workshop was a optimistic.

This majority, the internet-shy user would really just like a single webpage to refer to.

One portal, "Economy Matters" did this once and tapped feeds from Habitatnews and the Hantu blog amongst others. Their lease expired and was not renewed - it might have been an experiment of sorts. Pity, since they had a great design and setup.

Another webpage aggegator example is Planet Cycling, which I found when it picked up the Cycling in Singapore feed.

So this is what I am trying to figure out now, with my non-existent programming ability. Surely there is a solution that a geekless macaddict can implement? And the Planetarium may just be it.

  • RSS Include may just provide what I need. Unfortunately the server seems tobe down right now!
  • Planet Express - a python script that uses a blog as the public interface. Will try not to be nervous as I read this one. Hmm, also the Mother of all Planets.
  • RSS Merge appears to be designed for WordPress users. And it seems a little restrictive - RSS2 only.

This is particularly interesting bwyong combining the Singapore Naturalists blogs. I could separate out the more active categories int his page, e.g. "mac and the internet" and "cycling", and allow for a more relevant pages directed at specific communities. And support those with feeds from pages by others who write in a similar manner.

Well happy hunting, I guess!

Posted at 3:39AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .