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18 posts from June 2007

Sometimes "life" intervenes... I am now NOT at VON Europe / Podcamp Europe in Stockholm

As I wrote over on my Disruptive Telephony blog, sometimes things outside one's control intervene in the best of plans... and so now I'm home in Vermont for the week instead of in Stockholm.   There is still a dinner tonight in Stockholm among some listeners to my podcast (which is still going ahead) and a colleague from the open standards world, Cullen Jennings of Cisco and IETF, will be replacing me on the VoIP security panel at VON that my friend Martyn Davies will be moderating. 

What I can't easily cover, though, were the two talks I was going to do over at Podcamp Europe.   I was going to give a little "Audacity 101" intro to using Audacity to create podcasts... something I've been doing now for 2+ years and have become quite a strong user of it.  And then I was going to give a talk on "using VoIP softphones to include co-hosts or interview guests in your podcast".  Both were going to be fun.  Alas, I'll have to save them for Podcamp Boston2 this fall.

Meanwhile, I'll be looking forward to reading all about the various events happening over there this week.... would have been fun!

Technorati tags: , - what an incredibly cool way to find a place to meet! (and a great mashup example)

image Have you ever wanted to meet someone for coffee/food/whatever but found yourself at a loss for a place to meet that was somewhere between the two of you?   It might be that you want to meet someone in your same town/city... or the person might be many miles away.

Well, by way of a Twitter message from Donna Papacosta, I learned today of site called, that does exactly that.  I have to say this is one of the coolest Google Maps-mashups I've seen to date.  (Well, okay, Twittervision is definitely cool, too.)  In the field in the upper right, you enter first one address , press Add, and then the second and press Add.  Then you say the type of meeting you want ("coffee", "food", etc.) and then you click "What's Between"... ta da! 

Very fun - and useful - mashup!

My FIR report for this week will be in next Monday's show...

I admit to being a bit behind in listening to FIR episodes, so I wasn't aware that Shel & Neville were recording the show together yesterday in London until I saw a Twitter message about it in the morning.  Unfortunately, some Internet connectivity issues on Wednesday ate into the time I was to record my weekly report... and so I was doing it early on Thursday morning.  However, it was not in with enough time to be included, so it will run next Monday instead... so that's why you FIR listeners out there won't have heard me on yesterday's show.

TwitDir - a way to find out info about - and search for - Twitter users

image In one of the various groupchats I monitor, someone mentioned TwitDir the other day and I have to say that it's an interesting little site.  You can obviously search on someone's Twitter name, but you can also just search on more generic terms, like part of a person's name or a location.  Searching on just "Burlington" showed me that there are two other Twitter users from Burlington, VT. (Well, or at least there are two other Twitter users who have identified themselves as being in Burlington, VT.  There could be others here who choose to leave the location blank.)

The various "Top 20" lists were also entertaining. On the "Top 20 updaters", it is rather amazing to think that someone has posted 32,244 updates.  It would be curious to know the frequency at which they update.  (Unfortunately, this particular person is writing in what looks to be an Asian language and I have no clue what they are writing!)  The BBC World Service is in there with 27,224 updates as well. On the "Top 20 followed" (when it eventually appeared), it was no surprise to see Scoble on there, but I didn't expect Dave Troy (the man behind Twittervision) to be on the top with 6,766 followers!

Anyway, if you are a Twitter user and haven't checked the site out, you may find it useful - or at least briefly entertaining.

Technorati tags: ,

Subscribing to this blog via the browser RSS button now works... and an important TypePad/Feedburner lesson for me...

image I have to thank Wayne Smallman for clueing me in to a minor little detail that I'd overlooked back in January when I had first launched this blog.  Wayne, who I have met through a public chat room about Twitter and Skype, IM'd me (on Skype) to let me know that he wasn't able to subscribe to the feed for this blog.

Given that this blog has been in action now for most of 6 months and I hadn't heard this issue at all, I was very surprised.  Feedburner stats do show a good number of subscribers to the RSS feed... but I'm guessing that they (some of you!) must have all grabbed the feed URL from the big orange RSS button or used the "Add to Google" or "Add to Bloglines", because the RSS icon in the browser address bar would definitely not work.

Here's the deal... back when I was looking to split out my writing into multiple blogs last fall, I had another name for this blog and had set up a similarly-named feed in Feedburner.  Wanting to ensure that people got to my Feedburner feed, I went into the TypePad settings and "connected" my TypePad blog to the appropriate Feedburner feed.  Everything was good.  I was getting ready to launch.

But before I launched, I found that "" was available and since it went nicely with my already existing "" domain, I decided to rename the blog.  In fact, I changed the underlying TypePad URL... changed all the template names, mapped the domain... and I created a new Feedburner feed with the new name.  All looked good and the various subscribe buttons you see on the right side all worked.    I launched the blog and you all have now been reading it for the past 6 months.

There turned out to be just one minor little detail:

I never went back and updated the TypePad <-> Feedburner connection!

Oops!  Yes, indeed, in the TypePad configuration screens this blog was very happily connected to the old feed at Feedburner.  The problem is - I deleted that feed quite some time ago!

