Monday, March 11, 2013

Keeping up with the news - RSS reading

(Source: Wikipedia)
While there's no great updates on my hobbying it doesn't mean I don't keep up with what's going on with the industry, my friends and peers, and general news for my hobby interests.

There's a million feeds, a million updates, so many that going to each site would take immense amounts of time. So how do I keep up? Mainly Rich Site Summary (RSS)  feeds, and slick tools to skim the content. A great many tools have come out to date. Feedly is probably the best collector to date, with addons/apps/plugins getting the rest of the skimming then reading done.

Let's take a look at some of the tools.

Certainly Google Reader is one of the better, most openly available RSS readers. You can start with any account, though if you have a gmail account things move. You can get started here: Damn you Google... Really!?

Ok, rewrite - Go to and sign up there. Pulling in RSS feeds is just as easy as Google was. (Still mad!)

Once you sign up you'll need to find the RSS link for any given site you want to monitor. Let's say you wanted to monitor this site for updates. Go to the left panel, and click the "Add Website" button, when prompted, paste in the RSS feed you'd like to follow. In my case (and in most cases with Blogger) it will be

Just put for 99% of the sites. Some sites will advertise an RSS feed signified through the icon above and will lead you to a link that you can copy and paste. These are unique and can go from text only feeds, to audio podcasts and video feeds. Definitely take a look around your favorite sites to find these feeds.

Once you've got a bunch of subscriptions you'll want to organize them. Feedly also allows you to put feeds into folders for easier digesting. As feeds come in you'll see that they're bold until read, after which they'll turn into a plain font. To make sure that you aren't over whelmed pull down on the menus to make sure all feeds are marked read. This way you'll start with a clean slate and not have to feel like there are 398 unread items... It's supposed to be fun, not another job reading all this stuff.

The exceptional feedly in action within Firefox

Once you've organized everything and marked it read, now it's time to get on the road. Whether you have an Apple device, a Droid device or a Windows Phone there's going to be a reader application.

For Apple I highly recommend Feedly which will let you integrate with your Google Reader account. It works well, looks great and seamlessly keeps things manageable "out of the box."

For Droid users going to the Play Store and downloading feedly is also available, though your very best alternative will be Google Reader. It's much more of a listing than feedly, though it'll still be a swift way to skim articles through gesture.

For Windows phones things are a lot rough right now. If someone has one they'd like to recommend, please post a recommendation in the comments below.

Once you get playing with Feedly and Google Reader you'll find yourself subscribing to a lot of feeds that you often missed updates from (such as yours truly who doesn't update daily) or to feeds that are relevant to work as well as play.

Have fun with the news, and have fun browsing the pictures too. (hint - flipboard for iOS is a fun thing to work on.)

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