Posting, splicing, lifestreaming

I’ve been spending more time on flickr (the 365 days project makes sure I post frequently) and my book reviews (six reviews this month so far) than I have here. Since I don’t splice content from the other places I post into this blog or its feed, that means it has been quiet.

Over on jaiku, I’ve been experimenting a little with content splicing: I have it fetch my twitter, del.icio.us, flickr, LibraryThing newly added book, and blog feeds. I’m beginning to understand more of the appeal of creating a lifestream. I can see how it’s good for timeline tracking of activities, human-readable attention data, and generally using the web as a backup drive for my brain.

If I were to create a lifestream, no worries — I wouldn’t pipe it all here. As a reader of other people’s stuff, I appreciate being able to choose which parts of their streams to follow, and you need separate entities like this blog for that to work. But even if I rolled everything I do on the web into a single, aggregated megafeed (including the cocomments one I almost always forget about, and the claimID page I don’t need to update very often) it still wouldn’t be 100% complete. Things would still be missing, because I post stuff that isn’t public — I blog and comment behind the firewall.

Which is why JP Rangaswami’s post Musing about outsides and insides struck such a chord with me:

When a company achieves critical mass in terms of “external” bloggers, there is no longer an inside or an outside. Blogs do not support hierarchies or vertical silos, they tend to be lateral and networked and and all-over-the-place. Blogs are not respecters of walls, whether inside the firm or at the firm’s boundaries.

Immediately, two thoughts started bouncing around my skull: he’s absolutely right, and our Legal folks will have a fit if they read this. It is, after all, part of Legal’s job to worry about the impact of things I don’t want to worry about. And I do recognize that there are valuable and important reasons for some things to remain within a firm’s boundaries. All the same, something in me soared when I read it. His closing point was also spot-on:

Not having an inside or an outside. That’s how tomorrow’s customers will figure which of today’s companies to bless.

Thing is, in the future it won’t just be companies that succeed because they embrace transparency, engage in conversation, and publicly take risks. It will happen for individuals, too. And remember, the future is already here.

Who are you reading?

Fimoculous recently posted a Best Blogs of 2006 that You (Maybe) Aren’t Reading list. Based on some of the blogs I’m already reading (Pruned, We Make Money Not Art, Data Mining, Pulse Laser) which are on the list, I think the ones I haven’t will be worth checking out.

Browsing the list made me wish it was easier to share OPML files. Maybe it’s just me being an info geek, but I’d like to see the feed lists of the folks I read, instead of their probably abbreviated blogrolls. Yes, I know about Share Your OPML, but it is too clunky, and while I liked Grazr better, I still didn’t have much luck in getting it to do what I wanted. When is the next generation of feed reading and sharing tools going to get here?

If you read feeds, I’m curious — do you share your OPML? Would you, if it was easy? What is the last blog you subscribed to? Leave suggestions and URLs in the comments. (Please note: too many URLs will trip my spam filter and put your comment in moderation — I’ll approve it as soon as I see it, assuming you aren’t just plugging your splog.)

I’ll even go first. Yes, I share my OPML, even though keeping it updated is a bit of a pain. The newest feed in my reader is Life on a Shirt, by Jana Eggers. She used to be my boss, and now has a new gig as CEO of a cool t-shirt company. Jana is asking some great questions, so go check it out.

Feed, Discover, Sync, Repeat

I’ve been playing around with another feedreader, BlogBridge. Up until this week, I’d been using Shrook on the powerbook and FeedReader on the thinkpad. It isn’t that I couldn’t leave well enough alone — things weren’t well enough.

Some of the (possibly idiosyncratic) things that were bugging me:

No consistency. Tiny things like a space bar tap to advance to next item working in Shrook but not in FeedReader really got on my nerves.

Giant unread numbers. I had created a group called “thinkpad feeds” in Shrook, so I could keep up with those feeds when I didn’t have my thinkpad. Granted, this hardly ever happens. But if I’m going to read onscreen, the powerbook really kicks the thinkpad’s ass, so why not use the powerbook? Plus, bonus points for Lisa no longer being sure if I am working or not.

Not being in sync. If I were using a web-based reader, I wouldn’t have this problem. True, but then I’d also have access to my list of feeds at the mercy of some service, I wouldn’t be able to read things when I wasn’t online, it would be slower, and… sorry, I just think most of the web readers still suck, particularly if you keep track of a decent number of feeds.

Missing things. I just have that nagging feeling that I’m missing things because my system isn’t seamless. That it should be easier to not just track but discover good feeds.

BlogBridge, despite a couple of hiccups getting started (or maybe it was just my expecting an utterly instantaneous sync of 150+ feeds without reading any documentation) fixes all these problems. It is java based, so it generally works and looks the same on both the powerbook and the thinkpad. Because whichever computer I’m on knows what I’ve been up to, the truly giant unread number goes away. I swear, some of the people I’m subscribed to really must have no life because they post all the damn time, and even worse, it is usually good.

I’m getting more interested in OPML and reading lists, and I think BlogBridge is going to let me poke around in ways the other readers can’t. Not mention that they say they are designing for info junkies, and their expert selected subject matter feeds include library blogs.

If you’ve read all the way to the bottom of this post, you are either already using their service (so leave a comment and tell me about it), or you need to start.