Thursday, 8 August 2013

DIY buffoons

One of our departments has expanded and purchased two further buildings. We were in the middle of planning how we were going to deliver voice and data services to these buildings when someone there said "our wireless isn't very good, it keeps dropping out".

Well I was surprised they could get wireless at all considering how far up the hill their building was. There was none of our kit yet installed.

No, he says, we have an access point outside our office.

?

After some investigation it seems someone has purchased some point to point wireless kit for £40 from ebay, been to another building and plugged one end in, then stuck the other end outside their office window...

...and expect us to support it when it doesn't work


Monday, 5 August 2013

Feedly Pro

As someone who follows a lot of blogs and has a number of different interests I really needed an aggregation service to keep track of new posts for me. After trying a number of RSS feed readers I found Google Reader did everything I wanted and more. But, as of 1st July 2013, Reader was no longer seen by Google as a project anybody wanted to work on.

I previously wrote about the demise of Google Reader and the alternatives I would be looking at here and here. I was extremely pleased to see the rapid improvements and tweaks the guys at Feedly were doing. Not only were they adding Google Reader-style 'views' and one-click migration to make the change seem more seamless, but migrating to their own back end as well. As they previously relied on Google's API I wasn't sure if they would be able to continue, or go the way of FeedDemon and be forced to shut themselves.


Feedly's user base tripled to 12,000,000 users at the end of May, proving that it was becoming one of the most popular options for people moving away from Google Reader. With free web, iOS and android apps it was easy to see why. I can only speak to the android app, but it is a delight to use, with gestures that make browsing, archiving, sharing and viewing easy and smooth.


This morning I arrived at work, poured my coffee, and opened up Feedly so that I could browse the news and a few articles in the 5 or 10 minutes before I was due to start work. I was greeted with a small banner saying that Feedly would be introducing Feedly Pro. I clicked on it. For $5 per month or $45 per year you could get additional features and help support Feedly to grow. Best of all, for the first 5000 users, you could get a lifetime plan for $99 (roughly £65).

This was something I had been expecting, with the massive numbers of users and speed of development it seemed inevitable Feedly must recoup some of the cost. Gladly it seems Feedly are continuing to offer the free service, just as it is, but you get extra benefits with the Pro version. This is a style of business I really support. I paid my $99 as I am happy to support such a good product and even if I don't ever need the 'Premium Support' I am pleased to contribute to the development of a good free service (if only more services were like that).

So, other than the premium support, what else do you get for £65?

Firstly, you get all your traffic over HTTPS. Secondly, you get article search so, if you are like me, and have hundreds of articles saved for that one day you may need a how-to on linux drivers or C++ for example, it is at your fingertips:


Another nice touch is the 'share to Evernote' button and it is good to see two of my essential applications working together. Once it is authorised to add articles to your Evernote account, when you click the button it will bring up a list of your notebooks for you to add the article too.

Not too much for £65, but I am sure with Feedly's success further features will be rolled out in the future, and to Pro users first.

As someone who doesn't like monthly subscriptions I probably wouldn't have bothered if the lifetime plan option had not been there (the free version is great and it is already add free). I don't know how many are still available but if you are interested take a look.