The fix was quite simple: I simply disconnected this blog from the old Feedburner feed and then connected it back to the new Feedburner feed.  Done in just a couple of minutes and I verified that it all works.

I'm just a wee bit embarrassed that I never noticed it and obviously didn't test it.  I'm also a bit surprised that no one ever commented in all this time... are people not using that RSS icon in the browser address bar to subscribe to feeds?

So in any event, thanks to Wayne's query the button should now work fine!  If you tried subscribing in the past and it didn't work, please do try it out now.  And Wayne, if I ever do get over to the UK, I will have to look you up and buy you a drink! :-)

Technorati tags: , , ,

How to be more productive with Facebook? Try the Facebook toolbar for Firefox!

image As part of my continued experimentation with Facebook, I recently installed the Facebook Toolbar for Firefox and have to say that I'm quite impressed.  Now, this toolbar isn't new... it was released back in November 2006, but I just hadn't tried it out yet.

image As shown in the image to the right (from Facebook's web site), the toolbar offers a good number of features.  I haven't really used the "search Facebook" feature, but I definitely do like the notifications that appear telling you how many messages or friend requests you have.  With a single click, you can jump directly to that part of your inbox.  Even more useful to me is the "house" icon that takes you directly to your Facebook home page.  Great way to jump there when you want to.  The "Quick Links" feature similarly gets you to other parts of Facebook.

I also like the "Share" button that lets you easily post a link with commentary to your internal Notes page inside of Facebook.  In a way, it's similar to the add-on to Firefox that I use... a pop-up appears, you enter the commentary and press the submit button.  Of course, this toolbar only posts inside the walled garden of Facebook... but it is a nice quick way to get info posted there.

imagePerhaps one of the greatest things I like about the toolbar is the fact that after you install it you get pop-up "toast" notifications when friends update their status message, send you messages, add Notes, etc.  So now I get toast pop-ups for Facebook along with those pop-ups for various IM notifications.  I have to say it's rather nice... but then again, I don't have a zillion "friends" in Facebook so that I'm always seeing status updates.  If I did, this could be a bit annoying.  For now, though, while I continue my experimentation, I do find it quite useful.

All in all, the Facebook Toolbar has already made my personal use of Facebook more productive.  If you are looking for a way to enhance your use of Facebook, do check it out.

How to send messages to Twitter from Skype - and using Skype to view/search your tweets (and wishing OpenID could be involved)

image In one of the ongoing Skype public chats today, Julian Bond clued the rest of us into a post he had found "How to Twitter from Skype".  This actually takes you out to the "Twitter 4 Skype" site in Japan that is essentially running a Skype "bot" that acts as a gateway between Skype and Twitter.  You add the "twitter4skype" user to your Skype contact list, and then you can send/receive messages to Twitter.  Since I have been trying with very limited success to use the existing IM service to post to Twitter via Jabber, I thought I'd try this service out as well.  My immediate issue, though, was this:

You have to give this "twitter4skype" service your Twitter password!

Naturally... how else is it going to connect to Twitter and post as you?  But that's the issue... who is behind this service?  It's some site in Japan?  Do I trust them with my login credentials?   Who are they?

This would be a great place for something like OpenID where I could give them my account name, but not have to provide my password... but for that to work, of course, Twitter would need to support OpenID as well.

image Given my interest in experimentation, I did, of course, suck it up and provide my credentials.   The result was the chat window you can see on the right.  Now, what Julian Bond pointed out to me - and that I admit is very cool - is that you now have a list of your Twitter messages in a Skype persistent chat window.... where you wind up with a history that is very easily searchable!  Rather cool!

Sending a twitter update (aka "tweet") is as simply as typing it into the Skype chat window.  Of course, you don't get the bit of Javascript that tells you how close to the 140 character limit you are.  I also don't know yet about automatic tinyurl wrapping... but it seems like it is going into Twitter's web interface, so one would imagine that this works.  (I'll know in a moment.) (Update - yes, it does the automagic tinyurl wrapping.)

All in all an interesting service.  If you are interested (and willing to give your Twitter password to an unknown service out there), you can follow the instructions on the website

P.S. Do note that to make it work, you send in a message like:


When I first tried it, I followed the instructions too literally and did "twitter danyork" and "twitter password" (which, of course, is not my password!).

Technorati - where has the "Sort by Authority" gone for search results?

Am I missing something?  Prior to Technorati's recent redesign, I was rather sure that there was a way to sort your search results by "Authority".... I seem to recall using the feature many times to find out who were the most "authoritative" bloggers talking about a particular topic.  While Technorati's Authority measure isn't perfect, it does at least give some sense of how popular a given blog is.  Sorting the search results by authority gave you a sense of which blogs to perhaps take a look at first.

I am, however, questioning my own memory - was this feature there before the redesign?  Or did I just imagine it?

Today, post-re-design, I can't for the life of me find that ability in any of the search results.  Yes, I can filter the results based on authority (i.e. specify the amount of authority to be returned: "any", "a little", "some", "a lot") which can help, but I can't seem to find any way to re-order the search results.  I get them in reverse chronological order (newest first). Period. End of story. 

Am I missing something?  Or is there no way to do this in Technorati?

If not, does anyone have any suggestions for how to do it? (or other sites that make this easy?)