Tag Archives: google reader

Flipboard – iPhone App of the Week

Flipboard – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

This week’s App is Flipboard.

Named Apple’s iPad App of the year and one of TIME’s Top 50 Innovations, Flipboard creates a personalized magazine out of everything being shared with you, from Instagram photos and Facebook updates to Tumblr posts and articles from your favorite publications. Fill Flipboard with the things you like to read, from the smallest blogs to publications like Rolling Stone or Vanity Fair, and use Instapaper or Read It Later to save articles to read later. Connect Flipboard to all your social networks, and you’ll have a single place to enjoy, browse, comment on and share all the news, photos and updates that matter to you.

New to Flipboard on iPhone is Cover Stories, a selection of interesting articles and photos being shared with you right now. And it gets smarter every time you use it.

I really do like Flipboard for the iPad, it was in my list of top ten web tools of 2011. I was pleased to hear that it was also available for the iPhone. I did wonder how it would work on the smaller screen and if it would have the same usability as the excellent iPad app.

Once Flipboard had intergreated Google Reader into the app, it was at this point (along with Twitter and Facebook integration) that the app turned from an interesting diversion to a useful tool that allowed me to keep on top of the news and social stream of information without becoming overloaded. Flipping between pages of content felt very natural and magazine like.

So I was intrigued if Flipboard could make the transition to the iPhone, they had certainly taken their time, Flipboard was Apple’s App of the Year in 2010, so well over a year in the making.

One useful addition to Flipboard has been user accounts, this allows you to sign in and all your “feeds” are then there ready to go. This is very useful if you as I do have multiple iOS devices. So there I was with the Flipboard iPhone App, I signed into my Flipboard account and it found all my feeds.

The interface, though nowhere as near as nice as the iPad version, does work well on the smaller iPhone screen. I think Flipboard know that their large screen interface wouldn’t have worked on the small screen and as a result are trying something different. I quite like it and I found it easy to move between links and stories.

I even think it is quite usable as a casual Twitter client, remember that it doesn’t get all of your Twitter stream. Having said that you can of course drill down with Flipboard from a larger stream to a smaller one.

Overall I am pleased with the new Flipboard for the iPhone and if you like to browse your RSS feeds, Google Reader, Twitter and Facebook, then do have a look at Flipboard.

Get Flipboard in the iTunes App Store.

Flipboard – iPad App of the Week

Flipboard – iPad App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Originally this feature focused on iPhone and iPad apps, however I have now expanded to include Mac, Windows and Android apps.

Named Apple’s iPad App of the Year and one of TIME’s top 50 innovations of 2010, Flipboard is a fast, beautiful way to flip through the news, photos and updates your friends are sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader and Flickr. See your social media in a magazine layout that is easy to scan and fun to read. Share articles and photos, comment on posts, and like or favorite anything. Customize your Flipboard with sections created from your favorite people, lists, groups and blogs on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Google Reader.

Your Flipboard is everything you care about in one place. It’s your magazine. It’s your Flipboard.

This week’s App is Flipboard.


When Flipboard was first released it was hailed as the app the iPad was made for.

Robert Scoble said:

What is Flipboard? It turns your Facebook and Twitter account into something that looks like a magazine. It also lets you build a custom magazine, either by choosing from Flipboard’s pre-built curated “boards” or by importing Twitter lists. This is a very powerful and engaging way to read Twitter. You can also turn a single person’s Twitter account, or a single brand’s Twitter account, into a Flipboard. For instance, you can follow Techcrunch on Twitter with it and it will turn Techcrunch into a beautiful magazine-like interface that’s easier to read than any other reader.

Even Apple liked it a lot and called it their iPad App of the Year 2010.

Now to be honest I did quite like it, but certainly didn’t think it was that “fantastic”. It did what it did very nicely, however it couldn’t be configured to suit my specific needs. It had little support for RSS or Google Reader, so though it was worth flicking through now and again, other RSS readers seemed more useful.

The most recent update though added some new features which now make what was a good App into a really useful more innovative App.

Flipboard now syncs with Google Reader, making it much more useful if you subscribe to various different news sites and blogs.

It is now easier to view Flickr.

You can strip down what you see from your Twitter or Facebook streams.

It is now much easier to share across different networks what you are seeing on Flipboard.

Oh it seems a little faster too…

So basically the app is a different way of engaging and interacting with other sites and services. It does it in a way that is easy, simple and intuitive for most people.

It does seem a little weird that an app which emluates the page turning of a mgazine or newspaper is such a popular app for the iPad. Maybe we are all a little analogue in our own way and appreciate the ability to flip over pages….

Get Flipboard in the App Store.

But I have to read everything…

Using tools like Google Reader or Twitter it can become pretty compulsive to read everything. If you use iTunes and subscribe to lots of podcasts you can feel you need to listen to them all.

The more RSS feeds you subscribe to, or the more people you follow on Twitter, the larger the number of those unread messages becomes… Likewise with a lot of podcast subscriptions you can find the number of podcasts you have not listened to growing…

Then after a while you feel you are not coping or those unread feeds and Tweets are always there…


The number also gets larger… and larger…

You start to set yourself targets, you will read all your feeds by Sunday night! You will catch up with Twitter over dinner!

You go away to a conference or on holiday and when you get back the list is even bigger!

Eventually it will reach the point that you have to give up. Then you mark all as read and start again down this downward spiral.

Is this a wise course of action?

Of course no it isn’t.

The key in my opinion dealing with tools like Twitter and Google Reader is to rethink them as streams of information rather than as an email inbox.

In the same way that you don’t watch every TV channel or even watch ALL of your favourite TV channel.

Or reading the weekend paper, you don’t attempt to read every article in every section. Likewise if you didn’t read the paper yesterday, do you read it before you read today’s paper?

Or continually listening to Radio 4 all day long… well I know some people who do that, but you know what I mean!

It doesn’t matter that you don’t read every Tweet posted. It won’t be the end of the world if you don’t manage to catch every article in your newsfeed. So what if you miss a podcast?

What is the worse that could happen?

Well yes something bad could happen, but not very likely! But every day because you didn’t read all the Tweets in your Twitter stream, something bad would happen, no I don’t think so.

To be honest nothing bad is going to happen.

So what if you miss an exciting blog post on a subject you care about?

Does it really matter that you missed out on an interesting conversation on Twitter about PLEs?

The thing is you miss stuff all the time outside RSS and Twitter. More often than not, the good stuff resurfaces again and again (well it certainly does on services like Digg).

You need to treat Google Reader, Twitter and iTunes all in the same way. When you have time dip into the Twitter stream. Allocate time during the day To peruse your aggregated feeds in your newsreader. Listen to the most recent podcast, not the one from three weeks ago.

This is a much easier way to manage the huge amount of information that comes into our lives. Yes you will miss stuff, but the stuff you don’t will not be rushed, it will be perused with care and attention not just glanced over because you need to ensure that all your articles in the RSS feed are read.

It’s never about all the stuff it’s about the right stuff.

Now should we talk about e-mail?