Paying for software services

In a recent post on another blog – Thought grazing – I wrote about the belief I had been moving towards that perhaps it was time to consider paying for software services that I’d grown to rely on. This was in the context of Google+ being “sunsetted” and the change in entitlements with Flickr that had encouraged me to move to take a Pro membership. That means that I now am paying for the following services – LastPass, iCloud, Google Drive, Vimeo, Flickr, the Adobe Photography Programme and of course my web hosting. These are all services that are core to my personal IT needs, so if I need them, I shouldn’t mind paying for them.

But now, another set of issues has emerged. Out of nowhere, I can’t remember any notification of forthcoming changes, I found that my Feedly account was not working the way it used to. I couldn’t save articles to Pocket as I’d done before, so my whole web reading and bookmarking strategy was in jeopardy. I had to consider – do I look for a different RSS reader, or do I pay-up to stay with what I’ve relied upon for a number of years – in fact all the years since Google Reader was “sunsetted” – note what a nuisance Google can be with their “free” services! Whilst at it, and to anticipate what might be just a little way down the road, I decided to subscribe to Feedly Pro AND Pocket Premium. Hopefully an increase in subscription income for the two of them will provide some security to two services that I really do rely on!

I think I’m now fully covered because I really don’t see Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Photos becoming subscription services … do you?

Must have a strategy for feeds and updates

Taking the opportunity of an earlier than expected Sunday morning at the keyboard, I started Flock (now upgraded to v.2 – it uses the Firefox v.3.0.4 codebase) and looked at the tabs that opened. What a collection! All of them demand reviewing, reading and some of them even require active updating! It seems I’ve swapped email hell for a different kind of purgatory.

A couple of days ago I stumbled upon and it’s neat way of updating both itself and twitter from Googletalk (or any other Jabber service). I liked that – thanks to @andypiper for his tweet. However it got me to thinking. What do I use all the social networks I subscribe to for, and how best should I integrate or maintain them?

I then recalled another tweet from Rob Scoble (@scobleizer) which advocated the use of Friendfeed over Twitter as being a good place to comment upon micro-blog posts, but also as a postbox for updating other social networks from.

Now I abandoned Facebook quite a while ago, but a lot of people I know – haven’t and I’ve been neglecting Facebook updates because it was such a slog to do so. After all I was already updating my location via Brightkite/MyLoki, my twitterverse, and occasionally was remembering to update LinkedIn (the one I think I DO need to give a bit more attention to). So should I switch back the feed from twitter to update my status?  No – I didn’t like the way that it would display many tweets that were irrelevant. However, thanks to looking at Brian Kelly’s profile on Facebook I could see that Friendfeed, by posting to Wall rather than Update, would create a stream of activity that my Facebook “friends” could see whilst leaving my “status” blank.

What’s more, because Friendfeed’s an aggregator, everything else in my social networking world would appear there too. So, my conclusion … Facebook and Friendfeed are both aggregators for the two main social networks I am part of. They have different purposes and for me serve separate communities – generally related to work and leisure, but at least I can now keep the Facebook friends a bit more updated of what I’m up to – if they’re interested. If they don’t want the bombardment – they can modify their settings, or “de-friend” me; I won’t be offended.

As for a client for updating social networks, I’ve just about settled on TwitterBerry from the BlackBerry, Flock (with twitter/brightkite) from the web, twirhl or TweetDeck from my PC (I do like Adobe Air) and GTalk from IM. I’ve decided NOT to use SMS – nothing I have to say is THAT important that I want to pay extra to say it!