There's a lot of activity on DIY Drones: blog posts & comments, forum posts and comments, new photos, etc.

The "Latest Activity" sidebar on the left side of the home page is one way to keep up with what's happening on the site, but it only shows you the most recent items, it doesn't keep track of what you have already seen, and it is wedged into a pretty small piece of screen real estate.

You can use a feed reader like Google Reader and point it at the DIY Drones "Latest Activity" Feed, which is linked from this little icon at the bottom of the sidebar:

 

A feed reader can be a more pleasant way to browse through the torrent of activity because most readers offer features like search & keeping track of seen items.  Unfortunately the activity feed provided by DIY Drones includes a lot of items that tell you that there has been activity without giving you the content.  For example, blog comments will look like this in the feed:

Nate Miller commented on Eric Tweet's blog post The T-Rex Flies Again!

 

Unfortunately you still have to click through to the DIY Drones site to see if the comment is a one word reply like "Yup!" or the perfect two paragraph description of flight modes you were hoping for.

Many of the items in the activity feed are similar, with no actual content in the feed.  This is frustrating and a poor user experience, and goes against the purpose of having a feed in the first place.

To try to improve the situation, I've written a small web app that takes the DIY Drones activity feed and improves it by adding back the content, so you can read a discussion thread entirely in your reader.  In the improved feed, the blog comment above looks like this:

 

Nate Miller commented on Eric Tweet's blog post The T-Rex Flies Again!

Comment by Nate Miller13 minutes ago

I'm glad to see this was successful! When my APM 2 gets in (maybe a week or so) this is the first vehicle I'd planned on putting it on. Any chance I could get your gains from you? It'll save me a fair amount of leg work.

 

The improved feed is at http://better-ning-feeds.appspot.com/feed/http%3A//diydrones.com/ac... and is updated every 10 minutes.

 

Let me know if you have any issues trying to use it, and I hope this makes it easier for you to follow activity on the site.  Some day maybe I'll automatically generate a mailing list or google group from the feed, and we'll be able to enjoy the same discussion technology convenience and features that we had in the 1970s!

 

John

jjwiseman@gmail.com

 

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Glad you like it, Mark.  And I find that I read a lot more posts than before, too.

When I did a list <-> phpBB gateway I found it was pretty easy to have the PHP "post" code check to see if it was posted in the linked forum and then send out an email if it was.  I used the same email account for everything but the script changed the sender name so that it ended up looking like it was actually from the person who posted.

It sure would be nice to have a fully integrated solution.

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