Bloglines did another update today, adding a new Bloglines Top 1000 section, showing off the 100 most popular blogs, along with data on which ones are moving up or down, and sidebars with the new blogs on the list and the biggest movers. You can also go to the preview page for any feed and see its ranking, even if it isn’t in the top 1000, if you know its siteid. For example, this blog, with 54 subscribers, is ranked 22,975.
InsideGoogle is thankfully in 843 place. If you don’t like your ranking, you can claim multiple feeds your site has and consolidate them, so total subscriber count is given credit, rather than seperate Atom, RSS 2.0, RSS 0.91 feeds and so on.
In the first ranking, Slashdot’s 103,771 subscribers makes it #1. Dilbert is 10,000 behind, followed by Engadget. The official Google blog is eighth. Gizmodo is #17 and #74, and adding the two subscriber counts together could make it number 7. There are a good number of site’s that would rank much better if they consolidated feeds.
Check out the full list at beta.bloglines.com/b/topfeeds.
A post should be about this on Bloglines’ news page tonight.
Also, Bloglines shipped some minor improvements, continuing to improve beta Bloglines. I only spotted them because I live my life in Bloglines, but one of them made my life a hell of a lot better.
They changed the behavior of the “f” hotkey, which loads up the next folder of feeds. Instead of opening the folder, it keeps the folder closed and selects it, loading all feed items from that folder, exactly like I normally do with the mouse. Using the “f” key and “j” key, you can go down through items (”j,j,j,j”), then when you reach the end, load the next folder (”j,j,j,f,j,j,f,j”).
I’m breezing through my feeds now faster than ever before. They seem to have improved the performance as well, though that could just be my imagination.
Another improvement: The title bar now shows the number of unread feed items, as well as the number of items you’ve pinned. Whether you keep Bloglines open in a seperate browser window or in a tab, you will always have a cound of the number of unread items to rely on while you’re doing something else.
Finally, they made the address bar update with a unique URL based on what you are viewing. This way, if you hit refresh or restore a browser session, everything will be right back where you were, still reading the same feed as before.
So, another month, another update for Bloglines. What a great pace for them to be keeping up. Sure, its little things, but if Bloglines gets a little bit better every month, just imagine how amazing it can be in the long run. They really are listening to the users and giving people what they want. Gotta love it.
FeedBurner added a little bit of integration with Google AdSense (makes sense, considering Google bought them months ago). You can now link your AdSense and FeedBurner account, and put together AdSense ad units to use on your website (though still not in your RSS feeds), with FeedBurner having all the AdSense ad units, custom channel and color schemes you like to use. Read more about it at Problogger.
When commenting on a Blogger blog, you don’t want to have to leave the page open in your browser, refreshing until someone replies to your comment. Instead, subscribing to those comments will let you leave and get a notification when someone talks back, but until now, Blogger only offered Atom feed subscriptions, which are a bit much for a one-time thing.
Now, you can tell Blogger to send you comment replies via email, thanks to a feature added late last week. You’ll need to leave your comments via a Google Account (no help for anonymous cowardly commenters) and you’ll get a notification whenever someone leaves a new comment after yours, so no worries about keeping track of your latest flame war.
(via Jordan McCollum)
Bloglines beta keeps adding commands to the console. Here’s an update:
“echo help” now reveals new commands:
- clear (previously available but undocumented)
Echo, set and show are still available.
Cat has two uses:
- cat folder_name
- cat feed_name
No idea what they do, though entering cat and the name of a folder (case-sensitive) is not rejected by the system.
cd is Change Directory, a standard DOS command. It has three uses:
- cd folder_name
- cd ..
- cd /
I was able to navigate into folders by entering “cd” and the name of the folder, case sensitive.
I cannot find the proper usage for changelog. It would not display the changelog no matter what I used.
Clear clears the screen.
ls is a list command. In any directory, it will give you the contents of the directory, along with some letters. It’s somewhat like this:
Non public folders do not have the r– designation. The “d” means it is a folder, feeds do not have a d in the beginning.
