Tag Archives: Google Reader

Chrome Just Isn’t Up To Firefox’s Snuff

Chrome-logo-2011-03-16Three weeks ago I decided to give Google Chrome a shot at replacing Mozilla Firefox as my primary browser. And believe me, it was a fair contest: I only called upon Firefox when I could not get Chrome to work.

Unfortunately, I had to call on Firefox at least once every other day. And while I still run across the occasional Web site that requires me to use Internet Explorer — mainly, Web sites that use some Microsoft technology, such as LiveMeeting or an ActiveX control of some sort — that’s maybe once or twice a month.

(And no, I have not given IE a chance to be my primary browser. When it truly embraces Web standards, then I will consider it. Internet Explorer is barely in the neighborhood of standards compliance right now, never mind on the same street. Safari? C’mon, man. Opera? Seriously, stop now, you’re embarrassing yourself.)

So I’ve made up my mind: Chrome gets sent back to the minors to work on its skills, and Firefox — older, fatter, slower, but far more dependable and experienced — is back as my ace starting pitcher.

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It’s All Chinese To Me: Reader Has Google Translate Built-In

I really like Google Reader; one of its great features is its recommendations. As long as you choose to “like” articles and media on a fairly consistent basis, Reader can do a very good job of finding new content and sources (provided, that is, they come from a Feedburner RSS feed).

Because Google expected me to have at least a modicum of Internet savvy — perhaps from the nature of the things I “like” and share — Reader occasionally sends along to me tweets written in Chinese.

A tweet written in Chinese

Google Reader suggests a tweet, but it's all Chinese to me. Note the "not interested" tick is checked. That's because I failed to RTFM.

According to Google Translate, the tweet above reads:

RT @ aiww: Ha, yes. RT @ luanmazi: Republic of the “unsung heroes” bei RT @ june197433: “China’s Internet status” throughout the White Paper did not mention GFW, Fang Bin-Xing Academy of Engineering uncomfortable it? Http://aa.cx/r85 @ aiww

That’s clear enough: China doesn’t mention, in its recent statement on the Internet, the school where China’s infamous firewall was developed.

As the “not interested” tick indicates, previously I had been marking these Chinese tweets to disappear, but I’ve been getting 2-3 per week, despite my attempt to indicate I can’t read Chinese. It’s time-consuming to copy and paste these tweets into Translate; I already waste enough time on Reader, Twitter and Facebook.

Which sent me on a quest to find a way to translate Reader posts inline.

Being a typical programmer, my initial thought was a $10 solution to a 50-cent problem: I could use the Reader and Translate APIs to do on-the-fly translations. That, however, was quickly dismissed as a gross impracticality.

I could find, or write, a Greasemonkey script to do the translation. I did find a Greasemonkey script that translates tweets on the Twitter Web page itself. I installed that and it works great, from a technical standpoint; but the Engrish it generates is, shall we say, rough.

A Twitter translation by Google: Wait, what?

A Twitter translation by Google, from Japanese to English: Wait, what?

So I was resigned to having to live with a choice between no translation or bad translations. Until I decided to STFW one more time, and found the solution: Google has already handled translation for me. As in, translation is just a button click away.

Google Reader translation option

Oh, you mean I should click *that* button. Why didn't you say so?

Proving, once again, it’s important to read the manual.

All links in this post on delicious: http://delicious.com/dougvdotcom/its-all-chinese-to-me-reader-has-google-translate-built-in

Three Web Sites That Make My Online Life A Lot Easier

I spend several hours every day reading / viewing and retransmitting Web content. For the longest time, that meant a lot of visits to a lot of places; it also meant some places got forgotten along the way, or not as fully appreciated as they should be.

That is, until I discovered Google Reader, The New York Times Skimmer and Ping.fm. The three of them make my online life a lot easier to manage. I’d like to explain what each of them is, and how I use them to streamline and crowdsource my daily Internet viewing.

Google Reader is an exceptionally powerful RSS feed reader. (For those who are new to the blog, an “RSS feed” is basically a way to transmit content from one Web site to several others; be it text, pictures, audio or video. Google Reader, and other RSS feed readers, are ways to combine several RSS feeds into one place.)

Reader provides most of the features you’d expect from an RSS reader, plus a lot more:

  • Feed aggregation (that is, you can read several feeds at once);
  • the ability to group feeds;
  • tagging of individual items;
  • a “like” feature, which helps Reader suggest other feeds you might like, based on the articles you like;
  • a “star” feature, that you can use to easily find items you want to revisit;
  • and by far the most valuable feature, a “share” button, that allows you to re-aggregate content — that is, it gives you another feed of the items you share, and presents it as an Atom feed, a static Web page attached to your Google profile, and a JavaScript widget you can easily add to a blog (check the upper left-hand corner for mine).

I currently subscribe to feeds from Slashdot, Lifehacker, The Daily WTF, Wired and a few NPR blogs / podcasts.

Another great thing about Google Reader is Play, which is basically a visual way to find new things on the Internet. Your Facebook friends will think you’re the cleverest person around, just because you repost things you find in Play.

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RSS Feeds Now Show Full Entries

Update, 14 April 2012: The URLs to my RSS feeds have changed.

Blog entries: http://feeds.feedburner.com/dougvdotcom
Comments: http://feeds.feedburner.com/dougvdotcomments

As I’ve finally gotten the hang of Google Reader, I see the value in having full posts, and not just excerpts, available from an RSS feed.

It’s so 2000-and-late to think in terms of whether a Web site is “sticky,” and even in terms of SEO; it makes far more sense to think in terms of whether you are “loud” within your social networks, and whether you’re easy to find and appreciate to people who might be interested in your network.

In honor of which, I have changed this blog’s settings to provide full posts in the posts and comments feeds.

So, add http://www.dougv.com/feed/ (and, if you’re crazy enough, http://www.dougv.com/comments/feed/) to your favorite reader, and you’ll have the whole story!

All links contained in this post on delicious.com: http://delicious.com/dougvdotcom/rss-feeds-now-show-full-entries