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Not Twittering

June 19, 2008

I just read Mark Artrip’s latest life update post and among the other items he mentioned that he refused to believe that twitter was cool. I do agree with his point about it breaking down into the most mundane details about peoples life, however I do like a steady stream of stuff to read and keep track of.

I dabbled with twitter for a while and then realized that it would only be cool if I was a web developer in New York or San Francisco and hung out with all kinds of bleeding edge Technorati, which I am not, do not, and do not. However, despite my friends all not being OCD or egotistical enough to post everything about themselves has not detracted my desire to track lots of things going on all throughout the day. Presenting my solution.

RSS menu

Here is the combination that I use to get my fix of constantly updated relevant news in an easy to read visual format. RSS Menu, Amigo, Growl. Now you might think that I was issuing commands at you friend but I was not. Click on those links or just read below for how I integrate their functions to make my desktop the most up to date relevant place for me.

RSS Menu is great. I have become a huge fan of subscribing to RSS feeds from blogs and news sources over the last six months. This is for me the best way to stay current on things that I care about. Whether it is the New York Yankees Headlines feed or the latest Apple rumors, I let other people do the hard work looking up and researching all of their crazy stuff and then cherry pick off the stuff that i care about.

I also use a program called Amigo which is billed as a Facebook notification program. It does exactly what it says and you get a little pop up every time one of your friends updates their status on Facebook which I must say for some of you is way to often for you to actually be doing any work when you say you are working. I do wish that it would let you do your own updates without having to goAmigo into the site, but maybe they will roll it out in another version. Something that I should tell you about this software is that it is kind of free. Actually, as long as you don’t mind being reminded every time you start up your computer how long you have been using Amigo without registering it, then it is free. I think it has been about 130 days or something like that. Let me do updates from my desktop and I will how about that.

Finally, there is the thing that makes both of these apps worth while. The Growl notification system plugin. This is definitely free although I do not know why. It is so handy for so many things. The way that this ties together is that every time one of these two programs updates or there is a new post or anything, a simple drop down (entirely customizable in the looks department) comes out of my menu bar with something like “new article for Uncrate” or “Nathaniel DeZago is in Afghanistan” or whatever. This is quite literally the program that keeps me up to date on everything because otherwise I would not know what is going on with all of my friends. Everyone posts on Facebook sometime, even the slackers out there like me and if you were using this, then you would know right away rather than the next time you actually take the time to go to Facebook. I also find that it is a good way to sort out if you want to take the time to go to a website or not. Since you can get a preview of the articles and headlines, I do not need to physically go to the blog and can keep right on working for real rather than going to check a news feed and then being disappointed.

So this is my Twitter. Sure it is not actually Twitter, but it is how I keep in touch with the constantly updating in real time world that I live in. Let me know what solutions you use for your own situation.

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