Well – it’s actually been a few days. Somebody has decided to put my “flexibility skills” to the test.

It started with my Dell Inspiron 8500 and a problem with the video card. At first, the display started to look funny. I thought it might be a virus – or a corrupted video driver.

Whether you know this by now or not. I have a full time job – normally 45 to 50+ hours a week. I’m a husband and father of 4 (with number 5 due in March/April 2009). I started this blog back in June, when my 10 year old son decided he wanted to take the Thirty Day Challenge with me this year. And, there’s always something to do around the house – my honey-do list just never quits.

Needless to say, I’m a busy guy. Oh – and I almost forgot that just a few days ago, I committed to an Immediate Edge project too. So, yeah – I have a lot of plates spinning. Normally, that’s okay – until my laptop decides to melt-down on me…

So, I finally tracked the problem down to the video card – it turns out they’re not exactly cheap – and because this computer is almost 5 years old – it might take several days to get one.

The problem? – I don’t have that kind of time. I just don’t – so, I’ve hi-jacked an HP pavilion laptop that the kids use sometimes. I had to take the hard-drive out of my Dell and put it in the HP. There are a few driver problems – for example, the audio still doesn’t work. But, I’m back up and running – I’ll watch 30DC training videos on our home desktop computer until I can track down the proper audio drivers for this laptop.

The moral of the story? – Never Give Up, Never Give Up – Never Give Up!

I felt like giving up last night – really, my other laptop looked like it was spitting out code from the Matrix. It was absolute gibberish and completely unusable. That laptop has everything on it – everything from work – all my internet marketing stuff – everything. Even with decent back-ups – it would be a complete pain in the neck to start over with new computer from scratch.

So – swapping the hard drive into this other laptop is a good short-term solution. It’s a setback – but you know what they say about setbacks?

Setbacks pave the way for comebacks. So be on the lookout…

P.S. to the SonicXtreme Team – sorry I missed our Skype call today and went MIA. I’ll try to contact you all over the next few days – now that I’m back up and running.

P.S.S. – @Ed Dale, if you’re reading this… I know, I know – I should pony up and get a Mac Book Pro – it really is next on my list of major purchases, really. I just have to get by with what I have for right now…

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We’re going to learn some more tips, tricks and techniques from Ed to help us get even more out of Friendfeed. Let’s take a look at the video below:

In the last video, Ed had said – he sees Friendfeed becoming this huge database of people and their interactions on the web. They’ve given us many, many ways to interact with that database and alert us to things that are relevant to us. That will have an important impact on us when it comes to our rankings in the search engines and general SEO (search engine optimization).

If you’re not sure about what we’re talking about – not a big deal right now. Don’t panic. We can worry about rankings and SEO later. For today, we’re going to be learning how to filter, manage and use Friendfeed in an effective way…Let’s get started.

The first thing we’ll be looking at is the “Friends” Tab.

Friendfeed - Friends Tab

Friendfeed - Friends Tab

This is a feed showing the different activities of all of your “friends.”

Ed teases us for a second about “Market Samurai” – a state of the art keyword research tool that is in a limited beta release at the time of this writing. Members of the “Immediate Edge” have access – and yes, it rules!

Over in the upper right corner, notice there are several “filtering” options available to you. You can see the “Best of the day,” or “week” or “month.” These are items that have shown a lot of interest during the timeframe. Anytime you use one of these filters, you can go and grab that RSS feed and add it to your Google Reader. If you have questions about how to do that, take a look at the Google Reader post.

Friendfeed - Kern-Rolled

Friendfeed - "Kern-Rolled"

Then he gets “Kern-rolled” by Nez – that’s just classic guys…a nice little ukulele video featuring Frank Kern.

Back to business, Ed scrolls down through that list generated by that filter. He then filters by the week. One of the cool things is how this web-based interface keeps the flow of the conversation steady and smooth. Ed mentions that there are applications, like Twhirl (which we ARE using for Twitter) – that can be used for Friendfeed.

Ed doesn’t like using Twhirl for Friendfeed because of how disjointed the conversation can become. It bumps you up whenever you comment – and that’s not really beneficial to your work flow. Part of this preseason training is about learning how to use these tools to help you work smarter, not harder.

Friendfeed is really designed to be used either from within its web-based interface at a time that suits you. Alternatively, you can use its superb search functions to create feeds that you can add to your Google reader and interact with them at a time that works well for you.

