Week 8 – Tumblr not cutting it – moving on to Yahoo Pipes
Hopefully a fairly short update to tide us over tonight;
As of last week I decided the best way of aggregating all the live uploads and tweets etc. from an event (specifically IMAE 2010) was via Tumblr. I would encourage people to upload either to Flickr or post links to their uploads on Twitter, and in either case tagged or hashtagged with imae2010. I set Tumblr up to pull posts from RSS feeds I had generated from Twitter and Flickr searches for that tag.
The problem with Tumblr when you want live, instant results is that it decides for itself when it is going to make a post from a feed you’ve imported to it. I was rather hoping it would automatically make a post the instant a new item appeared in an RSS feed, but that is not the case at all.
I realised that I’ve been barking up the wrong tree with Tumblr, but this whole process has taught me more about using RSS feeds. RSS feeds are basically a list of information, most recent at the top usually, generated from a page on the web, and used typically as a way of reading or viewing content from said page without actually viewing the page. For example, my Android phone has a news widget which pulls headlines and summaries from the BBC News site using its RSS feed.
I was using Tumblr as a way of aggregating a few feeds together in a visually appealing fashion, but the time delay between updates wasn’t suited to this purpose, so I began looking for another way to do this. What I’ve found is Yahoo Pipes. Using a very simple browser-based workflow of nodes, Pipes allows you to combine several feeds, as well as modifying them in various ways; also, because Flickr is owned by Yahoo, it’s very simple to import a Flickr search term without having to find the RSS feed address for it. Pipes then builds a page for you with a list view of the combined feeds, as well as an image tab with a nice-looking gallery of any images in the feeds, and even a map tab for any geotagged elements.
This is pretty much what I’ve been after, although I can’t find much in the way of customising the appearance of the Pipes page. It’s possible to embed the list, image and map parts separately as “badges”, but not into Tumblr or WordPress.com… I did manage to do it with Yahoo’s blog platform, Blogger, but again it is hampered by delayed update of the feed, so I think I will stick with functionality and just use the Pipes page.
As a side note, Alex Fenton, who created the Hive and is presenting it at IMAE 2010, has set up an ipadio for the event, which, as I understand it, is a way of broadcasting sound recordings from a phone to the web, both as an MP3 file and as cleverly dictated text. His ipadio page also has an RSS feed, which I’ve added into the Pipes page. The more content, the better!