News Aggregator not News Agitator

Just inserting a thought I had this morning while looking over some news on my phone.  On a personal note I like a variety of news and prefer it to not be too one sided or the other or sensationalist.  That makes things slim to none right?

Here is where a news aggregator comes in handy and and saves the day.  Your typical news sites such as MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, and the others all have an agenda (shocked I know) and a “here is what we are serving up appeal to them.  For folks like me who really just want news and a variety of it in a collection like news aggregators.  The aggregators can collect news stories that are trending or based on personal selections and bring them into a central location for fast headline browsing and deep dives if the story is interesting.

The opposite is the new agitator.  Fox, CNBC, MSNBC, and CNN are agitators in that with an agenda and trend on stirring the pot and amping the nerves and brains of the audience, the news is served up with a purpose.  And it is not to be fair and balanced (you believe that one heh?)

My favorite news aggregators are the following:

  • Mashable – I have always liked this fun and good looking news-a-palozza site.  It does gear toward techy geeky nerdy trendy folks.  Like me!
  • Google News – This is my home page in Mozilla.  Google does a nice job with the aggregation and it is very clean and wickedly easy to dive in and drill down.
  • Flipboard – This is more of an app than just an aggregator but it allows you to pick content specific to your likes.  I can get lost in here.  And it is one of the best user interfaces on Windows 8, Apple, and Android devices.  One of my favorites.
  • News Bento – This is fun Windows 8 store app that allows you to build content based on choices that the app is tied into.  Great to use on a Windows 8 tablet.
  • Stitcher Radio – Another phone app but you can select content and news that plays one right after another and is a mixture of streaming audio and podcast excerpts.

And there are more, many more.  Buzzfeed, Reddit, The Daily Beast, and etc…

Search up a few in Google and maybe download a new app or two and explore the world through aggregation, and ditch the aggravation.



Windows 8: It’s time to love that ugly duckling (in a Speedo)

In my line of work, I hear a lot of complaints.  If people have nothing better to do, they will complain about something.  Recently with the release of Windows 8 from Microsoft, the throng of complaints and ovations of “I want Windows 7 back” have been ringing loud and clear from the computing villagers.  What is funny is that many of the pitchfork and torch crowd are the ones cried the same song when Windows 7 came out.  Give me XP or give me death.

As the Occasional Guru, I have been long overdue addressing the village people on Windows 8, but please don’t lynch me, because I love Windows 8.

Windows 8 is best described as a dive by Microsoft into new waters with their flagship operating system.  Rather than be a beautiful, graceful, and choreographed double helix half bend double bledsoe sow cow pike into pristine waters with nary a splash, it was a like a 350 pound couch potato gaming nerd hipster doing a colossal cannonball into the deep water while wearing a Speedo.

It wasn’t pretty, but it was necessary.  Necessary for Microsoft, and necessary for us.  Why, because the computing waters have changed.  With the advent of the iPhone and iPad, Apple made the first inroads into the “your content everywhere” and “multiple devices, one user” paradigm that is shifting computing forever.  Microsoft made the plunge too, but not as pretty.  But that is what Apple does.  And that is what Microsoft does.

Microsoft knew the dive was awkward, but in form released Windows 8.1 as an upgrade and life at the pool has improved.  It still is wearing a Speedo, but this Guru will help you understand the beauty of this ugly duckling.

Next time…