Monday, June 28, 2004

Blogging Tips - Update Notification

One of the first questions that came up once folks started checking out the Soapbox was "how can I find out when there are new posts without having to visit the page all the time?" That's particularly important with a site like this one that may go days or even weeks without anything new.

It turns out there are two ways to get notified of updates. The "old fashioned" way is to subscribe to an email list that gets a message every time I make a new post. Doing that is simple - just click here to construct a subscription request email. Don't change anything in the email - just click "send".

The modern way is to subscribe to a "feed". Over in the sidebar you'll see a "FeedBurner Subscribe" link. If you copy that link and add it into just about any RSS or Atom compatible newsreader, the newsreader will periodically check for updates an notify you (in its own special way) when a new article is available. Note that we're not talking about old school "usenet" news readers here - we're talking about programs designed to receive syndication feeds from websites. Want to learn more about RSS newsreaders? Check out FeedBurner's expanation. If you're running KDE on Linux, check out the KNewsTicker applet built into KDE 3.x - it's a great way to get news feeds. Also, if you're a Mozilla Firefox user (and if you aren't, you should be) there is a Firefox extension that will add news feed capability to Firefox. Just do "tools -> extensions -> get more extensions" and look for something called "Sage".

With an RSS newsreader set up, you can subscribe to not just the Soapbox, but other great feeds like Slashdot, Ars Technica, Freshmeat, and many more. By automatically pulling the headlines for all your favorite sites into a single tool, you can save yourself a lot of browsing time and make sure you don't miss important news and information.

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