I have been weeding through my feed subscriptions. Seeing “links for” is an instant unsubscribe…

unsubscribed from my feedreader

Both IE7 and FF have icons that appear highlighted when a web site has a web feed. Hopefully, this “in your face” display will encourage more users to learn about and use RSS and ATOM feeds.

Interestingly enough, many webmasters have not updated their web pages to take advantage of this new autodiscovery feature. The code is certainly easy enough. Here is the recipe that describes how to do it:
IE7 / Firefox: Enable Live Bookmarks or Web Feeds for Your Web Sites

Too Much RSS Feed Bling

October 31st, 2006

I know we all love RSS feeds.  Even more so, with a recent rash of plug-ins, advertising options, and feedburner services… many users are embracing RSS feed bling.  However, as in cars or cell phones, too much bling is just tacky.

 

Nothing against Cybernotes.  I just did a google blogsearch for “related entries:” and they were one of the first examples that I found. (I am actually going to subscribe to their feed for a while because they look like they have interesting content.)  With that brown-nosing aside, I do think this is an example of RSS bling overload.

Ads, related posts, and feedburner feedflare — any of these are completely justified on a RSS feed.  I certainly have no problems with ads (especially text ads) in a full content RSS feed.  I am not sure that the related posts or feedflares are ever utilized by users, but I see the attractiveness to the idea.  We are experimenting with feedflares on many of our sites right now.

To combine all three of these seems like overkill to me.  In fact, I think it is an injustice to the advertiser.  This is giving the reader a lot of options to click other than the “sponsored by” link.

Many times I am seeing that the related post information is actually generating more content than the actual blog post itself.  I am assuming that most people are using the related entries plugin by WASABI.  My hat comes off for a great idea for a plug-in, and I think that on many sites that it works well after the main content within the blog itself.  However, it certainly seems to be a lot of bling overkill for a RSS feed IMHO.  The RSS copyright plug-in is another example of a plugin that, if not used carefully, can overwhelm a RSS feed with excessive content.

RSS feeds are a beautiful thing.  Trashing them up with too many services, however, goes against the very simplistic nature that has made RSS feeds so attractive. 

Addendum:

I believe this morning I have seen the absolutely worse case of rss bling ever:

How to Master the IE7 Feed Reader

September 21st, 2006

The feed reader incorporated into IE7 steals from most of the excellent feed aggregators already out there. It is intuitive and natural.

Here is a brief introduction to get one started:

In IE7, click the star to open up the feed reader/favorites window.

Click the Feeds tab to view the feeds. Alternatively, you can just hit CTRL+J from anywhere in IE7 to jump to the feeds. Now, IE7 looks like most of the other feed aggregators out there:

By default, the feed reader window will close after you make your first selection. This is a painful default choice. Lock your feed reader window by hitting this button:

After the window is locked, moving from feed to feed is easy. Just click the feed and read. The RSS content will appear in the main IE7 window.

Additional tech-recipes posted about the new IE7 feed reader/aggregator will be linked here. The best submissions will receive instant swag. I’ll be posting some basic ones soon. Anybody want to step up the plate?

Addendum… Here are some of the first entries about the IE feed reader:

Even though many in the Microsoft camp have suggested that IE7 will be THE stimulus for the eventual explosion of RSS feeds, I had never believed it. 

RSS feeds to me are really about as anti-browser as you can get.  I have hundreds of web feeds that I scan each day.  I could never do that in a browser.  RSS feeds provide the raw content without the fluff.  Heaven!

Other than turning people off away from web browsing in general, I never bought this idea that IE7 would be the RSS savior.  Now, I believe I was wrong.  Ironically, it is all because of newsgator.

I have long been a fan of newsgator as a feed reader.  Its XP client is uberslick, it’s online system is good enough, and its smart searches are exceptional.  However, I have been having problems getting my newsgator serial code to work on my local newsgator client in vista.  Right when I was about to give up and contact support, I noticed that newsgator released a tray client that keeps a user’s newsgator feed subscriptions synced with IE7.

Why?  On his blog, Nick suggests reasons for this when he describes the release of the tool.  Now a user can get a free newsgator account and just sync to IE7 without ever giving newsgator a dime!  Always synchronized feeds across web and local client platforms for free?  Wow!

Without this tool I would have not considered IE7 to be my primary RSS client.  I was happy with newsgator, but now I realize that IE7′s feed reader is just as slick. I’ll keep my newsgator subscription for other reasons, but I can see that some users may no longer see a need to purchase the local newsgator client now! 

At least for now, I’ll continue to use the newsgator client on my IE6/XP setup.  However, when I migrate completely over to Vista, I may no longer have need for the newsgator client. 

As Nick as suggested, newsgator likely has bigger plans that just selling local rss clients.  I am intrigued to see what newsgator’s master plan is.

IE7 First Thoughts and Fixes

February 1st, 2006

When IE7 beta was released earlier this week, several friends of mine were quick to download it. For the most part they liked it; however, they are slowly hitting me with new questions about this updated browser. In typical tech-recipes style, I have answered some of these questions in our new Internet Explorer 7.0 section.

So far I am moderately impressed. I like the tabs a bit better than in firefox. It takes a little time to get comfortable with any GUI change, but that’s not too painful. The RSS/XML support is nice. The widespread fears of CSS-rendering wasteland have been largely been put to rest although some CSS issues still exist.

Firefox’s plug-in system is amazing, and I hope something similar comes out for IE7. I don’t miss firefox as much as I miss some of the unique abilities that certain plug-ins give me.

If you have IE7 hints, tweaks, hacks, please post them. We love giving away gifts for such things. If you have an IE7 issue, we’ll try to help you through it.

Remember, if all else fails, just uninstall the IE7 beta and wait for the next version to roll out.

What Google Reader Needs

October 8th, 2005

This is what I believe Google Reader needs…

1. Soon after importing my OPML into Google Reader, I realized that it needs some way to bulk mark feeds as read. Some days I do not want to read everything. I just want it clean.
2. When AJAX is thinking, it needs an hourglass. For all of the evils of microsoft, at least you know when the OS is busy processing. Nothing in AJAX.
3. When I click on a blog subscription, I want to see all the entries at once. Newspaper view. Headline view. Whatever you want to call it…every non-web aggregator has this.

I adore Google. No web search compares, and now all of these goodies from their Labs. The latest release is Google Reader, on online RSS reader (that davak has already commented on in the blog here).

The first thing I noticed when playing with it was the shortcut keys to go up and down. To go up in the list press k, for down press j. I’ve loved vi longer than Google (only because vi is older and we have a long history). These keys don’t mean much to anyone else (they don’t seem like a standard outside the UNIX community except as hard letters to use in scrabble), but it just feels right when I have my index and middle fingers on them, ready to scroll at my whim. It would be great if we could search there for text using / (like Firefox does, thank you very much), but they’ve already used n for next page.

Google Does RSS Reader

October 7th, 2005

Well, Google enters the RSS aggregator market. Enjoy…
http://www.google.com/reader

Addendum:

Thanks AlexTheBeast for the quick review.