[AI] New tools in webfeed management netspeak

Rajesh Asudani rajeshasudani at rbi.org.in
Mon Aug 13 02:13:25 EDT 2007

New tools in webfeed management netspeak 

Webfeeds are generally read either with an on-line reader or with a desktop tool 


The concept has become so commonplace that even a lay 

netizen is conversant with it to 

keep up with the latest content, appearing on favourite sites.


This edition of NetSpeak introduces a few services meant for efficiently managing/exploiting the webfeeds or RSS newsfeeds.

The concept of webfeeds has become so commonplace that even a lay netizen is conversant with it - to keep up with the latest content appearing on her favourite
sites. To manage/access the newsfeeds with ease, a variety of services are being rele ased regularly. 

One such webfeed-based tool category, discussed earlier, is the newsfeed merging service, meant for combining several newsfeeds into a single feed. 

Feedshake (http://feedshake.com/), mentioned in the past ( 
 /biz/2005/08/08/stories/20 05080802281700. htm), is an example of such a service. 

Recently, this author encountered another similar product for managing/mixing your favorite feeds into a single feed. This service, 'afeeds' (http://afeeda.com/)
helps you generate a single feed from a collection of seve ral feeds. 

You can create a personal feed (by combining your personal feeds taken from services such as your blog, your del.icio.us account and feeds from other similar
services subscribed by you) or a group feed (by combining feeds from different sources). So, if you are working on a topic, say 'biotechnology,' collect
all the feeds related to this subject and generate a single 'group' feed by combining them. To add new feeds into this composite feed easily, 'afeeda'
provides a bookmarklet. 

Once this bookmarklet is placed on to your browser toolbar, a new feed that you come across can be added to the feed mix by just clicking on this bookmarklet.
Also, by making the generated feed public, you can easily share it with others.

Read on your IM client 

Webfeeds are generally read either with an online reader (such as Bloglines) or with a desktop tool (such as RSSOwl). Apart from those tools, there are
alternative means of reading newsfeeds as well. As mentioned in an earlier column, one can collect webfeed content via email with services like Rmail (

). Of course, because of spam and virus mails, email is no longer a preferred channel for receiving web feed content. 

The Instant Messenger (IM) has become a communication tool of consequence for many and is fast becoming popular in receiving real-time content alerts. If
you wish to receive updates from your newsfeeds on your IM client, in real-time, take a look at the service Anothr (http://www.anothr. com/). 

This service provides the latest updates from the subscribed feeds almost instantaneously on to your IM client (provided the client software is on and you
are logged in). You may also note that if you subscribe to several feeds, this could turn out to be rather annoying.

'Anothr' supports IM systems such as Skype/Gtalk/MSN. To activate the service, you just need to add the 'Anothr' buddy as your contact. You can subscribe
to a feed by directly entering its (or the site's) URL on the IM chat window for the contact Anothr. And to unsubscribe, enter the feed address with the
symbol '-' prefixed (like '- http://host-name.com'). 

Yet another RSS feed tool worth a mention is Blastfeed ( 
). The advantage that this service entails is to combine several feeds into a single feed or channel by applying a keyword filter. For instance, if you
wish to receive only the news items that contain a keyword, say 'Google', this service could come in handy. 

This is an excellent means to track a specific product/idea. Besides, Blastfeed lets you receive the updates in your favourite newsreader or IM network.
The service lets you embed the filtered updates on to your blog too.

We have come across several free file upload services (such as Youtube, Box.net, Omnidrive etc) that enable us store files. 


Generally, to upload files to such a service, we have to use the web interface provided by the service concerned. Some services provide an uploader client
too (for transferring files directly from your desktop). Now, if you don't want to install a client program and still wish to transfer files to a file
storage service without having to visit its site, the Firefox extension, 'Fire Universal Uploader' (http://www.f ireuploader.com) could come handy. Once
installed on your browser, you can upload files directly from it. Currently, this extension supports file storage services such as Box.net, Omnidrive and


He may be contacted at: 
jmurali at gmail.com 

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