Category Archives: software

Stellar

I’ve been playing around with Jason Kottke’s stellar.io, which is a service for aggregating and sharing favourited items from Twitter, Vimeo, YouTube and Flickr.

You can see other users’ favourited stuff, and hence theoretically see the ‘best’ of the web in one place. The immediate problem I had was I had never really used the favourite feature on any of those sites. I think I had one Tweet favourited. And nothing else. I wasn’t even a member of Vimeo, despite viewing stuff on it.

So I started faving a few items, importing them automatically to Stellar in the process. And I checked out a few other users’ streams. It’s kind of neat. It’s a window into what other people like enough to star, without the associated verbage.

One issue was I wanted to be able to favourite other stuff - blog entries, instapapered articles, tumblr posts, Soundcloud songs, etc. Stellar will no doubt add those things over time.

Why use Stellar? It aggregates other peoples favourites, which you otherwise wouldn’t see. And I guess because it’s transparent - see something you like, quickly favourite it, Stellar has it instantly. But it doesn’t allow for any context setting or sharing of anything other than the big four, and most of the stuff I find I want to share or bookmark is elsewhere. And favouriting on other sites is just not part of my webflow, which kind of breaks the Stellar premise.

Then I realised that this blog was pretty much serving that purpose for me. A bunch of favourited stuff aggregated into one place that anyone can follow via RSS or otherwise.

So I’m back. Still a little uncomfortable about pouring all this ephemera into a 3rd party platform, but the lazy web in me means this is home for now.

Own your data

Marco Arment on owning your data:

For something as important as email, I’ve never trusted everything to a proprietary provider. My email address has never ended in someone else’s domain name, and has never been hosted in any way that would preclude me from easily switching to another provider.

I’ve always been pretty blasé about my mail, and about where my other web content is. But recently I’ve been pondering whether that’s a good thing. My limited amount of tweets are somewhere in Twitter, my email is on Google, and even this blog is in a tumblr black hole.

Twitter in particular is getting attention, as commentators are seeing that all the content they’re creating on that service is increasingly unavailable, especially the older data that is outside the API reach. My own tweets are totally disposable, but the concept applies - how do you get at your content if it’s on a 3rd party?

If any of those services were to up and disappear, so would all my data. Not that it would matter too much, but maybe it’s time to start thinking about owning my own stuff.

9 reasons Amazon should scare GoogApple

Music Machinery on Amazon eating into the GoogApple:

Google has accidentally  built the largest music destination on the Internet, but try to use YouTube to as a place to go and find music and you are faced with the challenge of separating the good music from the many covers, remixes, parodies and just plain crap that seem to fill the channel.  iTunes has gone from a pretty good way to play music to becoming something that I only use to sync new content to my phone. It is bloated, slow and painful to use.  In the ten years that Apple has been king of the digital music hill they’ve done little to help improve the music listening experience. Apple has moved on to video and Apps. Music is just another feature.

Contrast that with what Amazon has done with the Kindle - they’ve made a device that arguably improves the reading experience. They chose eInk over color display, they keep the non-reading features to a minimum, they give a reader great discovery tools like the ability to sample the first few chapters of any book.  I’m hopeful that Amazon will apply their same since of care for books to the world of music.

Option paralysis

Tweetage Wasteland:

These options are everywhere. Amazon just launched a Cloud Drive for storing and streaming music. Please, not another potential way for me to interact with my music. I spend so much time trying to decide where to download, store and stream my music collection that I don’t have any time left to listen to it.