Tag Archives: rss

Adventures in micro blogging part 1⤴

from @ wwwd – John's World Wide Wall Display

I signed up for the kickstarter of micro.blog, it went live earlier this week.

Micro.blog is a new social network for independent microblogs.
Start a microblog today. Easy to publish, own your content, great cross-posting.

Micro.blog

The service is very new and so far has changed and developed every day.

The idea is, you publish short posts, these are mirrored on micro.blog/yourusername via RSS. The posts can be from any RSS feed. You can get a micro.blog hosted blog at yourusername.micro.blog or use your own hosting.

The micro.blog iOS app will post to your micro.blog blog or your own WordPress blog. Or you can use your own system. There is a microblog bot that will post your posts on to Twitter too.

The difference between the hosted blog and your micro.blog/username stream is a mite confusing at the moment. I wonder if a different domain name might have helped.

Both the hosted blog and the twitter bot are paid for options. The docs make it clear that you can host your own and point to IFTTT as an alternative to the bot.

The system follows the indieweb principle of controlling your own content and sending it on to other spaces.

Replies on micro.blog to your posts are sent as webmentions to your own blog and show up as comments if you have the webmention plugin installed. I had that already to get twitter replies as comments.

My setup

I’ve added a new category here, micro. I’ve edited the blog to not have posts with this category show on the home page, they show on micro instead.

I set the micro.blog app to create posts with the status format in the micro category.

I turned off the jetpack social posting to Twitter function. I’ll manually post normal posts. I’ve set up a micro.blog bot to post to Twitter.

The service is very much a work in progress, and I’ve not really read the docs but I’ve noticed a few interesting things.

titleless

On is that the posts on micro.blog consist of descriptions with no titles. When you post form the app, you get a post on your blog without a title. A post with a title on your blog is posted as a link to micro.blog. With a post without out a title the description becomes the content of the micro.blog post.

That means you get lots of posts listed in your dashboard as ‘no title’. Since I didn’t like this I tried to auto add titles to posts without titles with a little Google-fu and some WordPress coding.

This worked out fine, except the posts on micro.blog consist of a title and a link, the tweet posted by the twitter bot is the same.

I am now looking to create a custom RSS feed without title. More googling ahead.

Alternatively I could use the code from Tweaks for micro.blog that adds dates as titles, micro.blog ignore these.

Or just learn to live with ‘no title’ posts in the dashboard.

Me on Micro.blog

Preparing for the microblog is a lot more coherent than this post if you are looking for setup advice.

I’ll post the code I’ve mentioned above at some point, it is pretty simple stuff.

The Return of YouTube RSS⤴

from @ John's World Wide Wall Display

I just read this on OLDaily ~ by Stephen Downes in my RSS reader.

Points to

apparently YouTube has decided to allow users to follow channels via RSS again,

from: YouTube has (apparently) reinstated RSS feeds – BiteofanApple

It seems to work, Ive aded my own channel to my RSS reader, Inoreader, and it worked fine. Tested in a wordpress sidebar widget and here using the RSS Via Shortcode for Page & Post WordPress Plugins

[rssonpage rss="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCc0gdVM7MLneoiJHp4HUqkA" feeds="4" excerpt="summary" target="_blank"]

Gives me links to my last 4 videos.

The feeds seem to lack description, inoreader (and I’d guess other RSS readers) pick up the video from the media:content tag (I’d guess).

This could be useful for bringing content together with other feeds. Perhaps YouTube will bring back tags too…

    Raspberry River⤴

    from @ John's World Wide Wall Display

    Image cropped from public domain flickr image: Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) ...

    I’ve been following the work of Dave Winer for a while now. His pioneering work with RSS, blogging and podcasting is central to my use of the web. I’ve even dipped my toes into and blogged about Fargo his outliner tool a few times, I tried myword.io a couple too.

    The product I am most interested in was the Rivers project. This is a take on RSS readers, where you view collections of RSS in a stream, rather than a folder structure.

    In the past I set up River3 and River4. These products really need a server that goes a bit further than web hosting. I had some working locally but this was not ideal. The instructions for using the previous version of River tended to involve Amazon Web Services and a server elsewhere.

    River5

    River5 changes all of this, it is designed to keep everything in the same place, one server. The only difficulty is that it requires a server running node.

    This is pretty simple to set up locally on a mac. You need to use the terminal. You install node. Then you follow the instructions on the River5 github page and you are away.

    What is very nice indeed is that you can add feeds you want to read in several different formats opml (handy for export from other RSS readers), json and plain text. There is a set of example feeds provided that will let you see everything is working.

