Tagged: flipboard

Capturing your FlipBoard Magazine posts

FlipboardIconAs I’ve written about previously, although I’m not directly on Twitter at the moment, I am still curating information using FlipBoard Magazines and currently “publishing it” weekly as the Weekly RiczWest, which is basically a static page on WordPress with some links to my FlipBoard magazines that is available as a menu item at the top and is also tweeted using IFTTT (If This Then That).

DailyRiczWest-7oct13This is not really a satisfactory solution as I’d actually like to produce a “custom” magazine which contains only the content of the past week, which is the same idea I had with the Daily RiczWest. For all my gripes against Twitter, at least they make their content available via IFTTT (it wasn’t for a while, but now it’s back). Unfortunately, FlipBoard seems to be rather a closed system. This has obviously offended the “hacker” (and I mean that in a good way, not the common debased usage) so I’m looking to open it up and continue work on the core concept of taking a set of “highlighted posts” (by Flipboard Magazines, Twitter Favourites, …) and put them in to a custom stream and newspaper.

The first step is to free the information from FlipBoard to a neutral format that can be worked with. As usual, “the web” can help rescue us. FlipBoard have (marginally) “opened up” their magazines by giving them a URL which is updated and viewable by others on a browser. This gives us just enough room to actually capture the information, but how?

There are essentially three problems here:

  1. Sense changes to the web page
  2. Capture those changes
  3. Save them somewhere

3 will be solved by our old friend DropBox along with IFTTT for the high level orchestration, but it really could be anything.

For 1, before I found out I could only get my magazines “externally” from FlipBoard I was hoping they would have them exposed as RSS – unfortunately not :-( It’s a good idea though, so this lead to me searching for some way to convert web pages to RSS feeds. Luckily, there are a number of possible solutions, but I’ve chosen page2rss which is very easy to use (i.e. just give it the URL and it “does” the rest).

For 2, you simply set up an IFTTT Recipe that is triggered by your RSS feed and saves the ‘changes’ in the Web Page from 1

FlipBoard to DropBox 1

FlipBoard to DropBox 2

Once you have this set up you’ll get way too much information in your file as it seems to be a JSON Object – I’ve given a stripped down example below

"id":"flipboard-Kp8ig9DcRLGi9DYCWVwKXg:a:1234567-1386361164",
"hashCode":3819861521,
"sortValue":31117306186617,
"type":"post",
"title":"Z Motherboards For Mini-ITX Builds - Reviews - Tom’s Hardware",
"excerptText":"Pre­vi­ous<p>The Mini-ITX Mar­ket Is Small, But Growing...<p>
ASRock ZE-ITX<p>ZE-ITX Software<p>ZE-ITX Firmware<p>Asus ZI-Deluxe<p>
ZI-Deluxe Software<p>ZI-Deluxe Firmware<p>EVGA Z Stinger<p>Z Stinger Software<p>Z …",
"sourceURL":"http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/z-motherboard-roundup,3656.html#xtor=RSS-999",
"hideOnCover":true,
"inlineImage":{…},
"language":"en",
"authorDisplayName":"Thomas Soderstrom",
"referredByItems":[
{
"type":"status",
"authorDisplayName":"RiczWest",
"authorUsername":"RiczWest",
"userid":"1234567",
"authorImage":{
"smallURL":"http://cdn.flipboard.com/uploads/avatar/7b432b8649b94792ac273a75720224789510b1fc.jpg"
},
"text":"",
"urls":["http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/z-motherboard-roundup,3656.html#xtor=RSS-999"],
"service":"flipboard",
"remoteServiceItemID":"Kp8ig9DcRLGi9DYCWVwKXg:a:1234567",
"dateCreated":1386361164,
"ingestionTime":1386373813,
"sectionLinks":[…],
"original":{…},
"id":"flipboard-Kp8ig9DcRLGi9DYCWVwKXg:a:1234567-1386361164"
}
…
],

as in the next post I’ll be looking at parsing this for enough information to produce a WeeklyRiczWest newspaper. I’m hoping that we may even be able to use some of FlipBoards summary extraction features…

The RiczWest Weekly Magazine

FlipboardIconI’m always playing around with various curation mechanisms – there was (and kind of still is) the DailyRiczWest, but I still haven’t got that fully automated and as I’m not using Twitter at the moment it’s fallen by the wayside a bit. I am still browsing though, using Flipboard and wanted an alternative for curating content that I found. I’d had a look at Flipboard magazines when they came out but dropped them as soon as I figured out there was no way to share them with other people who don’t have it.

The GOOD NEWS? You can now share your Flipboard Magazines with people that don’t have it!!!

The process is so easy – when you’ve created a magazine, just go to it and tap “Share” then “Copy Link”, which you can then use in emails, web pages etc… I just created a static page, My Flipboard Magazines, which just contains static links to the 6 different magazines I have on the subjects of:

  • Hardware: Gizmos & Geekery
  • Programming: Interesting articles, mostly on Clojure
  • News: Interesting news mostly in the areas of IT, Technology & Science
  • Miscellanea: Various things that can’t be categorised :-)
  • Reference: Articles and Reverences
  • Favourites: Things that are interesting to me, but I don’t tweet

which I’ll then just tweet a link to every week using If This Then That. Not ideal, but another mechanism for curation.

It would certainly be better in the long term to also collate those ‘Flips’ (in to the magazines) in to a text file like I do with the DailyRiczWest, which is something I’m looking at currently and will blog about if I figure it out. If anyone knows how to do this already (using IFTTT or another mechanism) then please let me know or add a comment.