So I built this - and its initial purpose was just to help me keep up on public TiddlyWikis (like philosopher.life) that I had discovered. But I couldn't get myself to rip off other news readers - I've not been satisfied with RSS and I disliked Google Reader. I didn't like that it basically created a second read-only email inbox - where I'm supposed to look through every message. And I didn't like that I lost the formatting and styling of the original hypertext. I much preferred just surfing my favorite sites periodically. As I began to add blogs, Twitter, YouTube support - it felt like I was connecting the whole Web, as if it was all one network, almost as if I viewed it like the government does. (Equipped with my own personal XKeyscore Lite.) I had felt isolated before - unable to see past whatever was being recommended to me on Twitter - but now I had a tool that forced me to rouse my dormant research skills. The task of reading, writing, publishing and hunting on the Web is a formidable one - and we're far from mastering it. It's no wonder that we abdicated to social networks that attempt to do it all for us. So yeah - Fraidycat is a very small attempt to move toward tools that give us some power. It really only adds the ability to assign "importance" to someone you are following - allowing you to track them without needing to be aware of them every second. But hey - it's four months old - I think it's a good start and hopefully others here can be encouraged by it to work on tools for the World-Wide Web again.
Quite a while I wrote about building a social reader[^ Then called IndieWeb reader, but social reader is the better term.], but these days I have to admit it went nowhere. The biggest problem with it being that I myself don’t really use any reader to consume stuff: I was not used to keeping up wit...
A lot of the changes seem to be related to people who are shifting from one shiny toy or project to another. They all seem to say something like:
Hey Mom! Look at my fancy new static site that builds in 0.001 seconds!
Can you believe what Drupal supports in the IndieWeb now? See ya!
I’ve moved back to good ol’ WordPress. Ahhh…
Micro.blog is awesome and requires such little maintenance. I migrated… while on vacation… in the wilderness… from my cell phone!!!
They’re often redirecting all their old URLs to the new site, but the one URL they commonly neglect is to create a redirect for their primary RSS, Atom, JSON or other feeds to their new feed structure. This means that the feed goes dead, and I (and others) have to notice it, then revive it. For some who simply have
h-feed structures on their home page things may continue apace, particularly for the Microsub readers out there, though I haven’t been using those for as long to see as many issues.
Why are you doing all that work and making your followers do the extra manual work to go back and resubscribe?! Over the past four or five years there have been fifty or more people I’ve seen do this dance (some multiple times and even a few every 4 months or so). I totally get why they do it (because why not?!) But there should be a better way of keeping track of our major URLs and redirecting them properly.
From a continuity or even business perspective, this could be an even bigger thing as sites will likely spend a lot of time building an audience and could potentially throw it all away with the flip of a switch. I’ll be the first to admit that most of these people may not have a lot of people following them via RSS or similar means, but still?! It seems like at least once a week there’s some big newspaper, magazine, or corporate site I want to follow and I have to complain about finding their feeds. Why would you want to start all over again?
If a social media framing is easier for some, it’s the equivalent of changing your Twitter handle for your account with a hundred thousand followers to something new with no followers instead of creating a dummy account and swapping the usernames so you can have the new name, but keep all your followers.
There are also a few serial bloggers/writers who will start up a project for 3-6 months and build a following only to shut things down though they’ll keep the domain name. Why not redirect that primary domain to one of their other or newer projects and redirect those feeds as well? You’ve spent the time building an audience, why wouldn’t you want to keep it? Am I missing something fundamental here?
We often say, own your online identity, own your domain, and own your data. Perhaps we need to remember to also “own” our friends, family, followers, our community, or more broadly our audience?
Until then, I’m still flailing away out here. Manually changing your feeds in my reader…
Goodbye Information Overload
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This is kind of cool, but I think I’d want more manual control over what I’m reading and seeing and perhaps a separate discovery mode to do this sort of functionality at times.
I’m enamored of Aaron Parecki‘s Monocle reader. I can subscribe to almost anything I want, read it without interfering algorithms, and reply to posts directly in the reader, which uses Micropub to post those directly on my site, which has Webmentions to send notifications to those sites in turn.
