How It Is – Make it Easy on Yourself (Part two of three)

You’re doing it wrong if it’s too much work.

 

The previous blog provided ten technology sources (re-listed below) reporting daily on a wide range of subjects. These are the well vetted sources having experienced editors and research resources that are often quoted by many others.

 

Ten excellent resources which collect and distill information about technology and business:

 

Ars Technica

CNET

Digital Trends

Liliputing

HubSpot

Mashable

ReadWrite Web

TechCrunch

Techmeme

The Verge

 

These reporting services help you stay current with rapidly changing technology affecting your business. Each delivers daily and often hourly updating and deliver too information to read.

 

Make it easy on yourself

 

These ten were chosen because all provide easy access on all platforms. Let’s begin with one of the longest used easy access services, RSS feeds. RSS feeds take the work out by accessing, organizing and using all of the listed services.

 

RSS Feeds: RSS (stands for really simple syndication) with the ubiquitous icon.  128px-Feed-icon.svg

 

RSS feed add-ons work with all other popular browsers including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera. RSS feeds will eventual be available on the new Microsoft Edge browser too.

 

There are also excellent standalone RSS readers that work without a browser. And there are also dedicated RSS reader apps for Apple and Android mobile devices.  Search on-line or visit their web stores to find and download standalone RSS readers for each of your devices.

 

Once you have RSS readers it is simple to subscribe to any RSS feed. It is easy to add or remove RSS feeds. Over 99% of these feeds are free.

 

RSS feeds are exceptionally easy to use. Feed readers have been around a very long time and have matured. Feed readers organize information by listing stories by headlines along with a short caption and images if the source uses photos.  Clicking a headline or image opens the full story.  If your devise can play audio or video the feed reader can deliver multimedia content as well.

 

Once the story is opened it may be read, heard and played, copied, saved, printed or forwarded. Having these options make RSS feeds very useful in a business environment.

 

RSS feeds have been around a very long time and have lost their original pizzazz because there newer services deliver some of this functionality and installed by default. RSS is losing ground to “new” services installed by default on phones, tablets or computers.  RSS readers are less likely to be installed by default and need to be installed by the user.

 

The reason that RSS is often left out is because phone, tablet and computer sellers like to collaborate with partners and too offer proprietary systems benefiting the partnerships by delivering custom apps and services to encourage people to use their services.

 

When users install their own RSS readers they are not tied to what the hardware maker provides.  Installing an RSS feed reader offers more freedom of choice due to expanded capabilities.  The principal added capability is the ability to use all compatible RSS sources. RSS readers are suited for people that want to be able to do more by adding RSS reader apps from the Apple or Google’s app store or web sites.

 

RSS feed readers work very well in the desktop environment and deliver advantages:

  • Feeds are delivered chronologically which automatically makes a time-line and history
  • Everything reported is easily search-able using key words
  • The ability to search extends to all saved/archived feeds, offering a great resource of historic search-able information
  • Once subscriptions are set up there is nothing more to do, they are automatically saved.
  • The user has total control over when reports are read, saved or deleted
  • The reports and links are easily shared with others

 

For Instance, by subscribing to HubSpot’s RSS feed a complete archive of everything HubSpot has reported, starting with the date of the subscription is automatically saved.  RSS feeds are excellent for people wanting to collect a library of information for reference or future use.

 

Digital Newsletter Subscriptions:  Signing up for digital emailed newsletters is easy. Just provide an email and they start arriving to the inbox usually within a few minute after signing up.

 

Unfortunately because of spam and other hazards it is important to be very careful with newsletters arriving by email. Carefully choose newsletters from respected publishers. Use a separate email for these rather than business email.

 

The listed tech reporting services offer high quality newsletters. You may choose the newsletters you want according to content and many manage the frequency of delivery for some of these.  

 

Notifications:  Notification services (also called push notifications) have been evolving quickly more recently with new and improved capabilities. This is due to the evolution of new platforms among mobile devices with more powerful processors and memory and faster network speeds. There has been much focus on new mobile delivered notifications.  Notifications have become expected and are highly used features of quality smart phones and tablets.

 

Push notifications is a simple idea allowing users to choose specific content to be displayed automatically. They go back to early Internet services that offered home page customization and selected news reports chosen by topic delivered within the platforms browser’s main page.

 

Today’s mobile platforms have greatly expanded the use of notifications using today’s technology and taking advantage of touch screens. There is much competition among an increasing number of services offering notifications. The focus has been to push notifications to mobile devices keeping users informed.

 

The popular social networks and social apps are especially looking for ways to increase user involvement by pushing more content as notifications to increase interaction with their users. Facebook, Linked-In and Twitter are popular for businesses. The listed technology companies all use these social media to share their content.  They have hundreds of thousands of followers. Stories they produce becomes the fodder as shared content and Re-Tweeted among many thousands of others.

 

Today highly popular notification services come by default already installed on mobile devices and newer operating systems. Additional services and apps offering notifications may be installed from the online stores of Apple, Android, Chrome and Windows as well as apps installable directly from vendor’s websites.

 

Dedicated notification apps:

 

There many excellent dedicated notification apps (such as Flipboard and Feedly) that offer ways to subscribe to get information to your desktop, laptop, tablet, phone and smart watch.

 

An issue about using these services is the rapid evolution of each OS and constant changes and updates. Constant change with notification services today mean that users must continuously be adjusting to the changes.

 

If you use multiple platforms including a smart phone, tablet and computers, use the notifications in each device that take best advantage of each platform. This is particularly true how they work on different screen sizes.

 

The popular Feedly and Flipboard deliver magazine like pages which are comfortable to view on tablets and phones with the largest screens.  Reading charts, tables and graphs, which the ten technology reporting services offer is not a good experience on small screens.  These two are available for iPhone, iPads and Android phones and tablets. The are best on screens of 7 inches are larger.

 

Better for phones: Native phone feeds and dedicated RSS phone readers, such as Feedler RSS or Newsify for the iPhone and gReader for Android work well on smaller phones.

 

Better for tablets: “Magazine” format readers such as Flipboard and Feedly for screens of 7 inches or larger are excellent on higher quality tablets.  The caveat is these do not work as well on economy tablets and especially tablets with limited available memory and slow processors.

 

Better for desktops and laptops: This depends on so many factors. There is no simple answer.

 

  • Does the desktop or tablet have a touch screen or keyboard only?
  • Is it a Mac, PC or Chrome Book?
  • What current notification add-ons are available for the user’s preferred browser?
  • The version of Windows is a large factor since so much changed with Windows 10.

 

This means that users must tryout the notification services available which depend on what hardware and operating system they have. Notification services are rapidly evolving too.

 

In summary the quality news and technology sources offer far too much for anyone to read. However keeping up with this information is much easier by using RSS feeds, quality digital subscriptions, and notification apps.

 

Business people have phones tablets and desktops and can take advantage of each of these to get the best use for each screen size.

 

The next topic will review how to take advantage of Curating Social Media and Networking.