Here’s an interview with B.L. Ochman, in which she asks me how (roughly speaking) I drink from the Niagra of information in which all online writers stand. Reading it this morning, I see it gives the impression that 1) I have some kind of formal or routinized approach, and 2) that I no longer look at RSS search engines and feed readers. Neither is true.
Much of the time I’m reactive. Such as this morning. A few minutes ago I got up, walked up to the attic where my “office” is, sat down at the laptop, and decided to start by closing some of the too-many tabs that are open in Firefox. I got to the one with B.L.’s interview and decided to post this pointer. Now, being my digressive self, I’m writing something more about it.
The tab was opened in the first place by my feed reader, when I clicked on the feed I’ve had for years of a Technorati keyword search for my name. I look at that feed once every few days or weeks. There are also feeds of searches for Linux, Linux Journal, VRM, tiddlywiki, Berkman, Berkman Center, Bob Frankston, net neutrality, public radio and public media. At the moment. These change, depending on what I’m writing about. The older feeds are from Technorati, and the newer ones are from either s.technorati.com or from Google Blogsearch. Even though I still consider Google Blogsearch inferior to Technorati in the sum of stuff it finds — and even though GB lacks some of the useful stuff Technorati provides, such as the trend graph and the ability to search for tags — it’s simple, has no diaplay advertising to slow it down, and let’s me create an RSS feed in one click. Same with s.technorati.com.
Anyway, I just weeded my reader. I do that every month or two. I also added a Cluetrain search feed, because there seems to have been more commentary going on about Cluetrain these last few months. Perhaps oddly, I don’t think I’ve ever subscribed to a Cluetrain search before.
I also react to email, which is still a torrent, even though nearly all my spam problem has been cleared up by running mail to my Searls.com address through the Gmail laundry. So far this morning I’ve avoided it. Same goes for IM, or IMs. I have three of those: Jabber, AIM and Skype, and dozens of contacts combined. If I fire it up, I’ll be hearing from somebody by one of them in a matter of seconds, so I leave it off more than I used to. Not good, because often there are people (co-workers, family members) who need to get in touch with me right now.
For that, of course, there is still the phone. My not-very-trusty old Treo 700p still serves that purpose, until the Verizon contract runs out this summer and I get something that works on GSM, so I can take it overseas as well. (I also have a GSM mobile I use only overseas, but would rather have one phone than two.) I’ve also lately become appreciative of SMS texting. I call this my “bat phone” mode. Works great except in the subway. Hard to tell somebody downtown that you’re going to be late when there’s no signal.
Anyway, my actual work is mostly proactive. In that mode I use Google so much that I don’t even think about it. I also use Google’s and Yahoo’s image search engines. It’s weird that Google’s seems systematically to exclude Flickr images, while Yahoo’s promotes them. Example, searches for “chilterns” in Google’s and Yahoo’s image search engines. Be nice to combine both somehow.
Anyway, time to go back downstairs, make coffee, have breakfast and otherwise enjoy a mostly-offline Sunday with the family.
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