I have built a Yahoo! pipe to aggregate pictures about #Japan coming in through Twitter. These are tweets that use Plixi, twitpic or yfrog. You can subscribe to the feed here: JapanPix RSS Feed
Baja California has been shaking lately. Especially in the area just south of Mexicali. I’ve built a little map to keep tabs on the area. The information comes from USGS via RSS through Yahoo Pipes. So, if a quake is felt, it will be a little delayed here on the map due to the nature of path to get here. Given that, the map should contain the most recent information on quakes 2.5 magnitude and above.
I was thinking last night that it might be interesting to take your Tweets and put them on a calendar. Kind of a life stream with calendar integration. I do crazy stuff like this because it helps me learn.
I figured since Twitter outputs to RSS I could take that and morph it into an iCal feed. As it turns out, this isn’t that hard with Yahoo! Pipes. However, it isn’t really doesn’t work all that well. The problem is that Yahoo Pipes only polls the RSS every 30 minutes or so. So if you tweet a lot things will get missed. Also, it will only hold the last 20 tweets at the time of polling. And then there is the calendar the polls iCal. I have no idea how often that happens.
So, this is just a proof of concept kind of thing. I thought since I got this bit figured out I’d release it and see if anyone else comes up with something better.
Here is how it works:
- Go to: http://pipes.yahoo.com/techlifeweb/twitterical
- Enter your twitter name (public accounts only, sorry) in the box provided and click Run Pipe
- When the results com back, click More options and right click on Get as iCal then click “Copy Link Location” in your browser.
You now have the link to the iCal version of your Tweet. How you set this up in your calendar varies on calendar application. Here, we’ll use Google calendar.
- Open your Google Calendar
- In the lower left click ‘add’
- and then ‘Add by URL’
- When the dialog box pops up, past in the iCal URL you copied in the steps above and click Add Calendar.
It will take a few seconds to a minute and they you will see your last 20 tweets in your calendar. You can change the colors if you want.
So, developers out there, if you do something cool with this, please let me know.
Sites that I found interesting for September 10th 2009 through September 11th 2009:
- Microsoft Academic Search – Academic search engine from Microsoft.
- Google Developing New Mirror for Low-cost Solar Power – Google is working on new mirror technology that could make solar thermal energy more affordable. Its current efforts are focused on the development of radical materials for the mirrors – both for the reflective surface and the substrate – used in the generation of solar thermal energy.
- Yahoo Mail Features Attach Large Files Powered by Drop.io – Yahoo Mail is now pre-installing the Attach Large Files application to all Yahoo Mail accounts.
Sites that I found interesting for June 26th 2009 through June 30th 2009:
- Tweetnews.me – Search application that links tweets to the freshest Yahoo! News articles. The more related tweets an article has, the higher its rank.
- Pedometer Blackberry Storm App – Use your Balckberry Storm to keep track of your steps.
- Xiant Filer – Xiant Filer was created by technology innovator/Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen and engineers at Xiant, whose challenge was to ease management of overflowing Microsoft Office Outlook inboxes.
One cool thing about Twitter is that it automatically creates an RSS feed of your tweets. Sometimes these can be useful to put in other places that take RSS like FriendFeed or elsewhere. However, this can be a bit ‘noisy’ especially to none Twitter users who aren’t used to self-filtering.
One of the conventions that Twitter users have adopted is the notion of hashtags. Hashtags are words with the “#” symbol in front of them. Fore example, at a conference such as Bar Camp San Diego people might put #barcampsd in their twitter post. Sometimes people get a bit carried away with them but that is a topic for another time.
These two things, RSS from Twitter and the uniqueness of hashtags, let me create this great Yahoo! Pipe. With it, you can generate an RSS feed of only your tweets containing a certain hashtag. You can then use that feed in your other applications.
Have a look at my new Yahoo Pipe. It will give you and example of how to use it.
Simply enter the hashtag you want to filter on and your twitter name and then click Run Pipe. After the pipe runs you can click on the Get as RSS button to get your new filtered Twitter Feed.
RSS is not dead. It is the glue that holds the web together.
Many people use various social services to stay in touch and to keep up with current events. One of my current favorites is Twitter. Over a year ago, Twitter turned off a service, called Track, that let you track topics. Track let you ‘follow’ a topic whether it was in your twitter stream of followers or not.
In the wake of Track, a developer created a service called TwitterSpy which let you use Google Talk to perform similar functions to that of Twitter’s Track. I’ve written about this before in my how to on setting up TwitterSpy and Google Talk.
