Monday, July 24, 2006

Susan, the technology expert, makes some recommendations


Jessie asked me about blog tracking, so I thought I'd post a bit on it here.

I first started using blog tracking software back in March, after Adrian posted a bit about Jetbrains Omea Reader. I had never heard of it before, but I decided to try using it because checking blogs individually was quite overwhelming! I really liked Omea Reader because it had a flagging system that allowed me to rate posts by importance, and it was easy to delete uninteresting posts so I didn't have to sift through them again. One click of the button and all my blogs were checked at once. Omea Reader is a desktop tracker that is downloaded to a computer, so it is not web-based. This is a disadvantage, as I found, is if you frequent a variety of computers, rather than just one.

A few months ago our computer went on the fritz, and after it was rebooted and everything was reinstalled, for some reason Omea Reader would not work on my computer after I reinstalled it. So I turned to a web-based service instead, which has the advantage of access on any internet-connected computer. I initially was planning on using Bloglines, but before I got very far in setting that up, Ashley convinced me to try Google Reader, which I really like. The deciding factor for me between Google Reader and Bloglines was that Google Reader tracks xanga accounts, unlike Omea Reader and Bloglines. I'm not a big fan of xanga (don't get me started. . . ), but there are a few intelligent xanga users out there, including Brother Dear and Becky, so tracking xangas is very helpful!

The catch to Google Reader is that I'm pretty sure you need a Google e-mail account (g-mail), but then, everyone should already have a g-mail account since it is such a wonderful service. If you want to sign up for g-mail, write me at susan [dot] garrison [at] gmail [dot] com, and I'll send you an invitation.

The benefit of any of the above services I mentioned is that they're all free, so take advantage of them and save some time!


Ashley said...

Actually, you don't need a gmail account to be able to use Google Reader. I was able to sign up with my Yahoo account. And you can get an email account now without an invitation.

I wish there was a way to delete uninteresting posts in Google Reader! That would be nice.

I like checking my blogs on an aggregator, but I do miss seeing the blog designs, and often I forget to check for comments after I've initially read the post. Overall though, it's a time saver. You should put your favorite recent posts on your sidebar like I did with mine. :-)

Jessica said...

Thanks for the info and recommendations! I've been wanting to get a blog reader for awhile now and you sold me on Google reader!

Susan said...

But I have 100 g-mail invites left, and I want to use them!!! Don't kill my fun.

What I do to sift through uninteresting posts on Google Reader is to just star the ones I want to come back to. My starred list then becomes my list of posts I'm watching for interest or posts I've commented to.

Oh, and you can show me how to display favorite recent posts in my sidebar! How about when I see you Saturday? ;) . . . Or we could wait until things get back to normal. *grin*

Ashley said...

Sure, Susan, how about we meet say 9-ish on Saturday and I'll sit down with you for as long as you want and show you how to do it. ;-)

Actually, it's pretty easy. If you want to play around with it yourself (since it will be a few weeks before I'll be able to help you), just go to "share" at the top of your Google Reader page... it's the rightmost button. Then just follow the instructions that Google Reader tells you. As long as you know how to copy-paste the code they give you into the template of your blog, then you're good to go!

Jessie said...

Thanks for letting me know in more detail, Susan. I just got my account set up (and sorry, I didn't need to use Gmail either! : ( You can just send me an invitation if you want to though, if it'll make you feel better!) and that's how I came across this new post of yours. And- I'm glad you liked the carrot-banana muffins! Aren't they good? It's like carrot cake marries banana nut bread. And you're right, they don't have to have the nuts. I like it just as well either way.

Jessie said...

Now if they could just come up with some kind of program to fill out the word verification slot on blogs for me- now, that would be a timesaver! (I always get them wrong!!) Of course, I guess it would kind of defeat the whole purpose though, wouldn't it? Oh well.

Anonymous said...

have you read, it looks like they live in the same area as you?

Anonymous said...

Bloglines does support xanga account. Goto Add->Communities while logged into Bloglines.

Anonymous said...

Just curious...what do you have against xanga?


Susan said...

It's sort of a running joke, with truth mixed in. I don't have a problem with the technology that makes up Xanga, nor all Xanga users (such as Becky and my brother), but the culture of Xanga is very middle-schoolish, in general. I have found in my general experience that more serious people congregate towards Blogger, whereas the middle school I-have-nothing-to-say-but-leave-a-comment-LOL types frequent Xanga :). This is not across the board, of course, but a general observation, which is noticed by many others as well.