Sharing Flipboard Magazine Articles on Twitter Automatically

You can easily share posts on Twitter or other social media networks from within the Flipboard app. However, if you want it to share posts automatically then it is actually quite easy to do with the use of an external service.

Each magazine on Flipboard has an rss feed already. So each time you add an article to a magazine that RSS feed gets updated. The rss feed address is the web address of your magazine with .rss added on the end of it. You can test this out by putting the address with .rss on the end in to your own RSS feed reader, in my case I use Protopage.

Having an RSS feed means we can easily direct new entries to a Twitter account using a free service called IFTTT or ‘If This Then That’ You create a simple ‘recipe’ within the app/site to do what ever you want.

In this case you take the RSS feed and send it to Twitter. Within the ‘recipe’ you can add things like ‘Via Flipboard [Magazine address] or similar and also add appropriate HashTags on each tweet.

I’m assuming you already have set up an IFTTT account and that you have given IFTTT access to a Twitter account.

So log in to your IFTTT account and click on My Applets and then ‘New Applet’ and you should see the following screen.

Then click on the + This and you will go through to the Choose a service.

Click on RSS feed and you will get the ‘Choose Trigger’ screen, click on New Feed Item.

You then need to add in the address of the RSS feed of your magazine. To get the address go to: https://flipboard.com/profile, then click on your magazine so you are viewing it in the browser. Then select the address from the address field of the browser and paste it in to the Feed URL field on IFTTT, and then add .rss at the end of the address. Then click Create Trigger.

We then have to tell what IFTTT should do every time it finds a new item in your rss feed. Click on +that

In this example we are going to output the new item to Twitter, so click on Twitter in the Choose action service screen, but you could also post to a Facebook page, your blog, email or a host of other services!.

Click on Post a tweet in the Choose action screen.

Left as it is IFTTT will post a tweet with just the Title and the link to the post.

But you can add hashtags to your tweet and may be a link back to your magazine or your website. Be aware of the character limit on Twitter (280 characters) so you might need to experiment with this field. Click on Create action.

This screen lets you review the whole applet. Click Finish to finalise the applet.

 

You can test your applet by flipping a new article in to your magazine and then check your Twitter feed to see the result.

I’ve been using this method experimentally with a few of my magazines for a few month and it has generated a bit more traffic to the magazines as well as to the sites the articles were from, including my own blog.

Blogger/Blogspot emails

If you use Blogger/Blogspot for your blog you will have noticed that since 25 May you will not have received emails containing the comments.

Also missing are emails about comments that need moderating or emails of new posts on your blog.

This was all connected to the new GDPR regulations and permission to send emails. Even though you had put these email addresses in yourself years ago!

There is now a simple fix, starting with emailing new comments:

  1. Go to your blogger dashboard.
  2. Select Settings (it’s in a left hand menu).
  3. Select Email.
  4. In the box for comment notification email, remove all email addresses and selected “save settings” so that no email address was in the box.
  5. Then typed in your email address and hit “save settings”.
  6. You will then receive an email from blogger asking you to “subscribe” to comments on your blog.

Each emailed comment then has an unsubscribe link/option at the foot of the email, therefore they now comply with GDPR.

You can do the same trick for Comment Moderation. Comment Moderation is also in Settings in Posts, comments and sharing, Comment moderation.

Again do the same, remove the email address, save settings, put in the email address then save settings.

You will get another email asking you to confirm with a link.

‘Email posts to’ is in Settings, Email just below Comment Notification.

I hope that solves the issues for you. I have been missing getting the emails when new comments arrive on the blog!

 

Apple Time Machine

Do you use an Apple Mac? If you do then Time Machine is a great way of backing up your files from your machine to an external drive on a frequent basis.

So some quick tips about Time Machine:

  • Dedicate at least one external hard drive to Time Machine, don’t be tempted to use it for other files as well. It reduces the capacity. If you need an external drive for other files buy another drive.
  • Leave the drive connected all the time. If you are using a Macbook (Laptop) then an external drive that connects to your network or your router (Western Digital MyCloud) is a good alternative to one hard-wired to your machine.
  • Buy a large drive, the bigger the drive the longer Time Machine can keep backups for before it starts deleting old back ups.
  • If you buy a larger drive at a later date, it is possible to transfer your previous backups to the newdrive, see this article for details. I’ve done this a few times and it’s fairly involved but follow the steps shown and you should retain all your previous backups.

Time Machine keeps:

  • Hourly backups for the past 24 hours
  • Daily backups for the past month
  • Weekly backups for all previous months

The oldest backups are deleted when your drive becomes full.

How useful is Time Machine?

  • If your Mac has a hard drive failure and you have to replace the internal drive, when you turn the machine back on having installed OSX then the machine will offer the opportunity to restore the machine from the most recent Time Machine back up.
    • This back up will restore all your data, settings, passwords, desktop files, photos, music, in summary everything.
    • Occasionally you will find you will have to put in product codes to activate software.
  • The restore process can take a few hours, I ran mine over night the couple of times I’ve had to do this.
  • You can restore individual files, say you had a file on your desktop some weeks ago. Then you can enter Time Machine and track back and find the file again by literally going back in time. You can then restore that file. If a later version exists then you can opt to replace or keep both versions of the file, which is useful with changing files.
  • You can split your Time Machine back ups across more than one drive, Time Machine then just uses each drive in turn. This helps to increase the overall security of your back ups in the case of an external drive failure.
  • Running Time Machine will not slow down your machine, it all happens comfortably in the background and you will hardly notice it happening.

Problems with Time Machine?

Occasionally you might get an error message that says that Time Machine hasn’t been able to verify the latest back up. There seems to be very little you can do about this about from starting the process off again. Time Machine will start a new back up and delete the old one. This is a good reason for using more than one external drive for Time Machine back ups.

In my case I use a locally connected USB external drive as one Time Machine drive and a network connected MyCloud drive as the other one.

On rebooting the external drive will not always be picked up. Let me explain.

The external Time Machine drive icon is normally shown on your desktop on your Mac and it will look like this:

A normal non-Time Machine drive will look like this:

 

On start up or rebooting if your Time Machine drive looks likes the ‘Yellow/Orange’ drive above it might be functioning ok as your Time Machine back up drive, but just to be certain there are a few simple things you can try to ensure it turns to ‘Green’

  1. Starting with the simple test. Hover your cursor over the Finder icon on the dock (normally at the left) press the ‘Alt’ key on the keyboard then ‘Right Click’ the mouse and then left click on ‘Relaunch’ Finder will relaunch and then check to see if your drive icon has changed to ‘Green’

If it hasn’t then go to the next step.

2. Go in to System Preferences, Time Machine. Click on Add or Remove Back Up Disk and then click on your external drive again, then ‘Use Disk’

You can then close System Preferences. If the Time Machine Icon hasn’t turned ‘Green’ try relaunching Finder again using the Alt, Right Click, Relaunch routine again. It should then turn ‘Green’ and all should be working as it should.

As reboots of Macs is normally fairly infrequent, you will not be doing this that often.

Every so often you can check in Time Machine System Preferences, this is will show the latest and oldest back up dates, how much drive space you have.

If you disconnect your Time Machine drive from your computer, Time Machine will politely remind you that you haven’t backed up for n weeks with an on-screen message after about 10 days. Hence why it is always best to keep the drive connected when ever possible.

Finally.

This has been a lightning tour of what Time Machine can offer, but it really is a useful feature built-in to OSX that you should be using. External drives are not expensive these days. So get one and get using Time Machine… And remove the drive to a safe place if you are going away for any length of time.