Category Archives: RSS

Hey Joe Blogger, Diversify!


divserifyYou may have heard of Joe the plumber and Joe Sixpack.  I want to speak directly to Joe Blogger.  This post is for the average Joe or Jane Blogger.  It pays to diversify.

There are plenty of life streaming venues around.  FriendFeed and other lifestreaming services allow submission of your blogs RSS feed.  When I blog post the post gets pushed via RSS to FriendFeed, Twitter, Facebook, and Social Median to name a few.

It pays in page views to diversify.  I am also a member of Strands, Plaxo, and MyBlogLog.  Making content available via full text RSS and submitting to multiple services gets your content out into the wild.

From a personal standpoint I mainly see traffic being driven by FriendFeed.  Yesterday I posted what I thought was a great post titled “Leaders In Internet Social Networks” that subsequently bombed page view wise on FriendFeed.  It really is ok.  I do not blog for traffic but it nice.

Anyway today out of nowhere I was on the front page of Social Median and as a result have had a very successful day (for me) page view wise.  There are no blogging formulas but it pays to diversify as a new blogger.

Be an active participant in Social Media and submit your blog postings to every stream you actively participate in.  It pays to not put all your eggs in one basket even if it is a great basket like FriendFeed.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Toluu On The Move


Web 2.0 is about potential in my opinion.  Many of the Web 2.0 web applications usually only debut with a few good ideas.  They implement one or two features not much beyond proof of concept and subsequently go into a private alpha or beta holding pattern.  This wait and see mode is to determine interest by VCs, early adopters, and to measure buzz.

Early adopters may give the application a try but unless the buzz takes off development may be very slow.  Toluu is not normal.  Toluu breaks the mold.  I keep writing about Toluu because of its changing growing feature set.  I also see the enormous potential for an application like Toluu.

Caleb Elston the Toluu founder has done a wonderful job at taking a different tact in assuring the success of his startup.  The difference is the continuing feature development.  He has continually made hardware and software developments.  The applications stability, feature set, and application speed are drastically improved from a mere 2 months ago.

Today Toluu rolls out another set of features enhancements aimed at improving the user experience.  The enhancements include UI changes to the Matches screen, the Contacts page, and the Subscribers feed view.

The matching view is improved with the ability to add contacts directly from the view.  3 filtering options were added.  All-Time, This Month, and This Week are now available as options.  “This month” and  “This Week” will display matches from new users from the past week or month.  The Matches UI also includes a total match count.  Caleb said about the matching,

“I was finding the page was getting stale for me and so I wanted to make it more useful.”

Toluu Match Improvements

The contacts page was also improved to be cleaner and displays a total contact count.  Even small UI improvements are great for the end user.

On a feed page the subscribers tab was added in last round of enhancements to let the user see who was subscribed to that feed.  This view has been improved as well letting you add contacts directly from this view.

I talked with Caleb about these enhancements and this stuck with me;

“We hope these new updates will help people connect easier and in turn make their time on Toluu more fruitful.”

The simple little UI changes decrease the learning curve for new users, make existing users happy, and contribute to the overall feel of the application.  Toluu’s attention to detail and constant improvements make this application one to watch.

More enhancements are on the horizon for Toluu as well it seems.  Would you like to try it? Leave a comment I have invites.

My Toluu Wishlist


What is the Goal of Toluu?

I began writing this with a different perspective about Toluu. Where is Toluu heading? I previously wrote a post titled “My Problems With Toluu.” This was several months ago as Toluu was in it’s infancy.

I considered titling this post “More Problems With Toluu” but thought better of it. I do not want to be critical but long for the value of this application to increase.

Toluu recently had a big day rolling out enhancements. At least 8 different blogs featured a post about the little RSS matching service from founder Caleb Elston. So I have been using the service again in earnest since that time.

Toluu is still making continual enhancements and the performance increases are sizable. If you have not logged in a while try it again. Speed has increased dramatically.

What does Toluu really have to offer an early adopter? What does Toluu have to offer an everyday user? Are the answers to these questions different? Finally, what is the Goal of Toluu?

I am not sure I know the exact answer but would love to hear from Caleb on the subject. Application development is an interesting process as I know first hand. An application does not always end up in the exact place you conceive it might at the onset.

In any case Toluu adds feeds to your feed reader and Toluu via bookmarklet. As long as you use the bookmarklet the feeds stay in Sync. Toluu also provides matching to other users in an attempt to recommend additional feeds. Toluu is designed with clean UI and is what this user expects from Web 2.0. It is in private Beta so I do not aim to condemn but am contemplating its usefulness, relevance, and future.

The following is a list of ideas produced from the Toluu friendfeed room and simple brainstorming. If the goal of Toluu is to provide simple solid functionality then Toluu is well on the way. But here is a list of features I would personally like to see.

