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!


In yet another moment of BBGM synchronicity, I started to think about lifestreaming and its applications as Deepak wrote about it. My inspiration was the recent article 35 ways to stream your life.

I’ve tried (and you can find me at):

  • Mugshot – aggregates a limited number of sources, doesn’t seem to update properly from, has conversation features (quips, comments)
  • FriendFeed – nice look and feel, a limited number of sources, has conversation features (comments, ratings)
  • Profilactic – by far my favourite in terms of look/feel and sources (you can add anything that has a feed) but no conversations as yet

Lifestreams are fun. I don’t expect anyone to care about what I just played on (and likewise), but these are all ways of broadcasting yourself and making connections. Read Deepak’s post for some thoughts on how this might apply to science.

Here’s a crazy idea – the workstream:

  • Neil parsed SwissProt entry Q38897 using parser script
  • Bob calculated all intersubunit contacts in PDB entry 2jdq using CCP4 package contact