If you are an avid reader of my blog, you may remember (several months ago) that I had the idea for, and was working on, a program that would act like a dog going out to get the newspaper for you. I wanted something that would go to all my favorite blogs, check the date and time of the last entry, and compare it to a list that it would keep. If there were any new entries, it would let me know and I would then go check them. The intent was to save me time going to look at blogs only to find that there were no changes.Click here to read Part 1 of that projectAnd here to read Part 2
When I was laid off in April of 2008 I had the time to develop the program, but didn’t know much about programming things that could interpret web contents. Once I got some of that knowledge, I had a rudimentary program working but then found my current job and no longer had time and desire to play and finish the program. That’s what happens when you work with the computer all day…you want to do something else in your off hours.
Well, apparently, I wasn’t the only one with that idea. I recently learned about “Google Reader”. From my Google mail (Gmail) page, I click on the link and it will bring to me all of the stuff I haven’t yet seen, from the sites that I put into a list.
Did you catch the difference there? It brings the contents to me...it doesn’t just say “Dad’s blog has changed, click here to go read it.” Yesterday Google Reader told me that Cheryl had a new post. Today it told me that my dad had a new post. All one has to do is build a list of sites for Google Reader to check, and that is simple.
If you want to try it out, you might need to create a Google account (don't worry, it's free). If you are a user of Blogger, you already have a Google account. Just go to Google’s home page, click on “Gmail” at the top. You may have to add Gmail as a mail client, but I have found that VERY easy to use...it will walk you through the process (for "power users": you can train Gmail to go out and bring you email from any and all other mail accounts you may have...don't enable that particular feature if you really LIKE your other email programs, though). Once you are logged in to Gmail, click on “Reader” at the top. Read the intro stuff. Then, to train it to go get your stuff, click on “Add a subscription” near the top left. (Copy and paste of a URL would be perfect here.) Put in the URL of one of your sites, and click “Add”. Repeat for all of your favorite sites.
I suggest going to play with it. It only takes a few minutes to learn, is super simple, and will save you LOADS of time by checking stuff for you.