Set has four usages:
- set hotkey action
- set theme theme_name
- set text text_color
- set background background_color
I cannot find the names of the hotkeys, but the themes can be changed simply by using the theme name, and the text and background can be changed to any color name or hex code.
Show has three usages:
- show hotkeys
- show themes
- show profile
Show hotkeys doesn’t work now. Show themes shows you the four themes, white, black, old and burnt_umber. Old is green text on black, while burnt_umber is white text on brown. Show profile launches the User Settings page.
bl.feeds.refreshCounts() will update your unread counts
bl.feeds.load() will reload the feed tree
bl.login(”userName”,”password”) to login to an account
If you find anything else, let me know. I’m enjoying using this, though I’ve yet to figure out the cool things I can accomplish with it.
Zooie did some analysis of the TechMeme leaderboard and seperated everyone listed by author name. That’s useful for tracking those who write for multiple blogs, like your truly. I’m #69 between the two blogs, but I’m even more interested in the “competition” on multi-author blogs, like Michael Arrington at #2 and Duncan Riley at #8. Check it out.
Bloglines has shipped its third update in a little over a month, this time adding two new things and improving a third.
First, they added support for logging into Bloglines via OpenID. While I’m not a big fan of OpenID in practice, it is a good idea in theory, so if you’re a big fan of that theory, go ahead and use it.
The other new thing is a new mobile Bloglines, this one in beta. Available at m.beta.bloglines.com, it features some good stuff, like splitting up feed reading into seperate pages, so only a few posts load at a time, and a mobile version of your Bloglines Beta start page, showing you the five most recent posts from your favorite feeds on a single page.
Finally, they’ve added a number of settings you can mess with to improve and tweak your experience. Hitting Settings now lets you choose whether whole feeds get marked as read or just what you’ve scrolled past, which of the three views you want to be server all the time (trust me, its better to let this develop naturally as you use Bloglines) and whether you want feed CSS to be used by Bloglines.
All in all, the third update in less than forty days, I’m pretty impressed. Even at a much slower pace than this, they’re setting the tone that Bloglines is alive and well, and getting the attention it deserves.
Now, if only they could get rid of that pesky auto-drop down on the left side that contains “Mark All Feeds Read”. I’ve had two disasters already with that damn thing.
More by Gary and Brad Linder.
I love the first line of Elinor Mills’ article at CNET linking to my article on the Google Presentations security leak:
Nathan Weinberg at Inside Google sure can write a dramatic blog entry.
That’s gotta be the nicest thing anyone said to me all week. I like.
Elinor’s also got a quote from a Google rep on the story:
A Google representative provided this statement when asked for comment: “We take our users’ privacy and security very seriously. We acted quickly when we discovered this bug and delivered a fix: e-mail addresses are no longer archived during presentation chat sessions.”
One think I loved about Quake and other shooters was hitting the tilde (~) key and bringing up the console and learning all the cool things you could make the game do by messing with it, inputting commands. Turns out the developers of the new Bloglines have included in it a console, too, and you can do a few things.
To bring up the console, hit the tilde key on your keyboard. It should be to the left of the “1″ key. You don’t actually need to hit tilde, leaving out the shift key and hitting “`” will also do.
You will see this message first, followed by a command line:
_ _ _ _
| |__ | | ___ __ _| (_)_ __ ___ ___
| '_ \| |/ _ \ / _` | | | '_ \ / _ \/ __|
| |_) | | (_) | (_| | | | | | | __/\__ \
|_.__/|_|\___/ \__, |_|_|_| |_|\___||___/
|___/ v3.0 (beta)
Proudly Made On Earth!
Type “help echo” and hit Enter to see a list of commands. Currently, it will return this:
# help echo
type help command_name for specific help
Any command listed there can be further explained by typing help, then the name of the command. Obviously, “help echo” you just did, but “help set” shows you some parameters you can change. Currently, it gives you this:
# help set
set hotkey action key
set theme theme_name
set text text_color
set background background_color
You can set certain action keys, different themes, different text colors and different background colors. you can use the show command to see what of those are available to you to set. Type “help show” and get this:
# help show
Problem is, the show command is disabled, so you’ll have to guess at the “set” commands. “set text” works, but it changes the text color of the console itself. For example, type “set text blue” and it will change the console text to blue. You can keep changing it, then switch to black to make it normal again.
