Capture The Conversation


Google Reader on the iPhone! Review

Room 214, November 15, 2007

Ever since I got my iPhone one app that was dearly missed was the Google Reader mobile.

Well, the wait is finally over and just a few days ago Google Reader Blog posted the update that they have rolled out some sweet iPhone related and mobile version updates.

The reader works great, its nice and fast, no clutter and everything you need for basic reading is there.

You can easily share or star an item you just read, go to the next unread item or look through your tags and feeds.

Often times I read and tag blog posts a certain criteria,for example if its something I want to blog about or leave a comment on the author’s blog. I like to do those things like an assembly line, first I read all the items that are new or interesting and that’s what really takes up most of the time. Next step is to ether write a blog post as a response or to comment on original author’s blog linking back to the article I already blogged about. Since most of the reading I do during down times, sometimes being away from the computer, having Reader on my iPhone is a godsend to productivity. This point brings me to the shortcomings of the app.

The feature to tag posts is missing! I can, of course star an item and come back to it later to figure out why I stared it, but removing that step would be greatly appreciated. Another thing that’s blatantly missing is auto-reading the item when you click on the it. I have it set that way on desktop, why isn’t it working on my phone? To add the salt on my wounds, when you click “mark item as read” it reloads the whole page, images and all! Ugh, don’t add to the hate of the EDGE network speed. The least you guys can do is to send me to the next new item, as that would actually make sense. Last thing that I do not like, and this is purely aesthetic, is howgReader handles unread items in the list view. It would be great to follow the general iPhone look and feel and just add a small dot next to new items, andhighlight the number of new items a bit better than they are now. You can see in the gallery at the end of this post at how they are all the way to the left border of the screen, hardly visible…Whats wrong with them being right next to the item in nice,pleasant iPhone familiar red?

My final verdict is that while its totally awesome that the Google Reader mobile is finally starting to take shape for the iPhone there is still a ton of room for improvement. Keep chugging away Reader team, you got a lot of work to do, still.

For those wondering how gReader looks on the iPhone here is a quick gallery!


P.S Where the hell are my authenticated feeds?

DailyMe – Online News and Subject Tracking – Lacking RSS Delivery

James Clark, November 2, 2007

Today I got the invite to start testing the DailyMe service.

I love the idea of having a single-source provider of quality content filtering for news topics I’m interested in. All the content they provided is fully licensed so you can have access to full length articles with no redirects. Very nice.

DailyMe works by choosing a combination of Categories, Sources, Member Picks, DailyMe Picks (content chosen by the DailyMe editorial staff) and Keywords. I like the editorial staff concept, it gives me the warm fuzzies that a human is participating in the process.

The Content selection process is very easy by simply searching on keywords or choosing from a preview screen on categories:


In the case of the above screenshot I’m tracking content relating to “personal finance”, so I’m building a resource group to update me on that subject matter.

As part of the Content selection you can choose Member’s picks, which is a feature I like and don’t like. Hey Guy Kawasaki is in there:


For Delivery you can choose reviewing it online or receiving it via print or email. The cool thing is that you can select delivery days and times too:


It’s a disappointment that DailyMe does not offer an RSS delivery option like EPISODr, which can deliver moderated media feeds based on the same selection criteria (day, times, etc.).

Other than the lack of RSS delivery, I’m hopeful of the DailyMe service. I’ll keep you posted on how it all plays out and if I can actually pay attention to the content in email format.

iPhone – Argh – I love it

James Clark, July 19, 2007

Kris wanted me to do a blog about standardizing agent strings. Besides having no clue what he’s talking about, I’ve decided to do a post about the iPhone. Why not, everyone else is.

Yes, we got a couple. I was one of the two lucky recipients here at Room 214. The experience has been amazing, but not a smooth road.

The set up was simple and brilliant through iTunes. The phone, mail, web browsing and iPod funtions are amazing.

But there are bugs. Kris’ iPhone kept freezing up while moving from application to application and inputting data.  I was laughing at him, bragging that he got a bum phone, then I got bit. My phone simply shut down and did not come back on. Add to that the new version of iTunes wipped out all my settings, and I was getting a little on weepy side.

The two of us went into the Apple store in Boulder seeking counseling for our depression and to get our phones working again.

The store experience was awesome. They took my phone and fixed it, and tested Kris’ phone and gave him a new replacement.

Beyond the coolness of the phone, we got these to begin testing application development. The race is on for cool iPhone applications.

This phone will most certainly change the way we look at mobile communications. it’s changed mine already.

I Know it’s Free, but…

Ingrid Getzan, June 27, 2007

What’s this world coming to? I’ll tell you – Moguls who are indifferent to keeping up with web standards. In this post, I’m talking about PayPal.

I was rather surprised to learn after I implemented the free shopping cart service for a client, that PayPal’s ‘continue shopping’ button leaves customers high and dry. Let me explain: when a customer clicks ‘add to cart’ the PayPal shopping cart pops up with the item in tow and gives one the option to ‘continue shopping’ or ‘proceed’ to checkout. Guess what – they just have to ‘proceed to checkout’ or close their browser window. Not such a great option in the ecommerce world. Isn’t PayPal an eBay company, which owns other great services like Skype and I can only imagine that someone over there knows a little bit of JavaScript.

I decided to get to the bottom of this and call PayPal myself and figure out why I couldn’t simply click a button to get back to the page I was shopping on. The answer was this: “Oh, are you using a newer browser like Mozilla Firefox orInternet Explorer 7?” I replied, “yep”, in which the customer service agent responded “yeah, we’re hoping to have that working within the next year, for now it just doesn’t work.”

