After a burst of posts over a three day span that had me thinking I would be posting more regularly, it’s now been over a week since that last post. I have a very good reason for this. You see, this post is being typed with one hand, as the other is currently being occupied by a sleeping baby.
Okay, so that’s not really the reason, but you would think that my temporary typing handicap would make me somewhat less long-winded. No such luck! The real reason that I’m updating is to talk a bit about newsreaders, which I discovered quite a while ago, but have selfishly kept to myself this whole time.
For me, the term “newsreader” is somewhat inaccurate, as I don’t really use them to read “news” at all. I use them to keep up with my circle of friends who have web sites, and read other blogs of interest to me (like Dooce and the Flickr blog). The benefit behind these things is that you don’t have to click on all of your various bookmarks to see who has updated recently. I know that some of you use Kevin’s list of links for precisely this purpose (that list is darn handy, Kev). A newsreader allows you to check those and any other site you may read that publishes a feed.
What is a “feed”, you ask? In laymans (my) terms: a feed is basically all the content of your site published to a file in a format that can be read by any number of programs. So my feed consists essentially of each title, post, date, time, etc. No links, no navigation, no pretty formatting. Those are all (or should be) secondary to the point of this (and every) site: the content you want to read. Sites that publish a feed allow you read all or a portion of their content (with a link to the full article) in a newsreader.
Until recently, I had been using Google Reader, which I like. I’m going to continue to keep an eye on it as they add features and turn it into a better tool. But after seeing that someone was viewing my site using a tool called Bloglines, I decided to give that a try. I’m a big fan. There’s any number of different newsreaders out there, and they make your surfing life a lot simpler. Give them a try sometime.
Oh, and for those of you who don’t currently publish a site feed, consider doing so. Because I’m lazy. And don’t you just want to encourage that?