Yahoo! Pipes – a result

Finally got Yahoo! Pipes to do my bidding. (See sidebar.) After sleeping on my utter failure to extract the results I wanted, I realised I was using the wrong approach. I was mixing search results with RSS feeds and getting grumpy that I couldn’t do things like ‘sort by date’ effectively.

By changing to RSS inputs only, filtering them (not trivial but the debug helps you see where you’re going wrong), and de-duping and sorting the end results, I have produced a ‘river of news’ style listing of all my various online material. It contains blogs from here, thinkerlog, IWR and SmallBizPod plus articles and columns from the main IWR publication.

Obviously a totally egocentric first application for Pipes (sorry), and still not perfect, but getting the basics in place actually took only 30 minutes this morning. (Plus of course a fair bit of trial and error before I twigged how to do it properly.)

Update a few hours later: I have added the publication date to the titles. That involved some head scratching, the results of which I’ve added to Dan York’s blog post on the subject. I also discovered that VNU restricts the number of items in its feeds to ten, so my history is not what it appears to be. I’ll twiddle over time. For now I’m heading off to another mashup maker. See you later.

Second Life and end-user programming

I delivered a Second Life article to Information World Review. Full of illustrative pictures. I expect it looks wonderful in print, except I haven’t got my copy yet. Maybe it’s languishing at the (rarely visited thanks to broadband at home) office.

It’s not online at IWR either, but I expect that will change soon. What surprised me is that it appeared in IT Week. I guess my contract allows them to do that. Have to check. But no pix. I bet that’s interesting – reading 2000 words online. Hmmmm.

And I delivered it on 13 January. I guess I was ahead of the deadline. I’ve certainly moved on. Barely been in Second Life since filing the piece. Moved on to widgets. And then moved on again. RSS as it happens, but that’s not going to be published for a while. Now it’s back to widgets.

I see my column on widgets has turned up. It talks about Yahoo! Pipes and how SAP person, Craig Cmehill is using the service. Also Teqlo and IBM’s QEDwiki get mentions, all as part of the move to user-enabled-programming.

And that’s where I am right now. Actually trying to get some decent results out of some of these user mashup tools. So I might go quiet again…

Office 2.0 Conference is upon us

Off to the Office 2.0 conference next week. Coincidentally, my latest column for the paper edition of Information World Review has just materialised online. Here’s an extract:

No doubt the moderated sessions will be informative, but I suspect the best
discussions will take place during breaks. It will be a great opportunity to
separate hype from reality, to look for evidence of genuine progress or an industry whistling in the dark — Bubble 2.0 anyone?

I’ll be blogging from the event on the IWR blog if you’re interested.

Dave Snowden on the futility of most culture change

Dave Snowden is a wise old owl. He talks in his latest blog post about the repetitive insanity of company shakeups. Instead of the organisation reflecting the culture, it wants the people to adapt to an annual change of culture. He’s tired of hearing this at conferences:

(i) re-organise, (ii) change the culture and (iii) restructure and align processes

He calls this ritual ‘The Masochism Tango‘, after Tom Lehrer’s song.

Donkey’s years ago – when he was at IBM – he explained to me the difference between tacit and explicit knowledge. An eye opener, for which I was immensely grateful. Some years later, in 2004, I found myself interviewing him for an article on Knowledge Management, in case you’re interested.

Anyway, if you don’t subscribe to his blog, take a look. You might find it very much to your taste.

RSS feeds in Grazr via OPML

I have trouble keeping track of myself, let alone all the other things that interest me. We’re talking here about web-based stuff: news feeds and blogs in particular, but it extends to forums, wikis and traditional websites too.

Amyloo is using OPML and Grazr to document the blogs that surround the BlogHer conference which is currently running in San José at the moment. (That’s the Silicon Valley San José by the way.)

I have demonstrated Grazr in my left sidebar for a while to show a simple outline. Inspired by Amyloo, I decided to try and add some feeds. Using OPML Editor, I inserted some feeds into an ‘outline’ (joke, it’s only four entries) and then dropped the file onto my web server. Then I used the Grazr Configuration utility to create this:

Just click on an entry and it will take you to the most recent posts in, respectively, this blog, a blog I co-write with my editors at Information World Review, a blog spun around thinking tools and a forum I manage for Brainstorm Software. Click on an entry with a newspaper icon to the left and you can read the original post. Marvellous! (Update: but only if the originator feeds the full post. IWR appears not to. You can click on the headline to go to the original post.)

See Amyloo’s example for something much more profound.