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Author Topic: Keeping track of what you want to know about  (Read 877 times)
IainB
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Slartibartfarst

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« on: May 05, 2012, 12:30:25 AM »

Today I saw ths post on the DCF:
...I missed this thread altogether. As you know, mouser, I have never been able to get a scrolling capture with Screenshot Captor ...and you said you would be working on it. Apparently you have here but I didn't notice it...
...Youi have kept this way, way under the table though I'm not certain why. How the heck do I get scrolling captures now with SSC?

This struck a chord with me, because:
  • I am an information junkie. There are many computer-related and work/life-related subjects that I am interested in and want to gather information on.
  • In some of those subjects, it could be important for me to keep abreast of some information - for example, about new developments for work-related purposes, of for my or my family's health or my children's education.
  • I have therefore long held the objective: of keeping abreast with information regarding changes/improvements in these various subjects.
  • Being a computer hacker since programming on large mainframes used for solving scientific/linear programming, econometric modelling, and research-related data processing problems (e.g., PERT, census analysis, finite element analysis, market research, Ops. Research), I am always interested in, and on the look-out for, computer-assisted tools/techniques to help work towards achieving this objective in more efficient/effective ways.
  • If I didn't apply this to information-gathering, I know from experience that I could risk completely missing some highly relevant/important developments or new connections between events, on subjects/issues in which I am interested.
  • I variously don't have the time and/or am too impatient/lazy/ignorant to go directly to information sources myself, unless I absolutely have to.

So, since a rule of thumb in work-study is that, to make a process more efficient/effective, you should look towards greater automation, I applied that rule to the process of relevant information-gathering, and I put a bit of foundation work into automating things as much as possible.

What I do/did for this objective (and why):
  • I established a basic principle of information-gathering: that I make the information come to me in a relatively structured and easily reviewed manner.
  • I set up Google Reader with folders as "categories" for the types of information I wanted (e.g., Health, Education, Software, Hardware, Management Science), and subscribed to those blogs, discussion forums and news-sources that I came across, slotting them into existing or new Reader folders.
  • I obtained some add-ons for Reader (in Chrome and Firefox) that restructure/simplify it, and provide sophisticated additional filtering methods.
  • I set up Google Alerts to crawl around the Internet and catch news/information topics that I am interested in, and send me an email about it on a weekly basis. If these Alerts provide me with an interesting new blog to read, then I subscribe to the blog in Reader and filter that blog out of the Alert.

Organised this way, Reader becomes a major time-saver and really makes it easy to read only what I want/need rather than everything.
For example, it means that I don't have to go and read the DC Forum posts. They are brought to me, and I can just skim the subject and the first line to see what recent activity there has been (since I last looked) on any old or new discussion threads.
Successive posts in a thread are not displayed - I have the filter set such that it filters OUT all but the opening post and the last post at this point in time. If it interests me then I view it in Reader, and if I am interested in reading more, then I go directly into that post in the thread in the forum (auto log-in). There I can scroll to review the context posts before that post, to get the gist of the new posts so far.
(By the way, once you have read a Reader item, it is marked as read and drops from subsequent viewing. You can mark other items as read en masse if your skimming shows nothing of interest in them, whereupon they also drop from view. Only new items then appear in your view.)

I have used Google Alerts as an interesting proof to double-check that I am not missing stuff in the DC forum through channelling it to Google Reader. It proved OK - Reader works a treat, and if I miss anything it is always because I have skimmed through Reader too carelessly. And if I think I have missed something, I can always do a search through all the Reader items that I have had.
This cannot be improved upon at present - where it is human error. Human errors in a process cannot be eradicated unless you remove the human element.    Wink
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2012, 07:27:23 AM »

That's quite a resume you posted there!

Hmm, lots of neat stuff in that post. I seem to do better with a bit more of a cross between a few "lo-hi tech" tricks and total old school. Up until laziness overtook everything, I was doing well with spreadsheets for family info.

As for DC posts, that blip on the bottom shows the last post of 10 threads, so that tells you if the thread you have been watching has had activity. Then if I am too late and miss it, "recent posts" retrieves it.

As for news, I use a couple of News Aggregators, which in my case are Slashdot and Fark. Then I just check new posts on about 10 other sites.

That's about all the info I can handle!

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barney
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2012, 08:50:44 AM »

Interesting, indeed.  I've been using Reader to track DC for some years, but was unaware of the Chrome/Firefox extensions for filtering.  Seems I need to visit the extensions pages.  Thanks for the tips Thmbsup.

(Edit.  Now, if I can just find a way to keep track of posts I've promised to make  huh undecided tongue.)
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J-Mac
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2012, 02:10:56 PM »

Wow - used my missing of that thread as an example... OOPS!

Anyhoo, I do use the Unread and Recent post links but not religiously. Even so, it might have been there and I just didn't recognize what it was. Happens all the time.   huh Cry

Also, I still use FeedDemon but that might go away soon. I understand that Nick is more than a little disillusioned with Google's recent changes to Reader. Nick had tied FeedDemon to Google Reader by having them sync, but Google anounced that won't be possible anymore. Hasn’t changed yet though it was supposed to by now. Once the Google Reader sync goes away I fear that FeedDemon might also.

Thanks!

Jim
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