You can also use “set background” to change the background color of the console. The console is much more readable with a black background and white text, so do that. Type first “set text white”, then “set background black”.
Trying to set a theme with “set theme” will fail unless you know a theme name, and I haven’t been able to find any. Another command that works is “clear”, which clears console output.
While I discovered the console last week and didn’t have enough time to play around with it, credit goes to TechOpus for discovering the “help” command that really got the ball rolling. If you can find any other commands comment below or use the contact form and we can further crack this thing open together.
The latest versions of WordPress (from 2.2 on, I think), removed a feature from the posting interface that showed a preview of the post you were working on. For some bloggers, that feature is very important, as we’d like to track changes in our posts as we work, but the developers did not leave a setting to turn it back on.
Luckilly, adding it back is damn easy. Here’s what you gotta do:
- Edit your post.php file. You can use FTP software to get it, or your server control panel, or:
- Go to Manage, then Files in your WordPress control panel. Click any file on the right side, then go to the address bar and delete everything after “file=”. Replace it with wp-admin/post.php and hit Enter.
- Find this link in the file: include(’edit-form-advanced.php’);
- Right after it, add this:
< div id='preview' class='wrap'>
< h2 id="preview-post">< ?php _e('Post Preview (updated when post is saved)'); ?>< /h2>
< iframe src="< ?php echo clean_url(apply_filters('preview_post_link', add_query_arg('preview', 'true', get_permalink($post->ID)))); ? >” width=”100%” height=”600″ >< /iframe>
- Hit Update File
If you did it right, you should see the preview once you’ve saved a post. Go to edit an old post and it should already be available. If it doesn’t seem to have worked, go to the source of this tip for more.
Don’t forget: You need to update this code every time you upgrade to a new version of WordPress, at least until the WordPress folks bring back this important feature. I know I will.
This is wonderful. My computer completely froze while using the scroll area on my touchpad (a common occurence on this Dell that has its own Vista problems) trying to scroll through a page in Opera. After I was forced to reboot, I came back and Opera was completely blank. No tabs. No history.
It’s not like I had fifty tabs open with stories I wanted to write.
Oh well. I guess I’m all caught up
If you can think of any interesting stories I haven’t covered over the last few days, feel free to comment or use the contact form. Link to your own website if you want. I’ll give credit.
Otherwise, if it doesn’t come through my RSS reader now again, it’s probably a lost cause.
Bloglines must be having a good first day. Now it’s bragging:
Eh, this, you can brag about!
After a long wait, and much worry by fans that Bloglines was a dead project, tonight they’ve launched a new version that brings some great new features under the same rock-solid infrastructure and familiar feel.
The new version is live right now at beta.bloglines.com. If you’re perfectly fine with the old version, it isn’t going anywhere, so you can keep running it. In fact, both versions use the same infrastructure, and items read in one are updated in the other, so you can keep switching back and forth, no problem, and get the feel of the new one until you are comfortable with it.
The first thing you’ll see (after you login with some AJAX-y goodness, is a start page that you can customize with any of your favorite feeds. At any point, you can drag a feed onto the start page and it will be displayed whenever you login, or whenever you return to the start page (which you get by hitting a tiny icon next to the “My Library” link). Mouseover a headline for a preview, or click on it to read the whole article. You can drag the boxes around and arrange them however you’d like.
Reading your articles can work the same way as before. Click on a folder or feed, and the items in it start loading. Unlike before, the items in your feed aren’t marked as read until after you’ve had a chance to read it. The item will be surrounded by a dark border, and that means you’ve read it and the number of unread items goes down by one. If you click on a giant feed, you don’t have to worry about finishing it now, because if you close your browser or go read a different feed, it’ll still be there, unread and waiting for you later.