    I wanted to be able to have the rivers running all the time and be accessible from other computers. For that I need a server that I could install and run node on. Turns out I have one, john’s pi server. That sits on my window sill mostly taking pictures of the sky. It was running a twitter bot but that is broken at the moment.

    Setting up River5 on a Raspberry Pi

    I do most things on my pi via the terminal on a mac or iPad, suing ssh to logon.

    I had installed node on the pi a while back.

    Download the latest:
    wget http://node-arm.herokuapp.com/node_latest_armhf.deb

    then install:

    sudo dpkg -i node_latest_armhf.deb

    I seem to have done that a while back when I was failing to get something else up and running.

    All I need to do to get River5 installed was to download the files from github and upload them to the pi with scp.
    I then unzipped them went into the folder and ran these two commands:

    npm install

    node river5.js

    This set everything up, a plie of stuff streams by in the terminal and all looked ok. (I had problems the first time I tried but an update came out immediately that fixed things for Linux servers. I got a very quick response on the River5 Forum).

    My Pi already has a sub domain so I visited http://pi.johnj.info:1337 and could see the rivers flowing with Dave’s Feeds.

    I’ve now removed the original ones and replace them with lists of feeds of my own.

    Rivers Forever

    After that I went to bed, next morning I tried the link and it was down. The problem is I need to keep the application up and running even when I am not logged onto the server. I recalled reading on Dave’s blog about Forever. As usual google found the instructions to install and use: Keep a node.js server up with Forever.

    This is pretty simple you install Forever with:

    sudo npm install forever

    npm is a package manager for JavaScript so it installs stuff.

    After it is installed we can start up the river5 with:
    forever start river5.js and it keeps going.

    Mine has been running for a few days now on the pi without any problems.I’ve been enjoying an alternative view of some of my RSS feeds. My next steps are probably to move things around a bit so that I don’t relay on the built in node server, and can pull the river json over to here.

    I am pretty amazed by the ease of doing this. The software has been made to be very easy to install and the Raspberry Pi turns out to be a very capable wee box.

    RSS is an Answer⤴

    from @ John's World Wide Wall Display

    Last evening I noticed on twitter:

    And jumped in without thinking too much.

    Rich (@richardtape) was providing drop in support on a Google Hangout. Rich works at University of British Columbia which is, of course, organizing the Teaching with WordPress course I am trying to follow.

    I had, for a short while, the floor to myself. Unfortunately I made poor use of the time, my teacup was too full. Rich was extremely patient and told me the answer to my problem several times, I just didn’t notice. Hopefully I’ve learned a lesson for the next time I have a similar opportunity (hoping against experience here).

    The problem is the one described in the previous post. To display a question/assignment/challenge post along with responses to that post. Christina solved it with the loop shortcode plugin. We do not have that plugin on GlowBlogs.

    Five Thirty am Enlightenment

    After mulling over the problem in bed this morning I suddenly listened to Rich again. He had repeatedly told me the best way to do this would be RSS but I had focused on plugins and facilities we do not have (yet?) in GlowBlogs.

    So the way I would solve this in Glow blogs would be to use RSS widgets, to pull in responses. These responses would be on the same blog as the questions (but could be pulled in with the syndication plugin, or on another blog that does the aggregation). The widget would only be displayed on the post with the question as it would have a unique category. The responses would have a unique category or tag.

    Here is a quick example: Challenge 2 Red.

    On that post you can see the challenge (show something red). In the sidebar there is a widget showing a list of posts tagged red. This only shows up on the challenge page. I’ve added some information to the post to give more details.

    There are a couple of drawbacks to this method.

    1. It is a bit fiddly for the person setting up the challenge. They need to create a widget per challenge and a category per challenge.
    2. The RSS update is not immediate. A WordPress query would be better.

    I would be interested in using it for something like the bootcamp and see how it goes.

    A Little Aggregation⤴

    from @ John's World Wide Wall Display

    Starlings

    The new Syndication plugin gives Glow Blogs the ability to bring content in from other sources aggregating content into one space.

    For example a School site could aggregate several department or class blogs. This gives the classes/departments a degree of autonomy and control. Schools could decide to only pull in posts with a particular category or tag onto the mothership site.

    I’ve been a big fan of aggregation of information ever since I started blogging. Blogs provide a stream of their posts as RSS. This can be used to keep on top of a lot of content through an RSS reader and RSS can be used to distribute information. For example you can show posts from one blog on the sidebar of another with the RSS widget.

