Social Media Tech

Experiments and experiences with Tumblr for content aggregation

I’ve been tinkering away for a while now with a Tumblr account. You can view the results at Leguape’s tumblr of fun.

It’s an aggregation of pretty much all my social media activity outside of Facebook and Friendfeed (which I barely use now other than passively).

What does it use?

For content I read and want to make a note of online, it takes in my reddit and delicious bookmarks, as well as my google reader shared items.

I then mash these three together through a simple Yahoo! Pipes Feed to reduce the number of individual feeds I have to try and pull in.

Tumblr limits you to five feeds by default, so it seemed like a waste to pull these three in as separate items. The presentation of the feed output could do with some refining, but it does the job of making the all-important data available.

Then I also pull in my Twitter and Flickr feeds individually as the two most likely places for activity.

I also pull in the Chasing Wheels blog Feedburner feed separately as that’s another major source of activity. I’m now trialling pulling in a Yahoo! Pipe feed that aggregates all my blogs together to simplify things. I’ll be interested to see how this post appears via that feed.

Weirdly I don’t seem to be pulling in any video. In fact I don’t seem to shoot much video.

What purpose does it serve?

A while back I tried the Action Streams plugin for Movable Type but never managed to make it work. I can’t remember the exact reason but I think it was as simple as I couldn’t just plug and play.

Tumblr allows me to quickly plug in a bunch of things and get going straight off, right down to setting it up to point to a custom domain. I like that.

Also the interface offers me a whole bunch of options easily. I think it might even pass the “Mum test of usability”.

I like how easy it is and how low they’ve set the bar to entry.

I’ve even started on a second tumblr experiment, a photojournal called ToyCam Mono with a very simple premise.

I guess is part of the appeal of tumblr as a platform: its lower threshold to getting started and continuing. No fiddling with templates and code, just straight in.


My Roland Mouret Mr Menswear sweater

Outside of those who have seen the preview in Paris I’m not sure who has seen or got their hands on Roland Mouret’s venture into menswear under the label “Mr”. The Guardian describes it as “The new label to covet” going on to say

“Mouret’s new venture, brilliantly named Mr (his initials reversed) will be super luxurious but based around unfussy clothes that are designed to go together. Available from August, our favourite look has the whiff of Don Draper relaxing at the weekend about it – never a bad thing.”

Monsieur Mouret is quoted by Fashion United describing it thus:

“I wanted it to be sensual, understated sexiness, almost Kubrick-like but something a woman could look at and immediately see that would be perfect for their husband.”

Which is why I feel rather honoured that he gave me an engagement gift of one of his sweaters. Actually, he gave it to my fiancée for me, who has known him for years.

Roland Mouret V-neck sweater

I’ve yet to wear it out of the house. In fact every time I try it on I’m mildly terrified of snagging it or spilling something on it.

I’ve never owned such a high-end item of clothing. I only get that nervous about new shoes or bikes usually.

I now understand how women feel when they buy a special dress. It’s nerve-wracking.

That aside, it feels ever so nice on. It’s merino wool with silk and cashmere, so light that it practically floats.

The knit is amazing, like crocodile skin but in wool. I could stare at it for hours.

And I have no idea what to wear with it to do it justice. You can’t really team it with a pair of Old Navy jeans or something from M&S, even if it is from the Autograph range.

The label says it’s a Dover Street Market exclusive, so I assume this is a style that will turn up there once the range starts going into stores.

One final quote from Mouret, via the NY Times:

“‘I see this as a wardrobe, not a collection,’ said Mr. Mouret. ‘Men are shy, and they really want to be understood without talking.'”

It’s easy to see why the collection is so desirable when it can be described in such beautiful language. And I really love the suit he’s wearing in the pic on this article on

Business Projects

We are pancake, we give a toss

So we came up with our slogan and our company name – read the full explanation – now we’ve got to decide what to do with it. I’m blaming Eamonn for not admitting to drunkenly encouraging it for our lack of “vision”.

I need to find some time to design the site and “brand identity” which is always a time consuming process. I’m using the pixie CMS from toggle which is open source, so it’s a bit of a learning curve for me as well.

I think the name is one for a no-nonsense consultancy and creative agency. Now we just need to get some clients.

What can Pancake do for you?

Journalism Podcast Portfolio

Talking Tour De France on BBC Radio 2

Here’s a hit I did for Chris Evans’ BBC Radio 2 show yesterday trying to demystify the Tour De France for them.


Where to eat in Rome: Filletti Di Baccala

I love fish fried in batter. Rarely a week goes by without me enjoying the traditional English fish and chips. So when we visited Rome last spring I was very keen to check out this Roman institution: Filletti Di Baccala.

It didn’t disappoint. The name says what it serves: fillets of salt cod, battered and fried.

A beautiful spring evening in May, sunshine, atmosphere, the lot. An old Italian couple sat next to us, enjoying themselves and laughing at us not knowing what to do and advising us that the salt cod didn’t need any more salt and how to wrap the fillets in the plain paper to eat them without the need for cutlery.

A simple green salad, the lightly battered courgettes/zucchini, wine in a little jug made up the rest of the meal which didn’t come to much more than 30 euro at most. It might even have been as little as 20 euro.

It felt very Roman to be sat in the shade of the church. As the Fodor’s review says

“The location, down the street from Campo de’ Fiori in a little piazza in front of the beautiful Santa Barbara church, begs you to eat at one of the outdoor tables, weather permitting.”

Read the Fodor’s review in full

It can be little hard to find though so here’s where it is on the map. worth making a note of directions from Campo De Fiori, which is actually relatively simple once you know which corner to aim for.

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