Quickly making watch posts on my website

I was reading about how Cathie LeBlanc sometimes felt overwhelmed about logging the movies she’d recently seen:

I have to be better about posting my movie “reviews” more quickly. I get overwhelmed thinking that I need to write something about the movie when really the whole point of me doing these reviews is just to record what movies I’ve seen. So this month, I’m writing very little about each of these viewings.

I always had this problem too and finding quick and easy ways of posting them before I forgot became part of the solution. I’m not sure I’ve fully documented what I’ve been doing, but it’s slowly changed over time, so I thought I’d take a moment to write down some of the faster methods I use or have used.

One can always use the WordPress mobile posting app, bookmarklets in conjunction with Post Kinds, or even posting via email, but it usually takes a few minutes and can distract from conversations and family/friends when they’re around. Generally I’m looking to immediately capture the title of the film/tv show, the date/time stamp, and maybe the location. Later on, when I’ve got a few extra minutes, I’ll come back and optionally add details/context like poster art, cast, crew, etc. and a mini review with a rating. The method you use will depend on what kind of display you want and how much detail you’d like. At the end of the day, do what works best for you.

Checkin Method

I’m a relatively avid user of the Swarm app (fka Foursquare), so I’ll often take a photo of the movie poster, ticket, theater/other while I’m at the theater and then quickly checkin on my phone. Swarm typically has some interface to indicate which movie I’m seeing when I check into movie theaters. Otherwise it’s pretty easy to manually type things in while I’m waiting for the show to start. Once the movie is over I can discretely can go back to the checkin and add a few quick comments and a rating without disturbing the rest of the party, otherwise I’ll revisit it later.

To get this all on my website I’ve set up the Micropub plugin and configured OwnYourSwarm (for public/private posting–you choose), and the service takes care of posting all the data for me as a checkin so that I don’t forget. In the end it’s usually less than 10 seconds, and I’ve got the data I need as it happens.

Traditional PESOS watch method using IFTTT

This alternate PESOS method can be done using popular services like IMDb.com or Letterboxd.com and relies on using RSS feeds from them to pipe content to my site using IFTTT.com. (Other silo services may be able to do this as well.) Most often I send the URLs of movies/tv shows of what I watch from IMDb to my Reading.am account which has an RSS feed to trigger IFTTT.com that, in turn, creates a draft post on my website. (If only IMDB.com had a usable RSS feed, I could skip the Reading.am account. Typically I’ll search for the movie on IMDb, share that from my browser to may email client and email it to a custom Reading.am email address that autoposts it to my Reading.am account.) Later I can peek in on it, add a mini-review and rating if I like, and publish publicly or not. Letterboxd can be used similarly, but it has the added benefit of having a rating system built in so it can send that data as well.

Hopefully they’ll resolve with a logged in account, so here are the two IFTTT.com recipes I’m using as reference:

(If you can’t access the recipes to recreate your own, let me know, and I’ll manually delineate all the relevant settings.)

Both methods will work without it, but I’m also using the Post Kinds plugin to create explicit watch posts which have a nice contextual presentation which I kind of like. It also has the ability to parse URLs to create the context quickly, so if you put in an IMDb or Letterboxd URL, it will fetch artwork, cast, description, etc. automatically and there’s no need to cut/paste.

Examples

To get some idea, here are some interesting examples of these methods.

If others have better/faster methods, I’d love to hear them or see them documented. Perhaps one day someone (or maybe even IMDb or Letterboxd) will build a custom Micropub client specifically for watch posts (something akin to Teacup for food/drink or Indiebookclub for reading) that will automatically poll the data related to a film/television title and post it to one’s site?

Hypothes.is doesn’t have a social media-like follow functionality baked into the system, but there are a few methods to follow interesting people. My favorite, and possibly the simplest, is to add https://hypothes.is/stream.atom?user=abcxyz as a feed into my feed reader where abcxyz is the username of the person I’d like to follow.

So to subscribe to my Hypothes.is feed you’d add https://hypothes.is/stream.atom?user=chrisaldrich to your reader.

Of course, the catch then is to find/discover interesting people to follow this way. Besides some of the usual interesting subjects like Jon Udell, Jeremy Dean, Remi Kalir, et al. Who else should I be following?

