For my last digital humanities project I had to download and configure an installation from a cPanel. When I established my domain I had to then decide which service or application to ‘play’ with. I found the wide range of applications on display in the cPanel to be of benefit. To test the waters I downloaded a few apps in experiment with their functions.
I downloaded Omeka first and I found the user interface and the process of uploading data to be quite detailed. After this I experimented with vanilla forums. Personally I didn’t overly like the user interface of the site and I dislike forums in general, as a result I decided to try out ‘Tiny Tiny RSS’ which is the tool I will be reporting on.
Established in 2006, Tiny Tiny RSS is an open source application that showcases the best the web has to offer. As an RSS application it gives users site summaries, for example blog posts, and web articles. Information is giving in real-time and it allows users to customise what they want to see.
Ultimately an RSS feed gives you a summary of data as well as limited metadata. Metadata includes facts such as the author’s name, the date of publication, and some times the original source URL. In order to subscribe to a feed users must submit the appropriate URL. This url is typically – http://www.example.com/rss or /feed. For example the link for this blog is http://www.craighourihan.wordpress.com/feed.
I found this application easy to use and very interesting. My interest in an RSS feed came from the sheer amount of data viewable on the internet. There are billions of articles and posts being put on the internet daily. RSS feeds allows me, and other users, to tailor what websites they wish to look at. As said above I only receive the ‘headlines’ of the articles.
I primarily liked the application as it allowed me to include Tumblr blogs in the feed. As well as this the layout is quite similar to Tumblr and Twitter. It is primarily close to Twitter in terms of its simplistic nature. Overall I am quite interested as it allows me to digest a lot of data present on the internet.
In terms of future use of the tool, I feel Tiny Tiny RSS would be beneficial to me in projects. For example if I had an English essay due on Edgar Allen Poe I could simply subscribe to a website or a series of blogs who report on him. Of course I can’t judge a scholarly work just by its title, but the feed may give me an idea of the route I might take. Again using the Poe example, I could be writing on his use of the short story form. By finding my niche I can now ‘judge’ the work by its title. The RSS feed allows me to narrow down my reading load.
In order to deploy this technology I first had to create my own domain on Reclaim Hosting. I found this quick and easy to do. After this I downloaded and configured the application in my cPanel. I had to decide which domain and directory to use in order to set up my service. When I had this done it was time to play with my application. When playing with my service I had to decide what websites to include in my feed and the overall layout of it.
In terms of configuration I changed the theme and layout of my web service. I also created folders to organize the different types of articles and sites. As well as this I changed my url and my directory name. In terms of technology I primarily configured my service through the cPanel and Tiny Tiny RSS itself.
I feel a lot of people would benefit from this service. Honestly I think everyone could benefit from some aspect of Tiny Tiny RSS. As mentioned above the layout of the application is quite similar to that of Twitters. Ultimately by using an RSS reader users can save plenty of time as well as your own privacy as you don’t need to sign up to individual websites. I understand that RSS readers have ‘died’ in mainstream conscience, but the aesthetic nature of Tiny Tiny allows RSS feeds to be reborn in the digital age.