Tech Transitions

Seems like the times are a changin’, and I’ve recently replaced a few of my ol’ favourite techie tools for some newer, shinier ones. And given that someone out there voted for more tech posts, I thought I’d give this a go.

From Bloglines to Google Reader

Bloglines has been good to me. It introduced me to the idea of a web-based feed reader, which lets me keep track of over 100 different blogs at a time. Bloglines improved my blog-reading capabilities enormously. But it started to get annoying. Click on a blog with lots of unread posts and you feel like you need to read them all then and there, because they’ll disappear otherwise. Google Reader, however, gives a huge amount of freedom. I can read the posts now, leave them for later, read the one that captures me now and mark it as unread if I didn’t quite finish. It’s too easy. Plus the fact that the ability to export my subscriptions from Bloglines as OPML and into Google Reader without losing anything, made it a no-brainer.

Plus I’m really enjoying having this “Starred Posts” thing happening. It took a little bit of fiddling around, because Google outputs the feeds as Atom 1.0 or something (which my little feed widget can’t handle), but a little bit of feed conversion magic from FeedBurner and the whole world can see the posts I found interesting. Which brings me onto my second transition…..

From Locally Managed Feed to FeedBurner

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, my “feed” is a little text document that pretty much allows people to keep updated with what I’ve posted recently. You “subscribe” to the feed with a tool like Google Reader, or Bloglines (if you’re a little bit backward) and hey-presto, you can find out as soon as there’s something new posted. ANYWAY, because plenty of you people know this already lots of people subscribe to this feed, and it’s entirely possible that lots don’t even visit the actual blog any more, they just follow along in their feed reader. (If you are one of those, I’d love to hear from you, but you might actually need to get out a bit and visit the site)

So there’s a chunk of these type of people, and I don’t have anyway of working out who they are, short of manually checking through thousands of lines of log files, which isn’t quite my idea of fun. At least I couldn’t until now. FeedBurner lets you host your feed with them, and they take record all sorts of fun statistics on how many people are subscribed, what kind of reader they’re using, basically everything I could want to know about my feed. It’s great fun, and just adds that extra little something to the whole blogging stat-watching experience. There’s even a WordPress plugin to automatically re-route all my old feed traffic to the new feedburner feed!

From Firefox 1.5 to Firefox 2

Firefox is dead, long live Firefox. Well, not quite. But the shiny new, recently announced Firefox 2 is a gentle step up from the previous version. It’s a pretty little thing, seems to run a whole lot gentler, less crashy, and when it does terminate unexpectedly (including when your laptop battery runs out), it just magically returns you back to where you were – including data entered into forms. It’s a pretty special little doo-dad, certainly beats the pants of the equally new Internet Explorer 7, and it’s making my life much better all round. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, you’d best get onto it.

iPod to…… silence

Not all is happy in GeoffTechLand. For the past 15 days, my iPod has been out of action. Fortunately it was still (just) under warranty. Unfortunately, since it got sent in, it’s taking forever for them to ship me a replacement. Once they do though…. it’ll be back on the music train for me!