Thursday, April 19, 2007

Share and Tell #1

Here at the ITM, we've all been writing a lot about Web 2.0 technologies, and I thought I'd share with you a few services I use to manage and improve my work life. This week, I am focusing on newsreaders.

Web 2.0
magic started for me in the spring 2005 when, as a newly minted Apple Distinguished Educator, another far more techno-savvy ADE shared with me an OPML file and directed me to the web-based newsreader, Bloglines. I created a Bloglines account, imported Mark's OPML file, and instantly, I could see all the web sites he read and tracked. I was hooked by this method of collecting web-based content in one convenient place.

Since that fateful file import, I've explored other newsreaders (also called news aggregators) and finally settled on a piece of Mac-only software called NetNewsWire. As you might be able to tell in this screenshot, I have my feed subscriptions organized in folders, and I can easily browse my personalized content. I don't read every subscription every day, but I do skim material regularly, using NetNewsWire's flagging feature to mark items that I want to explore further. NetNewsWire has many other useful features including smart lists (similar to smart playlists in iTunes) and special subscriptions of feeds from tags, search engines and bookmarking services. It’s also possible to share your feed subscriptions with NetNewsWire users others on the same network.

Now it’s your turn to try this out. Here’s your homework for this week:

1) First, get a newsreader. I suggest Google Reader or Bloglines, both web-based and free. I use Bloglines in addition to NetNewsWire because it has social capabilities; you can see other users' public feeds if they have made them available.

2) Download my OPML file of some of the blogs I read: lucysubs41307.opml

3) Import this file into your newsreader of choice, and browse these feeds. Warning: there are a lot of feeds contained in this file! Here is a tutorial for Bloglines, and check out this one and this one on Google Reader.

4) Find a few things that you’d like to subscribe to from this list or this list.

5) Extra Credit: If you are already an RSS aficionado, export an OPML file of your favorite feeds and pass them on to me at I’m always looking for new reading material!