Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Strapping on the feeds bag

I've become reliant on RSS feeds to the point that if something online is not available in an RSS feed, chances are I'm not seeing it.

So, as a public service, I'm presenting my own roundup of the feeds I like, the tools I like and especially what's currently lacking in the RSS world.

RSS Readers - I use Bottom Feeder as my RSS reader. It's got a DIY sort of feel about it ... and it's free. I've also played around with Pluck, but it seems too AOL-ish or something to me. Both of those readers are free, and I can't imagine why anyone would pay for a reader nowadays.

Good Feeds - It doesn't take long to figure out which feeds are most useful. These are ones I've found that update correctly, contain enough context in their descriptions to entice a click or do a nice job of creating RSS from sources that don't offer it directly.

- Wired News - Wired offers a number of feeds, all of which are excellent.
- Tapestry - An aggregator of online comics, which render in full in your news reader. I'm partial to Dilbert.
- Topix.net - I'd never heard of this news compiler before RSS. I've got an "Offbeat" feed set up in addition to local news feeds for Atlanta, Baton Rouge and Nashville.
- World Sex News - This comes through myrss.com, an often-annoying service that sends you to interstitial pages if a category isn't sponsored. The sex stuff, though, always has a sponsor. And "sex news" covers everything from "Yale sex gets bad award" to "Naked women protest circus animals", so it's not all about porn and stuff.
- Yahoo RSS News - A good and growing selection of Yahoo's top stories available through their own RSS feed system.
- Fark - This feed is hosted by the Pluck reader folks, but is usable in other readers. Good stuff.
- RSSweather.com - RSS feeds of current conditions and forecasts for whatever city you like.

Blog Stuff - I have to really, really like a blog to read it often if it doesn't feature an RSS feed. Blogger users, it's easy to create a usable RSS - just enable your Atom feed, then run it through 2rss.com.

I've got an RSS feed set up for the Wisdom and for my other favorite (RSS-enabled) blogs.

Right now, these are the blogs I have in my reader (the links are to their RSS feeds). If you've got a blog that has RSS and you think I might like it (especially if you're somebody I already have in my left rail), please feel free to leave a comment with your RSS URL.

- Coffee Achiever (the wife)
- Aubrey Sabala
- Day's Limit
- Dizzy Girl
- Espresso Sarcasm
- Joeventures
- Reading in the Dark
- Sour Bob
- Sugar, Mr. Poon?
- That Yellow Bastard
- Tiger Beat

Also, HaloScan generates blog comments in RSS, which makes it real easy to track new comments at the Wisdom and elsewhere.

The Wish List - These are the sites and searches I want to see get RSS-enabled. If anybody knows of a good way to make these happen, please leave a comment.

- Google News: Yes, there are a few tools out there that create a Google News RSS feed based on a keyword, but they lack the advanced search features such as limiting searches to a specific news source that Google itself has. How can Google not yet be in the RSS game? Bounce me off Google.com on my way to the news site if you're worried about audience.

- AJC.com: The hometown newspaper remains a decade behind in technology. I talked to That Yellow Bastard about making a feed out of their online print version (http://www.ajc.com/print/content/epaper/editions/today/ - the full text of the entire paper is available online for free every day, in case you weren't aware. Add metro.html, sports.html, business.html and living.html after the /today/ to get the other sections), but he hasn't come through yet. Somebody with more tech skills than me needs to help a brother out here.

- The Advocate (the Baton Rouge daily, not the national gay newspaper): My old hometown newspaper remains two decades behind in technology. A better Google News search might help me grab the Advocate news everyday.

- Ebay item search: I want a feed that shows me new items with "LSU" in the title. I can get that by email; it should be available through RSS, too.

- Monster RSS: Another thing that typically is delivered by email that would be much more useful in RSS. A jobs feed based on your requirements. No-brainer.

- Pollstar RSS: Or another concert feed to keep me up on new shows booked for Atlanta.

- Directory of RSS-enabled blogs: Not an RSS feed, per se, but give me an easy place to find blogs that have RSS feeds, ranked by popularity or something.

- New RSS RSS: A feed that shows the latest feeds from the big content players.

And there you have it. If any of you have other favorite feeds, wish lists, etc. please feel free to leave a comment. I'm always in search of new and better feeds.

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