Set it and forget it, Sweetcron personal lifestream application

Like so many others, I have a FriendFeed account. I dumped a handful of web services that I use on a daily basis into the "feed" and then sort of forgot about it. Once in awhile I’ll receive an email summary from the service reminding me of what others might be up to, but beyond that, there isn’t much else I do with the service. I guess I sort of lost interest because I didn’t have a sense that the service was mine.

I enjoy the idea of a consolidated view of most of my internet activities – even more so when I have control of how my content is presented. After visiting http://kpishdadi.com/, and discovering that I could generate a similar site using Sweetcron (open source), all that was left to do was to create a simple theme.

this.isdereks.com – Aggregating my own favorite sites

sweetcron-screenshot

Eventually, I will expand on the sources. For now, this.isdereks.com aggregates content from 5ThirtyOne, Flickr, Delicious, Twitter, and Brightkite.

The tedious part is managing your feeds

All kidding aside, the most work you will ever need to do while setting up your bone stock Sweetcron site is managing your feeds. The installation is straightforward requiring the creation of a database, file upload, and some configuration file editing to instruct Sweetcron where to look for the database. If you run into any issues, review the documentation or visit the Sweetcron Google Group.

With Sweetcron, you can:

  • Aggregate your most used web services – all this hinges on the fact that those services offer RSS feeds.
  • Filtering content by source. No backend tweaks needed. For example, ff you add your Flickr feed to your sources, simple visit your site and append the the following to the URL – /items/site/source.com. How easy is that?
  • Meta tags. Most feeds like your WordPress or Flickr sources publish any tags associatd with the content. Sites like Twitter don’t. Sweetcron lets you manually add or edit tags in the admin panel.
  • Single master feed of all your content. No need for your visitors to use something like Yahoo Pipes, Sweetcron combines all of your feeds into one.
  • Did Sweetcron add something you would rather hide? Delete published items in the admin panel. Note that Sweetcron – by default – sets Twitter @replies as drafts requiring that you log in and publish items.
  • Feeling bloggy? You can compose an entry through the admin panel and have it published with the rest of your aggregated data.
  • Default 30 min refresh for new content, or create your own cron job to update your site. Sweetcron really is a true "set it and forget it" web app.

Other notes

  • Sweetcron includes two themes: Boxy (by the original creator at http://www.yongfook.com/) and a Sandbox (bare bones text based theme). If you want something unique, spend some time exploring the structure of a Sweetcron site using Boxy as your guide.
  • Don’t aggregate feeds from a web service that is already aggregating your internet activity. Make sense? Stick to feeding direct sources through Sweetcron rather than passing your FriendFeed RSS feed through.

Where is your lifestream?

Are you using Sweetcron, FriendFeed, Tumblr, or some other service as a lifestream? If so share your links in the comments.

Discuss - 27 Comments

  1. ad says:

    I’m using SweetCron too at

    http://www.admartinator.de

    BTW: i’d prefer to use the TrueCron and not PseudoCron. PseudoCron leads to a very slow page loading if the stream hasn’t been visited for a longer time.

  2. John Pastor says:

    After having a blog off and on the web for the last couple years, I’ve found that Tumblr works the best for me. I can have it import everything from Delicious to Flickr, to Twitter (@johnpastor) posts.

  3. Roman says:

    Hi, love the theme ! Can you make it public for the rest of us ? Pls

  4. Nicki says:

    Simple, great theme. Congratulations. Maby the speed on first loading is a little bit hard because of many items. Like it ^^

  5. Dan says:

    Been using SweetCron for a week or two now and I LOVE it!

  6. Khong Co Ai says:

    Lovely .
    I was wondering when will you do it.

  7. david says:

    Been thinking about giving SweetCron a try for some time now. Seeing that you’d started using it tempted me again. But the barriers of it being (listed as) beta, not knowing quite how it works, and my current solution being potentially better for my purposes kept me from it.

    My personal aggregator (which my name points to) is actually just a WordPress install running FeedWordPress. That takes the content from my three blogs and puts them all together. It’s probably less capable than SweetCron, but I’m familiar enough with WordPress for this to be the path of least resistance.

    I feel like if I were a regular user of Delicious, YouTube, Flickr, and/or Vimeo, SweetCron would be worth fiddling with. But right now the only thing that doesn’t appear on my aggregator that I might want to is Twitter, and there are reasonable arguments against that anyway.

  8. Elliot Swan says:

    SweetCron looks pretty awesome, I might have to check it out. I built my own lifestream off FriendFeed’s API at http://www.elliotswan.com/lifestream/, and I’ve been pretty happy with how that turned out.

  9. sven says:

    You can check out my lifestream, showing a clean and minimalistic approach, here: http://svensporer.net

  10. Hey mate,

    how did you get the Brightkite feed working? I’ve tried everything but no luck whatsoever lol

    the theme is looking very nice I’ve been working on my own theme too cant wait to finish now 🙂

    Stu

    • Derek says:

      I had to pass the original Brightkite feed through a service like Feedburner to get it to work properly. I can’t remember the actual reason why but the support group documents getting it working that way.

  11. roycifer says:

    i love sweetcron. its precisely the feed aggregation/lifestream “platform” ive been looking for. as much as i love wordpress, wordpress just didnt quite cut it for feed aggregation.

    your sweetcron theme looks great derek.

    heres my site: http://roycifer.com

    ive also released a theme that resembles twitter called sweetclone. you can read about it here: http://roycifer.com/items/view/798/new-sweetcron-theme-sweetclone

  12. Thanks Derek, all sorted with the brightkite now 🙂 ill look forward to seeing your theme released 🙂 great work as always! ps the video of your dog sleep running is just classic!

  13. Roman says:

    Derek: when do you think is the public release ready ?

  14. Roman says:

    Thanks Derek, I cant wait !

  15. Love your theme. Having messed around with sweetcron I think it excels when it’s used as a straightforward aggregator- as you’ve done. We use it to run our entire site, and I don’t know that I’d recommend it.

  16. Markus says:

    My Lifestream at http://www.markusroedder.de – sweetcron rocks!

  17. […] Running Sweetcron as your lifestreaming software? SocialCubes is my contribution to the community. Don’t know what Sweetcron is? Check out my mini review from a few weeks back: Set it and forget it, Sweetcron personal lifestream application. […]

  18. Reese Spykerman says:

    Derek, I enjoyed and appreciated your design of your lifestream. And thank you for the write up on this; I’ve had the install file for months but haven’t tinkered yet. You inspired me to look anew at it.

  19. sebos says:

    Hum… really disappointed! I try to setup sweetcron locally (only xampp)… but nothing to do: it seems that the .htaccess is not correct… I try everything without any success… any clue? I setup sweetcron on a subdirectory of my htdocs. so the url is http://localhost/sweetcron but… even with this .htaccess no success:
    ptions +FollowSymLinks
    RewriteEngine On

    RewriteBase /sweetcron/

    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ index.php?/$1 [L]

    I know it’s not really link to you Derek… but anyway: thanks a lot for your blog!!!

  20. sebos: you probably haven’t tried everything. Head over to the Sweetcron Google Group if you’d like someone to help you out. I probably could, but the .htaccess likely isn’t you’re problem. Is that the default .htaccess file, or have you changed it?