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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Listen to this post as an mp3 file (for posts after 3/6/06)

I am interrupting this knitting blog with a bit of technical information. [Don't groan, you may find this helpful.] I am going to discuss the various ways in which you can subscribe to a blog. This is a topic I promised a couple of people I would discuss, but if you already know all about this, feel free to skip ahead.

Well, it has come to my attention that certain followers of my blog would like an easy way to know when I have posted without having to check the web site all the time. There are many ways to accomplish this. All you need to know is the url of the blog's feed, which is usually displayed somewhere in the blog's sidebar (see here for info about what a feed is).

Online Feed Readers (RSS Aggregators)

If you follow lots of blogs you should definitely check out Bloglines or NewsGator (see my left sidebar for subscription links to these). These are both free web-based software that let you create an account, enter a list of blogs, easily see which ones have been updated, and read the latest posts right at that site.

Bloglines, which is what I use (here's the list of blogs I subscribe to, in case you are interested), scans for updates about every hour, so you will know about new posts fairly quickly. However, if you do use one of these blog-feed readers it's still nice to click on the link to the actual blog now and then so you can read the comments or better yet leave a comment (which is always greatly appreciated).

Start Pages

If you only follow a few blogs, you may not want to bother with that. If you use Yahoo as your start page, I used to recommend that you add the blog feed to that (see Yahoo subscription link in the left sidebar). However, it has come to my attention that Yahoo does not show you the updates in a particularly timely fashion. It seems to take them a full day to see any updates.

If you have Google as your start page, you can add a blog feed to that (see sidebar again). It seems to be updated more frequently.

Email Subscriptions

Another option is to have an email sent to you automatically to let you know that a blog has been updated. I think this is a great option for people who only follow a few blogs. There are several online companies that provide this service for free. I've tried a few and here's what I found out (again, all of these are in the left sidebar for your subscribing pleasure).

After you create a free account with Squeet by specifying your name and email address, you can subscribe to a blog by entering the blog's url or the url of the blog's feed. Squeet will check for updates every 1-6 hrs and send you an email containing the content of the post (with or without pictures, as you specify).

With Squeet, you will get a separate email for every blog that you subscribe to. Also, it will send out an email if an old post has been updated.
RSSFwd is similar to Squeet, in that it sends you a separate email for every blog feed you have subscribed to. However, you do not have to create an account with RSSFwd (so they don't have your name -- if you care about stuff like that). You just enter your email address and the feed url and that's it. The only way to unsubscribe from an email feed with this service is to click on the 'unsubscribe' link at the bottom of the email itself.

RSSFwd seems to generate emails about as frequently as Squeet, possibly faster. However, it does not seem to send emails for updated posts.
Blogmail at Blogarithm.com
After you create a free account with Blogarithm you will get one email a day letting you know which of the blogs you have subscribed to were updated. The email doesn't contain the full text of the posts, just summaries with links back to the full posts at the appropriate blog.

The downside with this is that they only send out 1 email a day, so if the blog gets updated right after the email goes out, you would not be notified until the next day. However, the emails themselves are much smaller -- which would be good if you are still on dial-up or want to get updates for a several blogs in one email. The emails seem to go out in the morning (at least mine do).
This service is similar to Blogarithm (1 email a day), except that FeedBlitz gives the publisher of the feed some control over how the email feed will look (summary vs. full post, etc). Also, if you pay for a 'Turbo' account you can get updates more quickly.

Anyway, I've added all of these email services to my left sidebar for you to try. You just enter your email address and select the service you want and you will be brought to a page where you can specify some other details to complete the subscription process. If are interested, try a few and see which works best for you. You can always unsubscribe if you don't like the service. I haven't gotten any spam yet as a result of using these services, so I think they are safe that way.

Knitting Update

I've decided to finish Daughter#1's Trixi cardigan THIS WEEKEND. Last night I reknit (don't ask) the collar. Tonight I hope to fix the sleeve caps and finish seaming. Then I just need to buy a zipper and sew that in. Want to guess how long that will take?

Leave a Comment 5 comments:

JessaLu said...

Very concise :o)

Auntie Amanda said...

(I never know where to reply to comments so I thought I would just come to the source) In NC it is required by the state to give a standardized test every year after the child turns 7. There is a list of acceptable tests, some have more stipulations than others. We use the CAT because there is a short version you can use and it can be administered by the parent. The only thing I like about testing is I have something tangible to show the extended family that proves she is actually learning something!

Christine said...

Cool! I've used NewsGatorOnline for years now, and Bloglines (which I don't like as much), but I didn't know about all of those e-mail services. Thanks for the links!

anne said...

thanks for the information. i've been reading more and more blogs since i started mine, and this will be helpful.

choonkeat said...

Just to clarify, RssFwd does deliver updates of old content, but only if the title change as well.