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Just some random musings .

Friday, September 28, 2007

Your Computer Minute - Tech Talk

I will try and do a techie post at least once a month (maybe once a week). Seeing as how my day job has me dealing with software and hardware all day why on earth would I want to spend my free time doing this? Well, maybe I can get syndicated and slide in a few shots at Mr. Turbitt in print in the Tribune. And, hell, I more than likely will be doing this post on the clock anyhow.

Today’s Topic: Feed Readers (aka Feed Aggregators) - An Avid Bloggers Wet Dream Come True

What is a Feed Reader?

"In computing, a feed aggregator, also known as a feed reader or simply as an aggregator, is client software or a Web application which aggregates syndicated web content such as news headlines, blogs, podcasts, and vlogs in a single location for easy viewing."
~ Wikipedia

If you are like me, you spend quite a long time hopping from one blog to the next in order to find out if there are any new posts. An older shortcut would have been saving the blogs you frequent in your favorites or adding a bookmark of some sort within your browser of choice. While this makes it a bit easier to jump from blog to blog, you must still scroll through to see if there are any updates to each and every blog you visit. Comments within these blogs is a whole ‘nother story. To find out if there were any new comments posted since your last visit you have to remember how many comments were left the last time you stopped in and scroll through the blog looking for any of the "comments #" that has increased. This gets impossible if you have been away from a blog for any long period of time. Also, you may never see comments added to much older posts that do not show up on the main page of the blog site. I hope I have not lost you yet and that most bloggies can relate to this.

Well there is a very simple solution to this cumbersome procedure. Feed Readers have the ability to allow a user to consolidate all the blogs they would normally frequent into one easy access page (know as subscribing). That is right you can view all your favorite blog posts in one magazine-like online page.

"Blogger Nirvana" you say? Hold tight it gets better.

I know anyone that keeps tabs on more than 4 blogs will be thinking, "That would be Blog Post Overload". They may fear that they would be presented with a page full of contless old and new posts from the blogs that they decide to subscribe to. Fear not. Once you read a post you can mark it as read and it will no longer show on the page. Each time a new blog is posted on any of the blogs you subscribe to your Feed Reader page will automatically be updated (by the fairy blogger).

What this means is that you can now go to your Feed Reader online and it will present you with all updated blog posts (or ones you have not read) from all the sites you fancy.

"What about all the comments? You said it allows me to see all the updated comments within the blog?" you wail. This is true. Most blogs give the Feed Readers the ability to subscribe to the comments section as well. This allows you to see not only all update blog (or unread) posts on that one page but all updated comments as well.

No that I have sold you on the benefits and I have you drooling over this Feed Reader phenomenon, I know what little voice in your head is saying. "How much does it cost for this amazing service?" All this would normally run you around $39/month at your local Bloggers Buy retail store.... But if you act now and send me cash or check in the amount of just $38.99 This can all be yours. And for a limited time only the first 50 bloggers to purchase will also get a set of Ginsu blades....

Just kidding. The service is completely FREE.

There are many online Feed Reader services that allow you to sign up and start subscribing to your favorite blogs for Free. The one I use is Google's Feed Reader. Damn is there anything they don't do online? One of the neat features is that if you already have a Google Gmail account or Google Blogger account or Google Analyzer account, or Google Gbank account.... whoops, that’s right the Gbank service launches in Jan '08... then you can use your login name and password and log on immediately and start configuring your own personal Feed Reader.

Configuring it is as simple as browsing the internet.

  1. Go to www.google.com/reader
  2. Log in with your Gmail account
  3. Hit the “add subscription” button
  4. Type in pragmaticplato.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
  5. Click “add”
  6. And viola… the recent blog posts appear on the right side.

For comments do all the steps above but replace the URL in step 4 with the following: pragmaticplato.blogspot.com/feeds/comments/default . The most recent comments from that blog will now also appear on the right hand side.

Continue this process until you have added all the blogs you care to follow, replacing “pragmaticplato” with the blog name of your choice.

After you have added all your subscriptions and browsed through all the posts and comments on the right side, click the “mark all as read” button at the top. Then click the “all items” button and every time you visit your Feed Reader site only the new comments and posts from all of your subscriptions will show up.

If I have succeeded in completely confusing you there is a very easy to understand tutorial movie on the homepage of the Google Feed Reader site that will clear it all up for you.

That’s all for today folks. Feel free to post any comments or questions. Till next week …. Happy Blogging!


Boni said...

I'd like to do that but I'm afraid it'll slow my blog upload. Do you have any ideas on how i can fix that?

Anonymous said...

I rarely write remarks, but i did a few searching and wound up
here "Your Computer Minute - Tech Talk". And I do have a few questions for you if you
don't mind. Could it be just me or does it look like a few of these responses appear like they are written by brain dead folks? :-P And, if you are writing at additional sites, I would like to follow anything fresh you have to post. Would you list of every one of all your shared pages like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

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