Daily Archives: April 9, 2008

Aggregating the aggregators

Cameron has a good discussion of lifestream aggregators in a research context.

I have a non-research problem: two apps (FriendFeed and Profilactic), doing essentially the same job, each with features that make both worthwhile. I like Profilactic for these reasons:

  • Design and appearance (YMMV)
  • Ability to fetch content from my friends if they use the same services that I do, without having to get them to subscribe to Profilactic (killer feature IMHO – FriendFeed has the “imaginary friend” to do a similar job, but way less convenient)
  • Huge number of services that can be aggregated
  • Ability to aggregate any feed without giving it a misleading label (FriendFeed will aggregate any feed too, but insists on titling items as “blog post”)

On the other hand, FriendFeed has these great features:

  • Search
  • Comments, leading to meta-conversations; I was initially sceptical of this but I’ve found a lot of value in it

So my latest experiment: use my Profilactic mashup (available as a feed) as my only item in FriendFeed. That way my stuff gets aggregated the way I like it (Profilactic) and each item is available for search and discussion in FriendFeed. The only downside is that every FriendFeed item is labelled as “a blog post on Profilactic mashup”.

This may be madness, I may be spending way too much time on this, but let’s see how it works out.

update 14/4/08: not bad, but FriendFeed works best when aggregating individual feeds (e.g. Flickr photos are displayed); so it’s back to that!

Bio::Blogs #20

Bio::Blogs #20 is up, over at Pedro’s place. Lots of interesting material from the bioinformatics blogosphere this month, so go and have a read.

As I suspected, now that Pedro is a bright young US postdoc (no doubt working 18 hour days), his time commitments have pushed Bio::Blogs down the priority list. If anyone can help out, or suggest alternatives to the current system of monthly compilation by one person, do get in touch with him at his blog. I wonder if we can use some of the aggregated content at places like FriendFeed or the Nodalpoint news aggregator as an easier way to generate monthly summaries of activity?