Boy, after today, I feel like a guy that just discovered how to send a text message.

Yahoo Pipes has been around for over two years and I remember lots of buzz about it in 2007.  For whatever reason, I never could find a good application for Pipes, and when I played around with the interface, I never got things to work right.

Until NOW.

New Lanark-Water Pipes, by Manky Maxblack

New Lanark-Water Pipes, by Manky Maxblack

I’m a football guy.  Yeah, some of you out there have your baseball, hockey, basketball, and NASCAR, but I’m a football guy.  Maybe it’s growing up in Texas, or maybe it was all the Sundays watching the legendary Dallas Cowboys of the early 90s, or the Dallas Cowboys patterned shirts that my mom made for all of us.  For me, the first real (not pre-season) game of the season signals cooler weather, wings, the wife’s kick ass queso and home made salsa, chili, and lazy Sundays screaming at the television while cats nap on our laps.

This first week has me soaking up all kinds of stats from the games in various mediums when I am not at work.  One of the guys I love listening to is Bob Sturm, an on-air personality on our local sports radio station.  He’s a sports nerd.  The crazy, wacky stats that this guy puts together cause my brain to explode.

So how does this all apply to Pipes?

Bob started a new online series for a local publication called Football 301.  In it, he breaks down the action from the last game and adds his analysis of the basic statistics he runs through.  I want to read this EVERY week, but don’t want to search for it, bookmark it, or otherwise seek it out.  I want it delivered into my RSS reader.

I’m an RSS junkie.  As I write this, I am following approximately 130 feeds.  When I travel, I have TONS of material waiting for me to wade through on my return, all delivered to me in my handy-dandy RSS reader.  I don’t browse for new content, I wait for it to be delivered to me!  But Pipes is changing the way I read my feeds.

Bob publishes his Football 301 column in a blog called the Inside Corner at D Magazine.  Like many of the feeds I follow, there are some repeat columns or features that I really enjoy (like Pilot Answers at Gadling).  After I read Bob’s first installment of the column, I knew immediately I wanted to read this every week.  But bookmarking?  Remembering to go visit?  I’m too lazy for all that.

Luckily, I noticed that his column uses RSS!  I added the feed to my reader, and unfortunately, his column is BURIED among all the other content for that feed.  The last thing I need is to see content that I am not interested in while trying to catch up with the 400-1,000 articles in my queue.  So I figured I’d give Pipes a try!

And guess what?  IT WORKS!

With a quick couple of clicks in their visual editor, I was able to create a new feed that extracts ONLY his posts from the Inside Corner column!  This is what I’m talking about!  Filter the information overload delivered to my RSS reader so I only get the things that are interesting to me.

How about some wider implementations?  Let’s say that you like reading my blog, but dislike PCI DSS with a passion.  You could use Pipes to do just that!  Or maybe you want to get a feed that displays articles published by Anton or me about our upcoming book.  Done.

How about something practical?  Say you are a hosting provider that uses several software packages built on the popular PHP scripting engine.  You can scour the interwebs for vulnerability feeds, add them all to a Pipe, and then search for PHP related vulnerabilities only, keeping in mind that you want to see vulnerabilities only once.

Admittedly, I’m a Pipes amateur.  All I’ve done here is just filter things down and turn it into an RSS feed for me to use.  Give it a try!

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