Editor's note: Meerkat predated the popularity of syndication, feed services, and feed readers. Now that other groups are providing this service, we have removed Meerkat in favor of their better solutions. We maintain these articles for the sense of historical interest.
The Meerkat Window
The Meerkat window is composed of three main sections:
- Header & Toolbars
Not much to say about this section; the top of the page is
composed of the standard O'Reilly Network header, tabs, and
toolbar. To take
full advantage of all of Meerkat's features, be sure
the O'Reilly Network.
- Control Panel
The Control Panel is where you get Meerkat to hone in on the stories you'd
like to see, navigate through them, and save/restore sets of settings as
Profiles. For more specific instructions, see the
Control Panel section below.
Meerkat displays stories in reverse
chronological order -- the newest of the new are the first you'll see.
Alongside the stories you'll find icons representing various actions that take
you further than the particular story itself.
Clicking the Web Search (globe) icon next to a story opens a new
window and performs a Web-search using the title of the story as initial
keywords sent to the search engine. This usually results in something useful,
but at the very least provides a starting point for a Web search.
Some stories may also sport a Search This Source (magnifying glass)
icon. This opens a new window and performs a search in the same manner as the
Web Search described above. The difference is that this search is conducted only
at the site from which the story originated. For example, clicking the
magnifying glass icon next to an O'Reilly Network story results in a search
using the O'Reilly Network's search engine.
Story titles are in bold, followed by a short
blurb if available. To read a story, click on its
title; a new browser window will open and transport
you to the full story at its source. Clicking on a
story syndicated by Wired, for example, will
take you to the full story on Wired's Web site.
This new window is reused for each story on which you
click so as not to litter your desktop with browser
The name of the channel in which the story appears. Click on the
source to have Meerkat display all stories from this source.
Meerkat's stories are at present loosely categorized
along channel lines. If you're interested in shaping how
syndicated stories are categorized, be sure to visit the
O'Reilly Network RSS DevCenter
or drop in on the oreillynet.rss
The Date field indicates when Meerkat first noticed a story and
cataloged it in the database.
Using a combination of settings in Meerkat's view controls, you
can hone in on the kind of story you wish to read. We'll now take
you through each control in turn, followed by a few combination
Whenever you make any changes to the controls, be sure to click
Go button to update the window and retrieve the
- Show me...
(default is 1 HOUR)
The Show me... control specifies how far back in time you want
to travel in search of stories. To see the last 2 days' crop,
2 into the textfield and select
DAY. To view all stories since the dawn
of time (read: the dawn of Meerkat, 16 Jan 2000), select
ALL from the pull-down menu. Note that the
interval number is ignored if
ALL is chosen.
(default is ALL)
You may select one or more categories from which to draw stories;
Hold CTRL(Windows) or COMMAND(Mac) while picking multiple categories.
Not all categories will have recent news; those which do for the
interval you've chosen are prepended with a + (plus-sign).
(default is ALL CHANNELS)
This is a list of available channels and the categories into which they
have been, well, categorized. Categories are either sorted by category
(the default) or alphabetically. If sorted
categories are in UPPER-CASE and are left-aligned; channels are indented
under their associated category. If sorted
categories and channels are mixed in together; categories are in UPPER-CASE
and contained within square-brackets to distinguish them from channels.
Note that not all channels will have recent news; those which do for the
interval you've chosen are appended with a + (plus-sign).
You may pick any combination of categories and channels from which
to draw stories. Note that selecting a channel or channels under
a category you've already selected has no effect. For example, if
I were to select the
SERVER: HTTP: APACHE
category and then also the
this second selection will do no particular good -- nor harm, mind
you. Selecting a category automagically selects all the channels
that fall beneath it. To select more multiple categories/channels,
hold the CTRL(Windows) or COMMAND(Mac) key while choosing items with your mouse.
To change the sort order of the Categories/Channels listing, click either
by category or
radio button and Meerkat's screen will refresh itself. If you do not have
- Search For
(default is blank)
To search for something in particular, enter either space-delimited
keywords or a // enclosed regular expression in the search box.
Keywords result in any stories (within the
constraints of your other settings) containing one
or more of the specified keywords. If your search
turns up nothing, try synonyms or variations on
words and check your speling ;-)
- X-Y of Z
(default is 1-#)
Meerkat displays fifty stories per screen; use the Show
pull-down menu to select which 50. If,
for example, Meerkat finds 120 stories
matching your criteria, the Show box will
display the first 50 as "1-50 of 120".
51-100 (and click
to see the next fifty.
How about a few examples...
- "The Newshound" is interested in anything that floats
by, so long as it's fresh. He chooses and a
minute interval, and
- "The Sysadmin" is interested in new software,
security issues, and the latest nerd-worthy news. Since she's
very busy and only gets a chance to check in twice a day, she
selects and a
12 HOUR interval, and the
Security Focus, and
- "The Columnist" uses Meerkat as a search engine to
keep abreast of the latest developments on stories he's covering --
in this case, "patents." He chooses
ALL as a
time interval to make sure he didn't miss anything while at the
cabin for the weekend, and
ALL channels since
you never know where patents stories might pop up. He filters the
resulting stories for anything with the keywords
amazon o'reilly in the
Search For box.
- "The Developer" starts her day a nice cup of Java,
ambling through the last 24 hours worth of Java news. She selects
an interval of
1 DAY and the
(yes, I know it's not strictly Java ;-) channels.
Wouldn't it be great if each time you visit Meerkat it remembered your
likes and dislikes -- or, more specifically, what your preferred view
settings are? Whether you visit from the same computer or another, after an
hour or a month, Meerkat remembers who you are and what you were looking for.
All you have to do make sure you're logged in to the O'Reilly Network
Login button in the black toolbar).
But wait.... there's more! Meerkat takes this functionality one step further with
Profiles. Profiles allow you to save a
particular group of settings. Restore them at any time to return to particular
view. We've even given you a head start with some global profiles we've defined
DEFAULT (to return to Meerkat's default view) and many many more.
Meerkat Mobs are a bookmark-like feature of Meerkat, allowing you to create groupings of
stories. Display them in Meerkat or retrieve them using Meerkat's API. Share them with
others -- each Mob has its own URL!
Manage your Mobs using Meerkat's intuitive Mob Manager interface. Select "Manage my Mobs..."
from Meerkat's Profiles/Mobs menu. Create a new Mob by clicking the [New] button and following
the directions. Take a gander at the current state of a Mob by selecting it from the Mob: pull-down
menu. The Mob Manager also allows you to alter your Mob and save changes, or delete your Mob entirely.
To Mob a story (ie. add a story to one of your Meerkat Mobs), click the "Mob" icon
(ring of dots) next to the story in the Meerkat window. When the Meerkat Mobs dialog
window appears, select a Mob to which to add the story. The dialog window will
automagically close itself when finished.
To display a Mob in Meerkat, click its URL in the Mob Manager. This same URL may be passed on
to friends and neighbors, allowing you to share articles of interest.
Note: To use Profiles and Mobs, however, you must be an O'Reilly Network
member. Register Now!
-- it's FREE and won't take but a moment or three.
Have any questions not answered by this Help page? Please post
them to the
O'Reilly Network RSS Forum.
Also, if you need help along the way, simply click the (?) icon next to any
component of the Meerkat interface for a quick tip on its use.