Tag Archives: Yahoo

FriendFeed Minus Twitter

I am apparently obsessed with Yahoo Pipes (again). Aaron Hockley just wished for a way to get a FriendFeed, but without all of the annoying Twitter posts that overwhelm the feed. At that point Todd Kenefsky walked by and said, “I bet you could do that with a Yahoo Pipe.” Obsession resumed … bedtime postponed.

I just had to oblige. Use this FriendFeed Minus Twitter Yahoo Pipe to get a nice little RSS feed of your FriendFeed without the million Tweets. Simply grab the RSS feed from your “friends” page, enter it into the box on the pipe, and grab the rss feed output 🙂

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Yahoo Pipes Twitter Reply Sniffer: More Improvements

The switch last week from TerraMinds (the service appears to be dead) to TweetScan for the Yahoo Pipes Twitter Reply Sniffer had a couple of unintended side effects. For people with twitter account names that are also common words, the new sniffer delivered way too many false positives. I realized that TweetScan completely ignored the “@” sign, which I didn’t think was a big deal at the time. With a Twitter account like @geekygirldawn, I didn’t notice any issues; however @verso noticed. I was also having a hard time pulling the date out of the TweetScan RSS feed last week for some reason. It was obvious today, which means that they added the date to their feed, or I completely missed it last week when I was tweaking the pipe. Either are good possibilities, since I made the tweaks to the pipe in about 5 minutes while talking to a couple of Legion of Tech board members and waiting for the board meeting to start.

This new and improved Twitter Reply Sniffer explicitly includes only references to your twitter account name that are preceded by the “@” sign. For any of you who liked seeing every reference to your twitter account name, you can easily clone the pipe and remove the filter for @accountname.

I’ve also added a time stamp to the end of every title so that you can easily see exactly when each person replied. If you don’t like the time stamp, you can also clone the pipe and remove the loop right before the pipe output module.

Thanks to Ms. Fishbones for suggesting the improvements and for pointing out the typo in my blog post about the new version of the reply sniffer from last week!

I also wanted to thank Justin Kistner at Metafluence for creating the first rev of this pipe. He came up with the idea to do this and found the services that made it possible. I cloned his original version and have been making minor tweaks along the way that seem to have taken on a life of their own as things like this frequently do.

Here is the new version of the Twitter Reply Sniffer. I think that your rss reader should automagically pick up the changes if you were already using the old Twitter Reply Sniffer.

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    Yahoo Pipes: Track Twitter Replies with RSS Part Deux

    A while back, I modified Justin’s Twitter Reply Sniffer to add a little more functionality. The reply sniffer is really useful to help find Twitter @ replies directed toward you from everyone (whether you follow them or not). This is incredibly helpful for me in a couple of ways. First, it finds replies that I missed from people I follow. Second, I just can’t keep up with the noise if I follow everyone who follows me; however, I think that the conversations are one of the most important aspects of Twitter, and the reply sniffer helps me participate in those conversations.

    My issue with the original reply sniffer is that it was based on TerraMinds.com, which was down all day yesterday, so I decided to modify it to use a similar service, TweetScan. Here is the link to the new and improved Twitter Reply Sniffer pipe.

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    Don't Miss Any Important sxsw Tweets this week!

    I was a little bored sitting in the airport at 5am, so I thought that it would be fun to use Yahoo Pipes to help make sure that I didn’t miss any important sxsw tweets during my trip. I thought that other people might be interested in using it, too, so I built my Twitter Filter for sxsw using a user input field. You just enter your “with friends” Twitter feed URL, grab the RSS feed output, and put the feed in your favorite mobile RSS reader. Now you can make sure you don’t miss anything!

    How it works:

    • You enter your Twitter “with friends” feed (it defaults to mine).
    • It searches the feed for these 2 keywords “sxsw” and “austin”
    • It outputs only the tweets with one of those keywords

    Keep in mind that you can clone this pipe and add some extra keywords. Good candidates might be “party” or “werewolf” 🙂

    For those sxsw’ers on Twitter, a bunch of us are writing similar filters, so you might want to make sure you include the text or hash tag “sxsw” in your Tweets.

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    Yahoo Pipes: Track Twitter Replies with RSS

    Justin put together a really cool Yahoo Pipe, Twitter Reply Sniffer, to track twitter replies today using TerraMinds. You can read all of the details on his Metafluence blog.

