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We Are Flying Solo

December 2, 2013

What Do I Do With That Orange Rainbow (RSS) Thingy? Tech Time-Out

RSS feeds:  many of you may have heard of them, some not, but they have become a huge part of following blogs, podcasts, and other chronologically (sporadically, in my sad case) updated online media.  Now I've made that first link to the Wikipedia definition page, which is a good overview, but also in places, an eye-crosser.  So I shall, in true self fashion, elaborate excessively.

TL;DR version:  RSS for Dummies

That is a great, simple article that I wish I had found a long time ago!!  But I wanted to include a couple of details so that you will be able to fulfill your extreme desire to successfully use the TFS feed.  Heh.  Small bonus:  it will now show my blog title normally and take away the annoying code and/or right justification when it shows up on other pages, like your blogroll, if you redo the subscription.

This is what you will see in the upper right.
Having even more cruelly linked my Blogger account to Feedburner (nope, don't really understand that either), I know (because it has happened to me many, many times) that you will click the RSS button, it will take you to the feed page, and some of you will go, WTF do I do now?  Being intelligent horse people, you will probably figure it out the same way I did -- click things and see what happens.  Not to take away from your exploration, but if you'd like, I can spare you the trouble!  Note:  if you are already subscribed, you have to do... nothing, because you are already awesome.  Unless the title formatting, as mentioned above, annoys you and you want to fix it.

When you click the rainbow, you have three simple choices.

(1)  If you use one of the feed readers shown in the icons or the dropdown menu, select, click, you should be set.

(2)  If you use a reader NOT shown (as I do), click the "View Feed XML."  On the next page, at the top,  you will see yet another dropdown list, which will allow you to select or navigate to your reader.  Select the one you like, decide if you want it to be your default reader for subscriptions, then just "Subscribe Now!"

(3)  If you are a lazy person like me and don't like to click and puzzle through 20 things, most mainstream readers have an option in their settings menu to add a simple "Subscribe" button to your browser bar, so you just click it while you are reading the blog, it automatically finds the page's feed, and adds it to your subscription list.  Like so in the reader I use:

I use the top "Bookmarklet."  You literally just drag it to your bookmark bar.  That is all.
I consider myself at an intermediate level of capability when it comes to using the interwebz to do what I want.  Basic HTML coding and reading (even rudimentary tables), multimedia types, uses, and storage, linking and organizing data, using FTP, all of these are fine.  Need a simple blog header that doesn't take up 2 screens?  I got ya covered.

Do the thingz I want, stupid internetz!!
However, I haven't the first clue how to use CSS, I am not a webmaster, I can't do servers. 

But back to RSS feeds:  I basically understand what they are, but the terminology and specifics still confuse the living crap out of me.  Totally.  Which probably makes you ask, then why the heck did you just add an RSS button to your blog (that's what the orange rainbow is), dork?

Because, even without really knowing it, almost everyone who reads online uses these feeds now.  Google Reader, RIP, was an excellent and very popular example of an RSS reader, which is any piece of software which gathers all the feeds you subscribe to and remembers and organizes them for your convenient reading, bookmarking, deriding, what have you.  I have found a new one I am very happy with, although it is sometimes a bit slow to load, called InoReader.  What I like is that it looks and works very similarly to Google Reader.  I hate change, harumph.

There are hundreds of other readers out there to fit all different types of devices, systems, and user preferences, so these days, it's pretty easy to search and find the one that's right for you.

Good luck, happy reading, and again, please feel free to email or comment with any issues or questions!  Unless you are trying to use it on an iPhone.  Then, bless your heart, don't bother, I don't do Apple.

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