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Making Things.

1.31.2007

RSS Readers - tutorial for technophobes

Ok.

In Northern California the tech influence is all over the place.

So I learned about RSS Readers.

And I wrote a little tutorial, so you too can use it. I'm not super hyper into it yet, but its cool.

RSS Readers For The Technophobe:

If you are like me, and developing technology makes you run screaming, have no fear. The RSS reader is here. (I know, it rhymes).

An “RSS Reader” is a special page ( a “reader”) that lets you know when your favorite websites have been updated. That way you don’t have to spend time surfing around.

“RSS” is the technology that lets the information get to you. It is also known as “a feed” or and “rss feed.” RSS stands for “really simple syndication” or something like that.

Google makes it nice and easy.

You will need a google account to use this free service.

They have a simple tour of a reader that they make, and after you take the tour, they will walk you through the steps to make it happen.

Here is the link:
http://www.google.com/help/reader/tour.html

Google will give you the option to subscribe to their bundles. You need not do that. All you have to do is enter the urls to your favorite blogs and sites by clicking “add subscription” and typing your favorite urls.

You can “subscribe” to blogs, newspapers, and a lot of websites. Go to your favorite place and if it says anywhere on the homepage anything about RSS, you are in business (I think).

Try it out by entering wildhorsesociety.blogspot.com.
See what happens?

Wild Horse Society is added to your list of subscriptions on the left there, and next to the name is a number. That number indicates how many updates there are for you to look at.

You get the text and imagery from all the posts that you haven’t read, and if you want to watch a video, you click on the link.

When you add a new subscription, it might tell you that you have a lot of unread stuff. This freaked me out. If you don’t want to look at it, you can double click on the subscription and click “mark all as read.”

The other cool features of the Google RSS Reader are:

“Home” – is like a table of contents of the items you haven’t looked at.

“All items” – click on this and the on the upper left click on “show only new” then this page becomes a compilation of the new posts you haven’t read. Its like having your own newspaper, every day! On the internet!

At the bottom of each post there are a few icons. For the layperson, the most exciting are:

“Email:” you can email the stuff you get excited about to someone else who might get equally excited.

“star:” keep track of your favorite stuff.. if you add a star, the post will be filed into your “starred items” folder.

If you want to unsubscribe to a site:

Go to settings
If you don’t see a list of your subscriptions, click “subscriptions”
Click of the thing you want to get rid of
And click unsubscribe.

You can do all kinds of neat stuff if you dig a little deeper. You can set the thing up to read on your “mobile device” or set it up to easily repost something to your blog (if you blog that is).

That’s about all for the basics. Thanks to Ashley and Ethan and Nathalie and Damon for explaning RSS to me, and for showing me Newsfire (another reader) and Google. May the force be with you.



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