Google Reader Send To

Sharing information on the web just got a whole lot better for me. Google Reader, Google’s RSS reader has just introduced “proper” sharing features. Until recently, you could click the “Share” at the bottom of each article to share it. Yep, share it.

“Share it where?” you might ask. “Share it, why?” you might ask. To be honest I’ve got no answer for either of those questions. I’ve actually got no interest in the answer to each of those questions either. All I know that it felt good to be part of the Social Media pie and contribute by “sharing”.

Things changed today when Google announced what I consider to be some very important changes to Google Reader. They’ve introduced “Send to”, a feature which allows you to share any article in your feed to popular social sites (e.g. facebook, stumbleupon, delicious and, you guessed it, twitter).

I love this introduction for two reasons:

  1. It’s now really easy to let share what you’re finding interesting. Contributing to the social web sphere.
  2. I now know where my sharing efforts will be going. They’ll be going to where the eyeballs are.

I don’t know why it’s taken them this long but hopefully they’ll be able to keep the “Send to” sites up to date with the latest and greatest.

You can enable the “Send to” feature by heading into Google Reader Settings -> Send to and selecting the networks that you want to be able to send your items to. Once this is done you’ll get a new link in the action bar.


For more details, head over to the Google Reader announcement A flurry of features for feed readers.


Business intelligence with Google Reader

google reader happy

The web is a powerful information resource for individuals and businesses alike.  Whether it’s to keep up with the sports results or keeping up with industry news and the activities of the competition.  It’s invaluable but with a with a wealth of information there is the risk of overload.

Have you ever felt like it’s all too much?  That you should just give up and stick with the newspaper?

Well, there is a tool that I think is superb at helping keep on top of the firehose that is information from the web – Google Reader.  Read on to see how you can use it effectively.

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Google Dock Icons

I use a lot of the google tools like gmail, google calendar, google analytics etc etc. When I started using Google Gears so that you could use these web tools offline it started creating shortcuts on my mac that could be put straight into the applications folder and used to start them like normal local applications, including putting them in the dock for easy access. I did a bit of digging around and created similar shortcuts for other services as well and thought it might be useful for other people. I’ve included:

  • Google Mail – email, the greatest time waster of the 21st century.
  • Google Calendar – track where you’re supposed to be right now.
  • Google Docs – online document storage, creation and collaboration.
  • Google Reader – read news (rss) feeds to your hearts content.
  • Google Analytics – get stats about your website.
  • Google Webmaster Tools – understand how google is interacting with your website.
  • Google Adsense – place adverts on your website and get paid by google.
  • Google Adwords – advertise with google.
  • Remember the Milk – a great web based todo list manager.

These currently load safari as the browser. You can download the files here.


Technical bit – not an expert, just enough knowledge to cause havoc

To modify the shortcut, just right click or click while holding the control button on the keyboard and select “Show Package Contents”. You need to change the name in the Info.plist file, change the url in the launch.sh file and change the icon file. You can then make any shortcut you want. You’ll need to do this if you use Google Apps for Your Domain.

I assume you can also change the browser in launch.sh by changing the line ‘/Applications/Safari.app’ to ‘/Applications/Firefox.app’ or any browser of your choice that you have installed. I don’t know if you can just set it to start in the default browser. Does anyone know?

If you want to change the icon, you can replace the icons.icns file. BTW, if you want a tool to create the required icon file in a snap, check out img2icns.


Oh No! Bring that email back!

Have you ever sent an email and immediately wished you could undo it? I just saw this article on the Google Gmail Blog that lets you enable a feature that gives you a few seconds to recover from the unfortunate send-finger-twitch with an undo link.

Anyway, if you’re a gmail user, you should be able to enable it by turning on Undo Send in Gmail labs under settings. Nice one!


Essential WordPress Plugins

WordPress is an amazing tool. It’s probably one of the easiest tools to use when if you want to “blog” or record your thoughts for the anonymous audience that is the web. This simplicity also means that there are certain things that have been left out, however the smart folks over there at Automattic made sure that WordPress can be extended by the community through themes and plugins. Today I wanted to give you the essential WordPress plugins that I’ve found to be the best at covering the most important holes. I’ve recently been getting into blogging a lot more and have found an interest in Internet Marketing so I’ve got a list that I’m now installing on every blog. Sorry for another essential WordPress plugins list but, to be honest, the other lists I’ve found haven’t really suited my needs (I really wanted to write crap here but I showed some restraint) or they were very out of date (as I’m sure this post will be in 6 months time). So here we go:

  • Make your blog search engine friendly (Search Engine Optimised – SEO) – All in One SEO – donate if you like it.
  • Make sure you back up! – WordPress Database Backup – Note that this will only back up what’s in your database, which is just about everything. It will not back up your files or anything else in the wp-content folder where WordPress is installed as far as I’m aware. I’ve also recently found another plugin (WordPress Online Automated Backup) that backs up to an online service in an automated fashion. I’m not sure if this backs up your whole blog either though but it’s much easier in concept as you don’t need to do anything after it’s configured.
  • Check your stats – Google Analytics for WordPress – I’ve recently been learning of the wonders of Google Analytics and the power within. This tool is great for understanding who is visiting and doing what on your site. Massive!
  • Update google when you post – Google XML Sitemaps – This gets the updated information to your greatest friend (and potentially all powerful overseer), Google so that your info is always up to date in search engine land.
  • Let people share your content – AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget – This will add the little button at the end of the post that allows someone to post this link to digg, delicious, facebook etc. Social bookmarking is the term I believe. I love it when all I have to do is install a plugin. I hate coding. It’s a shame that I know the word coding and what it means.

I’ve included the relevant links to each of the plugin locations but I’d strongly recommend you use the new search and installation feature from within WordPress as this makes installation so much easier. These are installed over the default WordPress plugins which I think are also essential. Happy plugin fun!

*** Update 13 April 2009 ***
I’ve found another essential plugins for wordpress:

  • Give people access to your RSS feed… and measure it! Feedburner Feedsmith. This lets you redirect the default feed address of your wordpress blog (http://www.myexampleblog.com/feed to your feedburner location by default so everyone gets the feed from the same place. You get to measure all the goings on with Feedburner this way