Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Thing 4 - Current awareness: other tools

As I was tidying my RSS feeds and my Twitter account, it reminded me of a few other tools I have been wanting to start using...

Read It Later

One of the reasons I don't check my feeds as often as I should is not having enough time to read the longer posts which I enjoy. Something I've been meaning to try for a while is Read It Later which Tina recommends. This works with a number of different applications across platforms and browsers so that you can send articles to read later. I've signed up and got the plugins so that I can send things from my browser or directly from Google Reader (I added it to the Send To menu). Read It Later also works with the Twitter and RSS apps I use (Osfoora HD, Twitter for iPhone and iPad, and Byline), so that you can scan items quickly and then you can read the full articles in the Read It Later iPhone or iPad app (which even works offline once you have downloaded the items). I'm impressed so far and hope I manage to integrate it into my routine so I'm not so scared to open Google Reader in future!


I keep seeing some really interesting articles being tweeted about which are from Zite (a personal news app on iPad) so I thought I'd see what it was all about. I've tried a few others of these before (Flipboard, Pulse) and have to be honest, I've not really liked them. But Zite seems to have a nice interface and integrates well with other tools. Now that I've removed my more general feeds from Google Reader, I think Zite could be a good way to browse topics that interest me when I feel like it (the equivalent of reading a newspaper every now and again). I've set up some topics and the app learns what you like by the things you rate as interesting. It's picked up some really good stuff so far, including some library blogs I already subscribe to, but also some education or tech blogs that I probably don't want to subscribe to but have the occasional item of interest to me. Really impressed with it, and love that I can tweet links directly from the app, or send longer articles to Read It Later.

Another tool I've been wanting to use for a while but not got around to setting up is a way to save the links I tweet so that I can find them again in future. I've decided to use which adds them to my Delicious account using any tags in the tweet as Delicious tags. This seems to work well and should mean any links I think are worth tweeting will be saved. I'll see how it goes but if it's saving too many I can set it so that it will only save links if I include a certain tag (which I can define). Really flexible service - I'm impressed so far.


The final tool recommended for thing 4 is Pushnote, which is a way of sharing feedback and notes about websites. When you visit a site with notes or ratings you can see them, and those from your friends will be shown above others. I'd read a few other negative reviews from other #cpd23 blogs but I thought I'd give it a try to see what I thought. Unfortunately, I agree with most people - I just can't see the value of it at the moment. Maybe if it reaches critical mass in future and people actually use it, but for now it's joined the stacks of applications I've tried but stopped using - I very much doubt I'll continue using Pushnote. I did actually set up the account a while ago though I can't remember doing so (I only know because when I tried to register it said I already had an account!); I think that says it all really.

Thing 4 has been really useful for me - I already use most of the tools mentioned, but it was good to dedicate some time to maximising my use of them and organising them into a more effective system. Fingers crossed it will work in practice and I can manage my current awareness far more effectively.

Are there any other tools you would recommend I try? Let me know in the comments if so.


  1. Hi there. Similar to Read It Later (which for some reason I can't access right now to see) but I use Instapaper for saving webpages to read later. I've got it set up on my iPhone for any links from Twitter I read and want to see later. Really handy!

  2. Hi Anneli, thanks for your comment. I did register with Instapaper a while ago, though I have to confess I didn't use it for long. I like the fact that you can get it to sync with Kindle - but in practice I just didn't remember to use it (I may find the same with Read It Later!).