Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Google Reader feature: auto-add feeds from your Blogger blogroll - UPDATED x3

I just had this little notification pop up in my Google Reader. Apparently the web app has taken it upon itself to add feeds from the sites I have listed in my blogroll here at The Other Drummer.

It has the potential to be a nice touch, although so far I've noticed a few flaws:
  • It's stuck at 49 unread articles when there is clearly only one unread post. Refreshing doesn't fix the problem.
  • Fundamentally, doesn't it stand to reason that if I have a feed in my blogroll I've already added it to my RSS reader?
  • That being said, the three blogs Reader added to my feeds are sites I've already subscribed to. They should compare the blogroll sites against my existing RSS feeds to prevent duplication.
Does anybody else have this feature? Is it working for you? What are your thoughts? Or did I get selected (again) by Google's divine providence?

UPDATE: Clicking the "Learn more" link in Reader took me to a Blogger Help page with an Internal Error/We Can't Find What You're Looking For message. The plot thickens.

UPDATE 2: I just logged in (it's now about 11:40 pm) and the feature is gone. I've checked out the forums over at the Google Reader Blog and three other people have reported the same thing. So far it doesn't look like it's being received well.

UPDATE 3: I just checked my site stats and have had five visitors today from Mountain View, California. Google...are you out there?

Attention world: the touch screen isn't what makes the iPhone cool

LG Voyager, Samsung Glide, Samsung Instinct, LG Dare and all you other handsets and handset manufacturers out there trying to play catch-up to the iPhone, here's a tip for you:

Simply making a touch screen handset with movable icons isn't going to cut it. It makes you look like you're trying to rip-off the iPhone, which, let's be honest, you are. And at first glance that's an understandable thing to do: there's a radically different phone that is getting everyone excited so, naturally, you want to do the same thing.

By trying to mimick the iPhone, you aren't creating something different. You're creating something like the iPhone, which means you're always going to be in a second place, "me-too" position. Instead, focus on creating something innovative of your own.

You can react to trends or you can start them.
The same thing goes for advertising and any number of other industries. So how do you start a trend?
"If I'd asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me, 'A faster horse.'"- Henry Ford as quoted by Steve Jobs.
Know what people want before they do. Much easier said than done. However, with the resources of these huge, multi-billion dollar companies you'd think they'd step back and do something original and innovative. It worked wonderfully for Motorola with the RAZR (until they got lazy). So why don't more companies try to do it? Are they too focused on immediate, quarterly results to invest in something lasting? Or do they try and they just can't quite swing it? What are your thoughts?

Image courtesy of CrunchGear.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Moleskine mania

Oh, the drama. First, I freak out because I can't get the specific notebook I want. Then my friend/distant relative Erin brings one up from Provo for me. Then I get the one I ordered online (and was too impatient to wait for) so I have two. THEN the one Erin brought up began falling apart, the cover ever so sadly separating from the spine, so I wrote Moleskine and ask/beg for a new one.

Being in Italy (Milan, darling) our correspondence was a bit delayed and with the language barrier a little choppy. However, they very kindly said that, since they're handmade, sometimes these things happen and they'd be happy to send me a replacement if I'd provide my address, which I did.

Long story short, they ended up sending me two replacement notebooks, one with the cover written in Italian and one written in German, in addition to the original one I'd ordered online. While all this was happening, I found some good glue and was able to (mostly) reattach the cover of the original notebook which I'm still using.

I wrote Moleskine, told them they sent me an extra and offered to ship it back to them. They wrote back and told me not to worry about it. 

So now I have four total (three unused) softcover, ruled, pocket-sized Moleskine notebooks when just two months ago there was only one to be found in the entire state of Utah. Crazy how things turn out, huh?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Man babies

It's disturbing, yet I can't look away.

See more here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

New Yahoo interface? Quite Google-like, don't you think?

So yeah. A friend of mine came across this little gem last night and passed it along. Looks like Yahoo may be experimenting with a sleeker, more Google-like approach to search.


Oh yeah, and speaking of homepages, if anyone can get me in on that new iGoogle action (short of saying I'm a developer) let me know.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

An announcement and an apology

Yeah. Sorry. I'm alive. Just sorta been neglecting my digital duties of late. Despite the fact that my posts here have dwindled and I'm down to about one post per week on LivSimpl, for some inexplicable reason I've decided to launch a new project called Write In My Journal.

The idea of Write In My Journal is this: I approach people who look interesting - like they have a story to tell - and ask them if they, knowing they’ll most likely never see me again, will write in my journal.
They’re free to write whatever they want. I may give them a prompt to start but ultimately it’s up to them.

There are so many people out there with such diverse backgrounds and perspectives and it’s absolutely fascinating to me. Have you ever looked at a person and thought, “I wonder what their story is? How did they get to where they are? What are their dreams?” I do. All the time. (Is that weird?) This is my chance to get to know some of them, even if it’s just a glimpse, and share their stories that would otherwise go untold.

So I carry around my trusty Moleskine notebook (which is falling apart - more on that later) and ask people to write in it, right along side all my own scribbles, lists and thoughts.

Please take a moment to check it out, add it to your RSS feeds and leave a comment or two. Oh yeah, and please tell your friends.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

McCain admits he doesn't know how to use a computer

When McCain was asked earlier in his campaign if he used a Mac or PC he responded that he's computer illiterate, an excellent quality for a potential leader of the free world.

He also seems completely unaware that Viva Zapata was made in 1952, not 2008. Or maybe he still thinks it's 1952 which would explain his inability to operate a computer.


While I'm confident Obama is much more tech-savvy (read: knows how to check his own e-mail) he did just flip-flop and vote to give the telcoms retroactive immunity for their illegal, Constitution-violating wiretaps. Not cool Obama.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Google non-news of the day: Gmail filter assistant

I don't remember seeing this little friend in my Gmail account before. The Filter Assistant option, at the moment, does... nothing. But my gut tells me this feature is going to assist you with your filters.

Also, it looks like the Gmail team has fixed the problem that displays your primary e-mail address when sending an e-mail from an additional, managed account. Boo-ya.

Rock-on Gmailers, rock on.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Utahans are less fat than most people in the U.S.

Way to go Utahans! There are 44 states that have fatter people in them than you! Your all-natural health drinks from tropical islands and your vitamin supplements are paying off!

Of course, having nearly a quarter of your adult population obese isn't exactly a good thing but it looks like the folks at are grading on a curve (pardon the pun). So grab a Jamba Juice, Iceberg milkshake or some fries with fry sauce and celebrate our less-fatness!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

How do you view your cell phone carrier?

I posted a new poll in the upper right corner of the site. Please take a moment to vote. I'm interested in how you view the services provided by your wireless provider. Do you see them as a source for original content (perhaps Verizon offers video clips from the sporting events that you can have access to for an extra fee each month, in addition to your voice service)?

Or do you see them as more of just a pipe to give you voice and data services?

Or do you see them some other way entirely? I'm honestly curious so let me know on the poll and in the comments.