You can always click “Mark All Read” to dump all the items in the current reading pane, but you don’t need to declare feed bankruptcy, because reading is fast, and you can always pick it up later.
The easiest way to read is probably by grabbing the scrollbar or just hitting “j” to move forward one article. Hitting “j” can become an obsession (next, next, next, next), or pulling the scrollbar is a great way to zoom through the list, with Bloglines marking items as read as you zoom by them. Instead of loading all the feed items at once, it loads a bunch of them, and then when you get near the bottom, it loads in a bunch more. This keeps things simple, especially if you read a bunch in the beginning, then switch to a different feed.
Here’s the thing: That’s only one view of three. See, this view, in which full articles are displayed in a river of news and marked as you go along is called “Full View”, but there’s also “Quick View” and “3-Pane View”.
Quick View is obscenely useful. In feeds with a ton of items, especially feeds where only the title has any important information (like Craigslist feeds), Quick View lets you see them as a quick and dirty list. Straight down, read all the headlines, hundreds of them, in a matter of seconds. Click the headline, and you get to read the whole article as it expands just as it would look in Full View, so you lose nothing. It doesn’t mark anything read until you click on it or click “Mark all read”, so if you need to see the headlines for an entire feed or folder fast, and come back later for detail, Quick View is your new best friend.
3-Pane View is very similar to Quick View, but it works more like Outlook and other email programs. The top pane is basically Quick View, but when you click on a headline, instead of expanding, the full article appears in the bottom pane.this keeps the flow a little more stable, and can be very appealing for some users. The main thing is, you get to decide what works for you.
However, the beauty doesn’t come in choosing the right view for you, it comes in choosing the right view for each particular feed. See, Bloglines remembers that you switched to Quick View for a Craigslist feed and Full View for a TechCrunch feed, and it gives you that particular view every time you load that feed. You don’t have to tell it to do that, it just remembers what you do and delivers it for you the way you want it.
Why is this so great? Because not all feeds are created equal. Some feeds you know write great articles, or have all the meat in the snippet instead of the title, while other feeds are title or nothing, and your reading habits are different for every blog. The three views are dead easy to switch, they differentiate between different sites, and they put the user back in control. As Bloglines learns how you use it, it gets better, and it becomes impossible to even consider going back to anything inferior.
A few other things: Feed management is far easier, thanks to the ability to drag and drop. You can re-order items, create and populate folders, and just move stuff around, all without breaking a sweat. My feeds were getting mighty disorganized (because I’m lazy), and an hour after getting the new version, I had re-ordered them without even thinking about it while I was reading the news.
Feeds no longer run out of room at 200 items! If you have a big feed, they’ll keep giving it to you, so you don’t miss anything if you go away for a few days.
I got to speak with Eric Engleman, the new GM of Bloglines, last week, and he ran me through everything in the new Bloglines. I’ve been a longtime user of Bloglines, and I live in it. It’s where I spend most of my day, how I get my news, and, realistically, Bloglines is the internet for me. Still, in spite of my love of Bloglines, I was afraid it was a dead project, and I actually made an effort to switch away from it to Google Reader, but Reader’s performance dissapointed me.
Now, I don’t have to worry, because it’s very obvious that Bloglines is in good hands. The last year or two, Bloglines has languished, as the small group in charge of maintaining it concentrated on scalability and back-end issues, and the user interface just sat around while the rest of the web passed them by. Eric joined at the end of May, and a lot of what you see here is the result of a renewed effort to make Bloglines a powerhouse and a valuable part of IAC/Ask.com’s portfolio.
If they could do all this relatively quickly, things are only going to get even better, and fast.
The verdict? Google Reader is going to have a much harder time competing with the new Bloglines. This version is faster than Reader (in my experience, even using it in Opera, an unsupported browser), and possibly even faster than the old Bloglines. In the last few days of using the new Bloglines, I’m working faster and easier than ever before, and that’s just amazing.
You’d honestly have to be crazy to not try this, and I’d be shocked if they didn’t get a lot of people switching back. The new version is rock-solid, and while it has quirks, it has no obvious bugs. Without a doubt, you’re looking at the best feed reader on the internet as far as I’m concerned. I can’t stress enough how much I’ve been enjoying using this.
