Sunday, November 27, 2005

Some blogs I like

I do have trouble keeping up with the blogs I'm subscribed to, but when I do get time to catch up, these are some of the blogs I like.

Communication Nation is a blog about soft skills, from presentations to dealing with customers to holding meetings or spending your time more effectively.

Presentation Zen is a blog written by a guy living in Japan which discusses presentation skills from a zen perspective. It's not a blog which is updated daily but every post he makes is interesting and educational.

43 Folders is another mix of posts on issues related to time management skills.

India Uncut is a great blog for Indophiles and anyone who wants to keep up with the latest issues in India. The blogger links to a lot of other Indian blogs and I think it's fair to say he has his finger on the pulse of the Indian blogging scene. Just mark the cricket related posts as read ;o)

Two tangential points on this:

1) India Uncut is yet another blog which shows that bloggers who write about political or social issues are still very reliant on the mainstream media for learning about stories in the first place. This is despite some bloggers' dissing of the MSM and claims that bloggers will take over from the MSM in being the source of news stories in the future.

2) If an "Indophile" is a fan of India, then what do you call someone who is a fan of Indonesia?

Welcome to Room 116 is a blog which covers original ad campaigns around the world. This blog links to a lot of cool and imaginative campaigns that I'd have never heard of otherwise.

Computerworld Security News (apologies but I'm linking directly to the feed since I don't have a proper link to the normal website) is good for keeping up to date with security news in the IT field.

Signal Vs. Noise is a design oriented blog with a focus mostly on web applications and web sites and that whole Web 2.0 thing.

I read a fair few other blogs but the above would be the ones which I find consistently interesting.

How do you keep up with blogs?

I'd be interested to know how many blogs other people read and how they keep up to date with them, especially those blogs which post multiple articles per day. I have a hard time keeping up because some days I just don't have the time to read the blogs I'm subscribed to.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Live Messenger

Catching up on my blog reading and saw Om Malik has a brief comment on Live Messenger plus a screenshot.

This also sounds really cool! I'm not a VOIP user though it would save me a lot of money if I was so it's something I might take up in the near future. (Skype is installed on my home pc but I've never gotten around to testing it).

With all the focus on Google lately it's been easy to forget that Microsoft are still absolutely loaded and have the ability (should they choose) to copy and improve upon existing applications launched by competitors. This Live thing is going to be interesting to see, especially since Microsoft have the infrastructure in place to integrate this stuff with the desktop a lot more easily than Google.

Windows Live

Just saw it posted on rb now and it looks very cool.

When I saw you can import an OPML file (i.e. import the list of feeds you're subscribed to in another RSS reader) I thought "Ah typical Microsoft, you probably can't export your feeds from Windows Live" but you can! That's pretty cool.

I think the Windows Live desktop is a good idea but I don't see a way to categorise feeds so you only view, say, security blogs at any one time. Instead it seems like you are expected to just scroll through all the feeds you've added. That can't be right, can it? I don't see a way to mark individual items on a feed as read and therefore hide them either.

You can move stuff around, but only above or below or beside existing stuff, it's not like a proper "desktop".

I can't think of what information I'd like on an online desktop.. Like I wouldn't care about seeing my buddy list while I'm reading emails.. or would I.. hmm.. it's definitely something I'll give a go anyway.

The thing I love about Windows Live is Windows Live Favourites. It's something I've wanted for a long long time.. an easy way to keep track of my favourites no matter what pc I am at. The site also allows you to export your favourites in a format which can be viewed offline as a HTML file. I love it.

The hardest part of trying out new technologies is that to really get the benefit of them (for example, this portable favourites storage idea) you have to change the way you work or use the computer. I am used to storing my favourites in my browser and I don't know if I would bother with the extra step of having to first go to a specific website, then log in before I could save a url. For that reason I can see it being a while before I being to use Live Favourites as a habit. Does anyone know if, when you import favourites, it merges them with existing favourites?

Overall though it's a cool new idea from Microsoft and I'm looking forward to using it more and seeing what gadgets come out for it. The new Live Mail should be cool too. Way too early to say if this is Microsoft just firing out a few small products to try to keep up with Google or whether they genuinely want to get involved in a big way in this area I think.