    I will admit to being a complete Yahoo Pipes addict, and I couldn’t just be content to use his pipe without hacking on it and tweaking it a little bit 🙂

    I added a date / time stamp to the end of the title so you can also see when the reply was sent. I also filtered for duplicates. Honestly, I wouldn’t expect them, but Twitter can be flaky sometimes, so I wanted to be sure. Feel free to take a look at my tweaked pipe.

    Question for my readers: For some reason, Yahoo Pipes strips out the leading 0 in the y:published time fields. 0:2 is displayed instead of 00:02. Anyone know how to easily add the leading 0 back in on single digit numbers? I know that I could use pubDate, but it’s too long and the format isn’t very nice.

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    Tips for RSS Feeds, Yahoo Pipes, Attention, and Netvibes

    Lately, I have been obsessed with RSS feeds. More accurately, I have been obsessed with all of the cool things I can do with Yahoo Pipes, AideRSS and other tools that make my consumption of RSS feeds even more efficient. There are so many great blogs, people, sites, and more that I want to read, but you can only effectively pay attention to so many things without sacrificing things like sleep in order to keep up. I designed a Top Blog Posts pipe to help me find the posts that were getting the most attention from others using AideRSS as a filter. This is a great start, but having a way to prioritize information in your feed reader can also make a huge difference. This is where Netvibes comes into the picture.

    I’ve been using Netvibes since mid-2006 (I found the first reference to Netvibes on my blog back on August 11, 2006), so I hadn’t really thought much about how I read my feeds until recently. Justin was in the process of putting together some intelligence dashboards for the execs at Jive to keep up with industry news, and after he decided to use Netvibes for the dashboard, I found myself sitting down and showing him all of the cool tweaks to make it more efficient to use. He encouraged me to blog about it, so here I am! 🙂

    Part of the power of Netvibes is that it is easy to use for people who are less tech savvy, yet so versatile that it can be used by real feed power users. This makes it perfect for the type of intelligence dashboards Justin has been doing. Now I’ll get on with the real purpose of this post.

    Tips for using Netvibes:

    • Tabs. Start by thinking about how you want to organize your attention. This will drive how you configure your Netvibes tabs. I organize my tabs based on content areas of interest: Tech/Web 2.0, Open Source, Community, General News, and Jive. I also have a personal tab where I keep vanity feeds, personal (non-tech) friend blogs, weather widgets, etc. This really helps focus your attention on specific topics at different times of the day.
    • Adding Feeds. You can manually add feeds using the “Add Content” button. You can import your feeds into Netvibes using various methods including OPML files. You can also share tabs with friends; for example, here are a few of my tabs: community, Tech / Web 2.0, and Open Source.
    • Configuring Feeds. You don’t need to live with the default number of items showing for a feed; this can be configured for each feed by clicking the edit button. For blogs that don’t update very often, I bump them down to 3-4 items, while some of my pipes feeds filtered through AideRSS show 15 items. Using the edit button, you can also change the title, show more details (description of each post), and configure links to open in Netvibes preview or directly on the site.
    • Columns. Use columns to further organize data within each tab by clicking the down arrow on your selected tab to set the number of columns. You can configure each tab to have 1-4 columns of data, and I have found that 3-4 columns is perfect for me.
    • Organization. This gets a little tricky depending on how you view Netvibes. Assuming you rarely use Netvibes from your smart phone (I’ll talk more about this later), you might want to put the important stuff at the top of each column or organize information into various columns based on subtopics or some other scheme. You can easily drag and drop feeds all over the page to move them between columns and even between tabs. If you have a lot of feeds, it will be easier to move them around if you collapse all of the feeds by clicking the tiny black up arrow next to the settings link in the top right corner of the page (don’t worry, you can expand all the same way when you are done).
    • Mobile organization. At a recent geek get together over the holidays, Marshall Kirkpatrick was showing me the improvements they’ve made to m.netvibes.com, the mobile interface for Netvibes. I am finding it to be a great way to catch up on feed reading during the bus ride to / from work. However, after starting to use the mobile interface, I found that I needed to do a complete overhaul of the way that I use columns. The mobile interface goes through each column in sequence by completing all of column 1 from top to bottom before starting at the top of column 2 and traversing it from top to bottom. Based on this, I reorganized my feeds into sections based on importance. For example, in my tech / web 2.0 tab, I start column 1 with my Top Blog Posts pipe that filters top posts through AideRSS followed by some of the important industry feeds with frequent content (ReadWriteWeb, GigaOM, etc.), since these are usually the first things I want to read. Column 2 has blogs from industry thought leaders like Confused of Calcutta and Doc Searls, and Column 3 has blogs from tech friends, etc. As long as you keep the things that are important enough to want to read first in column 1, you should be in good shape using the mobile interface.
    • Widgets. There are thousands of really useful widgets that offer more that just feed data. These are built into Netvibes and can be found by clicking the Add Content link. You can find widgets for weather, email, IM, Digg, Flickr, Facebook, eBay, Craigslist, videos, and many more. There are also widget containers that you can use to drop a bit of code into to easily create your own custom widgets for your page.

