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.

Del.icio.us to Tumblr

Links to blog articles, web sites, etc… are things that I generally use Deli.cio.us for… so doing it once for each was taking too much. So, I’m now using the same tagging formula with Del.icio.us 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 del.icio.us 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.

Update

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.

SkitchCasting was so 2008

Posted by Tue, 18 Dec 2007 03:37:00 GMT

After reading my post on how we’re using Skitch at Planet Argon for adding some life to bug submissions and feedback, Ana Nelson came up with an ingenious idea for taking a collection of Skitch images and creating a slideshow an alternative to screencasts.

In her post, Screencasts are so 2005, Ana walks you through her process of finding a useful slideshow tool for her Skitch slideshow.

I’ll take this a step further and call this… SkitchCasting! ;-)

It’s really great to see that people are finding all sorts of uses for Skitch.

For more information on Skitch, visit http://plasq.com/skitch or read my post, Skitch… my favorite desktop application of 2007?

For more examples on how our team is using Skitch… here are a few recent blog posts by my colleagues where Skitch was used.

Btw, I still have a few invites left. ;-)

Skitch... my favorite desktop application of 2007?

Posted by Tue, 20 Nov 2007 19:04:00 GMT

It just occurred to me that my first Skitch was on July 7th, 2007. 7/7/7. I’ve been meaning to post an article about how Skitch has changed the way our team approaches reporting bugs and communicating ideas visually.

First of all, the Skitch web site advertises it (see video) as a fun tool for playing with photos and sharing stuff with friends/family. While this is true, I think their bigger market could be those of us who work in the web design and development community. It took a less than a week for Skitch to become a tool that I rely on the most during my day to day work and since it keeps surprising me that people aren’t using it and/or haven’t heard about it… I thought that I’d share how we’re using it at Planet Argon.

Introducing “LOLBUGZ”

Our team is currently using Lighthouse for managing bugs/tickets for internal and client projects. If there is one way to slow down bug fixing cycle.. .it’s the ticket submission process. It takes a lot of time and commitment to try and communicate some problems that you’ll find in a web application. This is why screenshots can be so useful to helping speed up the process. Skitch allows us to not only provide a screenshot really quickly, but it gives us the ability to focus our attention with shapes and text, which provides more context when viewing an image.

For example, here are a few real-world Skitches that I’ve used to report some problems.

What happened to this drop down?

This pagination needs some CSS-Love!

Oh no! Tags are getting grouped together…

Styling has gone crazy…

I mastered an unordered list! (hooray!!)

This list isn’t scaling anymore…

Side note: LOL BUGZ was a term coined by Rick Olson at Active Reload to describe the tickets that I post for Lighthouse. ;-)

Trying out 15 during the initial releases for the iPhone… bug report sent via twitter to Erik Kastner.

As you can see, using Skitch helps communicate some very specific things without needing to type a huge description. Of course, we do try our best to add more context with our tickets. For example, here is a real-world example of a ticket that I posted on Lighthouse. As you’ll see, there are a few skitches embedded in the tickets, which works much better than attaching screenshots to tickets.

One of the best features of Skitch is it’s work-flow. Within a few seconds, I can do the following tasks.

  • Take a screenshot of a specific region of my screen
  • Add some arrows and text
  • Click on Webpost, which will upload directly to myskitch.com
  • Click on Share to navigate to the new upload
  • Click on the embed textfield and it uses JS to copy the embed html into my paste buffer
  • Paste the html snippet directly into the ticket that I’m reporting
  • Submit my LOL BUG

Side note: it also allows you to upload to Flickr, a ftp account, etc.

Over the past four months, Skitch has become one of my favorite OS X tools. The interface is lightweight and the workflow is almost perfect (feature request: providing the embed code in my paste buffer without needing to go to myskitch would be A+++)

I’ve also used Jing, which works on Windows and OS X and does video. I’ve not found it to be as intuitive for working in this manner. In fact, the work-flow leaves a lot to be desired. However! It does do video and this has come in handy a few times for showing people some “live” interaction-type bugs that can’t be communicated as easily through text/images.

If you’re not using Skitch yet and are on OS X… I highly recommend that you try it out for a few weeks during a bug fixing sprint. We’ve gotten our clients and almost everybody on the team using it in this fashion. The productivity increases haven’t gone unnoticed.

That’s not to say that it’s not fun for point out things that aren’t related to your project bugs. ;-)

Happy Skitching!

UPDATE

Plasq liked the writeup and gave me 50 extra invites to pass out for Skitch. So, if you’re in need of one… ask me via email. Thanks Plasq team!

OS X Leopard Tip: Skitch on Every Space

Posted by Sat, 27 Oct 2007 03:43:00 GMT

If you’re using Skitch and the new Spaces in OS X Leopard, I would encourage you to set the following up.

This will allow you to use Skitch on any Space without needing to move it around. Took me a few minutes to figure out that I could set it up like this.

As you can see… I’m on Leopard now… only took three tries.

89 gmail invites available!

Posted by Fri, 27 Jul 2007 21:10:00 GMT

While everyone else is trading their pownce and skitch invites, I wanted to let everyone know that I still have 89 gmail invites available.

Post a comment on my blog and I’ll hook you up!

Happy Friday! ;-)

update: only 12 left!