Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I have now joined the 21st century

I have finally started using a feed reader.

Yes, I know. I'm several years behind the rest of teh Internets when it comes to using an RSS reader for blogs I follow. But, I've finally decided to give it a shot. And I like it.

Now, I have tried feed readers in the past. My thoughts were: meh.

Perhaps it was just me. Perhaps I had a really sucky reader (no, I actually don't remember which one it was, but I didn't care for it). So, I did things the old fashioned way: I clicked links and went to the blogs I followed, and read.

After a while, that really becomes a chore. Sure, I could only follow a few blogs. In fact, that's what I ended up doing. Despite have a large blogroll, I found I would click on only a few blogs. I had to force myself to check them all.

And, if I have to force myself to do something, I'm not going to enjoy it. So, I eventually started just clicking on a few regular blogs. And, as a result, I missed out on some good stuff.

But, a few weeks ago, I decided to do some maintenance on my little blog, and that maintenance included updating my feed configuration -- something I hadn't put any serious effort into for some time.

Part of my standard methodology of making Web changes -- and changing the feed (I use FeedBurner) is a Web change -- is to see how the changes look in a browser. There's nothing worse than screwing up your Website and not knowing!

To view the changes in an RSS feed, I thought it would be a good idea to view it in a reader. And, since this little blog is hosted on Google's Blogger platform (they bought it a while back), and since FeedBurner is also a Google product (they bought it a while back), I decided to use Google Reader to check out the feed.

It was easy enough to set up a feed in Google Reader -- real easy in Firefox, in fact -- I decided to check out other blogs, starting with IMAO (not just because Frank J lets me blog there sometimes, but because I've been a fan for many years).

"Cool," I thought. And I added a few more. And a few more. Then, I discovered that there was an easy way to set up blogs from my blogroll (which is a simply list of blogs I added through Google/Blogger's Follow process).

"Cool," I thought. And then I discovered why many people use RSS readers. And, I'm not missing nearly as much as I used to. Everything's right there.

Some blogs use summary feeds. That means the feed contains just a teaser, and the reader must click to the blog to Read The Whole Thing. If the teaser teases me properly, I'll click through. But I don't prefer that method of feeds.

Many blogs put their entire posts there. When that happens, I can read from the Google Reader window. That's the way I prefer. And that's how I do my feed. Anyway, I'm enjoying using my feed reader.

I have now joined the early 2000s.

I've also been looking at video games. Have you seen this thing called Pong?


  1. And not only do you do it right by posting your entire feed, you also have the comment button in your feed. Michelle Malkin is in my reader, but she only posts the titles. I bet she hasn't gotten a comment from me in two years.

  2. Thanks! Like you, I take the approach that I want mine to work, um, right. One of the mistakes many people people make is not putting themselves in the position of the end-user.

    I had found some things you were doing on your blog that I liked, and said, "Hey, I like that. That makes it better." And I try to implement things like that on my little blog.

    Sometimes it's a cool feature, or it's a way to make things more user-friendly.

    The most recent example of this was when you told me about the issues that occurred when I put the comment form in-line. I didn't notice, because my normal browser didn't have that issue. But, after you brought it to my attention, I researched the possible fixes, and ended up moving the comments to a separate page (like you said to start with). That solved that problem.

    I then discovered another issue on my own. Some mobile devices (including my BlackBerry) have issues with the pop-up comment form (I really prefer the pop-up form), so I went to the full-page form. Yes, the issue is a minor one -- the pop-up requires 4 clicks to get back to the blog page after posting a comment, while the full-page requires 1 -- but, since I use my BlackBerry a lot, it's more noticeable for me.

    Anyway, thanks. I appreciate your tips and suggestions.

  3. Google Reader is my 'feed reader' of choice as well.


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