2011-07-24

Efficiently following web news with RSS

As my productive machines are all running Ubuntu 10.04 where Firefox 3 is still the standard browser. It is not automatically updated due to a policy like "never change a running system". However, you can add another repository from Mozilla to get the latest stable Firefox, which I did a few weeks ago.

So I am probably one of the last persons suddenly missing the RSS feed icon at the right side of the URL location bar.

If you don't know, what RSS is: It gives you the possibility to read new blog and news site entries of different sites all from one place with the ability to track what you already read and what not - more information here.

I found this blog post telling that it got removed with Firefox 4 because only 3 percent of users ever clicked on that icon! - That is crazy! Are there still people surfing manually from one interesting page to the next? - I simply can't believe that!

Although I have upgraded to the latest Firefox already a while ago, I only now noticed the missing RSS button. I think, it is because I already have a quite stable set of feeds I read which does not change a lot any more. Maybe this is a reason for the 3 % statistics mentioned above...

Without RSS feeds I wouldn't be able to follow recent news in my areas of interest. There is so much news published on the internet and there is so few time to read. Without RSS feeds I couldn't get over the massive amount and read just the most important (and really new) information.

With the rising amount of smart phones I find it even more important to have RSS feeds as surfing the web on the smart phone is just annoying.

For all others, missing the RSS feed icon: It's now under Bookmarks -> "Subscribe to this page". You can get back the button by adding it to the toolbar (right-click into a free area on a toolbar and choose "Customize..." - there you find the RSS button which you can drag somewhere onto your toolbars).

Here is my way how I keep up-to-date:
  1. I select sites (Blogs, News-Sites, Forums etc) that publish good content in areas of my interests.
  2. I subscribe to those sites via RSS (clicking the Feedly RSS button) - Feedly is my favorite RSS reader.
  3. Then I categorize the feeds into Computer, Linux, Development, News, Science etc so that I can read news by category when I don't have time to go through all.
  4. Since having an Android smart phone I usually go fast through the headlines by starting the Google Reader Android app Feedly app while on bus or tramway - or waiting somewhere. I star/mark those items I want to read more in detail later or where I want to do more searching on the net for the topic - or if I want to comment later on a particular blog post.
  5. When back on one of my laptops or desktop I go to Google Reader site click the Feedly-button again and switch to starred/read-later items - as the feeds are synced with my smart phone and across different machines whatever has been set to read or marked with a star is the same status on all machines automatically. When I am done with what I wanted to do, I remove the star and done.
Even if you an artist, teacher, plumber or other profession - no matter, there are plenty of sites that might be worth watching. Don't waste time by continuesly surfing from one site to the next where you can't see immediately what you already read and what not!

Related post: Mobile phone situation, Firefox and RSS feeds in Google Reader, Why RSS Feeds and alternatives to Google Reader.

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