Thursday, August 28, 2008

Life Streaming and Sweetcron

Sometimes I hang back a bit before trying out a new application, especially in a crowded app space (another X app?). At other times I seem to jump in at the beginning. The past couple of days there has been a lot of talk about Sweetcron (no not corn, cron) even though it wasn't released until this morning. This afternoon I downloaded the latest version (already 5 revs out from the version I downloaded this morning) and installed it at which until now just had a placeholder wordpress blog that said come here for more.

Sweetcron bills itself as an "Automated lifestream blogging service." What that translates to is - a way to create your personal friend feed friend on your website and throw in a blogging tool on top of it. The visual style lends itself to a "tumblr" sort of blog, and it will throw in whatever feeds you send it.

I set it up and threw some feeds at it and looked at the result. It is an interesting seeing my "output on the net" in a sequential format. You can see when I blogged relative to my tweets and plurks and photos and whatnot. Even though this isn't that different from friend feed, somehow the visual format, and having it on my host as my website made it a different experience. The stark list made me look at what I was putting out on the web, and variety there was or wasn't in that output.

Interestingly I have never done a "today's tweets" post because I tend to think of my twitters as primarily chatter and conversation and not something to list daily as something of consequence. Ironically on the website that bears my name, that is exactly what most of the content is. 140 characters is much easier to write than most other output.

Right now my sweetcron is an experiement, and it has proved to be a bit of an exercise in self reflection. What am I putting out there on the web, and is it what I want to be the reflecton of me?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Trouble with Twitters

I must confess, I am a twitterer. But you probably already knew that, and possibly wandered here from my twitter profile in the first place. I find I get a lot out of twitter, from useful information, social connections, news about events local and virtual, and more. The challenge is in taming the flow of the information.

Way back when I started using twitter I followed the basic policy that as long as someone who follows me isn't a bot, a commercial, or way too offensive I follow back. That was great at the beginning but once exceeding around 200 people being followed it became hard to follow the tweetstream as so much information and so many people are twittering. Sometimes the things I wanted to hear about just got missed in the rapid scroll of tweets. Some people only follow select people I can completely understand that policy, the nature of twitter changes significantly when the number gets large. Some people consider this elitist, I just consider this a different way of handling information flow.

I have considered cutting back the number of followers, but how do I pick. Once I went through a winnowing process and the next day got into a really interesting @ discussion with someone I had just unfollowed, who was promptly refollowed.

I tried setting up a second account with a "short list" but I usually ignored that stream, and keeping it up to date with new connections of people I do want to hear just proved too much bother.

The other problem is it isn't like I have one list of people I want to listen to. I'm involved in many different groups and activities and different people speak to different focuses. What I have wanted for a while was a way to group friends and be able to chose which group to look at. Twhirl's searches came close, but Tweetdeck really seems to have hit the nail on the head. I think that tweetdeck may be the start of a new breed of twitter clients.

For the first time in ages I can actually catch the conversations I was missing, and that also means I catch the main timeline more often too because I am getting value out of twitter again. It isn't enough to just "read what's current when you have time" because not all tweets are equal - I wanted the volume up higher on some tweets, and now I can have that. Thanks tweetdeck for giving me my twitter back.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pseudo Biker Poetry

The hot spell that held Colorado in its grasp seems to have broken and quite a bit of rain has fallen in the past few days. In looking at my old stack of poetry I found a poem from 1991 that seemed a good fit:

The first rain has fallen
Bringing in the moist cool fall.
The oils wick up
And the plastic paints take on a new demeanor.

My tires make their way across the tarmac
That grips half heartedly
And I remember,
Shift smoothly.

The crisp air brings many memories
And the chimneys begin their scents.
The autom rides have beauty
And new challenges to bear.

Ride swift and wll
Before the frosts come.
But remember wet leaves
Grip not as well as warm asphalt.