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OraNA What’s New Screencast

Check out this screencast about the latest improvements to OraNA.

The most important new feature is the Oracle blogs search. Using Google custom search, I have created a search engine that lets you search all the blogs aggregated by OraNA. By all I mean more than 136 Oracle related blogs plus all the blogs hosted at blogs.oracle.com. Give it a try.

3 Comments | Filed in Oracle | Tags: , , ,


Blogger of the Year 2006

I have been chosen Blogger of the Year by Oracle Magazine in their fifth annual Editors’ Choice Awards, featured in the November – December 2006 issue of the magazine.


All I can say is that I’m honored, not only because I am featured in Oracle magazine as the Blogger of the Year, but also because I am featured on the same page as the Oracle Author of the Year, Jonathan Lewis.

Click for full page
25 Comments | Filed in Oracle | Tags: , , , ,


Oracle OpenWorld News Aggregator

Using Google News Search and Technorati Blog Search in addition to some Google Reader and Feedburner magic, I have put together a web page that aggregates and displays Oracle OpenWorld related blogs and news sources.

So, if you want to stay up-to-date on the latest from Oracle OpenWorld, head on to the Oracle OpenWorld News Aggregator or subscribe to this feed in your favorite feed reader.

On a similar note, you may also want to take a look at OraNA, the largest Oracle blog and news aggregator on the Net.

Comments Off | Filed in Oracle | Tags: ,


Oracle News Aggregator Flooded

If you use OraNA to stay current on the lastest Oracle news and blogs, you may have noticed that the aggregator was flooded by a bunch of past posts from a few Blogger’s blogspot blogs. This is because OraNA is based on Google Reader. Google Reader re-publishes updated feeds, which means that if an item in the feed changes, it will be marked as new. So, I suspect that something has changed on these few blogs marking their feeds as updated. As a result, the posts were picked up by Google Reader (and ultimately, OraNA) as new. Sorry for the inconvenience.

2 Comments | Filed in Oracle | Tags: , ,


Browse 188+ Feeds The Grazr Way

I used Grazr to build the following nifty little widget to display a “live” list of all the blogs and news sources that are aggregated by OraNA.

In addition to its really cool AJAX look and feel, this Grazr OPML viewer/reader has some nice features like:

  • Different viewing options: three pane view, a slider view and a single pane view.
  • Option to open the viewer in a new window.
  • Keyboard controls to let you move around from one level to another.
  • A sharing feature that lets you easily customize your own display and modify the code snippet for placement in many blogging platforms.

But the feature that is also very interesting is the ability to automatically include and view comment feeds for each post (if supported by the blogging software). For example, to see this feature in action, click on “David Aldridge” in the list, then click on the comment feed at the and of each post to read the comments (if they exist of course).

Oh! The wonders of Javascript! Continue reading…

2 Comments | Filed in Oracle, Technology | Tags: ,


The Awaggregator

Tom asks: What sites like digg/reddit/techmeme do you use that you find truly useful and pleasant to use?

If you like digg, reddit and techmeme, you will most likely find the following useful and pleasant to use:

popurls.com:

popurls is the dashboard for the latest web-buzz, a single page that encapsulates up-to-the-minute headlines from the most popular sites on the internet.

originalsignal.com:

The main purpose of the site is to provide a quick glance on what’s happening without using your desktop/web RSS reader. New headlines (since your last cookied visit) come in pretty red, visited ones are grey.

Original Signal currently aggregates the 15 most popular sites in each of the following categories: Web 2.0, Tech, Gadgets, Jobs and Buzz. They even have a Most Popular page, and a very nicely aggregated Digg page.

I like these sites, they give you an instant overview of what’s buzzing on the net right now. It’s even very easy to create one of your own.

Comments Off | Filed in Interesting, Technology | Tags: ,


Google Reader Wins

I have switched my online feed/news reader from Bloglines to Google Reader. Bloglines has always been my favorite, but I wanted to use GReader’s unique features – which you can read all about at the GReader blog.

The GReader’s newest feature allows you to add your reading list (or any label of your choosing) as a module to your Google Personalized Homepage. What’s more cool is that you can add more than one instance of the GReader module and tell them to display different labels, use different sorting orders, etc…

So, in addition to powering OraNA, GReader now powers my Google Personalized Homepage:

My Google Personalized Homepage - Click to enlarge

Speaking of feeds, if you want to share your OPML, or browse the subscription lists of other people, head to share.opml.org. I just uploaded my OPML from GReader, here it is.

Read more about share.opml.org.

2 Comments | Filed in Personal | Tags: ,


OraNA powered by Google and FeedBurner

In this post I will share with you how I transformed OraNA from an aggregator powered by WordPress to a powerful, robust and easy to manage feed aggregator powered by Google Reader and FeedBurner.

I will take you through the three easy steps that I followed to set up OraNA. You can follow the same steps to set up your own aggregator if you wish.

I will also share with you the features that make OraNA unique, like the ability for anyone to contribute feed items, the aggregation of feeds for websites that do not have feeds (like Jonathan Lewis’s web site), and the option to “plug-n-play” the aggregator on any website or blog, with just one line of code.

