Hooking Reading up to App.net using IFTTT

Reading doesn’t yet have a native App.net hook, but the wonderful Jon Mitchell / @ablaze wrote this fantastic tutorial for posting via IFTTT. Give it a try and, when you’re all done, check out Jon’s blog, Everything Is Ablaze.
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Now that App.net offers free accounts, anyone can participate in the ad-free social network, and people are pouring in.

This also means it’s no big deal to have multiple accounts. So naturally, I wanted to spin up an instance of my Reading account over there. While there’s no App.net hook built into Reading yet, it’s still amazingly easy to set up. Here’s how to do it.

You have to use IFTTT (If This Then That), the Internet’s Rube Goldberg machine, which is totally fun and not scary at all. IFTTT hooks into App.net so other apps don’t have to. Anything with a feed can be fed in that way, and Reading makes it about as easy as it gets.

So first, sign up for IFTTT.

Step 1. Create a recipe

IFTTT triggers work in recipes. From a vast range of your favorite web services (except Twitter because they’re mean), you pick a this and a that. When your this happens, it triggers your that. That’s that.

So first, pick your this, which in this case is an RSS feed.

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Step 2. Choose a trigger

You’re setting up the simplest feed trigger possible, which is to go off every time there’s a new item in the feed.

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Step 3. Fill in your feed

Enter the URL for your Reading feed, which is:

http://reading.am/[YOUR_USER_NAME]/posts.rss

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Step 4. Pick App.net as your “That”

Next, pick your that, which is App.net. You can only connect one account from each service to IFTTT, so if you’re creating a separate App.net account for Reading, you’ll have to use that one. (You can always create a second IFTTT account if you need to.)

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Step 5. Choose an action

The only App.net action is ‘Post an update,’ which is what you want, so choose that.

Step 6. Complete action fields

This is the scary-looking part, but don’t worry. You don’t have to change anything unless you want to. By default, it will take the entry title and the URL, which is probably all you want.

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But if you want to fiddle, this tool lets you pick different elements of what comes out of your RSS feed to customize the posts. You can even add your own standard text. But as you can see, it looks pretty nice on App.net as-is with its roomy, 256-character posts.

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By default, IFTTT uses Bit.ly to wrap the links but if you’d like to use Reading’s nice ing.am shortener, you can turn off Bit.ly shortening in your IFTTT settings.

Step 7. Type in a description and click the big, blue button

That’s it! Just come up with a description like “Send Reading to App.net,” so you can see what this recipe is in your menu, and you’re off to the races.

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Just so you know, polling is a wee bit slower on IFTTT than you’re used to if you use Reading’s Twitter hooks. Your posts won’t show up instantaneously. But it only takes a minute or two.

You can also now follow @reading on App.net, so make sure to do that.

find the cost of your paper

Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

The post A Plague of Giants appeared first on Elitist Book Reviews.

The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.

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