As many of you know, I am an information junkie. The more information I can have access to, the happier I am. Of course what really makes me happy is organizing that information into LISTS! 🙂 My husband calls me crazy when I start making lists of lists!
I’ve known about RSS feeds for a while now, but haven’t been happy with any of the options I found to read them. For a while, I used the Firefox extension RSS Ticker which would run the titles of updated web pages at the top of my Firefox window, but it updated continuously throughout the day, and my employer didn’t care for that so much :S.
Since I also use Thunderbird for my email client, I also tried using the native RSS “News & Blogs” feature, but I’d always forget to check it and it’s a little on the buggy side (feeds I’d delete would magically reappear the next day or later!).
However, this week I discovered a different Firefox extension – Brief. I LOVE IT! It uses Firefox’s native Live Bookmarks, and notifies me when I have new “feeds” (i.e. websites have been updated). To use it in Firefox, just click the little orange icon next to the address, and point it to your Live Bookmarks folder. Then, given the time you set in options, Brief / Live Bookmarks goes out and checks each of the sites in question to see if there is new material. The statusbar shows the Brief icon with the number of links you have not read (yes, mine says 298 !) You can click on that and it will bring up the Brief list of feeds in a tab.
I recommend changing the options so it opens each link in a new tab; I also changed my options so it opens Brief itself in a new tab, checks feeds only every 4 hours, and Sort oldest (applies to Unread view only). If you’re viewing the list using the “Unread” view, once you click on a main link to read or click the “Mark read” (to skip reading), it disappears from your view. So, it’s very easy to go through dozens of posts in a short time!
As you can see it shows the Title of the blog or web page, and at least a brief synopsis of what it’s about – sometimes it even shows the whole page (in the case of blogs). If you want a shorter list, you can change it to Headlines View, but I like the pictures so I’ve left that setting alone.
Oh, and if you think I’m bad about the number of posts to read … someone in the help forum for Brief said that once they got to 2751 (i.e. just past 2750) UNREAD feeds, it stopped working!! Just how many hours a day does that person spend on the internet?!? (mine # is so high because as soon as you add a feed, it goes and gets quite a few older posts so you can get caught up; to quickly catch up you can right click over a feed on the left and say “Mark Feed As Read” – then you’ll only see brand new posts).
Some of my favorite sites to “feed” from:
* About.com – they have several categories and you subscribe to each of them (or you can get info from them the “old-fashioned” way – in emails). Finances, health, different crafts, freebies, gardening, home & family, cooking, etc, etc, etc.
* Crosswalk.com – a Christian website. Even though I’ve subscribed to specific topics, it seems that some of their feeds are duplicated across groups. Careers, fun, devotions, finances, marriage, spiritual life…
I also have several individual blogs I subscribe to, but that’s another story …. 😀