FeedBurner is toying with me

Not that size and / or stats is everything, but the FeedBurner stat counter has been stuck at 199 or so for the last couple of days. I think they are toying with me.
TIPE - 199

Or maybe there really are only 199 people out there that want to hear about Enterprise, Technology and have some relation to Ireland.

Yahoo Pipes – could do better

I’ve been playing with Yahoo’s latest toy – see Yahoo Pipes in 10 easy steps.

It’s a very good example of a Web 2 tool. While it is still in beta it already allows you to combine / filter / clone and edit RSS streams. (RSS = a summary of a website, offered by many sites, including this one – just look for the orange logo). In the same way that SQL queries a database, Pipes allows you to query Websites (or to be more precise RSS streams) for the information that you want.

Yahoo Pipes is worth checking out for the following reasons:

  • The user interface (finally) puts Gmail to shame. Just how do they generate the dynamic / curvy pipes linking the boxes?
  • It’s completely graphic. Users with at a ‘power user of Excel’ level can generate streams that would previously have taken an experienced programmer a number of days.
  • It’s another piece on the Web2 infrastructure. All other desktop apps have migrated to the web. It was just a matter of time before developer tools did as well. Does it make sense for you? Your call.

Yahoo Pipes Logo
Pipes, for the reasons below, is not yet going to displace teams of Java people who do nothing but code RSS streams all day. Before, the choice on many IT projects was Build , Buy or use Open Source (or various combinations of those three). Online Web 2 apps and services (of which pipes is only one example) gives a fourth option to put into the mix. So what does Yahoo pipes need to overcome the ‘toy’ label and become a ‘serious’ option for IT projects?

  • The problem is, it’s free. How do Yahoo intend making money out of Pipes? More accurately , will they make enough money so that my project can still use it in 3 years time.
  • You’re stuck with Yahoo. If you build against pipes, you’re stuck with them. Even in the database world, it is possible, if expensive, to switch product supplier. I’d love Yahoo to open source pipes to solve this dilemma, and allow them to build a business around the ‘pipes hosting’ part.
  • It’s completely graphic. This is mainly a good thing but no doubt most developers would still like the option to see and edit the generated code.
  • It’s hard to extend. If there is a way of extending it with my own ‘widgets’ , then I missed it. I can host RSS-generating code on my own server, but this detracts from pipes overall ease of use.

What do you think – will Yahoo Pipes take off , or be quietly abandonded?

Free Drinks at the Irish Blog Awards

Final Results for Round 2 of this challenge are now here.

In a recent challenge , Ken McGuire crushed all opposition by reaching 100 subscribers on Feedburner before anybody else could roll out a shameless self publicity campaign.

So , to give everybody a chance, we’re going for another round. You can join in at any point (leave a comment below to get included).

The rules are simple : The person who gets the biggest % increase in FeedBurner subscribers (that’s the number on the top right of the blog) between now and the Irish Blog Awards wins. Prize is a pint. And yes, all is fair in Love, War and trying to up your Blog numbers.

To subscribe to this blog (we really can’t afford to lose twice in a row, the price of drink in Dublin being so high), click on the Orange XML icon on the top right of this page. If you’re not automatically asked to subscribe , you may want to sign up to a service such as Bloglines. Subscribing means that you’ll automatically be updated on who is in the lead.

Due to popular demand (and the fact Damien will have 17 Squintillion subscribers before next Tuesday) we’ll probably have a round 3 after this one. If you want in , leave a comment. Remember, it’s all about the percent increase, so it’s an advantage to start small.

And the Contenders are …


Blog Start Current
Ken McGuire Creative Imaginations 103 Ken Feedburner Stat
Conor O’Neill- Louder Voice
44 Conor Louder voice stats
Aidan Finn AidanF.net 84 AidenF
  James Corbett – Eirepreneur 480 James Corbett Feed
Robin Blandford – ByteSurgery 42 Robin Blandford Feed
Tom Raftery – IT views 751 Tom Raftery Feed
Paul Browne – Technology in Plain English 96
  Richard Hearne – Red Cardinal 85 Richard Hearne Blog
Thomas Holmes – YClickIt 113 Thomas Feedburner
Eoghan McCage – Naive by Design 35 Feedburner
  Damien Mulley – Blog AwardsHonorary Lifetime Member –
1200% increase in first 24 hours
6
  Damian O’Broin- Ask Direct 23

Older News1):The most Recent entrant is Richard Hearne of Red Cardinal. With the SEO Ninja tricks this man has up his sleeve, he’s going to be a fairly strong contender.2): Mon Dieu! Thomas Holmes has entered. Almost certain to use a 2 language blogging strategy to take the title, how will the other competitors react?3): Eoghan is in. Damien and Damian may be in. Are there going to be any other last minute entries?

4) In a shock last minute move:

Damien Mulley forgoes his 400+ base and opts to start again with the Irish Blog Awards feed (6 readers). Rumour has it that we may as well buy the man a pint now, while the rest of us scrap it out for second place (prize – diet coke with ice). We did say almost anything was fair game … 🙂

5) In another shock first day wipeout: Damien Mulley has increased his total by 1200% using a little known site called the Irish Blog Awards. I’ll check the small change down the back of the sofa , buy Damien the pint, and the rest of us mere mortals can continue on to see who gets pint number 3.

Goodbye Bloglines , Hello Google Reader

For various reasons I’ve moved from using Bloglines to Google Reader. Both (sites? products?) allow me to read the 200+ blogs that I follow on a regular basis. And Google Reader allows me to solve my Killer Zombie Blogs problem.
If you’re reading this on the web, these blogs are listed on the bottom right of the page. It’s an auto export from Bloglines, so anytime I add another blog to my reading list, it gets added to the Blogroll.

And there is the problem.

Google Labs Logo[Link to Google Reader]

The script that I use to do this on Bloglines won’t work with Google. So I’ll need to update it. Not a big problem (no more than an hours work), but it confirms the Web2 mantra – ‘Data is the Intel inside‘.

While I’m free to switch between Web2 sites and take my data with me, in practice , it’s not always quite as simple.

And yes, I used OPML to export from Bloglines into Google Reader. James Corbett would be proud of me.

Update: Surprisingly enough, it seem nobody has published a way of doing this (use items from Google Reader in Blogroll). I may get around to writing it myself sometime (don’t hold your breath). In the meantime, I can just export from Reader back to Bloglines.

Killer Zombie Blogs

Anybody know of a way of getting rid of the zombie blogs from your (bloglines) reading list? Yep, zombie blogs from people who haven’t written in the last couple of months , but still show up on my blogroll (if you’re reading this on the web instead of RSS, they’re also on the bottom right of the page).

Bloglines Logo

It probably involves exporting the information (as OPML), but getting the ‘last posted date’ isn’t obvious.