Saturday, October 30, 2004

Bloglines

Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com)

If like me, you're hearing all about RSS feeds and you want to give it a quick try, then I can recommend this RSS article grabbing service. I tried a few stand-alone apps designed for this job over the past week or so; they're fine in their own right, but Bloglines is not an app on your PC, it stays on the web, so you can access it from anywhere.

You sign up by giving them your email address and a password, then you check your mail for their confirmation notice and simply follow the link to find yourself in a framed Bloglines webpage with your feeds in the left pane and the articles in the right pane. If you open a new window and go to a site with an RSS or XML button (meaning it has a feed) you right-click on the button and copy the link. Then you go back to the Bloglines page and choose to add a feed and then paste the link into the field.

Once you're set up though, there is a much easier way to add feeds:

Subscribe to a Bloglines button. This is simply a Favorite, just like any other. With the button in your Favorites list, when you are visiting a new site that you want the feed from, click the button and you're taken to Bloglines to confirm the correct feed, and you're done!

Another great feature is the Bloglines Notifier. This is a tiny app that you download. It places an icon in your taskbar that every ten minutes or so (you can adjust the delay) checks for new articles from your subscribed feeds. If there are any new articles it makes a sound to alert you; you then double-click the icon to go straight to your Bloglines page without having to log in.

It does take a little longer to display the feeds than some of the stand-alones, as they usually grab all the articles and cache them for the session rather than building them on the fly. I'm going to try it for a week and then decide whether I want its ease of adding feeds and notification, over the faster switching in say, Abilon.

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