How to make the switch from Google Reader and obtain Twitter feeds
The Google Reader shutdown was arguably the most recent Google drop in favor of Google+. So I tried a few other RSS clients such as feedly, Bloglines and The Old Reader. The oldie was my favorite, but then I figured: why not try the full embrace of social networks?
Yet Google+ isn’t the right medium for news reading… Twitter is not only quicker to read, but also easy enough for most news sources and important people (read: busy people) to be active on it.
If you’ve been an active RSS user, here’s how you can move from RSS to Twitter by setting up Twitter feeds:
- Follow every site or person you can find on Twitter (naturally);
- Become a user of Tweetdeck to be able to filter out patterns of tweets you’re not interested in, cutting down the noise;
- Create a secondary (private) Twitter profile which will only serve the purpose of automatically tweeting new posts of sites that are not on Twitter;
- Push those tweets through twitterfeed or IFTTT to the new Twitter profile (the first option is better because it can find RSS feeds for you even if you just input the domain name).
- Don’t forget to follow your secondary profile or add it to a Twitter list
Here are some public RSS-Twitter feeds you might be interested in:
(The first one already existed; I created the other 3 with twitterfeed.)
According to Google Search trends, the website that is rising the most in popularity this year is ask.fm.
It provides simple profiles / walls where other users can answer questions that you post. The site’s simplicity is drawing the attention of all the youngsters.
However, there is no identity enforcement, so the responses can be sent anonymously. This is having huge consequences: the anonymity in the replies is causing massive bullying, apparently to the point of multiple suicides [see news pieces 1, 2 & 3]. Additionally, their profile content is being indexed and displayed by search engines (where it’s much harder to delete).
It’s a double recipe for disaster!
I could talk about the economic crisis but… today, I’m going to tell the story of a trip that never happened
When I was a kid, my family hadn’t bought a car yet, and we would take the train twice a year to visit the extended family for Christmas and Easter. This is how trains and train stations came to feel like home to me, with their particular rhythm, noise and smell. Recently, in contrast, my experience with flying has been dreadful. So I searched for trains that would allow me to live anywhere in Europe (and visit my family often) without taking any flight.
After a few research and booking ventures, I found that traveling efficiently across three or more European countries is almost impossible. Here is what I found…
International train webpages have annoying redirections:
- For the Lisbon-Madrid night train, cp.pt redirects to renfe.com.
- For the Madrid-Paris night train (called Elipsos), elipsos.com redirects to raileurope-world.com;
- then raileurope-world.com redirects to tgv-europe.com for the very same train!
International train bookings have annoying discrepancies:
- elipsos.com says the return trip between Madrid and Paris would be 122 euros; yet tgv-europe.com (to which I am doubly redirected) provides the same trip for 150 euro!
- renfe.com books the same trip but provides no choice of upper/lower berth (bed) nor a window/aisle option.
- tgv-europe.com provides these options but they don’t actually work…
What happens when I try to book a Paris-Madrid train online?
I select dates, times and seat preferences…then an error message tells me to select a berth preference, though I already chose one. The online booking form is crooked… A website with hundreds of euros per transaction has a critical buying block! As online marketers and business owners would say, tgv-europe.com has a fatal conversion mistake.
I wrote a quick line through their contact form…
…and I got this reply:
Now doesn’t that make me a happy client?
Many travelers nowadays are unhappy with air travel, but they don’t really have a choice. Even Deutsche Bahn, while providing a decent booking system, is making international train rides impossible with their price discrimination — charging ridiculously high prices unless you have a contract for their discount cards.
It’s a classic example of going safe instead of going big: railways could snatch long-distance travelers but they choose to target reliable but cheap local customers. It gets worse if you’re an adult. In that case, chances are that travel is important to you: many times you travel because you really have to. Say, because your clients or family need you. Sorry mate but you will have to stick to the flyin’ sausages.