Addicted to Google Reader

I started using Google Reader about 1 month ago to be a central spot for everything I read online. As a firm believer in RSS feeds for a couple of years, I’d explored Google Reader back when it first was introduced, but didn’t really find it all the useful or powerful.

But now that’s different. Google Reader has matured into a powerful RSS reader, while RSS and XML feeds have become much more prolific. After a bit more exploring this weekend, I’m finding that I don’t need to leave Google Reader to catch up on any of my online reading.

A Few RSS Reader Tips
So, besides subscribing to the normal blog and news feeds that most people are aware of, here are some additional things I’m doing with RSS feeds in Google Reader.

YouTube Videos



Bible Reading

Google News

Yahoo Pipes
I’m not using Pipes yet, but the idea of easily programming applications and feeds via this interface intrigues me. I want to keep my eye on this tool.

Anyone else have any RSS feed tips that help them with managing your daily flow of information?

Trouble Choosing Colors?

A while back Adobe introduced Kuler to help with choosing and sharing color palettes that work well together. While I still haven’t really made much use of this tool, I’m convinced that I should.

Today I ran across a blog entry from a site that takes a similar approach to sharing color palettes, In this blog entry they show the color palettes of a few very famous paintings. These are obviously some nice color combinations that I should try sometime.

  • Have you tried using Kuler or COLOURlovers?
  • Have any favorite color palettes to share?

Is Technology As Innovative As We Think?

In an article in last month’s New Yorker, Steven Shapin writes What Else is New? and points out that a lot of the most effective technology isn’t really all that new or innovative. Effective technology has often proven itself over a matter of years.

Here are a couple of quotes from the article:

The nineteenth-century Scottish essayist Thomas Carlyle didn’t much like the new industrial order, but he did understand the substantive relationship between human beings and their technologies: “Man is a Tool-using Animal. . . . Nowhere do you find him without Tools; without Tools he is nothing, with Tools he is all.”

In “The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History Since 1900” (Oxford; $26), David Edgerton, a well-known British historian of modern military and industrial technology, offers a vigorous assault on this narrative. He thinks that traditional ways of understanding technology, technological change, and the role of technology in our lives, have been severely distorted by what he calls “the innovation-centric account” of technology. The book is a provocative, concise, and elegant exercise in intellectual Protestantism, enthusiastically nailing its iconoclastic theses on the door of the Church of Technological Hype: no one is very good at predicting technological futures; new and old technologies coexist; and technological significance and technological novelty are rarely the same—indeed, a given technology’s grip on our awareness is often in inverse relationship to its significance in our lives. Above all, Edgerton says that we are wrong to associate technology solely with invention, and that we should think of it, rather, as evolving through use. A “history of technology-in-use,” he writes, yields “a radically different picture of technology, and indeed of invention and innovation.”

Another thought process that I’ve been pursuing is how we often view technology as our hope. We often put our hope in technology for solving our current and future problems. Faith in technology can replace faith in God. But, that’s a subject for a future blog post.

Be sure to read this article, then let’s address some questions for further discussion:

  1. What are some of our most effective technologies that are at least 25-50 years old?
  2. Do we sometimes get too hyped about cutting edge technology before it becomes truly effective? What are some recent examples of this?
  3. How do we spot new, effective technology and distinguish it from ineffective hype?

Free Use Image Searches

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to make use of Google to search for images from free image websites for a while. Google Coop has shown some potential, but it doesn’t really support image searches in it’s current state.

But today, I discovered a website devoted to free use image searches:

This looks really simple to use and found a lot of useful images that my recent home-grown searches hadn’t found.

For those interested, here are a couple of Google Coop searches that I’ve been testing, for image and media searching:

And an earlier attempt to hack Google Image Search:

But, for now, seems like a much better tool.

Anyone else know of similar tools for searching for media useful in the church?