Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Leaving Fingerprints on the Glass

I've been w|o/a|ndering through a couple of software experiments. Eyes are fogging up from staring at the glow-box too intently. First, I was playing around with Scribe, hot off download. At the basement-bottom price of *free* it beats the heck out of Endnote in cost comparison. I haven't used Scribe for longer than about 30 minutes, but it seems a bit clunky (okay, so it's probably me who's clunky...could be). I've read the rave reviews of Endnote, and I can get a student version for 99 bucks at journeyed.com--except that I'm not formally, officially a student right now. The full version costs a bit more for non-students, and maybe it's worth it. Who knows? Trying to plan ahead, brush up with software built to support regimens of reading, note-taking, writing. I'll download the trial version of Endnote later this week or next, give it a whirl.

Since Mike mentioned it a few days ago, I've been intent on looking into what it means to syndicate a site, to channel its content into a single herd-gate. I've also been playing around with different RSS feed-readers, exploring the difference between synchronized, pooled entries and the method I've been using to date, whereby I jump from site to site by following links. It's too early to tell which approach I prefer, but they strike me as considerably distinct processes. After I messed around with Pluck, a browser-side feed-reader, and Feedster, a server-side feed-reader, I was impressed by the convenience of gathering and sorting entries. Haven't decided whether I'll stick to the feed method. It doesn't accommodate some of the sites I follow with interest, such as John's writing at Jocalo, Dr. B's Blog (which I couldn't get to syndicate), and the new C&C Weblog.

Bookmark and Share Posted by at February 24, 2004 10:50 PM to Under a Bushel

I use the feed reader extension for the Mozilla Firefox browser. It's ultra-simple and satisfies everything I need without adding another application or subscribing to a web-based feed aggregator like Feedster.

Posted by: MisterBS at February 24, 2004 11:13 PM

I have an older version of Mozilla, but the latest version of Firefox isn't on my PC yet. I confess to using MSIE, and it's a begrudging committment--one of convenience because the VCampus interface works best with it. We're expecting an announcement about a new CMS contract for the university today, so that might change everything (well, not everything, but some things). I have a hunch it came down to Blackboard, WebCT and VCampus. Since I downloaded Pluck, page loads have slowed. Pluck makes it easy to see design features, but it also subdivides the browser window into smallish cubes, which makes reading more difficult. It's good to know that the Firefox aggregator works well. I'll probably look into it after I toy around with the two options before me now. -DM

Posted by: dmueller at February 25, 2004 7:46 AM

I notice, as well, that some weblogs don't syndicate, or -- to try to use tech-speak while acknowledging that such vocabularies are a reach for me -- the motors that power the weblogs don't export XML as a part of what they do. Should they? I'm of two minds: one, convenient, easily digestible content is a wonderful thing and helps me read more; two, textual diversity is also a wonderful thing, and we ought not to demand that everybody conform to a single standard.

Firefox, for me, still has a few rough edges, particularly in dealing with frames, which are an unfortunate part of my part-time gig. So I've gone back to the older version of Firebird.

Thanks for posting the link to Scribe -- I'll have to try it out.

Posted by: Mike at February 26, 2004 11:01 AM

I like the RSS feed aggregator for Firefox on the PC, its neat and clean and it can hide out in your sidebar. I hear Newsgator is good too, and my granny always said "why pay for the cow when you can get the milk for free". For the Mac I happily use Slashdock, which works well but doesn't read Atom feeds. I'll probably look around for a new one soon.

Posted by: dr. b. at February 26, 2004 7:19 PM

I just finished uninstalling Pluck. Maybe that's why they named it Pluck. Seems it was putting the whole system on the fritz. So I've restored peace and order to my desktop (granted, sill running some MS apps), but I'm out an aggregator. Time to download Firefox or Newsgator, eh?

Posted by: Derek at February 29, 2004 10:30 AM