While all this was going on, another social network called FriendFeed has joined the scene. I created an account not long after FriendFeed was brought on line and hooked it up so my tweets went from Twitter to FriendFeed but that was pretty much the end of it.
In recent weeks, limits put on the Twitter API and other discussions online have caused me to take another look a FriendFeed. I have to say, the people behind FriendFeed have done an amazing job and have created something truly unique. You just have to spend a bit of time exploring it and figure out how the pieces fit together.
In this article I am going to show you how I have used FriendFeed as the ‘glue’ to build a system to track a couple topics I am interested in, stay current with breaking news and events and also keep up with friends. While no programming is required, there are some necessary details to work through. Once this up front work is done, then adding, deleting or changing things is easy.
The main thing you will need is a FriendFeed account. It is good if you have Twitter too but it is unnecessary if all you want to do is track topics at Twitter. Actually, you don’t have to track Twitter, it is just my example. More on that later.
Once you set up your FriendFeed account you will see lists on the left-hand column. Click ‘new list’ and call it Track (you can call it what ever you like but we’ll use Track for this tutorial).
You don’t need to add any Friends yet unless you are already following some friends on FriendFeed that you know you will want to track. Either way, you can add or remove friends later.
Now, here is were the powerful magic starts to happen. Lets say you want to track a topic people are talking about on Twitter. You could just go to Twitter Search but I have created a custom Yahoo Pipe for this purpose instead. I’ll explain why in a minute.
In this example we’ll track tweets containing the words Microsoft and Silverlight:
Instructions are at the top to help you build searches with AND OR operators. You can exclude tweets from yourself by adding your Twitter name in the second field. Click Run pipe, then click Get as RSS.
Copy the RSS URL from your browser window. You will need this in a minute.
Ok so why the Pipe? After all, Twitter Search provides its own RSS feeds. The rub is that when you look closely at the feed generated by Twitter Search, you will see it doesn’t show you who tweeted. Here is an example of the same results as above:
My Pipe figures out who tweeted and puts their twitter name at the start of the tweet. This way you can know who to respond to if you want.
Now for the next piece of magic, creating an Imaginary Friend. A cute quirky name but part of the brilliance of FriendFeed.
Go back to FriendFeed and, at the top right of the screen, click Friends. Then click the Imaginary tab. Now click the Create Imaginary Friend button. Call it anything you like but I recommend having the name relate to what you are tracking. For this instance I would call it Silverlight_Tracker.
Now you will see your new ‘friend’. If you are creative you could create an icon for it instead of the smiley but that really isn’t necessary. Under Miscellaneous, click Custom RSS/Atom.
In the new box, paste in the RSS URL from the Yahoo pipe above.
Next check Display entries as messages (no link).
Click Import Custom RSS/Atom.
This will then pull in the latest results from the Pipe search.
Before you leave this screen, where it says Friend Lists under your imaginary friend’s name, click add/edit. This will bring up a list of all your lists. By default, your friend is in your Home feed list. You can uncheck that if you want, that is up to you. But do be sure to check the box next to Track. This lets all your friend’s posts show up in your new tracking system.
When we check the Track list we will see everything we are tracking so far. In our case now, just the Silverlight_Tracker shows up as in this screen shot:
You can see that because we named it well, it gives us an idea of the subject matter of the tweet (more relevant when you add more things to track). And, because we used my Pipe, you can see who posted the tweet. Also, don’t forget, this is a search and returns all results whether you follow these people on Twitter or not.
You can use the above method for any RSS/Atom feed you may want to track. Create an imaginary friend for each one. If you are on Twitter, I recommend using the Pipe to create a track feed of your own user name. This way you don’t miss any tweets with your twitter name in the tweet. Another handy feed to track is my Ego Feed.
The Friends you track don’t have to be Imaginary. You can track other people or services on FriendFeed itself. One of my favorites is BreakingNewsOn. Go to Friends in the upper right of FriendFeed, click the Find + Invite tab and search for BreakingNewsOn. When the results come back, subscribe to this friend then be sure to add it to the Track list.
Further, you can track someone on another service who isn’t on FriendFeed but that FriendFeed can connect directly to. This makes the service more than just an RSS reader. For example, lets say a photography buddy of yours isn’t on FriendFeed but does post her pictures on Flickr and you want to track when she puts up new photos. Follow the steps to create an imaginary friend then choose the Flickr service and enter their Flickr user name. Add this imaginary friend to the Track list and you are now tracking them.
If you want to stop tracking someone (or some topic) you can simply remove your friend from the Track list. You can also unsubscribe friends or delete imaginary ones. Its up to you and really depends on if you just want to stop tracking temporarily or more permanently.
