Saturday, December 16, 2006

More on Buddy Feed/Updates

I was showing some people the other day how you can leverage some of the new features of AIM 6.0, in conjuction with a bunch of other personal feeds, to do some cool things. So, I figured I'm memorialize it so other could do the same.

Below, I'm showing what the Buddy Updates feature does (see post below). Basically, users enter all of their personal feeds into their Buddy Update Settings. All of the feeds then get aggreatated and spliced. AIM goes out an polls these feeds every 30 minutes or so. If something new has been added, it lights up the "i" icon next to your name as it appears on the buddy list.

When you friends click on that icon, it launches the Buddy Profile window (below) - that displays all of the recent updates.

Now, the coolest part for music lovers is bringing in the combination of my "Just Played" feed and leveraging the AIM Gadgets plug-in bundle. The most useful of which is the "myPlaylist" plug-in - which will screen scrape the Now Playing information out of iTunes and/or Winamp and display it in your Buddy Profile window. So, the AIM plug-in handles what you are listening to in real-time, and the feed provides a historical reference of what I listened to prior (since it doesn't's feed isn't updated until the song is over).

Try it out. Personally, I think it is one of the best features of the new AIM client.

Another option is Sigamp. They have plug-ins for many popular media players - and they basically do something similar to the "myPlaylist" plug-in. They pull now playing info, then feed it into an image that can be easily be put into email signatures, blogs, etc.

A nice touch is that Sigamp links this metadata back to Rhapsody. So if you want to listen to what I'm listening to, just click it. Then leverage Rhapsody's 25 free tracks/month feature to see what you think.

My problem with Sigamp is that they don't have an image that will fit into my sidebar, and they charge a monthly fee for any other/better image design. Personally, I'd rather have a small text ad as an option.

I love having music related information in my email signature. But I opt to burn a feed of my Top Artists (I get mine from Music Now, but you could get them from, MyStrands or a host of others) with FeedBurner, then use their "Headline Animator" to create an animated GIF of that feed. Whenever you get an email from me, you will see a scrolling image of my most listened to artists of late.

AOL Music Now: My Top Artists

I didn't mean for this to be such a novel, but hopefully some of you will find it interesting and useful. Any other ideas? I'd love to hear them.

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