Sunday, October 16, 2011

D. H. Scrubby's Tech Tips: Using an RSS Feed

Glora's husband fancies himself a writer and a technology enthusiast (code for "likes expensive toys"). As a guest writer for Glora's Crafts, he writes articles which might be interesting to the crafting and blogging community.

"So many blogs! So little time!" cried Glora, as she explained that she wanted to "follow" more blogs, yet clicking another Google Friend Connect "Join This Site" button was going to overload Google's Reading List and overwhelm her ability to catch up on everyone - especially on her most favorite sites.

The technology solution: Use a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed reader.

"Syndication" means the distribution of content, and "Really Simple" describes the way we want it! As new content is posted to a blog, behind-the-scenes a file (known as an RSS file) is updated. By pointing a RSS reader software to this file, it can scan the pages for you. When something new shows up, you are alerted in a way similar to receiving a new email in your inbox.

Our solution was to go ahead and publicly follow as many sites as she wanted. Blogger / Google's reading list would no longer be as relevant, because her feed reader would contain the updates she was most interested in seeing.

To make this work, you will need to know the secret RSS link for each blog.
Helpful hint: Almost all Blogger sites simply add this code to the end of the site address: /rss.xml
For example, the RSS feed for is

Bonus Computer Jargon Hint: Because computer people like to come up with new words, RSS Readers are also known as "Feed Aggregators."

Since the vast majority of Glora's Crafts readers use Microsoft Windows based systems, I will offer two Windows-based solutions.

Microsoft Office Outlook (  
- If you already own a license for Microsoft Outlook, then it can do the job. If you don't own Microsoft Outlook, do not rush out and buy it only for this purpose! Skip down to Windows Live Mail for a free solution.

Step 1 for Microsoft Outlook 2007: Click the Tools menu. Select Account Settings.
Step 1 for Microsoft Outlook 2010:
Click the File tab. Click Account Settings, and then select Account Settings.

The remaining steps apply to both versions.

2.On the RSS Feeds tab, click New

3.In the New RSS Feed dialog box, type the URL of the RSS Feed. For example:

4.Click Add.

Repeat steps 2-4 and add as many feeds as desired.

5.Click OK.

- This program is free when you register for a Hotmail or Windows Live email account. (bonus tip: if you are using Microsoft Outlook Express, you really owe it to yourself to upgrade to this little beauty!)

When you start up Windows Live Mail, it will default to the Mail portion of the program.
In the lower-left corner, click Feeds.

To begin following a new feed, select the Feed button from the toolbar.

Enter the RSS feed address for the blog you want to follow. For example:

Click OK.

Just like that, your reader grabs the most recent posts. You may read them in the same way that you would an email.

Add a few more of your favorite blogs. For example:

These are the two programs that I have tried. If you don't like Microsoft, don't have a compatible version of Windows or Outlook, or just want to try something different, here is a list of additional programs to consider:

Comments are always welcome - especially other tips, tricks, or recommendations of aggregators that work well for you. However, please know that I cannot provide technical support for your situation. If you run into trouble, seek out professional assistance (that is, invite the neighborhood nerd over and offer him a doughnut).


  1. Thank you MR. GLORA. What if I give you a really big doughnut? I don't have a neighborhood nerd.
    Seriously Glora, thank your hubby for this. I wondered what on earth RSS meant and why/how some people's blogs have "follow me by RSS". Now maybe I won't miss your posts which is what I'm going to go catch up on right now, so I'm sure you'll hear from me again with another comment.

  2. Great tip!! I am so looking forward to working with you on Cathy's blog hop!