    As you can tell, I’m a big fan of Netvibes. It has some really interesting features that make it easier for me to manage large quantities of information while focusing my attention on the most important bits of data.

    What did I miss? Feel free to leave some of your tips for using Netvibes in the comments!

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    The Power (and Pain) of Yahoo Pipes for RSS Aggregation

    I read about Yahoo! Pipes when it first came out, but never really gave it much thought until a couple of recent discussions with Justin and Paul opened my eyes to the power of Pipes. Part of the beauty and power of Pipes is that it is much easier than it sounds or looks at first glance, especially to get some simple aggregated rss feeds up and running quickly; although, the some really tricky stuff can require more work and some specific expertise.

    Simple RSS Aggregation

    An easy, but powerful, way to get started with Pipes is by aggregating a few feeds. A couple of weeks ago, I needed an easy way to aggregate all of the recent discussions across more than a dozen sub-communities from the Jivespace Developer Community Clearspace instance into a single feed that could be displayed in the sidebar of the Jivespace home page. I used a very simple Pipe for this task.

    How? I added over a dozen feeds to the Fetch Feed module, sent the output through a Sort module to sort by date, and then set this to the pipe output. Simple and easy. Now it was time for something a little more powerful …

    Feed Aggregation with Filtering, Looping, and String Building

    I also did a more complex pipe with a few additional functions. This slightly more complex pipe is called the Dawn Foster UberFeed, which pulls in content that I publish across the web: Fast Wonder Blog, Fast Wonder Podcast, Flickr, Magnolia, and Jive blogs / podcasts.

    Part of it was easy. The Fast Wonder feeds and Flickr feed contain only content that I write, so all of those feeds are in a simple Fetch Feed module.

    Pulling my content from the Jive feeds required the addition of a simple filter after the Fetch Feed module. I included a Filter module to only permit items where item.author contains the string “dawn”. This filters out the Jive posts from other co-workers and only pulls in the posts that I authored.

    I also wanted to add my Ma.gnolia links to the feed, but this got a little more complicated. It would be easy to simply add the Ma.gnolia feed to my list of feeds in the Fetch Feed module; however, it made my links look like they were authored by me. To avoid taking credit for the work of others, I decided that I wanted to add the string “Magnolia Link: ” to the beginning of every link to make it clear that these are my links, not my posts. I used the Loop module with an embedded String Builder module. This loops through every item in the Ma.gnolia feed and builds a new string by concatenating “Magnolia: ” with item.title. The result of this operation is assigned back into item.title.

    Bigger image.

    I took all of these various outputs after the filters and sting modifications and integrated them together using the Union module. The output of this union is then sent through the Sort module, which orders all of the content from newest to oldest by item.pubDate.

    You can view the source of the pipe or subscribe to my UberFeed if you want to see exactly how this works.

    The Pain of Yahoo Pipes

    This brings me to the pain of pipes. It is still in beta and is still a bit buggy. For the most part, it seems to work, but I am finding little annoying things that just don’t quite work consistently. For example, we have a pipe we are using at Jive that works fine for me in Netvibes; however, for other people using other feed readers, some items are duplicated many times. I also recommend saving frequently. It has a tendency to crash Firefox occasionally. Despite the bugs and quirks, Pipes is a really powerful tool for RSS junkies like me.

    Recommended Reading:

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