09 August 2007

How I stalk blogs and websites online, easily!

I heart RSS feeds. For a long time I just had a big list of bookmarks, and clicked on all my favorite sites to see if they'd posted anything new. (You can't tell from the blogroll on this site, as of writing this, but I've actually got a huge blogroll that I check every day.) This sometimes was exciting (a new post! from a blogger I really like!) but actually ended up yielding a lot of wasted clicks and open windows. Then I figured out about how the whole RSS thing worked. I signed up with Google Reader and transferred all my bookmarked sites into Google Reader, categorized appropropriately (work-related, being-a-girl, cooking, crafts). Now I can check that shit out on a category-by-category basis, and not have to click around to all of my friends who update their blogs sporadically. (Not that I'm in that category, or anything.)

I've also got a Google personalized home page, which sounds LAME, I know it does, but basically I sign into my Google account and then I've got a bunch of features, some third-party (i.e. not Google-written) and some not. One one page, I can see if I've got new Gmail, I can view my Google Reader blog updates - sorting by most recent or by category and then most recent - I have the weather forecast for my area, I've got a little stopwatch widget (for when I take a break and play Candystand games), I've got a Google calendar (which I should use more than I do), I've got news feeds from the Boston Globe, the New York Times and NPR, I've got a wee Digg box, and some other stuff I don't really look at. It used to have a myspace widget but it was unreliable so the creator took it down. I can sign into my iGoogle page from anywhere with an internet connection and see my stuff (mostly I glance at my Gmail and the FeedReader.)

Anyway. I wasn't meaning to write about the google home page, I wanted to write about the RSS reader thing, because it is so super useful. I just got sidetracked for a minute with the available anywhere thing (you can sign into Google Reader from anywhere, too, and I believe they recently updated it so you can download stories onto your laptop, say, when you're somewhere with a connection - in an airport - and then read them offline later (when you're flying two miles above any wireless networks.)

Below is a video that explains, quickly (under 4 minutes) and amusingly (with the patter! I loves teh patter) how RSS readers work (Google Reader is the example they use, but there are others) and tells you, in a non-technical sort of way, how to set one up for yourself.

Best tip from the video? "It's addictive, so be careful." Truer words were never.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I do not see in it sense.