Here is how I (re)created OraNA:

1 – Set up the feeds in Google Reader:

Recently Google Reader introduced the ability to share labels. Using this feature, you can subscribe to many feeds, label them with a specific label, and then share that label. A shared label has one unique feed URL. subscribing to that one shared label feed is the same as subscribing to every feed with the same label.

So, I subscribed to all the feeds that I wanted to include in OraNA, labeled them “oracle” and then turned on sharing on that label.

2 – Created the OraNA feed in FeedBurner:

Next, using FeedBurner, I burned the feed produced in the first step above. The result was the final OraNA feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/orana. This feed, by itself and when viewed in a browser, looks and acts like a totally functional feed aggregator, however, I wanted to publish the feed’s content on its own customized HTML web page. No problem. FeedBurner has the “BuzzBoost” service that republishes your burned feed’s content as go-anywhere HTML. I activated BuzzBoost. The result was a snippet of JavaScript that I pasted into the OraNA web page.

3 – Added the sources to BlogRolling:

I wanted to display the feeds that OraNA aggregates. To do that, I exported the feeds in Google Reader to an OPML file, then imported the file into BlogRolling. In BlogRolling, I edited the links so that they pointed to the source website instead of the feed. Then I copied and pasted the BlogRolling JavaScript code into the OraNA web page.

That’s it.

Now, when I want to add a new feed to OraNA, all what I need to do is to subscribe to the feed I want to add in Google Reader, label it “oracle” and add it to the blogroll in BlogRolling.

OraNA features:

And to list the sources, add this code:

Happy news reading :)

Important Note: If you are already subscribed to the OraNA feed, make sure you use http://feeds.feedburner.com/orana to continue receiving updates.

6 Comments | Filed in Oracle | Tags: , , , ,


blogs.oracle.com an RSS aggregator

Justin just announced that he rolled out the final piece to blogs.oracle.com – an RSS aggregator. The only change I noticed was the addition of the “RECENT POSTS” side bar. Is this the RSS aggregator? There is no RSS feed for the aggregator, however, Justin said that they were looking into adding it.

Nevertheless, I was hoping to find a feed URL in the HTML source of blogs.oracle.com, so I right-clicked on the page and selected “view page source”. Browsing through the HTML code, I did not find a feed URL, instead, I found this link http://blogs.oracle.com/discuss/msgReader$1 which turned out to be some type of page hit counter. According to this page, as of this writing, there have been 25825 hits since 1/30/2006; 12:50:14 PM.

Going up one level to http://blogs.oracle.com/discuss/ there was a discussion group page. On that page there was one topic with the subject “It Worked!”. This reminded me when blogs.oracle.com was first announced. Clicking on the subject opened the message which contained instructions on how to create new posts and change preferences. It looks like blogs.oracle.com is hosted on a UserLand’s Manila website and weblog publishing system.

I wonder why Oracle did not create their own weblog publishing application. That’s what Macromedia (now Adobe) did. They created their own blog aggregator called the Macromedia XML news aggregator (aka MXNA). MXNA is the best aggregator I have seen so far. I just wish that blogs.oracle.com will someday have the same features as MXNA. Given that Oracle is fairly new to this blogging thing, compared to Macromedia, I still have hope. It certainly is a good start.

3 Comments | Filed in Oracle | Tags: ,


Feed Overload

I’m a heavy user and big fan of Bloglines. I use it as my main and only news reader. In addition to the fact that it is web based – which means I can access it from my home and work computer, after their recent data center move and upgrade, their feed update has been really fast. When I publish a post on this blog, it only takes a few minutes before it appears on Bloglines. You can read why I like Bloglines here. But, this is not what this post is about.

No matter what news reader you use, you may end up with many feeds in your subscription list, 100, 200 feeds, maybe more. The question becomes how to manage this list to make your blog/news reading as effective and less time consuming as possible.

Previously I organized my subscriptions into folders. Each folder corresponded to a “topic” or “category”. For example, I placed Oracle related blogs into an Oracle folder, ColdFusion related blogs, into a ColdFusion folder, and so on. Every “topic” had its own folder.

Last weekend, after reading Top 10 tips for effective blog reading, Productivity Tips For Avid Blog Readers and Controlling RSS Overload…Animal House Style, I decided to change the organization of my feeds and the way I read them. Here is how I set up my folders in Bloglines:

  • Read Now: All the important feeds that I want to read as soon as they are published.
  • My Stuff: Feeds for this blog, OraQA, OraNA and other personal stuff like Bloglines e-mails.
  • Daily: Feeds that can wait till the end of the day to be read.
  • Weekly: Feeds that can wait till the weekend to be read.
  • Probation: Every new subscription goes into this folder for monitoring before I decide to keep it (move it to another folder) or delete it.
  • Radar: All my del.icio.us/tag/ and Technorati search subscriptions, just to keep tab on what’s happening on the Net.

So far, it is working. In other words, I am not wasting time reading useless posts and finding more time reading useful posts.

I’m interested to know what your “RSS/ATOM” subscription/reading habit is. How do you organize your feeds? How often do you check your news reader? Do you have an advice you can share with us to make our RSS/ATOM overload more manageable?


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4 Comments | Filed in Personal, Technology, Tips | Tags: , ,