Saturday, October 13, 2007

Google Reader, you say?

As a follow-up to yesterday's post on how readers find my blog, I wanted to discuss one of my new favorite things, Google Reader, and how easy it's made it for me to keep up with my favorite blogs.

First, though, could we take a moment to celebrate the Bruins' win last night? Due to the stupid lateness of the start, I only watched the first period, which ended 1-1, then listened to the start of the 2nd in bed. The last score I remember was 4-1 Boston, so I was happy (how nice that I fell asleep before the next two goals, which were all LA). This morning, I found out my boys managed to win, 8-6. Not bad! Need more defense, but there's some offense for you, finally! Another late game tonight*, and then next week we return to normal. A 7 PM game Thursday, how refreshing! (Of course, I have a condo meeting at 7 on Thursday, doesn't that figure? But I'll be able to watch most of the game, anyway.)

*And I don't think I'm even going to be watching the first period, since there's apparently a power outage in San Jose at the moment. It's a conspiracy, I tell you.

Now, Reader, my newsreader. If you know what these things are, skip ahead over this section. For those who don't, here's a brief explanation.

Say you read a blog or other website that is updated periodically, whether it's daily, weekly, monthly, whatever. You check back every so often to see if it's been updated. Perhaps you check every thirty seconds to see if the Yarn Harlot has written about last night's event yet (maybe now? how about now? or now?) or to see if Crazy Aunt Purl has written anything to distract you from your day.

Perhaps you stumble over a blog you really like, and think, I'll have to remember to check this one again. Then, if you forget its name or address, you get frustrated as you try to remember how exactly you found it in the first place. "Was I searching on 'llama yarn hat pattern'? Or 'alpaca hat pattern knit'? Or...?"

At last, you cry out, "There has to be a better way!"

There is. Google Reader is one of a number of similar ways to both keep track of your favorite blogs, and be notified when they update. Now, I admit, it's the only one I've tried, but it sure does do the job. I won't call it perfect (there are a few bugs in every system), but hey, it works pretty close to perfect, and it's free. Not bad. To use it, you do need a Google account, which I have. Once you're in, you "subscribe" to whatever blogs you want, and then whenever you open Reader, it tells you who has new posts. You can access it wherever you sign in to your Google account, so it's better than bookmarks for remembering addresses, plus you don't have the frustration of checking sites to find that they haven't been updated yet (or was I the only one doing that?).

Now, for reasons I know not, you can read the full entry of some blogs in Reader, while others only give you the first few lines, and you have to go to the site itself to read the full entry. This leads to one of my few frustrations with it, which isn't even its fault. The Yarn Harlot is so popular, her server has trouble keeping up with demand, and frequently I won't be able to get through when I try to go to her site. At such times, it's really frustrating to know that a new post is there, but not be able to read it!

One of my favorite features is the "starred feature". If you want to be able to find a particular post again, you can "star" it, and then if you want to find that pattern or recipe or whatever again, you don't have to go searching through the whole blog, or even try to remember which blog it was. Handy!

So, this is why I'm so fond of Google Reader. Thanks to Stacey for telling me about it!

Now if I could just get into Ravelry ...

Whoa! I went to check on my status, since I was pretty close the other day, and I'm in! Invited today, woo!

My user name is ccrinMA, of course (can you believe it wasn't taken?). If you're a Raveler and have any tips, lay them on me! Who knows how long it will take me to get all my info in there, but should be fun to play with, eh? Must not stay up all night ...

But before I go, you need a cat picture, don't you? Pan was very needy today, so at one point I decided that if he wanted to be played with, I would play with him.

He really didn't seem to mind being in a toy fort; he even stayed there while I got the camera. After a while, he did move, though. Can you see the mousie in this shot?

Hint: look for the little red nose...

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Blogger amy said...

Found you and friended you. :-) Have fun!!!

10:34 AM, October 14, 2007  
Blogger Stacey said...

Congrats on Ravelry! I'll look for you and friend you...

As for the partial/full post view in reader: I think it has to do with the settings on the poster's side.

For instance, in Blogger:
Under Customize, choose the Settings tab and then the Site Feed tab. The first option is "Allow Blog Feeds". You and I have chosen "Full", so I see your whole post in Reader. I suspect the Yarn Harlot, in whatever blog program she's using, has chosen short or part. Now, the question is, did she do that on purpose?

By the way: The other day, I wanted to link to a particular post of yours, but couldn't link to just one post. In order for me to do that you need to change the following setting:

Under Customize, choose the Settings tab, then the Archiving tab. In the section that says "Enable Post Pages" choose Yes.
This is a good thing to do if you want people to link to you.

I'm off to Ravel!

3:58 PM, October 14, 2007  
Blogger Leslie said...

The other drawback I've found in Reader is that if I want to comment (and FKD has me programmed to comment!) I have to open up the blog itself - or is there something I haven't found yet with Reader??

4:55 PM, October 15, 2007  

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