    Going further than that usually takes a bit more work and either a plugin, specialised software or a workaround. For example on the Blogging Bootcamp I am pulling in links from over 50 blogs through one aggregate RSS feed. The aggregation is being done by an external site inoreader. The only option was to display this in the blog sidebar. I hope to be able to do similar projects from now on with the syndication plugin and displaying posts.

    The Syndication Plugin

    In phase 2.2 of the Glow Blogs project we added the syndication plugin. This is a simplified version of a more complex plugin being developed by Automattic. The plugin allows you to add RSS feeds so that their posts appear on the syndicating blog. Once you have activated the plugin you can create a group, add sites to it via their RSS feeds and pull that content onto your blog where it is published. Importantly you can set it so that the source link for the post is the original blog and commentators will be redirected there, you do not need to steal the content.

    This is what we do on ScotEduBlogs where over 100 blogs are aggregated for easy reading. Until now it would not  be possible to do this in Glow.

    It is also how the best, in my opinion, course on the internet is run DS106.. There the course activities are posted and participants responses, published on their own sites are pulled in. the syndication plugin will give us a chance to do this inside Glow Blogs.

    I hope to be producing a guide to using the plugin on the Glow Help Blog soon and starting to use the plugin for a couple of projects.

    Some Simple Aggregation⤴

    from @ John's World Wide Wall Display

    A couple of weeks ago I kicked of a blogging bootcamp as part of my day job. The idea is to help folk through getting started with class blogging. Each week for 10 weeks there are, technical tasks, discussions and blogging challenges which participating classes (or teachers) can choose to do.

    My thinking is based on my own experience in a few online classes/MOOCs and, of course ds106. The bit I really wanted to do was aggregate the participants blogs back to the bootcamp blog. Hopefully this would lead to some connections and community.

    I had hoped as part of the progress with glow blogs we would by now have had a plugin in place that would help with this. Unfortunately this has not happened yet.

    My next though was to set up a blog outside glow, install the necessary plugin (FeedWordPress probably) and aggregate the posts there. This aggregation could be brought back to the bootcamp blog as an RSS feed.

    I ended up going for much less work. I use Inoreader as my RSS reader. It has the rather nice feature when you can get an RSS feed for any of your folders of feeds. This is how it works.

    After participants make their first post, they send me a link. We are asking them to categorize their posts bootcamp so I use the feed for that. For example Wemyss Bay Primary P6, their bootcamp category is:

    https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/in/primary6wbps/category/bootcamp/

    So the RSS feed will be

    https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/in/primary6wbps/category/bootcamp/feed

    I add that to my Inoreader and put it in the BootCamp folder:

    inoreader screeshot

    From the Folder Settings menu I can then get a link to the aggregated RSS feed and a page that aggregates all the posts too.

    Back on the bootcamp blog I’ve added a RSS widget to the sidebar using this feed. This displays the last 20 posts from participants on the blog.

    rss widget on bootcamp blog

    I’d prefer to show more of the participants post on the main section of the blog but I believe this is a further wee story that shows how nice this sort of technique could be. If we get a suitable plugin in glow blogs, we could run all sots of ‘events’ and learning experiences by just aggregating participating class or school blogs through a ‘mothership’ blog.

    Web Literacy Map 2.0⤴

    from @ John's World Wide Wall Display

    Like many education folk I follow Doug Belshaw for lots of good reasons. This week I bumped into Doug at Opening Educational Practices in Scotland Forum and launch (a lot to digest from that). Doug reminded attendees about the Survey: 5 proposals for Web Literacy Map 2.0 he is organising.

    After a quick review of the Web Literacy Map and other resources Doug listed I filled in the survey.

    This leads, backsides forward, to looking at the Map again. It is a great resource1 well organised and deep. It seems to add content every time I look at it. A couple of the questions were around the organisation and complexity of the map. I had a few thoughts. Given the complexity and depth of the resource I wonder if it would be interesting exposing it in different formats for folk to remix. Initially I though of JSON as I’ve made a couple of experiments with this in webmaker. I am now wondering if OPML might be an interesting approach too? This would export to most mind-mapping softwares. I’ve been playing with fargo occasionally and it might allow manipulation of the OPML too.

