Using RSS feeds

September 3, 2007 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment

You can get news from the internet in several ways. There’s the horse-and-buggy method — google the source, figure out which item in the list really is the source, navigate to the source’s home page, poke around to find a recent story — but there are also modern hassle-free all-electric vehicle methods — set up a subscription and have the latest news sent to you automatically. This page describes one of the latter, how to get news sent to you automatically by setting up an RSS feed subscription.

What about email subscriptions? Some sources let you set up an email subscription. This method works well, but with one downside, your Inbox fills up with news stories. You can avoid this by 1) setting up a special folder to hold incoming stories, and 2) setting up an email filter to direct all incoming stories into this folder.

RSS feed reader programs

To use an RSS feed, you need to have an RSS feed reader program. You enter your subscription(s) into the program and it downloads news stories automatically for you. The easiest feed reader to use is a web browser. This page tells you how to use the Firefox web browser, but other web browsers are just as easy to use (instructions and symbols vary, but you’ll be able to figure it out). If you’re really adventurous and want to be a “power reader,” download a dedicated feed reader like NetNewsWire Lite (the Lite version is free and runs on Mac OS) or set up an RSS-enabled email program like Thunderbird to manage your subscriptions (this link takes you to Reed’s help page).

Setting up a Live Bookmark subscription

Follow these steps to create a Live Bookmark subscription in Firefox’s Bookmarks Toolbar:

  1. Open Firefox
  2. Find your news source’s RSS feed
    • If you are working from my list of News Sources, just click on the words RSS Feed in my list (not all sources may have feeds)
    • If you are working with another news source, look for the words RSS Feed on the source’s web page, or look for the LiveBookmark icon icon (it might be located in the address bar to the right of the URL or it might appear on the web page). Either click on the words or the icon wherever it appears
  3. A new web page will open asking whether you want to “Subscribe to this feed using Live Bookmarks.” Click on Subscribe Now
  4. You will be asked where you want to create the live bookmark. Choose the Bookmarks Toolbar Folder
    • If you create several feeds, you might overload your toolbar. This problem can be solved by renaming the feeds with very short names, or by using the Organize Bookmarks option (Bookmarks menu) to create a folder named Feeds in your Bookmarks Toolbar Folder and moving your live bookmarks to the new Feeds folder.
  5. You should see your new bookmark on Firefox’s toolbar with a small LiveBookmark icon icon next to it. Mission accomplished!

Reading your news stories

Each time you start Firefox, the program will automatically download the latest news stories associated with each Live Bookmark. To read your stories:

  1. Click on the feed’s Live Bookmark on your toolbar. This will produce a menu of story headlines
  2. Choose a story to read by clicking on its headline

Entry filed under: News sources.

Next meeting Sept 6, Th, noon News sources

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