Oh The Tools I Use…

29 March 2009

This is my first posting from an on-going series where I’ll describe the software tools I use.

The first tool I want to describe is my RSS reader. Like a lot of my tools, I read about them for awhile before I understood the benefit fully. This tool, of all my tools is the one takes a lot of time of my time, sometimes to much time. It also changed the way I use the Internet more than any other tool including search!

I tried several downloaded podcast/RSS reader applications, but those never worked well for me and my mind. I don’t remember the names, so please don’t ask. I also work at multiple locations, and often with different computers, so off-line tools don’t work well for me in general.

I do love working in the cloud, where Google pretty much owns me (more on that soon). I’ve been an online email only guy for 8 years starting with Yahoo Mail, which has an amazing GUI for online, but GMail’s thread discussion own me now.  More on those later…

Initially for RSS, I used Yahoo or specifically My Yahoo. For a while, hooking up those to RSS feeds worked OK for me. I’m not sure when Google Reader (GR) came out and not to long after I tried it, I was hooked.

Like many, GR changed the way I use the web completly. I don’t web surf anymore and I pretty much only read my feeds, search/lookup something, email, some minor social networking and not much more. I don’t just click around and surf ever anymore, because so much interesting stuff comes through my feeds than I have time to read about, listen to or watch (isn’t video on the web incredible?). Most of the sites I subscribe too, I found from another site I’m already subscribed to. Over time I manage these sites and weed out the ones that are mostly echo chambers.

One thing GR gives me is a way to communicate with friends and colleagues when I find something that I know would interest them, I forward it to them. Another one of my favorite parts, but hasn’t seem to caught on with any my friends is the social part of GR where you share or publish interesting things you find. Here is my list (call me 16867871631588463335….um how about my gmail address?), which nobody likely cares much about except me. That’s what makes it interesting because it describes the perhaps hidden me into the ‘social me.’

On the social thing-a-ma-goo. Twitters sounds interesting, but also sounds like a BIG time sink given my experience with GR. Facebook and MySpace, while my kids and some friends are into them, they don’t interest me. I don’t totally get ot social network fad yet, but I have a few business ideas about that are brewing in my head, mostly about Jabber uses.

One of the concepts, though not my idea, integrating social networking concepts is the startup I’m at carefulproducts.com. CarefulProducts aims to bring social connectivity and medical compliance to senior care via in-home monitoring. I have severeal other ideas, but those are baking or waiting for someone else to do them ;>(.

The only social tools I really use are linkedin.com (nice RESTful link BTW:, but I think I had to reserve it) and my sourcetonuts.com blog. Others might not consider it a social tool, but my feelings about what stackoverflow.com should be but it is, though not trying to be (just call me 3226 please….um what’s wrong with the just the kenny/username already in there?).

More about this stuff later, since this is about GR. I love Google Reader and you should too!


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