Notice how Ed is able to watch a video right from the feed – he’s able to stay within the flow of the conversation and read, watch videos, make comments, etc.

Let’s think about you for a minute – think about how you can use this in your niche. Anytime we’re watching Ed do this stuff, try to keep in mind ways to apply the techniques that are working for him – so you can translate this information into action steps you can take within your niche.

No niche yet? – not a problem. We’ll be getting into that soon enough within the challenge. In the meantime, if you familiarize your self with using these tools, it will be easy to go back and apply them within any niche you choose.

One of the ways Ed slices and dices the Friendfeed conversation is to look at anything he’s put up that has been commented on. Of course, he can go and grab that RSS feed. He can also look at the things he’s liked – and grab that feed…

Taking a look at the search box – he can search for anything containing the “#30dc” tag.

Friendfeed - Search Box

Friendfeed - Search Box

Friendfeed will deliver results containing that term, whether or not Ed has been following them. And of course, he can grab that feed and stay on top of anything happening around the “#30dc” tag.

Can you see how Friendfeed becomes this vast storehouse of data that you can slice and dice and mix things up? Then you can interact with that data, jump into the conversation – which translates into more exposure in the search engines, and more traffic for your site.

Now Ed loves the Friendfeed rooms – let’s look again at the Thirty Day Challenge room. This is a place where thirty day challengers can comment and interact on anything shared into this room.

Notice the “Share Something” button.

Friendfeed - Share Something

Friendfeed - Share Something

You can click and drag that button up into your Flock toolbar. That’s actually not easy to show with screen captures – but you can see Ed do it in the video. Now wherever you are in your browser, you can share something back to that room.

Remember, you can create your own room – maybe for your team, maybe for your niche. You can grab the “share something” button for that room too. I would recommend re-naming it after you drop it into your toolbar.

Simply drag the button into your Flock toolbar – THEN right click it.

The drop down menu appears, click on “Properties” and change the name. (There are also other options, like delete, etc. – pretty self explanatory. If you have any questions – feel free to post a comment.)

I’ve gone ahead and placed that button up in MY toolbar – now every time I make a new post to this blog, I’ll share it to the Thirty Day Challenge room. You can bet I’ll do it as soon as I publish this post. 🙂 You’ll see…

If I’ve done a good job, there’s a good chance people will leave a comment, and maybe share the link with others. Can you feel the power yet? Are you beginning to think about how you could apply this knowledge into your niche?

Ed does a quick search and shows how it is limited to the room or tab he’s in. He then goes to the “Everyone” tab and does a search for “thirty day challenge”, which brings up pertinent results and some YouTube videos from all Friendfeed users. And yes, he can grab the RSS feed….

Living on the edge, he does a search for “Trout fishing” and there are pages and pages of results. Trout fishing on Del.icio.us – tweets from Twitter, blog posts, Digg mentions – and as more and more people use it – more and more data is available and more conversations are happening. If you’re doing research into a niche, or trying to expand your reach into a niche – this is a powerful way to gather information and jump into the conversation.

Another technique is to use the advanced search – which give you several search options to filter your results.

You may notice that “Advanced Search” doesn’t appear on your pages or tabs. Not to worry – If you run a basic search – the page changes and looks like this – giving you the advanced search option….

Friendfeed - Advanced Search

Friendfeed - Advanced Search

I know this is probably getting old – but you can grab that RSS feed too. These advanced searches are available at all the various tabs, once you do a basic search. So you could do an advanced search through your friends, or yourself, or everyone, etc.

Let’s look again at the “room” level. You can “like” things, make comments, link and reshare – and filter in several ways – depending on your control level within the room.

Friendfeed - Other Interactive Options

Friendfeed - Other Interactive Options

Each of these options/filters can produce a customized RSS feed for you to grab.

Come the Thirty Day Challenge in August, we’ll be learning even more about using Friendfeed in our niches and/or within our teams. The thing to do between now and then is to get used to using it. Also, it would be a really good idea to create a room for your team – or join the room your team has already created.

How cool would it be to find something interesting, click on your “share something” button – each room gets its own custom button – and alert everyone on your team through Friendfeed? It allows you to connect with everyone while minimizing your own work flow interruptions.

That’s it for today’s Friendfeed tips. Remember to hug your kids…