Toluu Enhancement Thoughts

  • Tag/Organize/Categorize Feeds – This is my #1 the rest of the enhancements are in no particular order. Feed tagging increases Toluu ability to present recommendation, organization, search, categorization. Feed tagging would change the Toluu forever.
  • Feed Similarities – What feeds are similar to other feeds. Tagging or feed meta data could greatly assist with this. I want feed relationships. Tell me that if I read Lifehacker then Download Squad and Lifehack are similar.
  • Personalized Feed Recommendations – Beyond matching. Matching is certainly a good way to offer users insight into feeds they might like. I would like better feed recommendations in the way Amazon does. Tell me I would like feed “B” because 75% of users that read feed “A” also read feed “B”.
  • Matching Speed – The matching speed was recently greatly increased TWICE. The speed is NO longer an issue. The matching would now qualify as instant. One comment though: I wish it would not display current contacts as matches. If they are a current contact then I already know about them.
  • Syncing Between Your Feed Reader & Toluu & Feedly – See this link to the FriendFeed discussion about this one.
  • Better Integration With Other services
    • Integration with Feedly
    • Integration with Friendfeed – I find Feeds more and more with FriendFeed. I have to launch the article and use the bookmarklet. It would be great to have an addon or greasemonkey script thought integrated a Toluu feed link into FriendFeed.
  • I hate bookmarklets – Everything has a bookmarklet these days. They clutter my bookmarks bar and I am uncertain what each one does. Perhaps a Firefox Addon.
  • User Profiles – I would love to see additional information about a user.
  • Clearly Display the User’s blog(s) feed(s) – This goes right along with the previous but I am listing seperate to emphasize its importance. It is not easy to see the blog feed for each user.
  • Import my FriendFeed contacts – I would say 90/95 % of my FriendFeed contacts are on Toluu. But I am not sure they are all contacts on Toluu. I would like them to be.  Bummer.
  • Browse Feeds by Name
  • Browse Feeds by Tag Directory
  • Feed Search
  • Contact/Person Search
  • URI search – I put in a web address and the feed page is displayed
  • Most Popular Feeds (feed stats)
  • Hot New Feeds – popular
  • Enhance the Bookmarklet and future Firefox addon to support Tagging
  • Number of Toluu Subscribers per feed on feed view
  • Site Help – Sometimes I am uncertain what Toluu can currently do and what it can not
  • Edit My Toluu Feed List – A clean easy interface for editing my feed list
  • Clear My Feeds / RSS Reset – Is this already possible?

Toluu is a young private beta application. From my view the future is very bright.

Most of my enhancements center around Toluu being about feeds. I understand the data commitment and strain that storing meta data and information about individual feed data could consume. But I believe it would be very worth it to the end user.

Toluu is great and I say once again I believe its future is bright. I can not wait for its features to extend and its value to increase. I have Toluu invites if you would like to try it.

Zemanta Pixie

Toluu Feed Page & Speed Enhancements


Toluu continues to improve and today releases another set of enhancements to its already promising RSS recommendation site. The enhancements include additions to feeds and a speedier contact page.

I have been very interested in Toluu since Louis Gray’s first post describing the RSS feed matching site. The site had already seen many enhancements already despite being in private beta. Caleb Elston Toluu’s founder has previously added many features including social networking features and twitter integration.

Today Toluu improves rolling out improvements to the feed pages. Although not striving to be a place that feeds are read, Toluu displays the feed content very cleanly. Today Toluu adds two tabs to the feed pages. A tab called “Popular” and a tab called “Subscribers.”

The Popular tab is just what seems the most popular posts from the feed. While the Subscribers tab is the most intriguing to this user.
Popular Tab Subscriber Tab

It shows subscribers of the feed and other feeds they are subscribed to. I found myself clicking from feed to feed via the users that are subscribed to them. This produces a new interesting way to move around in Toluu. Caleb described the feed page enhancements this way:

“These updates really center around making it easier to decide if you really want to subscribe to a particular feed and helping you find others who read a feed you are interested in. Exposing more pivot points.”

The other significant change out today is speed to the contacts page. Speed is good. I commented early on about Toluu’s speed. Caleb indicated that they sped up the contacts page by 5x. It feels very responsive to me.

Toluu’s changes today all seem to be around helping the users see what others are reading, which feeds are popular, and encouraging movement within Toluu. This seems to be accomplished.

I asked Caleb directly; Can we expect additional enhancements soon?

He responded,

“Yes, we are working on more ways to quickly see if you would be interested in a feed.”

Toluu is great and I have 25 invites. Let me know if you would like to try it.

Better Google Reader


Better GReader is a Firefox extension by Gina Trapani of Lifehacker. This Firefox extension combines many Google Reader Greasemonkey extensions into one easy installable package.

I updated to the newest version 0.2.5 that includes a Greasemonkey script with enhancement to the feed icons.

The addon uses each sites favicon as the feed icon. Pretty cool. You can download the Greasemonkey script only here.

Finally here is a link to the Lifehacker post about Better GReader.

Is An IFrame Integration?


What constitutes real integration and what is just silly? Integration to provide additional functionality is great. But my question is that really being done. The following are 3 examples using 3 different methods of so called integration all using iframes.

Readburner recently released an update that combines Google Reader into the ReadBurner site. It is being called Google Reader integration. It is actually no more than a tab with an iframe for the google reader site.
As I said before I am using FFapps.com to expand the FriendFeed functionality. One of the Greasemonkey scripts they have released is called FF Tabs. It adds a tab to FriendFeed called Techmeme and when clicked on simply embeds Techmeme into FriendFeed as an IFrame.
The third is a bookmarklet I read about today on Louis Gray’s blog that combines Google Reader into friendfeed via simple bookmarklet. When FriendFeed is open you click the bookmarklet and Google Reader is pulled in.

Readburner coded this iframe as functionality into their site, the second is a user created Greasemonkey script, and the third example is a user generated bookmarklet all created to add functionality via IFrame.

We all use tabbed browsers correct? What are we really gaining? I always have multiple tabs opens that include Google Reader and FriendFeed. Are these IFrames true functionality? I would say NO. They are nice but not really that helpful.

I am all for true innovation and integration this just is not it.