Ideally by following interesting readers, you’ll find not only good things to read for yourself, but you’ll also have a good idea which are the best parts as well as what your friends think of those parts. The fact that someone is bothering to highlight or annotate something is a very strong indicator that they’ve got some skin in the game and the article is likely worth reading.

Read Scripting News: Tuesday, June 4, 2019 by Dave Winer (Scripting News)
I've been working on the next River product. This time I'm using a MySQL database. Three tables -- feeds, items and subscriptions. The folder structure is exactly as in River5, except there is no data folder (the data is in the database). I am still a relative newbie in SQL databases, but I think this model works. I'm documenting as much as I can and of course I will release the Node.js source. I hope it serves as a basis for distributing RSS intelligence around the net. Last time around (Google Reader) we centralized. That was a mistake. If enough people run instances of this database we'll have a less interruptable base of functionality. I want to try out more new ideas as well. We've been really stuck for a long time.
Read Black and white and RSS by Giles Turnbull (gilest.org)
Black and white and RSS is an RSS feed of black and white photographs, updating throughout June 2019. There is no associated website. You can only see the photos if you use an RSS feed reader and subscribe to the feed.

This is certainly a cool looking experiment Giles Turnbull is attempting. I’m almost half tempted to hide my actual website and just make my content available via RSS, h-feed, or JSON-feed.

Sometimes for as much time and effort as I put into making my site look the way I want it, I often worry that it’s all for naught as I suspect many of my readers are just reading it in a feed reader or interfaces like Pocket or Instapaper that are stripping away all my CSS and reformatting it in some vanilla way for simpler reading.

I remember reading about Instagrammers making their accounts private as a means of getting more people to subscribe to them for the fear of missing out on their content. Maybe stopping posts to your site, but simply maintaining a feed could be the IndieWeb equivalent of this?


Hat tip: Jason McIntosh.

👓 #LetsFixThis | inessential

Read a post by Brent Simmons (inessential.com)

Jeffrey Zeldman, Nothing Fails Like Success:

On an individual and small collective basis, the IndieWeb already works. But does an IndieWeb approach scale to the general public? If it doesn’t scale yet, can we, who envision and design and build, create a new generation of tools that will help give birth to a flourishing, independent web? One that is as accessible to ordinary internet users as Twitter and Facebook and Instagram?

I think so. I hope so. My part is to write a free RSS reader — and make it open source so that other people can easily use RSS in their apps.

RSS isn’t the only part of the solution, but writing an RSS reader is in my wheelhouse. So this is what I choose.

Do I claim it’s as accessible to ordinary internet users as Twitter (for instance)? I do not. But it’s the step forward that I know how to take.

My point is: don’t give in to despair. Take a step, even if it’s not the step that will solve everything. Maybe your step is just to start a blog or open a Micro.blog account. Whatever it is — do it! :) #LetsFixThis

👓 Luminary. A better way to podcast

Read Luminary. A better way to podcast (luminarypodcasts.com)
Luminary is a podcast streaming platform that gives you access to 500k+ shows, when and where you want. Sign up today and be the first to try @luminary!

Look ma! Another stand alone app-cum silo billing itself as a podcast solution. What do you want to bet there’s no RSS and it won’t work with any other podcatcher?

👓 Podcasts startup Luminary launches with $100m of funding | Music Ally

Read Podcasts startup Luminary launches with $100m of funding (Music Ally)

Another day, another podcasts startup attracting significant investment, amid the wider excitement around the spoken-word format. This time it’s a Los Angeles-based startup called Luminary, which is launching a slate of more than 40 podcasts including the likes of Lena Dunham, Malcolm Gladwell, Trevor Noah and Conan O’Brien as hosts. What’s more, the New York Times reports that Luminary has already secured nearly $100m of funding.

Its CEO Matt Sacks certainly has all the right lines when it comes to signifying ambitions, too. “We want to become synonymous with podcasting in the same way Netflix has become synonymous with streaming,” he said. “I know how ambitious that sounds. We think it can be done, and some of the top creators in the space agree.”