    A Job for RSS

    The other thing that I was reminded of was the series of chats Doug has been recording with interesting and interested parties. For the most part I’d seen these stream by on Tumblr and only listened to fragments. Doug has put the audio on the internet archive with a nice CC0 license, so I’ve done a little remixing of my own. I’ve uploaded an RSS feed to my google drive: http://tinyurl.com/dougweblit2chats so that I can pull the audio onto my phone. I can then subscribe to this feed in the podcast app on my phone and listen on the go. (I use overcast as my usually podcast app but thought it might be nice to have this as a temporary separate thing).

    doug-chats-podcast-app

    I’ve listened to the Stephen Downes episode on my commute this morning and if the rest are as interesting it will be a delight getting through them. Feel free to subscribe to the feed if you want to do the same thing, be aware I’ve made little effort to make the feed validate, the enclosures don’t have a length etc.


    Footnotes:

    1. Caveat, I am not working with learners and have never taught Web literacy in any depth. I did teach some of ‘this stuff’ as part of teaching ict, blogging, podcasting and the like.

    RSS Serendipity⤴

    from @ John's World Wide Wall Display

    I woke up the other morning morning to a bit of serendipity in my RSS reader that cheered me up.
    First I read Alan’s great post Don’t Be a Platform Pawn. Next up was Marco Arment Linking and quoting Waffle on Social Media which quoted in turn Community Services which pointed to What’s a Twitter Timeline?. On the back of these posts and more Doug Belshaw posted Twitter, algorithms, and digital dystopias (I got the last link via twitter, but it arrived in my rss reader too).

    At the heart of all this the current worries about what you see and who curates your reading. It is also linked in my mind at least, to worries about who owns the space you publish in and the idea around being the product if you are not the customer. It cheers me to see so much pushback against the commercial monoliths.

    I’ve read and even posted about this before, as have many others, but it bears rethink or more mulling, it is pertinent again with the redefinition of the twitter timeline and various facebook problems that are popping up.

    Doug points out:

    they need to provide shareholder value which, given the web’s current dominant revenue model, is predicated on raising advertising dollars. Raising the kind of money they need depends upon user growth, not necessarily upon serving existing users. After all, if they’ve provided the space where all your friends and contacts hang out, you’re kind of locked in.

    And we are ‘kind of’, we can also use a mix of tools and spaces and give them up when the discomfort is to great or the utility is poor. Doug has given up RSS in favour of twitter, G+ and facebook. I’ve stuck with it along with scanning twitter (and harvesting links to my RSS reader) and a smidgen of G+. I lack Doug’s guilt at a pile of unread links in my feedreader and I am more than happy to mark all as read now and then.

    I think both Alan and Doug would agree that it is ok to use and be used by the silos as long as you are aware and the positives outweigh the negatives?

    What is great about Alan’s post is he gives you recipes for how he gains the benefit of flickr, twitter and the like by having control over them, there are a lot of different recipes and links to follow. This presumes that you will use the tools with care, though and a willingness to learn. I’d argue that it is also good fun. here are a few tips of my own.

    Know RSS from your elbow

    RSS is still useful, an old trailing edge technology I still find my RSS reader better that twitter for finding interesting things to read. Perhaps because things pile up rather than steam by, perhaps because I follow around 2000 folk but have only a couple of hundred feeds or so in my reader.

    One of the things I look forward to each week is Doug’s newsletter, Things I We Learned This Week. It is an email list, but I subscribe in my RSS reader, I’ll leave any readers to work out how this is done:-) I’ve also got siftlinks hooked up to my twitter account, this give me a feed of tweets with links from my timeline, it also gives me a feed for my favourites with links. This is great, I use the favourite button in twitter to give feedback to folk (I liked this) and to ‘save’ interesting things. IFTT has several recipies that will convert stuff to RSS so you may find something useful there.

    The nice thing about RSS is you can move from laptop to desktop to mobile and keep reading the content. The other major factor for me is how inoreader (web) and FeeddlerPro (iOS) allow me to post links to twitter, tumblr and more importantly to pinboard.

    Email is still interesting

    I go out of my way to get Doug’s mail in my feed reader because it is content I want to hold onto for a while, but there are an increasing number of email services that provide reading, link or a mix, katexic clippings being a favourite example at the moment. Email lists are also a great way to get information pushed to you from a group.

    Play with new things

    Along with the old trailing edge technology.

    As twitter and facebook and flickr evolve watch out for the new things that are popping up all over the place, I am currently kicking the tyres of Fargo, known and keeping half a eye on Little Facebook Editor. Both known and Little Facebook Editor can post to silos and other spaces, WordPress for LFE and known published to itself and optionally twitter, flickr and Facebook. I am pretty sure that I’ll not adopt these tools for major stuff anytime soon, but it is good to keep up with some different ways of doing thing.

    Update, I didn’t post this yesterday because I got distracted by MDwiki, and ended up building a quick test wiki in my dropbox.