I’m similarly in love with an app version called Indigenous for Android.
But really, who can have just one favorite?!? I also love:
They’ve not only got interesting sites, but they’re always doing cool things that are worth following.
And if you want some other interesting ones to take a peek at, I have longer list (with RSS/OPML) at https://boffosocko.com/about/following/
I’d noticed Pine.blog before at a previous IndieWebCamp, but not had time to delve into it very deeply. Seeing some of what Brian Schrader has been working on while following IndieWebCamp Austin remotely this weekend has reminded about the project. As a result, I’ve been spending some time tonight to check out some of the functionality that it’s offering. In part, I’m curious how similar, or not, it is to what Micro.blog is offering specifically with respect to the idea of IndieWeb as a Service which I’ve recently begun documenting. It’s always great to see the growing diversity and plurality of solutions in the space.
My brief prior experience with the platform was simply adding my website to their discovery service. Tonight I’ve found that Pine.blog has got a very pretty little feed reader experience with some fun discovery functionality. You can apparently create multiple timelines to follow content, but one needs a paid account for more than one timeline. It allows both following sites as well as recommending them to others. It also appears that Brian is supporting the rel=”payment” microformat as I see at least one feed that has a “$ Support” button in the Pine.blog interface to allow me to go to the site’s payment page to support it. I think this may be one of the first times I’ve seen this functionality in an app in the wild outside of the Overcast podcast app which added it a couple of years ago.
It has webmention support, so I can “like” things within the reader and notify others. Without a paid account I don’t see the ability to reply to or mention other sites though. It also looks like it allows for import/export of OPML too, though I haven’t tried it out yet–I can only test drive so many feed readers at a time and Indigenous is taking up all of my bandwidth at present.
I do wonder a bit about potentially importing/exporting my content if I were to go all-in on Pine.blog. I’d bet the idea is on the product map, but that’s a huge bit of work to build without a paid user base to support it. I’d personally want at least an export function if I were to change over, though I’m more likely to want to dovetail my own site with it much the way I’m currently doing with Micro.blog.
It looks like it should be able to post to my website, but I’m finding the “publish” and “preview” buttons don’t work–perhaps I need a paid account for this functionality? Of course, I only see UI to provide pine.blog with my URL and my account name, but it hasn’t authenticated using a password or other method, so perhaps that portion isn’t finished? I’ll circle back around to it later when I do a free trial. I do notice that Brian, the developer of the project, has an account on pine.blog which is mirrored on one of his subdomains running WordPress. Quirkily I’ve noticed that the header on his main website changes to alternately serve the pine.blog version and the WordPress version!
More to come as I continue exploring… Later on I’ll take a look at some of their paid functionality, but for now, it’s a pretty compelling set of features and some well-laid out user interface to start. I look forward to seeing how it continues to evolve.
If you’ve browsed your Twitter or Facebook page feeds in the last week, you have probably noticed that we changed the presentation of the posts, so they are more coherent with how a microblog post should look like. Initially, Inoreader started as a pure RSS reader and titles are an essential part ...
Hey, it’s been quite some time without updates on this front, but our latest updates to our Android and iOS apps should make up for it. Our apps are now both at version 6.2 and include several cool new features. Automatic Day/Night mode This feature automatically detects if your OS is in Dark mode...
Fraidycat lets you "follow at a distance" blogs, social media accounts, and other web sources. I find it much more attention-respectful than a typical feedreader.
I’m hoping now that I’ve cut the cord, I’ll be able to use my various feed readers to watch and stream more video content.
It’s amazing how many inactive channels I was following.
While they all do a fantastic job of keeping track of what I’ve read or left unread, many of them are missing the ability to explicitly ask for just the unread items in particular channels. Invariably, I’ll find one or two pieces that I want to leave unread to revisit later, but then finding them in a stream of hundreds later becomes an impossible task.
Either it’s missing or I’m not able to easily find the same functionality in Kristof De Jaeger‘s Indigenous for Android or Grant Richmond‘s Together. (I’ve yet to have time to try out some of the others.)
