Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Announcing the odiogofeeds FriendFeed room

In my life, I've found that I'm usually more of a facilitator than an originator, but occasionally I do come up with some ideas.

One such idea was the lastfmfeeds FriendFeed room, which has been successful beyond my expectations. I set the room up late one afternoon, and already had other participants by the evening. As of this morning, the room contains "recently played tracks" feeds from 30 people, plus a "loved" feed from one person. Hundreds of songs are shared every day, and we're interacting, commenting on the songs, and finding new music.

As you may know, the room was originally created to solve a problem.

[B]ecause FriendFeed allows you to incorporate any RSS feed into your page, I grabbed the Audioscrobbler feed for my recently played tracks and set it up as a "blog" feed....

The drawback was that everyone would have to read them - and if they didn't want to read all of my recently played tracks, they'd have to hide ALL my my blog posts, including posts from this wonderful mrontemp blog. You see, FriendFeed doesn't allow you to selectively hide some user blogs and not hide other blogs from the same user.

Yet even that idea can't really be considered to be original, since it built upon two FriendFeed features created by others - the ability to create rooms, and the ability to add feeds to the rooms themselves.

So, after the success of the lastfmfeeds FriendFeed room, I began wondering if the same concept could be applied to other types of feeds.

That's when I remembered my odiogo account. If you haven't heard of odiogo before, here's their sales pitch:

Your posts where and when your readers choose! Turn your blogs into audio-to-go!

Your readers like your blog posts but may not have time to read them online?
Reach hundreds of millions of iPod, MP3 player and mobile phone owners... anywhere?
Odiogo empowers you to convert your blog posts into high quality audio files....

Odiogo is compatible with all blog engines that publish RSS feeds such as Typepad, Blogger, WordPress or Overblog. Enroll in the service now and we'll let you know when the audible version of your blog is ready. The generated MP3 files are stored on our servers. You don't need to worry about technical integration tasks or bandwidth.

Yes, it's a computer-generated voice, but it's actually a pretty good voice - certainly better than the technology that was available 20 years ago. I've even written a post just for the sole purpose of having odiogo read it. So has Vixy.

I've added odiogo to three of my blogs (yes, I'm the "Empoprises" person too), so that all of the posts from the mrontemp, Empoprise-IE, and Empoprise-NTN blogs are now available as mechanical-voice podcasts. You can click on the "listen now" button on any of my posts to hear them, or you can go to the odiogo page for each blog.

For example, the odiogo page for the mrontemp blog is

And, if you want the feed, the feed for the odiogo page for the mrontemp blog is

Now put two and two together (rooms and room feeds), and you get three. Why? Because FriendFeed added another feature - the ability to listen to audio content directly in FriendFeed.

I created the odiogofeeds FriendFeed room last week, and I've been testing it ever since. If you go to the odiogofeeds FriendFeed room, you will see that you can click the audio control for any of the odiogo items and listen to them directly in your browser. (If you click on the item name instead of the audio control, you will be taken to the text version of the post.)

The only drawback that I've found so far is that the room doesn't work in fftogo. I don't know if this is a limitation of fftogo, a limitation of the FriendFeed API, or a limitation of the mobile platforms (in my case, Windows Mobile 5) upon which fftogo runs.

So the room is there, and if you want to listen to odiogo feeds, listen to them to your heart's content.

Or participate.

Again, I do not add odiogo feeds to the room without your permission. So if you would like your odiogo feed added to the room, leave a message in the room with your odiogo feed name. For example, if your odiogofeed is entitled ihatemannheimsteamroller, then I will add "" as one of the feeds for the room.

I've already identified two people (other than myself and myself) who may (or may not) be interested in joining the room, but if you're also interested, please let me know. I don't expect this to be as big as the lastfmfeeds room, but I think it will be an interesting experiment.

P.S. Yes, this is the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT that I teased a couple of times. Told you it wasn't that big.

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