How to Use News Feeds

A news feed is a good way to keep up-to-date with a website that changes frequently. The best way to read a news feed is to set up a subscription in your email program. Then you will get an email-like notification whenever a change to the site is made. This is especially useful for staying on top of the FamilyBlogs. You can also use it to watch changes to this site. The feed URL for this website is shown on SubscribeToChanges.

Live Bookmarks

Live bookmarks are a feature you can set up in your web browser. Live bookmarks are like regular bookmarks except that you will be shown a quick list of all the entries you haven't read yet. If you prefer to receive updates using only your email program, then skip to the Notifications section below.

In order to do a live bookmark, you have to be using either Firefox (download), or else Internet Explorer 7 Beta (download). On either of those, visit the website you want to subscribe to and then look for this icon:

feed-icon32x32.png

That will set up the live bookmark. Now you can jump to the blog page quickly just like with a regular bookmark. If there is a new post then the bookmark will be boldfaced.

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Feed Notifications

To get notifications, you need to install a "news aggregator." The most popular one is Thunderbird (download). You can also use Outlook 2007 Beta 2 if you have it. If you already have either of these programs then you just need to create a new account for your news feeds. Instead of installing software, another alternative is to use the online Google Reader.

If you use Outlook 2003 then it doesn't support news feeds without getting an add-on. There is a good, free add-on called RSS Popper (download). Install their software and then follow their instructions for subscribing to news feeds.

Once you have set up a subscription, you will have an email folder that represents the website. Every time a change is published, you will get a notification that looks like a new email.

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Subscribing to Multiple Feeds

Some news readers have the option to import an "OPML" file. This means that you can subscribe to lots of feeds at once by uploading a file that contains them. On the FamilyBlogs page there is an OPML file that has all the blogs owned by family members.
Topic revision: r8 - 28 Mar 2007, ChadParry
 

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