I suppose I should simply start bookmarking those pieces I still want to read later and rely on my site for the memory. Of course this also then makes me itch for having private feeds in these readers to find my unpublished bookmarks for reading via my favorite Microsub clients on a future date.
I’ve noticed that Indigenous for Android does have the ability to create an additional channel for all unread items. This seems useful while I’ve only got a few dozen feeds and a handful of channels, but I don’t expect it to be quite as useful when I’ve moved over several dozen channels with hundreds of feeds. The benefit is that it does replicate the sort of functionality that most social silos like Facebook and Twitter have of an unending stream of unread posts.
Indigenous also allows one to either manually mark items as read individually or automatically mark them read a page at a time. The page at a time seems to clear out the entire channel rather than marking things read as they’re scrolled, so it’s a bit too broad for my taste. Monocle does a much better job at this marking read while scrolling functionality. Indigenous also says it has a “Mark all read” button per channel, but somehow I’m not seeing it in the UI despite the many ways I toggle the options.
Indigenous also has the ability to set a Read later channel, which seems useful. There is another setting for “Move items” that indicates one can move posts from one channel to another, but when choosing individual posts to move, the UI reads “Select channel to add the feed to”. I was leery at first because I didn’t want to move my entire feed to the new channel, but after trying it there’s a pop up that said “Post moved to channel X”. Perhaps Kristof might change the word “feed” to “post” in that part of the interface? Sadly though, I have to report that looking at my Unread items channel doesn’t actually show the things that were to have been moved.
In addition to all of this, since you’re a coder, you might also appreciate some of the more advanced feed discovery code David has written into the Yarns Microsub Server for WordPress (code on Github). You may be able to build some of the discovery bits into some of your syndication hubs/planets in the future.
Of course, like FeedWordPress and the relatively similar PressForward plugin, you might also be able to bend Yarns into an aggregator in similar ways.
The issue of finding feeds to subscribe is a challenge that I have explored in my attempts to implement code in support of the Yarns Microsub Server. I want to publish feeds in a way that others can find them, not just users, but automated systems that present them to users. So, let’s start with t...
For individual posts, the Extra Feeds plugin will add code into the
<header> of one’s page to provide feed readers that have built-in discovery mechanisms the ability to find the additional feeds provided by WordPress for all the tags, categories, and other custom taxonomies that appear on any given page.
Without the plugin, WordPress core will generally only provide the main feed for your site and that of your comments feed. This is fine for sites that only post a few times a day or even per week. If you’re owning more of the content you post online on your own website as part of the IndieWeb or Domain of One’s Own movements, you’ll likely want more control for the benefit of your readers.
In reality WordPress provides feeds for every tag, category, or custom taxonomy that appears on your site, it just doesn’t advertise them to feed readers or other machines unless you add them manually or via custom code or a plugin. Having this as an option can be helpful when you’re publishing dozens of posts a day and your potential readers may only want a subsection of your posting output.
In my case I have a handful of taxonomies that post hundreds to thousands of items per year, so it’s more likely someone may want a subsection of my content rather than my firehose. In fact, I just ran across a statistician yesterday who was following just my math and information theory/biology related posts. With over 7,000 individual taxonomy entries on my site you’ve got a lot of choice, so happy hunting and reading!
This is useful in that now while you’re on any particular page and want to subscribe to something on that specific page, it will be much easier to find those feeds, which have always been there, but are just not easily uncovered by many feed reader work flows because they weren’t explicitly declared.
Some examples from a recent listen post on my site now let you more easily find and subscribe to:
- my faux-cast:
<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="Chris Aldrich » listen Kind Feed" href="https://boffosocko.com/kind/listen/feed/rss/" />
- the feed of items tagged with Econ Extra Credit, which I’m using to track my progress in Marketplace’s virtual book club:
<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="Chris Aldrich » Econ Extra Credit Tag Feed" href="https://boffosocko.com/tag/econ-extra-credit/feed/rss/" />
- the feed for all posts by an author:
<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="Chris Aldrich » Posts by Chris Aldrich Feed" href="https://boffosocko.com/author/chrisaldrich/feed/rss/" />