A weekend roundup

One of the neat features of the FeedDemon RSS aggregator is how easy it is to manipulate the news and information that you subscribe to.

For example, highlighting items of interest for later attention, such as blogging about them. You can do that manually, copying those items to a news bin, or automatically by setting up watches and search channels that search for keywords in feeds as they arrive (see the concise features list).

That’s been pretty useful this weekend as I’ve found it a breeze to quickly review items I’ve flagged during the past couple of weeks but with no time for doing anything like blogging about them.

Five notables from my lists:

1. Gmail introduces Mail Fetcher. This looks very useful – the ability to channel your email from your other email accounts into your Gmail account. Receving email from one POP3 email account into another is not a new idea, but receiving it into Gmail is. It’s not yet widely available across all Gmail accounts – look in the ‘Accounts’ tab in Settings to see if you have it. (Via TechCrunch)

Speaking of Gmail, I’ve installed the nifty Gmail for mobile devices application on my Nokia N73. It’s actually intended for use in the US and Canada but it works perfectly on my phone which runs S60 3rd edition software on the Symbian OS. Great interface and very quick site and page loading. As Google says, you have no idea how fast email on your phone can be. You can get the app by visiting gmail.com/app with your mobile (not your PC) web browser.

2. Spam gets through after Akismet suffers DNS outage. I noticed this on Friday – hundreds of spam comments and trackbacks getting through the Akismet anti-spam filter and waiting in this blog’s comment moderation queue. Problem quickly solved by Akismet and an updated Akismet plugin for WordPress released. If you run a WordPress blog, this is an essential update for spam protection.

3. Design your own headline animator from FeedBurner. I’ve never used the FeedBurner widget that lets you display a rolling animator of headlines from RSS feeds on your blog or in your email signature. I just didn’t like the look of it. Now, you can design your own animator including adding your own image background. I can see this having great appeal if you have been using the FB standard one and want something a bit more personal-looking. It still doesn’t appeal to me, though.

4. Google map of all UK Members of Parliament. Not only a map, useful though that it, but also a means of giving you a quick look at who your MP is, which political party he/she belongs to and what he/she has been up to recently. As creator Simon Dickson says, it’s also a great example of a creative way to use Ajax and XML and take advantage of a web services API. (Via Stuart Bruce)

5. Petition on freedom of information. In FIR #190 last month, Shel and I talked about the new e-petition service launched by the British government. I’ve just signed my first e-petition in support of a call to the Prime Minister to reject the restrictions on the Freedom of Information Act proposed by the Department of Constitutional Affairs. If you feel strongly about government plans to neuter the Act, sign the petition today. (Via Dennis Howlett)

About Neville Hobson

Entrepreneurial business communicator with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Co-host of the weekly business podcast For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report. Also an occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.