Read my latest article: 8 things I look for in a Ruby on Rails app (posted Thu, 06 Jul 2017 17:59:00 GMT)

Putting Tumblr to work for you

Posted by Wed, 19 Dec 2007 20:27:00 GMT

I’ve been using Tumblr off and on since early April. I tend to neglect it because I’ve found the interface a bit clumsy. The recent redesign hasn’t improved on the things that I consider obstacles in getting things quickly added to my tumblr. Since the concept behind the tumblr is to quickly share things with people, the interface doesn’t facilitate this workflow as quickly as I think it could.

In any event, I tend to not login to my dashboard very often (few times a week?), which means that I don’t post as often as I’d like.

A few months ago, I finally started to use the Feeds feature in tumblr, which will automatically add things to your tumblr from an RSS feed.

The first feed that I started to use was my Flickr account.

Flickr to Tumblr

This solution for this was to tag photos that I want Tumblr to automatically with ‘to:tumblr’.

Next, you just need to grab the URL for the Flickr RSS feed for photos tagged with to:tumblr.

Next, you’ll want to add this feed to Tumblr.

Voila… in a little while, your photos tagged with to:tumblr will start to show up on your Tumblr. to Tumblr

Links to blog articles, web sites, etc… are things that I generally use for… so doing it once for each was taking too much. So, I’m now using the same tagging formula with to get Tumblr to automatically add links to my Tumblr.

Now, I can use the RSS feed for items tagged with to:tumblr on my account with Tumblr.

Pretty simple. :-)

Google Reader to Tumblr

Another place that I find myself wanting to post to Tumblr is from within Google Reader. Well, it’s actually really easy to do this by taking advantage of the RSS feed that Google Reader provides for your Shared Items.

google reader shared

Just grab the RSS feed from here…

Then add this RSS feed to Tumblr like the examples above.

Putting Tumblr to work for You!

I’m hoping to continue using this pattern with other sites as well. I’d be interested in hearing how other people are using Tumblr to aggregate focused content in an easy to browse way.


It appears that Tumblr currently only allows you to use five feeds to import. Until they upgrade this limit, you can use Yahoo! Pipes to do some of the heavy lifting.

Subscribe to Basecamp RSS Feeds in Google Reader

Posted by Fri, 17 Aug 2007 20:42:00 GMT

Yesterday afternoon, we were helping our newest employee, Paige Saez, get setup with new accounts across all of our applications. She uses Google Reader and couldn’t understand why her Basecamp RSS wasn’t working in it. We explained that Google doesn’t provide any way to subscribe to authenticated feeds (yet)... so it wasn’t something she could do. (I still use NetNewsWire because of this problem…)

During the discussion, I said that it probably wouldn’t take much effort to build a proxy for an authenticated feed… and Andy said he’d give it a shot.

10 minutes later… he had an initial version of a RSS proxy application, written in Ruby.

15 minutes after that, we had it up and running on a private server for all of us at PLANET ARGON to begin using.

...and here is the proof!

Wee! Authenticated Basecamp RSS feeds in Google reader. It even works with the openid authentication.

You can grab the code from Andy’s blog post and finally make the switch off of desktop RSS readers to Google Reader, because you know you want to. ;-)

Thanks Andy!