Tagged: twitter

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.

Twitter Holiday 2

Twitter Holiday

Yet again, I’m taking a break from Twitter – the last time was over a year ago and I have some holidays (to Aus – WOOHOO!) and other things to attend to. As with last time, I’d like to give some of the resources and inspiration for me on twitter:

  • Jennifer Sertl @JenniferSertlStrategy, Leadership and the Soul: Resilience, Responsiveness and Reflection for a Global Economy – we obviously need people like her!
  • Bob Marshall @flowchainsensei – another “must follow” – I’ll be doing some things on this blog on Rightshifting and the Antimatter Principle
  • Alex Ley @AlexEvade – worked with him for a bit – you should check out his latest project : http://www.nerdability.com
  • Tony DaSilva @Bulldozer0 – a “self declared twitter buddy” :-) Leave your sacred cows at the door before reading him though
  • Jakub Holý @HolyJak – We think quite similarly and I’ve since met him at EuroClojure – a cool guy (and I’m not just saying that because he’s interested in Clojure ;)
  • Andrea Chiou @andreachiou – puppy person GREAT agilist and now NVC’er
  • Jim Benson @ourfounder – do I really need to introduce him? no…
  • Ruth Malan @ruthmalan – I always value what Ruth says – such a fountain of knowledge
  • John Wenger @JohnQShift – Recently landed in UK and doing all sorts of systems and leadership thinking
  • John Hagel @jhagel – Co-chairman, Deloitte LLP Center for the Edge – worth checking out
  • Bernd Nurnberger @CoCreatr – I like this guys take on global events
  • Paul Klipp @agileactivist – The only Anthropologist I follow on Twitter – oh – he’s very much in to Kanban and software in general
  • Ari-Pekka Skarp @apskarp – A mysterious Finn. But then again, which Finn’s aren’t mysterious?…
  • Kurzweil AI News @KurzweilAINews – Are you ready for “The Singularity”? These guys will keep you up to speed
  • Saybrook University @SaybrookU – Great posts on change

Does that mean I’m disconnecting myself from the world? Not at all (just the twitter one) – I’ve already done a bunch of conferences and met some amazing people and will be doing more entries on this blog as time allows.

One thing to note is that I will still be publishing links to Twitter automatically when I do a blog entry. As I won’t be looking at twitter, if you do have any comments then please use the Comments area in WordPress if you want a response from me.

If you want to contact me directly, most people have my email but if you don’t, the best bet is to LinkIn with me at http://www.linkedin.com/in/rwest.

Back from Holidays

We’ve just got back from a fantastic break in Sevilla, with a US relation who can speak fluent Spanish which makes a huge difference! It was actually on that break, while 1/2 asleep during a siesta that I worked out how to get back on to Twitter without being overwhelmed, so I’m back from my Twitter Holiday also!

As I’ve frequently admitted, I’m a bit behind on the social media curve so I’m sure many have had similar or “evolved” to this state. For the benefit of anyone who is in a similar position or feeling a bit overwhelmed though, here’s what I did:

  1. Set up a private Twitter List called Read which is now my “new stream”. I’ve made it private as it’s a subset of the people that I’m following on Twitter.
  2. Changed my preferences on Tweetbot so this is displayed by default. It didn’t take me long to find that if you click on the icon, you can choose what is displayed. I’d always wondered what that was for…

And that’s it!

I’m still going to be tweeting less though as using a blog has made me think more of approaching Twitter from a qualitative rather than quantitative perspective.

There is still the issue of effective analysis to cover the gap of “these are the people I want to read all the time” and “there are a whole bunch of other people that I’m interested in but don’t have the time to follow. That can only be covered by some Personal Analytics on my full Twitter stream which will be the subject of a subsequent post.

Going Slow on Social Media

As I’ve recently blogged, I’ve taken a Twitter Holiday and have found it to be quite liberating. This feeling continues as my nervous system is getting used to less stimulation, which has been helped by having the flu for a while – this has been the first day that I’ve been up to doing anything on a computer, and I’ve been thinking…

. . . about the Slow Movement http://www.slowmovement.com/

which I’ve always been interested in. So today it hit me that what I’m really trying to do is Go Slow on Social Media. I’m obviously not the first person to suffer from Social Media Overload, and it seems I’m now going through the “self-correction phase”. I do want to remain engaged, just with a bit more balance.