Once you start experimenting with this method of track you will see how powerful it is. Give it a try. If you are using this in a unique way I’d love to hear about it.
But wait, there’s more! Next time, I will show you how to take this system to the next level.
I recently posted my TED Link Monitor. There is another conference of great minds going on this weekend too, BIL ( Benevolence. Inspiration. Luminary.) So I have built a similar link monitor for capturing Tweets with links. I won’t go into all the details. Basically the same with different search criteria as the TED link. You can get the RSS feed here:
or use this button for Google Reader
Right now, the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference is going on in Long Beach, California. As is the case with many conferences these days attendees are Tweeting (posting to Twitter) the event. Twitter has become the unofficial back-channel. Sometimes they link to things a speaker is talking about or other useful links.
There is a LOT of TED traffic on Twitter and I like to catch the links that float by. There is also redundancy because people ‘retweet’ things. So, I built a twitter search that filters as much of that as I could then pushed it through a Yahoo! Pipe to get a nice RSS feed of all the links posted. If you want to subscribe, you can copy and past this link into your RSS reader of choice:
Or use this button to add to Google Reader
UPDATE 11:41 AM 2/7/2009:
I have also built a BIL Link Monitor if you want to follow that conference as well.
UPDATE 22APR09: This has all changed yet again. I’m leaving the bulk of this here for historic purposes so scroll to the update section at the bottom.
Ever want to use the RSS feed from your Facebook status? Well, this is ridiculously harder to find than it should be so I thought I’d do a quick post. Note, this for the ‘new’ Facebook. Things changed a while ago and instructions found elsewhere no longer work.
1. Log into Facebook
2. Click on this link: (NO LONGER GOOD. See update below)
3. Scroll way down. On the right-hand side you will see a blue (should be the standard orange but I digress) rss icon and the words My Status. That is your RSS feed.
Next, advanced users might want the feed to say “wrote a new blog post” instead of “Scott wrote a new blog post”:
1. Copy the link to your rss feed
2. Go to this Yahoo! pipe and past in your feed: Facebook Status RSS Feed Filter
3. You can then select Get as RSS from the options list.
Note: If you want the RSS feed for your Facebook Notifications, see this link: How do I subscribe to my Facebook Notifications?
Thanks to Beaudreaux’s Bayou for digging up the link to the minifeed.
UPDATE 19APR09: Thanks to Liam, I found out that Facebook changed the location of the feed again. You can now find it under the Friends tab on the left hand side. It is now called Friend’s Status Feed.
UPDATE 22APR09: Reader Brendan posted a comment that the link in my last update links to the feed of all you friends statuses rather than a feed of YOUR statuses. I didn’t really think twice about it since that is the one I like for use elsewhere.
1. Log on to Facebook and go to your Notifications page: http://www.facebook.com/notifications.php
2. On the right-hand side you’ll see ‘Subscribe to Notifications. Click the ‘Your Notifications’ link.
The link will open up the feed in your browser and look something like this:
This is a feed of notifications for things like when people post on your wall. Handy for future projects but not the feed we are looking for. But close…
The secret is all that id and viewer and key stuff. To get your status feed you need those numbers (I have changed them in these graphics to all 1′s. Leave yours the way they are.) I sent you to your notifications feed because it includes everything you need with just 1 minor change.
Go up to the URL in your browser and replace the word ‘notifications’ with ‘status’
There you go, you’ve created your Facebook status feed! Now just copy the whole new URL and paste it where ever you want.
UPDATE 24APR09: My last solution STILL WORKS for me. No idea why it wouldn’t work for everyone. I removed the old original link I had on here because people aren’t reading all the way down.
UPDATE 15SEP09: Reader Christian had good success getting this to work and outlined what he did in the comments. Here is a link right to his comment.
UPDATE 18JUN11: Facebook never leaves things alone. Diem, one of my readers notes that the keys have changed for the feeds. They still work for me using the methods as follows:
- Go here: https://www.facebook.com/posted.php
- Right click on the link to ‘My Friends’ Links’ and copy url
- Open Notepad or something other text editor and past the url in so you can see it
- It will look like https://www.facebook.com/feeds/share_friends_posts.php?id=xxxxxxxxxx&key=xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx&format=rss20
- That will be the feed to your friends links. If you want friends status updates, change the words right before .php like this:
- You can get the feed for YOUR Notifications here: https://www.facebook.com/notifications.php
- Change the notifications link for YOUR status:https://www.facebook.com/feeds/status.php?id=xxxxxxxxxx&viewer=xxxxxxxxxx&key=xxxxxxxxxxxxx&format=rss20
- or YOUR shared links: