The Newsletter began in june 2012 from the habit I had to send weekly newsletter in Codegreen for our team to know what is happening in our company,. That was purely a teamwork tool for general transparency. But with time passing I also included there some links to what I was finding around that would be of interest for my geek colleagues.
That CodeGreen Internal newsletter began to be cluttered with various links at the bottom of it. So I decided to separate that links gathering bunch in another newsletter. But then it could also be useful for my friends, out of the scope of our team.
At that time I had to test Mailchimp service for one of our projects, so because they offer a free package when volume is not too big, I thought I should just create that newsletter as a public freely available publication.
So in february 2013 I sent the first Green Ruby Newsletter to 3 subscribers. Well, mostly our team :) Then it became a weekly habit, so I got a domain name for it, and organically it’s growing slowly.
The redactor gear
Codegreen paid for my Newsblur account so I can follow a bunch of feeds. Google reader was my first tool but well, they are closing, and actually Newsblur is much better. It’s open source and the guy that makes it does a great job (too bad it’s in python and not in ruby).
I’m also loading a bunch of podcasts on my phone and after having tried a lot of podcast softwares I’m really happy with Podkicker, it’s just very convenient and it has all I need with the free version. So in my 40 minutes commuting to go to work, I just get the ears busy. I tried to use Gpodder but it’s not totally perfect and the support in podcast clients is not as good as it should be. So I don’t stick on it, maybe it will evolve and I will get back to it.
But I also get a lot of news by just wandering around on Geekli.st, on Coderbits, hacker news, and I subscribed to a bunch of various newsletters. I also watch teh new gems feeds from @rubygems-alt and I retweet stuff of interest on @cogtw account (those 2 are my alternate twitter identities).
Each week William (aka xenor) also sends me a list of links. But I definitely don’t use any facebook feeds. For some reason, this is a place I avoid the most I can.
What next ?
My ambition there is to keep it non-commercial, and change it to be more community driven. The preparation of the letter is eating a big part of my saturdays for the last 13 weeks and I don’t think I can keep up the same pace for long time.
The idea I have about the community driven thing is by engineering some automation on the news gathering (to replace newsblur), have a place where the news can be triaged by various people, a little bit like it is on Hacker News with a vote system. But the gathering won’t limit to blog posts and rss feeds, there would also be podcasts and video feeds. There is now a lot of possibilities in automation on feeds aggregation. I worked on a project that already does that feeds aggregation, named “the Blux”. And I expect to replicate parts of it for my Green Ruby Engine.
But also, as usual, this project is also an occasion to play with recent technologies or stuff I want to know more about, otherwise where is the fun ? So here comes Ember.js, on the top of Sinatra with mongoDB, and there will be much more on the road (thinking about trying Sponges too).