Give it a shot, tell me what you think. You’ll be surprised, I guarantee it.
Huh, I just realized that today is the three-year anniversary of this blog. Wow.
On August 17, 2004, I started a LiveJournal community in hopes of tracking all the information on Google, hoping that the community would feature lots of Google news and help keep me abreast of all things Google. Instead, I wound up doing all the reporting, and lots of people started subscribing.
Two days after I began the InsideGoogle community, Google’s shares began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Google was up 18% on the first day, and things were just starting to get exciting.
14 days after I started the LiveJournal community, I realized that I really had a blog, and I should be running it as a full, open blog somewhere. I figured no better place than Blogger (and back then, there wasn’t), so the Blogger blog was born on August 31, 2004. I duplicated all posts on both sites for the life of them, and I had to remove the LiveJournal community from the search engines to avoid duplicate content filters.
There are still 65 members of the old LiveJournal community and 73 watchers, even though I haven’t posted there since December 25, 2004.
At the end of the month, the anniversary of the BlogSpot blog, I’ll try to do something nice here. I still can’t believe I’ve been doing this for three years. I never thought I’d keep this up, let alone make it my job.
Life’s crazy sometimes.
My buddy at The Hoffman’s Hearsay was one of the 1,200 lucky ones who got a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from DeepDiscount, so he’s posting spoilers over at the blog. I’m reading the book (thanks Bit Torrent!), getting in as much as I can until the book arrives tomorrow morning (it’s not stealing if you bought it). So far, I’m enjoying the book.
I won’t be a spoiler, just to say that it is probably already my favorite of the series. I’ve complained about previous books that Rowling tries to hard to pad them, and in this one, she breaks out of that bad habit. I’m shocked the book isn’t longer! It’s also more violent than you’d expect, and there are these subtle (and not-so-subtle) doses of sexual humor. If you haven’t decided whether to pick it up, please do. It’s worth it.
Anyway, I’m not giving away anything, so head over there and read about it.
Tech Dispenser, a blog portal run by ComputerWorld that I’m a part of, is asking their blogs to invite their readers to complete a survey so they can understand what kind of people read these blogs. It’s only three questions, and you can win $100 for filling it out, so please do me a favor and take the minute to do it.
There’s a seperate survey for this blog and for InsideMicrosoft, so if you read both blogs, I’d appreciate if you filled out both surveys. At the very least, you’ll get two chances to win.
UPDATE: On a side note, I’m putting together a computer for my wife, and I just found out 168-pin SDRAM is WAY expensive. Anyone have any sitting around they don’t need?
I’ve pushed this off long enough, and I need to order new business cards today, like, within a few hours. I’m no designer, so I’m trying my best, but I don’t know. How’s this?
If you’d like to try something, or suggest something, let me know.
What about something plainer, like this:
Some people hate the color on the second one, so here’s another color:
Bill linked to this really cool design he mocked up:
I really like it! Let me know what you think, I think I’m gonna use it.
Answers.com is running a smart SEO contest that bloggers and webmasters can enter to win some money, or backlinks of your own. What they want you to do is write on your own blog or website a composition containing certain words of their choosing, linking those words to their respective page on Answers.com. It can be poetry, prose, fiction, essays or any other form of creative writing, under 750 words, and before July 31.
The words are:
brown recluse spider
quid pro quo
for all intents and purposes
I love stretching myself, so I’m going to give this a shot. Top prize is a $100 Amazon gift certificate and link from Answers.com, second is a $50 gift certificate and a link, and third is just the link. Here’s my attempt at a story where each word is the name of a super hero, except the last one, which is the villain:
The Gmail team has started an official blog, located at gmailblog.blogspot.com. They seem to be planning on posting tips for better productivity (through Gmail, naturally), judging by their blogroll, which is weighted towards sites like Lifehacker, 43 Folders, and Slacker Manager. Get the feed here.
(via Amit Agarwal, who’s also on the blogroll)