Further thoughts on workflow

Further to the post on my mostly-mobile digital workflow a couple of weeks ago. It’s had a little while to shake down, and I’ve come up with two real problems so far:

First, the exercise of replying to comments is tricky on mobile. Quite apart from the typing-on-my-phone issue is the problem that I can’t see the comment I’m replying to as I reply to it. This leads to me saying to myself, “I’ll answer that when I’m next at my laptop”, and then forgetting. Apologies to anyone who’s had belated or entirely absent replies lately. I think a semi-fix for this might simply to be to open the “reply” in a separate window from the comment I’m reading (in WordPress, I could have a reading copy open in Safari while replying via the WordPress app). It’s a bit fiddly though. Other suggestions welcome.

(As an aside, this seems like a must-have feature for blogging platforms that have mobile apps. Why doesn’t WordPress have this? Anyway, consider it noted as a desired feature for any future Dreamwidth mobile app development.)

Secondly, I am missing an RSS reader. I switched from Google Reader to NewsBlur last year around the time of the kerfuffle that I won’t bother linking to, but I have one fundamental problem with NewsBlur on mobile: there’s no star/favourite/etc option on the mobile client, and I use that (or used to use it) heavily for “interesting, come back and deal with it later” articles: often recipes or knitting patterns from my various food and craft blogs that I want to do something with later, but don’t really want to go through the steps of bookmarking right now. That may sound incredibly lazy — how hard is it to bookmark something on the spot? — but opening a link to the article on its blog site, then clicking through to Pinboard, then zooming in and entering tags and all that, then saving, is a pretty heavy multi-step process for something non-urgent. I used to like just starring them all and then one night when I was in the mood for looking at recipes and knitting patterns, going through and dealing with them all as a batch.

The upshot of this, anyway, is that I’m not really using NewsBlur as much as I could be, and I wind up missing lots of posts by people I’d like to read. Or rather, I sometimes eventually see them, but usually after the comments have peaked and died, and so it’s more of an archival reading exercise than a live one. (See, eg., Charlie Stross’s meta post on comments, which — ironically yet predictably — I didn’t see til it had about 250 comments, after someone I follow on Twitter linked it.

I would actually like to see those things more or less as they’re posted. For those bloggers who automatically post on Twitter when they have a new post, I can do that. For those that don’t… *sigh*. I’m actually pondering setting up an RSS reader via Twitter, since that’s something I check nearly constantly. I could create an account for the purpose, and a set of RSS-to-Twitter ifttt recipes. Has anyone done something similar? The obvious pitfall I can see looming is that I’m not sure ifttt supports multiple Twitter accounts, so I might need a separate ifttt account as well. Ugh. Thoughts?

A final alternative: I’ve been using Flipboard a bit for random browsing, but could quite happily upgrade it to a more serious role in my workflow. It supports RSS but only via Google Reader. Don’t suppose anyone knows of a way to get RSS on Flipboard without Google?


4 thoughts on “Further thoughts on workflow

  • anatsuno

    Just a quick suggestion bc I’m running out the door: what about bookmarking-for-later without spending the time/effort to tag, then settling into a routine of daily/weekly/whenever-there’s-downtime reviewing those untagged bookmarks that you’ve clicked-on-the-go to peruse in the lulls? I ask bc that’s what I do. :))

  • fluffy

    I’ve been using FeedOnFeeds for years (aside from a detour to Google Reader, which ended at about the same time as yours, go figure). It’s got a lot of rough edges and the UI never got finished (and there was a forked project, fof-redux which was supposed to pick up where it left off but it stalled in an even more broken state than the original) but it does everything I need, and it has pretty decent mobile support, in that its UI is minimal enough that it works on mobile devices anyway.

  • Skud Post author

    Anatsuno: just tried that, and it takes 11 clicks, one pinch-to-zoom, and three pauses to wait for pages to load. Not really smooth enough :-/ (the biggest problem is that Newsblur’s “view original” opens it in a cut-down browser which hides its “open in safari” another couple of clicks away.)

  • Skud Post author

    Fluffy: someone on twitter recommended tt-rss which seems to do the same thing. I’m not thrilled about the idea of maintaining yet another piece of phpware on my server but if I did, I’d probably prefer the one that’s more actively maintained.

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