What We’re Reading

Based on the response to my poll question last week about more content, no one seems very psyched about interspersing our Reader Shared Items into posts.

That’s fine, and like I said in the comments, I get bored with blogs that post more links/links posts than original content, even I think the content rules.

I do, however, think that following the shared items of people you know gives a useful window into a) the Intertubes and b) that particular person. Social+everything has made it obvious that people make a great filter for all the content out there; Facebook, Twitter and FriendFeed have all demonstrated that this model works.

So, I compromised.

Our very own Pipe

Using Yahoo Pipes, an underrated app, and following this old tutorial from Lifehacker (found by way of How-To Technology Tips), I combined our Google Reader Shared items feeds into a single AppsLab feed and created a widget down below the fold called “What We’re Reading”.

You can read it there, at least the newest 20 items, or subscribe to the feed if you prefer. One minor bummer is that there’s no way to tell who shared which item, but I suppose if that’s really important, you could subscribe to each of our feeds.

I didn’t test it too much, but how hard can it be? If it doesn’t update as I share stuff, I’ll go back to the drawing board and fix it.

An aside about Pipes, it’s one of those mashup tools (like Popfly) that seems to target that mythical unicorn, i.e. the business user who wants custom content, but doesn’t want to code. I’ve not met many of them.

Pipes is useful though, and if you’re interested, Dawn Foster has done a lot of work in Pipes. She has the videos to prove it; check out her series of demos to get started.



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