Update on the RSS front…

Okay, I played with RSS, and finally saw some benefit in it. It’s not intuitive by ANY stretch, but once you’ve figured out how to drop RSS feeds into your Bookmarks Toolbar folder in Firefox, you can tap those little icons on the toolbar and see what’s new on your favorite sites.

As has been mentioned before, this is best for blogs, or other sites whose updates are not scheduled like clockwork. I’m using it now for Cox and Forkum (a political cartoon that updates irregularly) and Websnark, a blog popular with the webtoonist set, which also updates irregularly. I tried putting my gmail account up there and it errors out. I think I have too much mail.

I’ve not played with aggregation at all yet.

Anyway, thanks for the help, folks. Specifically, thanks to strredwolf and matt_arnold, who actually posted a concise set of instructions I could follow. Honorable mention to p3rlm0nk and datapacrat for the FAQ link and the ForecastFox link, respectively.

I still need to look into Bloglines. That may prove useful when I’m on the road.

At any rate, the tentative verdict is “I will employ RSS for notification, not aggregation.” It’ll be a few weeks at least, as we’re still hammering on more important stuff on the site (transcripts in the archives for Google searchability, and Open Letter archives for a blog I can run ads in).

Thank you, and good night.


20 thoughts on “Update on the RSS front…”

    1. That’s how I do it, too. I dislike most RSS readers because they don’t display everything in one chronological, readable form… most seem to categorize into a folder per feed, which means I have to go through every one – no different from bookmarks.

      So, yay LJ!

      http://www.livejournal.com/syn/ is where you can import feeds into LJ, … have to be a paid user to do so.

      1. For webcomics, I find Comic Alert’s RSS feeds very nice; they’ll track up to 20 comics per feed. (And they link to pages, not images, so they don’t interfere with ads.)

      2. the problem with LJ…

        Google Reader and BottomFeeder both support chronological view.

        The problem with using LiveJournal for RSS feeds is that you have no control over when old feed items expire from LiveJournal’s cache. Also, you can’t search all your feeds for something.

        BottomFeeder is the best feed aggregator I’ve used (on Windows, Linux, or OS X), though its UI takes a little getting used to. I vacillate between using it and LJ/Google Reader only because I have two desktops — one at work, and one at home. While it has offline synchronization, it’s just easier for me to use a web-based aggregator.

        1. Re: the problem with LJ…

          I’ll give BottomFeeder a try.

          Google’s RSS reader pissed me off when I imported my LJ OPML but wanted to remove a lot. Maybe they’ve fixed it, but at the time I had to go through and delete one at a time. I gave up after about 20.

    2. That’s what I do for blogs, and certain syndicated comics. But I tend to prefer reading webcomics on their home pages.

      LJ’s RSS syndication means I don’t have to hit a bunch of different blog sites to read my favorite blogs.

      1. did you steal my icon, or did you make that yourself? lol

        Yeah, I do the same. I pull “cat and girl” via RSS because it updates so infrequently, but the rest of my comics I have on the link bar on my friends page, and just hit them all every morning.

      1. You can put your live bookmarks in the Sage feeds folder (and can actually still use them as live bookmarks)

        You’ll see unread articles, and get a summary page for each feed when you click it. I haven’t really set it up again on this computer, but I used it for slashdot, various friend pages, groklaw.

        BBC is unfortunately a little flaky – they add some stuff with earlier dates after later ones have been added, and it screws things up slightly. That may be fixed by now.

        Way back when I used it, the auto refresh never seemed to work and I just clicked the refresh page when I wanted to see an update.

  1. Bloglines

    Once you get into Bloglines (or any web-based aggregator), you start using it everywhere. I love it for use in libraries. Now if I want to see how the Rally Australia is going or if there are any new papers at PCCP, I just log into Bloglines.

    The problem with Bloglines is usually too many feeds. I currently monitor just over 600 feeds. Not all updates every day, but enough that overnight I usually have 1000+ new items. Of course, a lot of those are news sites (Google News, CNN, Fark…), so you can burn through 300 or so items right quick.

  2. I can’t recommend a specific aggregator, since the one I have in mind is for Mac, but…
    My girlfriend uses an afggregator that pulls down the actual post from each RSS feed, and only gets the ones that were posted since the last access time. This means that you can start the aggregator up, click a button, and get all your feeds in one list, in chronological order. Or in folders. Your choice.

    1. Sadly, it’s not a “jet” set. It’s barely even a “pet” set. I’m not sure webcartoonists bathe often enough to be a “wet” set.

      But hey, the next big thing is right around the corner, and we’re ready for it. We’re the “get” set.

  3. Glad to help out. (And if a smooth-tailed rodent ever gets to be one of the Toughs who shoots an attourney drone, I’m not going to complain. 🙂 )

    Other Firefox extensions you might find handy:

    “Adblock” and “Adblock Filterset.G Updater”; at the very least, using these will let you know if adblocking Firefox users see the adds on the Schlock homepage or not.

    “Image Zoom”; to blow up small images to visibility, or shrink large ones to fit your screen. (There’s also an Image Zoom for Thunderbird.)

    “Wayback”; if a link ever goes to a 404 page, you can right-click, select Wayback, and see if the Internet Archive has a copy stored.

    “BugMeNot”; have you ever visited a news site that demanded some sort of pointless registration before letting you read the story? Right-click on the sign-in box, select ‘BugMeNot’, and the program will automagically search a database of usernames for that site and log you in.

  4. With my work schedule, I hadn’t noticed translating the data from my site had become “more important” than anything else. Last I heard it was way, way down on the totem pole.

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