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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Some thoughts on Flipboard

I love it and hate it in not quite equal measure. It does almost everything you expect of it, but is in need of a couple of minor tweaks. OK, so before I loose those of you that have never heard of it, let me explain.
 
Flipboard is a free iPad application. Their spiel is succinct ; 
This is your Flipboard. It's your personalised, social magazine.
so you might catch on quicker if you watch the video...
 

Looks very slick doesn't it? And it is, but I do have a couple of niggles that I'll share just to get them off my chest. 

I love the way it formats your twitter feed, grabs links and photos and presents it on a newspaper sort of way, but each time you close it and return to it, it assumes you want to view your timeline from now going backwards. I just wish it could remember where I was so that I could read from there going forwards. It's not that I want to read every tweet in my feed (no-one could ever keep up) but I would like to not have to wait to scroll backwards through stuff I haven't seen to get to where I was.  It's not the end of the world, and to be fair you can drag your timeline backwards several pages at a time by holding the little red blob at the bottom of the page and dragging it to the right.
Or you can tap (in this example "44 minutes ago") to jump back to that point. I just wish it would remember where I'd got to in my feed - that's all.

My second niggle is content control. I know it's built for Facebook and twitter, but you've given me a glimpse of what's possible, so now I want it all.  You can add your facebook and twitter feeds very easily, but how about .. And this is purely from a selfish perspective .. MY Google Reader RSS feed?  There are plenty of suggested feeds and blogs to add as 'Magazine Sections' (for want of a better description) but the best you can get in terms of user definable feeds are Twitter and Facebook accounts.  There's no simple way to get your reader feed in there.

After a little bit of digging there's two intresting factlets. 

1) This is the most requested feature for Flipboard (LoL - I must be right then) and 
2) There is a way of doing it, but it's a bit of a faff.

Just to go into a little more detail on 2.  You have to make your reader feeds that you want to appear in Flipboard public. Then you have to burn these feeds using Feedburner. Then you publish these Feedburner feeds to a Twitter account and finally subscribe to the Twitter account in Flipboard.

Obviously this works, but it's a bit messy and kludgy. Far nicer would be native integration into Flipboard its self.

It is a beautiful way to "browse" the web. Content is formatted cleanly and clearly and you could easily be forgiven for thinking you're reading an actual magazine. That is until you tap a video still that starts playing. Magical.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous
 

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