The first step was obviously to temporarily disconnect from Twitter so I could get the bandwidth to actually go slow and it’s emerging that the first step seems to be just using Flipboard for my favourite sites and WordPress to hear what most of the people I’m interested in are thinking.

So what about Twitter? As I’ve stated, I’ll definitely be back there in a few weeks or months, but how? So far, I’m thinking:

  1. Cut down the number of tweets / day I do to <5
  2. Find or make a tool with some serious analytics going on Twitter so I can reduce the traffic I’m getting to ~10-20 items / day

which I think is interesting as it’s a hybrid human / machine solution. These are obviously the best type of solution in the social media space as if you take the human out of the loop, well – where’s the social bit? Point 1 is personal and easy. Point 2 is automated, with human input (probably defining filter criteria) and what I’ll be working on.

BTW: While writing this, I’ve just been listening to “Is It Just Me Or Is Everything $#!t?” by John Nolan who is an ACM Distinguished Engineer and Agile practioner since 1999 having founded and run one of the world’s longest Agile(XP) projects at Connextra (7+ years). Leave your sacred cows at the door and check this out as John rants about the computer-driven information society we live in and the compromises it forces us to make, pleading for a simpler and more humane approach to it. Couldn’t of put it better…

We’re All going on a Twitter Holiday

Twitter Holiday

So, the time has come where I’ve finally been “overloaded” by Twitter on many levels.

This is not a bad thing, it’s just a thing… So as a result, surprise, surprise: I’ll be going on a Twitter Holiday (not really with Sir Cliff Richard ;) for a number of reasons:

  • A real Holiday has actually “emerged” in my life – I’ve finished a contract and:
    • An Aussie Mate will be visiting us for a while
    • We’re going to Seville in Spain for a while with our US relations (one of whom speaks Spanish because she works at a community library in US)
    • I’m catching up with an Aussie Uni Buddy and his new “girlfriend” (sounds strange as we’re both getting near 50 ;) in France
  • DailyRiczWest is dead! As I recently tweeted, I was going to do a lot more with that, but now that Twitter killed ifttt.com, I can’t really be bothered, for the moment… Anyone who knows or has worked with me, should know that I can be a stubborn, sneaky and clever bastard, capable of working around the most entrenched and stubborn systems. Needless to say, Twitter have handed me a challenge which I thank them for – Namaste’ :-)
  • I’m getting tired of the “cognitive constraints” of 140 chars! But as a result of those chars, I want to start  blogging more – around the 1,400 char point – concise, yet clearly explained
  • I love the twitter debates, but I want to get personal! Again, this is more a reference to the restrictions of twitter – I’m quite happy to email people. I could Skype them, or even maybe meet them F2F! Not Tweeting will inspire me to progress some relationships…
  • I’ve just finished up “handover” for another contract and in that way, this feels like a natural extension of that, as I’m kind of doing a handover of my experience on Twitter
  • We’re (ie my wife and I) are going through an incredible period of change – moving from the most amazingly toxic street, where we lived (foolishly) for two years to a most amazingly positive one in a totally new county! This takes time to integrate…

Finally, and probably most importantly, I’m just over-filled with Twitter Information and People!

I mean this in a totally positive way. I have formed relationships which will be developed and have been exposed to so many very smart and aware people, that I’ve yet to catch up with. And therein lies the problem – I can’t catch up with them by reading their tweets! I’ll meet some of them and read much material by them or recommended by them…

Another way to put it is that I need some reflection time from the firehose. During the past (really year or so as although I “joined” in 2009, I didn’t do much for a year or so…) I have gathered just so much information!

  • 4,444 tweets, probably a lot of which are links to articles
  • A lot (~1k?) of favourites, which I used when Twitter weren’t API Fascists to dump to text files
  • Other information related to tweets, which I have traced and tweeted

Probably, more importantly, I have formed what I feel are real connections with people – sharing my highs & lows. Having arguments, disagreements and agreements (mostly :) whom I’d like to acknowledge and encourage you to check out and maybe follow:

  • Jennifer Sertl @JenniferSertl – We just connect! I’m looking forward to meeting her some day (probably at CultureCon London 2013 :) Oh – what does she do? Strategy, Leadership and the Soul: Resilience, Responsiveness and Reflection for a Global Economy – we obviously need people like her!
  • Bob Marshall @flowchainsensei – sometimes we think the same, sometimes different. I like challenging him and having a good ‘ol discussion / debate / duke out (:) – hopefully catch up F2F @ XTC…
  • My Anonymous Friend who would probably have to kill you if you knew who he was ;-) We have so many good discussions that are not on Twitter, but should be, even if in censored form or relayed via me… You obviously know who you are – and who everyone else is ;-)
  • Alex Ley @AlexEvade – worked with him for a bit – you should check out his latest project : http://www.nerdability.com
  • tom_gall @tom_gall – Originally followed because he had a NeXT logo as his avatar – must admit I’m a bit dissapointed that it’s still not that, but he’s definitely worth following…
  • Tony DaSilva @Bulldozer0 – always great stuff – we like Control Theory ;-)
  • Andrea Chiou @andreachiou – puppy person and GREAT agilist
  • Jim Benson @ourfounder – do I really need to introduce him? no…
  • Scott Amber @scottwambler – do I really need to introduce him? no…
  • Grady Booch @Grady_Booch – do I really need to introduce him? no…
  • Ron Jeffries @RonJeffries – Never really been able to figure out who this guy is ;-) …
  • Peter Vander Auwera @petervan – I call him “The Banker”. But I mean that in a positive way – many good tweets
  • Tom Graves @tetradian – strangely enough, I have never really “twalked” with him. Probably because we think quite closely on the issues he tweets about
  • Ben Wilcock @benbravo73 – a “SOA Thinker” – Never met, but I found out about him when I worked at Glue / Reply. Good tweets
  • Ruth Malan @ruthmalan – now that Tom Gall has forsaken his NeXT Avatar, Ruth now has the best One!- we’re pretty aligned…
  • Phil Nash @phil_nash – met @ XTC – does interesting stuff
  • Dave Snowden @snowded– do I really need to introduce him? no, yes? I’ve only recently “really discovered” him, and he makes so much sense!
  • Byron Conway @aricochet – Recoveering Scientist – tweets some very broad and amazing stuff
  • Dan Mezick @DanMezick – was introduced recently – the man behind #CultureCon2012 and hopefully the one also behind #CultureCon 2013 which will be in London!
  • John Wenger @JohnQShift – hmm… hard to describe – just follow him! :-)
  • Bernd Nurnberger @CoCreatr – recently found out about him via #CultureCon2012 and an all-round interesting guy
  • Paul Klipp @agileactivist – Heard of Kanbanery? he’s that, and a lot more, including the ACE Conference, which I’ll be going to next year
  • Chris Ford @ctford – Saw him at a London Clojurians meeting. Music, Clojure – what’s not to like about this guy?
  • Ari-Pekka Skarp @apskarp – A mysterious Finn. But then again, which Finn’s aren’t mysterious? ;-)
  • Dave O’Hara @David_A_Ohara – hey – I’ve worked with Dave and he’s brilliant – you’ll be lucky if he starts blogging one day about what he really does – apart from check in to locations and listen to music ;-)
  • Richard Veryard @richardveryard – met at BCS event, works for CBDI and has some interesting EA stuff to say
  • Mark Pesce @mpesce – do I really need to introduce him? no? yes? Apparently has some sort of Secret Project – I suppose we’ll find out about it some time…
  • Ross Dawson @rossdawson – futurist and maker of many cool diagrams…
  • Sleepy Fox @sleepyfox – met at XTC – again, interesting
  • Sit At The Table @SitAtTheTable – so go sit at the table with her! ;-)
  • Rasperry Pi @Raspberry_Pi – do I really need to introduce them? NO! Yes, they are the one and ONLY – follow them if you don’t already…
  • Marcus du Sautoy @MarcusduSautoy – do I really need to introduce him? Yes? OK, if you’re outside of the UK, this guy is a maths legend…

Finally, to repeat my BlogRoll, here’s some blogs you may want to follow (that are not already mentioned above) :

So does that mean I’m disconnecting myself from the world? Hell NO! I’ll be going to XTC’s when I can. Probably also London Clojurians if timing is OK, ACE next year and any other things that are bought to my attention…

Finally, so you want to contact me? The best bet is to LinkIn with me at http://www.linkedin.com/in/rwest. From there, we can work to email / phone / video … – whatever is necessary…