Anyone who wants to read a number of blogs and other web sites that contain frequently-changing information may find it slow and tedious to go from one web site to another in a web browser to find the latest articles. If you want to follow 20 or 30 blogs, newspaper sites, stock market reporting services, sports news about your favorite teams, CraigsList listings, and more, checking each one manually in a web browser will consume a lot of time. Luckily, there are two easy solutions that can save you a lot of time, allowing you to monitor all those sites within a very few minutes:
1. Use an RSS newsreader.
RSS has been available for years, but many people are not yet aware of its capabilities. RSS can simplify your life and save time. It is an excellent method of avoiding the flood of Internet security problems and email overload. RSS has become a popular way for news publishers to provide information without sending computer users to different Web sites, cluttering their email with spam, or exposing them to adware, spyware, worms, and viruses. These factors make it equally attractive to those who read their information.
I have written about the use of RSS newsreaders before, explaining how RSS works at https://blog.eogn.com/2014/05/06/rss-feeds-explained/ and showing how to read this newsletter’s RSS feeds in an article at https://blog.eogn.com/2014/06/16/rss-newsfeeds-for-this-newsletter/. You can find dozens of RSS newsreader programs available for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, Android, and Apple iOS. I cannot list all of them, but here are a few of the more popular ones:
NetNewsWire for Macintosh at http://netnewswireapp.com/
Reeder for Macintosh and for iOS (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch) at http://reederapp.com/
SharpReader for Windows at http://www.sharpreader.net/
NewzCrawler for Windows available at http://www.newzcrawler.com/
Omea Reader for Windows available at https://www.jetbrains.com/omea/reader/
These readers are programs that you download and install in your computer. As such, you do need to launch them to read the feeds from your favorite web sites.
There are also a number of web-based feed readers available. These work on any computer, including Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and other operating systems, via a web browser; therefore, they require that you go to the feed reader’s web site when you want to read the latest articles. My favorite web-based RSS newsreader is Feedly.com, available at http://feedly.com. I use it daily. Perhaps my second-most favorite is NewsBlur, available at http://newsblur.com/. However, you can probably find a dozen or so other web-based RSS newsreaders as well.
2. Use an RSS newsfeed-to-email service.
A number of companies offer services that will monitor your choice of RSS newsfeeds and, if any new articles are published, send an email message to you containing the article(s). This is a great way of keeping up to date with one or even dozens of web sites that have frequently-changing information. You don’t have to install any new software, nor do you have to remember to run any new programs. After you configure the service one time, you simply check your email messages from time to time, as always, and any new articles from your favorite web sites appear in your email in-box. You can also easily stop or change the service at any time, should you wish to do so.
In effect, you have a “software robot” residing in the cloud, looking for articles from your favorite web sites. If the robot finds new articles, it sends them to you as an email message. Some of the RSS newsfeed-to-email services will send the entire article to you. Others will provide only the title and the first few sentences; should you wish to read the entire article, you click on a link in the email message, and your web browser will open with the desired page displayed on your screen.
Most of the RSS newsfeed-to-email services are available free of charge although they do insert advertising into the email messages. After all, they have to pay their bills somehow. The paid ads allow you to receive a free service.
Details will vary from one RSS newsfeed-to-email service to another. However, most of them offer an option to select how often you will receive such messages. Most services allow you to select either once-a-day or once-a-week email messages. A few services will also offer an option to send new articles to you in email at other schedules, such as once every hour. You can try one schedule when you first sign up for the service. If you later find you are getting flooded with too many email messages, it is easy to change the schedule to select a different option.
To my knowledge, none of these services will send you an email message unless there is at least one new article since the last email message was sent. I have never seen a message saying, “This is to let you know there are no new articles since our last message.”
Here are some of the more popular RSS newsfeed-to-email services:
Blogtrottr at https://blogtrottr.com/ – Blogtrottr is an easy-to-use service with no sign-up required. Simply go to https://www.blogtrottr.com and enter the URL of the feed you wish to subscribe to and also enter your email address. You also need to select from a pull-down menu how often you want to receive email updates. Once you reply to a confirmation email message, you will start receiving new articles either immediately, every few hours, or daily, as you specified.
RSS FWD at http://www.rssfwd.com/index.aspx
RSS Forward at http://rssforward.com/
Feed Mailer at http://www.feedmailer.net/
FeedMyInbox at https://www.feedmyinbox.com/
You can probably find more such services by using a Google search.
How to find RSS newsfeeds
Once you have chosen your newsreader, you might wonder what web sites you might like to monitor. You need to tell your newsreader where to look for new articles; that is, specify the desired RSS newsfeeds. Finding RSS newsfeeds is deceptively simple. With most of the RSS newsreaders, you simply copy-and-paste the URL of the main page of the web site you wish to monitor. For instance, for this newsletter, you would copy-and-paste:
Most RSS newsreaders will then search that site looking for RSS newsfeeds.
If the above method does not work in your RSS newsreader, you can also copy-and-paste the direct address of the newsfeeds. Most web sites that offer RSS newsfeeds will post the direct address someplace on the main page of the site. For instance, to find the direct address for the two RSS newsfeeds for this newsletter, go to http://www.eogn.com and look at the menu items in the rightmost column. Near the bottom of the list, you will see two links:
Clicking on either of those will take you directly to the selected newsfeed.
NOTE: RSS newsfeeds may be difficult to read with the human eye, but your RSS newsreader will understand it perfectly.
Finally, if you would like to receive this newsletter’s daily email message containing all articles published on http://www.eogn.com within the previous 24 hours, go to http://www.eogn.com, look in the menus along the right side of the page, and find “Subscribe to the FREE Standard Edition Newsletter!” That section includes a link to the subscription page. A more direct route to the subscription page is to click here: http://www.feedblitz.com/f/?Sub=948986.
Whether used on just eogn.com or on the thousands of web sites that offer RSS newsfeeds, an RSS newsreader or newsfeed-to-email service will save you time and make you more productive.