Sunday, January 23, 2011

Managing Your Social Presence

There are so many different social sites to share information (blogs, facebook, twitter, buzz, etc.), but it's really a pain to update them all with things you think others may care about.  There are also different audiences that may care about different types of information.  I've personally settled on three information channels - blog, twitter, and facebook:

  1. My facebook friends are mainly people I went to school with and likely don't care much about software, cell phones, techie articles, etc.  I don't post often to facebook, but when I do it's something pretty casual and more personal.
  2. Twitter on the other hand has become one of my primary news sources.  It's also where I interact with people I usually don't know and I post more technical topics or just things I find interesting.  Also, it's a great avenue to post my little 140 character comment or reaffirm something someone has posted (the infamous retweet).
  3. Lastly, my blog is more of an information capturing mechanism where I write about what's on my mind so I can go back later and remember what I found/did.  It's basically the "dumping ground" for something interesting I've found and think others may care to read.  It takes more thought and time to post on the blog so it's usually something that's left an impression or I think could be helpful.
Now the question is how to manage the different sources.  Currently (no doubt this could change anytime), my approach is this:
  1. Use TweetDeck on Android to post to twitter, facebook, or both when applicable.  It's as easy as selecting one or both in the app.
  2. I subscribe to RSS feeds using Google Reader.  This is where I get a lot of funny and techie/cell phone related information.  When I find an article I like, I simply click "share".
  3. I use Google's Blogspot for my blog which has widgets to automatically show my shared content from Google Reader and my tweets.  I add those widgets to my blog and never really think about it again.
To tie everything together I use Twitterfeed.  It monitors the RSS feed of my Google Reader shared items and posts them to twitter.  It also monitors my blog and posts that to twitter.  If you like, Twitterfeed can post to the same (or a subset) to facebook.  I'm not very active on facebook and since those folks probably don't care so much about the latest cell phone update, I personally haven't hooked facebook into Twitterfeed but it's easy to do.

I know it sounds a little confusing, but in reality it's not that complicated.  I use a couple of main information sources and can easily share across one or all of the main social sites without even thinking about it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Processing Credit Cards on Android with Square

I downloaded the Square app from the Android market (free).  The cool thing about this app is it allows you to process credit card transactions on your Android phone (iPhone and iPad versions available too). The even cooler part... when you login to the site on a PC and fill out all the information, they send a free "square" that plugs into the phone's headphone jack and reads the magnetic strip on a swiped credit card!
The square app has email receipts with the transaction location and map on the receipt along with an optional picture of your choosing. Rates are on a per transaction basis and reasonable especially since there are no fees for hardware, software, separate merchant account, etc.
My "square" is on the way and will hopefully be here in a few days. I'll post an update when I've tried it out.

UPDATE:  The Square came in the mail in just a few days.  It fits very nicely in the headphone jack and works great.  I also associated my checking account online.  They made two small deposits and one withdrawal (the sum of the two deposits).  I entered those in my account setup to validate the associated checking account and now I'm free to process credit cards and receive the money in my bank account.  I can see this coming in handy for people in service industries (e.g. onsite computer support, wrecker drivers, etc.) or, more likely for me, at a yard sale when the interested buyer just doesn't have enough cash to buy that old couch.  Great idea by the Square Inc. guys and I hope to you use it more soon.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tweetdeck for Android

I had downloaded TweetDeck from the Android market once before but didn't keep it.  To be completely honest, I'm not sure why I uninstalled.  I saw a new post the other day about a recent update and decided to give it another shot.  Also, there is a Chrome app that I downloaded.  Since TweetDeck can check twitter and Facebook, I got rid of my current Tweetcaster and Facebook widgets on my Android phone and switched over to the single TweetDeck widget.  Now the experiment begins to see if one widget updating runs the battery down as much as the two widgets updating separately.  It took me a while to get the whole "column" concept in TweetDeck, but I'm starting to like it.  For example, it allows one to search for something on twitter and make that a column which will also update on an interval.  That's not to mention the whole combined list of showing everything from twitter, Facebook, Buzz, and Foursquare together with different color-coded backgrounds for the particular message source.  The widget needs work.  Would be great to have a full-screen widget that scrolls the column without having to go into the actual application.

I did have some problems with the Chrome app though.  I thought (right or wrong) that logging in to TweetDeck and creating "columns" would also show up the same way on my mobile phone.  Maybe it will but I  haven't played enough with it.  Also, it appears the Chrome app doesn't save the changes across logins. I'm sure this is a bug or something since that's got to be the intent for the single, separate login with TweetDeck.

I'm going to play more and I'll post what I ultimately decide.  Right now I'm more than moderately impressed.

UPDATE:  Really liking the Android version of TweetDeck.  Again, not sure about the Chrome browser app nor the synchronize option in the Android app, but very nice on the battery, eliminates the need for multiple apps, LOVE the column feature for searches/etc.  However, I did hear that Tweetcaster is releasing an update in the next day or so.  I'll definitely have to check that out, but TweetDeck has an upper hand by nicely combining multiple social sites.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My New Roku

I purchased a Roku XD for my bedroom and am loving it!  In addition to the large selection of channels in the Roku Channel Store there are lots of private channels out there that I can add (here's just one Roku channel list I found... there are many others).  So far it looks great and the network setup was very simple.  I received a $20 coupon from Amazon which made my Roku XD only $59.99.

One thing I'm really interested in taking a look at is Roksbox which is supposed to give me the ability to play my own movies, videos, music, pictures, etc.  I also signed up for the developer site, but have not explored the Roku SDK yet.