HUH? Just doesn’t work – in the next year?? By then, won’t we be surfing around on something bigger and better? I mean, I know it’s free, but…come on, PayPal a multi-million dollar company that owns the online payment solutions world. Try and keep up!

Google 2.0

Room 214, May 17, 2007

Earlier today Google unraveled quite a few features on a webcast which had over 500 viewers from all over the world. They are really taking a step towards having one unified search which is great for everyone. Their idea of having Google front page being able to give you results for video, images, news, maps, books and others from one search box is certainly a step in the right direction. Eliminating vertical search brings the user closer to their goal, the information.

Having one search taking care of ranking the relevance of 6 different search engines will certainly lower the rankings and SERPs for most websites and SEO won’t be targeting just plain vanilla search, but taking into account video, Google local, images and most certainly news sections of Google. How cool is it to get aBill Gates Pie video to be a top result for “Bill Gates” query?

A few other features rolled out today:

  • New Navigation: Gone the bar right above the search box, it is moved to the top and dubbed “new universal navigation bar” which displays links to relevant Google apps depending on which property you are now.
  • Google Experimental: If you ever had a feeling like you aren’t part of the google proccess and they are in the blind, you can now help them test new things out. Right now you can give them feedback on a new “Time Line” search, using keyboard shortcuts while you search and Left or Right navigation bar instead of the brand new top navigation bar. Try it here.
  • Cross Language Information Retrieval (CLIR): Not yet implemented, but as an effort to globalize and unifiy all information regadless of the language its written it, google has showcased what their systems are capable of, and its pretty damn impressive.

Conde Nast’s gets an A+

James Clark, April 16, 2007

The not so distant and grown up cousin of the Wired web 2.0 site, made it’s debut recently and I thought it deserved a blurb.

Deserving of such because I am sure it will faire better it’s print version, which may cause the site’s own demise. I speak from experience. I too tried to launch a print based operation that had a killer website as a companion. Today, neither of them exists. The print version never got off the ground and the website slid into oblivion a few months later. could find some success on it’s own since it has the backing of a major publishing house but the staff to keep it fresh and relevant. I have a tough time seeing the the print edition having anything that cannot be offered online. How will they print some of those cool Flash movies they developed? The ones like today that are their top emailed posts. gets 2.0’ed

James Clark, March 23, 2007

I know, enough with the 2.0 moniker, but it is fitting for the new face on the website . . . open, trendy, clean and slapped with a “beta” label. It doesn’t get more 2.0 than that. Now where are the widgets and social networking capabilities? Just teasing, I play in this space too.

The “beta” appears to be in reference to some broken story links and individual article page layouts. With about 4 varieties in the mix my vote is to keep the style for this article and ditch the page jump to read the rest of an article.

I’m not sure how long the new site has been up. It’s been a long time since I last visited the site thanks to their Wired top story RSS feed. And since the feed is a partial content feed, a sentence or two teaser, I only occassionally follow the story link to the site to read an entire article. Sometimes, two sentences can sum it up pretty well, a full feed would be better. But I guess I wouldn’t be writing this if I had the whole story in the feed. Hmmm . . .

Either way, Kudos to CondéNet for ditching the mullet in favor of a buzz cut.

Not So Joost

James Clark, March 5, 2007

I’m on a plane to Denver and two-thirds of the way through the February issue of Wired Magazine and find the article about Joost, “Here Comes Trouble“. And by the end of it all I wanted was to test this thing out.

Last week I got my chance.

I found myself underwhelmed. Though, the full screen thing did get my attention. As well as the “now you see it now you don’t” interface ala PC DVD software.

Now maybe I wasn’t giving the article my undivided attention but I did recall that someone like an advertising director said:

“The key in the past was volume and frequency,” says Clark. “Now it’s going to be quality.”

Personally, this beta has turned into one of those things like your friend telling you about the best movie they have ever seen. And by the time you go to see it, milk duds in hand, you realize that your friend must have mixed up his vitamins with grandma’s meds.

It isn’t quite that bad but it surely isn’t what I expected for a company that is trying to produce “DVD-quality” video for distribution. It might be starting out that way on their servers but by the time it reaches this end of the pipe and gets compiled from all the other users it looks like a medium grade FLV.

But of course kudos where kudos are due and a reality check on my end, this is only a beta. And, the gumption to devleop such a large media distribution platform in an of itself makes Joost admirable on so many levels.

Jeremiah’s blog is his book, don’t you see?

James Clark, January 26, 2007

I have been quite smitten of late, well, since CES 2007, with blogger and social media strategist Jeremiah Owyong’s nerdery. If he were a pirate I would have replaced “nerdery” with “skulduggery”. He’s smart, affable and concise. He is someone that you should be listening to.

I found him through a PodTech podcast, “How to Implement a Corporate Social Media Strategy“. With a title like thatI was expecting a so so, “You should be creating social spaces, wiki-fi your company and watch your employees bust out of silos,” snake oil pitch. But instead, Jeremiah shared his past real world corporate experience with moving a social media agenda forward sans sale pitch.

What has been even more interesting in watching his blog is the that it appears as though he is writing a book through his blog. It has been done before but this is really great stuff. It is a timely, disciplined approach to teaching the rest of the world how to develop a social media strategy for the enterprise and implement it without a need for binding or killing your grandmother’s Willow.

You would be hard pressed to get advice this good from a consultant that you’re paying enough money to get a new Bimmer lease every year.

Recommendation: Read all of it and subscribe.