The way Luminary has gone after some of the most prominent podcasters to create their next shows for its company mirrors what Spotify is doing – there’s something of a land-grab going on for anyone who’s proven their ability to engage listeners with this format. Luminary isn’t just a producer though: it’s launching its own app, which will offer an $8 monthly subscription for ad-free access to its entire lineup. The app will also have an ad-supported free section.

👓 Luminary Media Sets Podcast Launch Lineup With Lena Dunham, Trevor Noah And More Than 40 Others | Deadline

Read Luminary Media Sets Podcast Launch Lineup With Lena Dunham, Trevor Noah And More Than 40 Others by Dade Hayes

Once the company officially launches (sometime in the first half of 2019, it says), its streaming app will be available as an $8-a-month, ad-free subscription version and free version with ads. Some of its shows will be existing podcasts moving over to Luminary as their new exclusive home, and others will be Luminary originals.

Podcasting, of course, has its own roster of A-list talent best-known to people who wear earbuds a good portion of the day. Three such figures are making their next shows for Luminary: Guy Raz, known for How I Built This and the TED Radio Hour; Leon Neyfakh, the creator and host of Slow Burn; and Adam Davidson, the creator of Planet Money.

While it is not yet a billion-dollar business, podcasting pulled in $514 million in revenue in 2018, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Spotify has recently moved aggressively into the sector, buying Gimlet Media for $230 million.

This sounds like yet another standalone app that is going to turn podcasting into a silo so they can monetize the content. Why not just build a payment system on top of what is already there? They could build less and capture/help out a much larger portion of the ecosystem.

I suspect that RSS will not be involved in this process and one will have to use their app instead of just any app.

👓 Audio in email is not a podcast | Manton Reece

Read Audio in email is not a podcast by Manton ReeceManton Reece (manton.org)
Today Substack announced support for sending audio episodes in email newsletters: Subscription podcasting through Substack works in the same way as publishing newsletters. Once the feature is enabled, you can create an audio post that is just like a normal post and can go out to everyone or only to ...

📑 Read Write Respond #037 | Read Write Collect | Aaron Davis

Annotated Read Write Respond #037 by Aaron DavisAaron Davis (Read Write Collect)
A return to RSS or is there something else again in the development of the web?  

There are other options out there, though in many cases distribution is uneven. There are new specs like JSONFeed which many sites and feed readers support just in the last year.

There are also simpler methods than RSS now including the microformats-based h-feed which one can use to create a simple feed that many feed readers will support.

Part of RSS’s ubiquity is that it is simply so prevalent that most common CMSs still support it. The fact that the idea of RSS is so old and generally un-evolving means there isn’t a lot of maintenance involved once it’s been set up.

🎧 Gillmor Gang X – Keith Teare | Anchor

Listened to Gillmor Gang X - Keith Teare by Steve Gillmor from Anchor

Gillmor Gang X - Keith Teare and Steve Gillmor. Produced on Anchor and GarageBand June 18, 2018

I’ve been getting back into Gillmor Gang episodes from the last year and noticed there’s a new shorter offshoot called Gillmor Gang X series. Steve has apparently taken to Anchor to put out slighly shorter episodes. You’ve got to love that just a few minutes into the show he mentions RSS and says (somewhat ironically) that as of six minutes ago we now have an RSS feed. Of course that doesn’t mean that he’s bothering to have any sort of feed for his primary show which still eschews RSS.

Given his long term interest in the music business and watching what the deans of the music business are doing with respect to distribution, I’m surprised that he doesn’t want to own and control his own masters and their own distribution. Perhaps the ease of recording and distribution on platforms like Anchor.fm (for this show) and TechCrunch for his other show is more than enough? They do discuss in the episode that the company is one of John Borthwick’s which may have prompted this series of experiments.

In any case, this seems like an interesting shorter format with fewer guests, so I’m interested in seeing where it goes.

👓 Feed page | Andy Bell

Read Feed page by Andy BellAndy Bell (Andy Bell)
I started using this site as the canonical root of all of my “social” content in 2018, but got lured back into the convenience of Twitter and Mastodon and sort of gave up on that idea. With yet more Facebook and Instagram controversies closing out the year, I had a sudden reminder that I should own my content—not irresponsible corporations like them or Twitter.