A "lifestream" basically acts as an aggregator of all your online activities, as many of the online services that people use, such as Twitter, Flickr etc., publish your activity via RSS.
I'd already been experimenting with Movable Type's Motion, which is a pretty cool addition to an existing MT powered site, however having a separate, standalone, solution was not without its attractions. I registered michele.ie a few months ago, but apart from using it to test our Exchange mail hosting I hadn't really done anything with it.
So last night (and very early this morning) I decided to setup Sweetcron on one of our shared hosting plans. Our hosting system allows you to split your domain up across multiple hosting plans and platforms, so while the main site is now on a Linux web server the email is still on Microsoft Exchange.
I chose to setup the webspace to use PHP5, since PHP4 is defunct. In terms of the database I opted for MySQL5, since it's also the more recent version.
I'll have to admit that I hadn't used FTP for a long time. I have a habit of just doing things from the command line, but once I'd got over that it was easy enough to setup.
The documentation for Sweetcron is a bit sparse, but the basic install is easy enough. On our system you just need to remember that the MySQL database server is NOT "localhost", as the basic configuration file assumes that you're running everything on a single server.
The one step that isn't documented clearly is how to setup a simple cronjob to automate it for you. Fortunately someone else had done that already, so adding the cronjob via the hosting control panel was fine.
You just need to execute the following command every few minutes (or hours):
You can find the actual URL in the Sweetcron admin panel. So just set that command to run via the cronjob manager and off you go.
The basic install ships with two themes, but there are several other themes available which range from the very simple to the incredibly complex. I still haven't settled on which one I actually want to use, as they all handle parts of your "stream" differently. In order to avoid duplication issues I think I'll stick with a theme that doesn't pull in the full content from blog posts and just provides a link to the original source.
So if you're bored and want to know what I'm up to you can head over to my new personal space and see!