Sunday, January 27, 2008

Thing Three - RSS

RSS Feeds!

Such a great idea, and implementation into so many popular websites. I just can't say enough about it, it's fantastic. It takes so many of my own shortcomings, and compensates for them. A usually terrible short term memory, procrastination and bouts of laziness. With RSS feeds, I subscribe one time and all my problems are solved. I listen to and watch a lot of podcasts and video podcasts, that come out on a weekly basis and some on a multi weekly basis. It's difficult to remember everything that I"m into on the best of days, what with going to every single website every single day looking for updates. Having RSS feeds bringing all the information that you want, into one place automatically is so convenient. I no longer have to remember every site and podcast and it cuts down a lot of time. I know I sound like an infomercial, and maybe rightfully so, because when it works it works great.

A funny story regarding RSS feeds happened last year, to a video podcast I watch called DLTV (Digital Life Television) about current technology stories and such (I put a link to it in my "Fav Sites" section). I believe they've offered an RSS feed for the show since it's inception, which is great. I have to also say, that in addition to RSS feeds bringing you the news all to one place, there are programs that also allow automatic downloading as well. So it not only informs you of the new information, it downloads it to your computer for you, taking away any manual downloading. Now DLTV screwed something up one time, where instead of sending you the single episode of the show, it sent every single episode the show has ever made. A single video for this show could range anywhere from 50mb all the way to 200mb+, needless to say they unintentionally filled up people's hard drives to the max. It only happened 1 time to my knowledge, and they apologized for it, and everyone had a good laugh. Anyway, I thought that was a funny story when it happened, and I wanted to share it since it ties into RSS feeds.

I chose to use Google RSS reader for this portion of the program. It was pretty easy to setup, and it's convenient having this Blog, RSS reader and my favorite search engine all connected. Seeing how Google is my home page on my home PC, I setup the "iGoogle" feature available from google. It places your RSS feeds on the home page, as well as other widgets like local weather, the time and date, movie listings among other things. Now on my blog, I've added a few feeds from the Duluth Public Library's blogs as well as gaming website I frequent. I didn't add any news feeds regarding non library related news, but I may in the future.

In all, RSS feeds are really convenient and save me a lot of time. Perhaps if our library ever decides to make our website "Web 2.0" compatible, people could customize the site not just for library news, but any other information they might be seeking through RSS feeds and other widgets. We're not there yet, but there's always the future to look forward to.


Kathy said...

Wow, you are good and make it sound effortless!
I am struggling with adding the feeds to my blog and they are huge compared to your little "fav" box.
So, any advice?

Dan said...

Well, as far as adding feeds to this specific blog site goes, it's fairly simpmle to setup. When you're in the customization/dashboard part of the site, under "Layout" then "Page Elements" you click on "add new page element" which gives you a lot of different options to choose from. For an rss feed, it's called "Feed", you find the url or link for which RSS feed and put in there. For favorite websites, there's an option called "Link List" where you just enter the website URL and the name for it. If you have any other, more specific questions feel free to email me or you can use an IM client, Yahoo - danbuckanaga, MSN - danbuckanaga, AIM - DMigizi02 I'm always happy to help if need be.