December 01, 2006 |
Anothr is a Skype RSS Robot. Before today, I’d never been able to appreciate why anyone in their right mind would want to be automatically notified by Skype, when a website updates. But to tell you the truth, it’s incredibly useful! I can get a direct Skype notification, the second that Profy updates! Of course, if you’re a long-term, dedicated reader, you might know that Anothr was first discovered over a month ago by our very own 2cworth. A good find it was, and it’s been interesting to see how the service has developed in recent weeks. It works yes, but I’ve encountered some things that I thought you ought to know about. While I was there, I thought there was no reason I shouldn’t write an in-depth guide.
As you can see above, the ‘RSS Robot’, can be added to your Skype account simply as the push of a button. Literally. On the Anothr homepage, you can see the bright green ‘Add me’ button inlaid into the orange toolbar at the top, towards the right hand side. What I like, is the simplicity of the whole process. Once you’ve added the Anothr bot as your contact, you’re ready to go. Get started by opening up a chat with the friendly robot and typing ‘?’ – but prepare yourself.
The robot, unfortunately, isn’t as smart as it would like to think it is. After I pressed the ‘?’, I was greeted by a friendly Chinese robot, rather than the English one I’d been hoping for.
As you can see, it does speak English: it just needed a little persuading before it ran off and began to do what I believed it should have done in the first place. Feeling slightly disgruntled, but nevertheless, glad it was working, I set off and started to see if the service was all it was cracked up to be. After the slightly glitchy start, I was impressed by the help the bot gave me. What does the bot do?
Well, at least it fulfills its promises. It delivers an RSS feed in the form of a Skype Conversation box, directly to you. You can see a little diagram just below. Once the Chinese was all done and over with, I was told exactly how to view my feeds, add more, remove some and more.
Of course, there’s room for improvement. There appears to be a fairly substantial lag between an RSS Feed getting re-published, and the time it takes for you to get notified (usually several minutes), but so far, it’s not failed to pick up and read a feed yet. Although this is expected, it does at least confirm the fact that there is some power behind the robot, and that it’s not just pulling and posting feeds in a mish-mash fashion. But for something this simple, I would have expected better.
One thing that I like, that many RSS readers now do, is providing a chicklet. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the Anothr chicklet is very bland. Though at least like the rest of the Anothr service, it’s simple and uncomplicated. You can easily create some code to add the chicklet to your website. Just fill in the input feed (your blog/website feed URL) and off you go! The page reloads, prompting you with a little pop-up. Scroll back down the page and you’ll find the code generated, right for you. Simply add it into your layout somewhere and people will be able to easily add your website to their Anothr feed.
Old School Feed Adding
If you’ve found a really great website and want to add it to your Skype feed reader, you might be thinking ‘Hey! How do I do this? There’s no chicklet!’ Well no problem! In the picture below, you can see my adding Profy’s feed to Skype. Easy as one, two, three.
There’s nothing to worry about. No installations, no add-ons to install, no plugins. And just like a normal user, you can remove and block the bot from your contacts list, that’s all. The bot doesn’t do anything besides the ordinary to your account and shows up as a simple user.
Nothing else to say really on this one. It’s clean and doesn’t do anything it shouldn’t.
Let’s get a few things straight. It works, but I’m not overly fond of it. The lag makes the reader not as useful as it could be, and my web based Pageflakes reader works just fine. The Anothr site has many Web 2.0 aspects to it, but underneath, some Web 1.0ness still shines through the well designed, colored outer packaging. It’s a pity. But like I’ve already said, it works, and if you’ve been looking for a Skype RSS Reader, this is the one for you. No installations to deal with, no fuss, no hassle. Pure and simple. Anothr.com – The Skype RSS Reader.