After watching Ian’s twitterings and Roo’s blog postings, I’ve set myself up a tumblelog on Tumblr.

Over a year ago I tried a new service called Suprglu, which had a similar promise of aggregating feeds from different sources (Flickr, blogs etc.) into a single site. It doesn’t really call for any maintenance at all – it just sits there and pulls together my photos and posts. Unfortunately though, it has a bit of a lag on updates (usually taking a good day or so before new entries appear).

Tumblr is different, both because I can customise the way that the feeds are displayed, and because I can post snippets directly to the tumblelog itself, making it more of a flexible scrapbook. One thing I don’t know is whether I can use my normal blogging clients (ecto and Windows Live Writer) to add content. I’ve no idea how much I will use it… I already Twitter my discoveries, add them to, or write longer pieces on the blog. We’ll see.

Note to my detractors: I’ll get some WebSphere-related posts lined up for you shortly, to avoid further accusations of lack of interest in blogging the day job.

13 thoughts on “Scrapbook”

  1. I suppose you could set up a random snippets/comments/quotes feed that you insert into suprglu or tumblr. You could even subvert a Twitter persona for that purpose.

    I do think that there is a real danger of spreading yourself a bit thin. It’s hard enough writing stuff regularly on a blag, to keep a million different services around for a million different kinds of information that you want to share starts to get a bit tiring and limits the amout of time you have actually experiencing things.

    This was also a pain, when I was checking a million different services for information about my friends and news, etc, but that has pretty much been solved now with RSS aggregation. How about some aggregation of the write side of services?

    twittering with gtalk is a step in the right direction, and may even be enough to persuade me to start using it. Has anyone here tried flock?

  2. Kyb, that’s an entirely fair point. And you only have to look at how little I use my MySpace and Vox presences, or how much I’ve (not) looked at my Suprglu site, to see that it is a problem.

    The “aggregation of write” is something I pondered today – I have too many bookmarklets, posting tools and so on – I want to be able to jot something in a single place and have it propagated to, Twitter, Tumblr or wherever as appropriate. Ideally, in a ubicomp world, the systems would be intelligent enough to know which one was most appropriate. The reality is that you’re always likely to need a lot of human feel for that, if the services themselves remain separate at the other end.

  3. The aggregation “in” is no issue – I use FeedReader (Win), Vienna (OS X) and Pipes to get exactly what I want. Although I also use Mugshot, and then I also have notifications from Twitter… hmm.

    The “aggregation out” part is a trickier problem – how to spend less time on posting content to different sources.

  4. I think there’s a gap in the market for an “aggregator of write”. It’d have to have a jabber client, and submission plugins for all the major services (flickr, twitter, wordpress/blogs, delicious, plazes etc). With a little work, it would guess your intended target most of the time (short -> twitter, short with a single url -> delicious, medium -> tumblr, long-> blog, picture -> flickr), and like you say, you’d have a human override.

    The google twitter link I mentioned earlier is still a bit stupid in some ways – you can set your twitter status by talking to twitter, but it doesn’t update your gtalk status.

    I think there’s also an interesting gap for person based aggregation, so that I could look at a nice display of all my friends, and see at a glance all the activity of any type that they have done. All current feedreaders do this, but the user interface could be much better if the notion of ‘friend’ as a union of feeds was something a bit more than tag or folder.

    To do it automatically, perhaps we should have a tying together service that publishes RSS feeds for an identity of all the services they are using. That way, I could add as a friend, and the person based aggregator would know all of the services that you are using and all the feeds that it needs to aggregate.

    I may even do this, if it hasn’t already been done, and I get the time.

  5. That link that I put in my comment as an example now works. I’m currently serving an xml file containing all the services I know you use. Any comments on the format?

    Now, I just need a nice tool to create those files, and to write a person based aggregator that understands the format. It’d also help for the aggregator of write as well.

  6. Cool. And kinda scary 🙂

    The only thing I would say is that FOAF was supposed to be the answer to this problem, in many ways. If you look at my FOAF file (linked from the About page) you might discover more services… it is out of date though.

  7. FOAF is interesting it, along with openID it reminds me a lot of my rant from last year. It’s very nearly what I’d like, although it’s not as narrowly aimed at feeds and services as I’d like. The thing is that each of those sites listed under services has their own definition of your network, so it’s unnecessary to store it in your file that links them all together. I don’t need yet another way of storing information about people – they already use a million websites for that, most of which use RSS to publish their data, all I need is a way of linking all the different identities together.

  8. Agreed – seems like your approach is a good start, although it doesn’t include e.g. IM networks, email etc. (yet), which FOAF does.

    Need to think more on this stuff – busy right now though 🙁

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