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Super Sabado: On the Go with RSS Feeds

Filed under: and More, Reading on Saturday, February 18, 2006

Today’s Super Sabado is going to be a real quickie. No margaritas for me… I’ve got to drive in a little bit. Okay, maybe a few chips. Oooh, is that a quesadilla? Spread some guac on it for me, will you? I’ll take it to go!


I spend most of my days in the car, or at least it feels like it. If I’m not driving, I’m waiting. I try to catch up with my blog reading during the waits, but free internet access is sketchy; more often than not I’m without.

A solution for me has been catching up on everybody with RSS. Here’s what my site looks like in RSS:

Screenshot of Bonnie's RSS screen

My Safari (Mac only) browser catches and caches RSS feeds when I’m online, whether I look at them or not. Then when I’m offline, usually sitting in my van while waiting for swim team to end, I open up my feeds and start to read.

I’m a happy camper when I get full feeds, like Pat‘s:

Screenshot of Pat Kirby's feed

I can’t comment, read the comments or follow links, but I CAN keep up with my favorite blogs until I have some free time and can catch up with commenting.

Unfortunately, some of my favorite people‘s feeds look like this:

Screenshot of Kait's Chaos' feed

This is called a partial feed. Once I decided to use partial feeds, because I learned a splogger was taking my content and posting it elsewhere, one of the few reasons people prefer to use partial rather than full feeds.

But MacManX and Podz talked me out of it.

Well, IMO, RSS feeds are a convenience to the reader. They provide a way for the reader to read your site’s content without ever having to visit it. Now, if you are trying to make money off of your site, then should have summary feeds, in order to “encourage” visits to your site. But, if you aren’t trying to make money off of your site, why bother? Just leave the feeds at full content, you readers will appreciate it. MacManX (AKA James Huff) in a comment to my “Apologies to RSS Readers” post.

MacManX also gave me a link to this article, which hammered the last nail into my partial feed’s coffin. So to speak.

So here are my favorite reads and their RSS feed links, in random order but listed by RSS availability:

Full Feeds…Hooray!

Miss Snark, the Literary Agent, RSS
Ramblings from the Desert, RSS
Miklb’s Mindless Ramblings, RSS
Mr. GrouchyPants, RSS
Binary Bonsai, RSS
Spam Huntress, RSS
MacManX, RSS
Nuclear Moose Candy, RSS (He’s not posting that much, lately.)
What Makes You Happy?, RSS
The Church of Angst, RSS
43 Folders, RSS (Note: this is a popular site, he’s got ads, and he uses full feeds. I approve!)
Chad’s Reviews, RSS (Note: Chad’s feed didn’t work for a while… always check your feeds in case there’s an error you need to fix).
Justitia, RSS
My Mean Girl, RSS
My So-Called Blog, RSS
The Amazing Adventures of Sponge Girl, RSS
Sometimes I Ramble, RSS
Balls and Walnuts, RSS
Bonnie Writes, RSS
Gullible’s Travels, RSS
Dennie’s Thoughts, RSS
Desperate Writer, RSS
Here’s to Happy Women, RSS
Mimi’s Pixie Corner, RSS

Partial Feeds… I must work harder to keep up with them

Kait’s Chaos, RSS
Mad Kane, RSS
Taking Your Camera on the Road, RSS
Panoramic Imprint, RSS
Raising Devils, RSS

Feeds that were difficult to find

I had to go to extraordinary efforts to find these feeds. Lesson learned: make subscribing to your feeds as easy as possible. Put a link on your site to your feed!

Classical Values, RSS (To add insult to RSS injury, it’s a partial feed. Eric’s got ads on his site, so I can understand why he uses a partial feed, but still.)

The Investigator’s Notebook, RSS

No Feeds at All! Arrrgh!

Charlaine Harris
Karen Ranney (I just finished An Unlikely Governess and all I can say is… Oooh, la la!)
The Smooshie Diaries. But guess what… Mel has moved her site to WordPress, and now she has a fully working feed! (See below)

Reformed Feed People!

Mel’s new site… The Smooshie Diaries, and her new, working RSS feed!

This is a partial list because I’m short on time, but it shows you how many blogs I try to keep up with. Having full RSS feeds makes it easier for me to read what you write when I’m sitting in my car, waiting for swim team to finish.


And now for those of you who made it through until the very end, here’s a movie trailer. Kind of a Napoleon Dynamite meets School of Rock meets Zorro: Nacho Libre.

Have a great week, everyone!

  1. Um…I have a headache! I’ll figure it out. But I’m glad I’m on the good list, and not causing any pirate noises (Arrrgh!)

    Comment by April Redmon — 2/18/2006 @ 3:06 pm

  2. This is one of those topics I can write a treatise on. I’m partial to what you call a partial RSS feed, but what I see as being a more proper RSS feed. I like feeds to provide summaries, particularly synopses that describe the entries, rather than a first n-words kind of excerpt. Mostly because of my particular reading habits, but also because that is what an RSS feed is supposed to do. It describes syndicated content.

    A good feed reader should allow you to download the articles on a feed-by-feed basis, with the layout, images and everything else still intact. As I recall, the Thunderbird mail client does this with its RSS reading capability… you can specify whether to display the included summary or download the entire page it describes on a feed-by-feed basis. Now that’s smart.

    But if the summary is the content, that option disappears. That’s why it’s problematic to give in to full-content proselytizing, “Convert ye RSS feeds to full content or be darned!” The more people who offer full content only, the less likely RSS software will begin to offer the smart choice it should be offering now. And choice is important because people have different reading habits.

    If more RSS reading software did this, we wouldn’t have to hack the RSS standard. Then RSS feeds could do what they were meant to do, describe content (as opposed to being the content) and add information about syndicated content rather than echoing it. The problem is lazy and uninspired programming, and it’s hurting the initiative to bring more metadata (that’s information about information) online.

    So the short answer is, as soon as I can get around to it, I’m going to create an alternate feed for anyone who wants to read on the go, because it feels so good to be read. Right now I’m redesigning my site. I’ll be moving things around, and switching some parts over to new software… but I’ll make this a priority. And then maybe I’ll post some new entries.

    Comment by Robert Waugh — 2/18/2006 @ 5:03 pm

  3. Just a follow up. I checked on Thunderbird to see if it does what I thought it does, and it doesn’t. It only loads the page when you begin reading it, and then promptly forgets it once you move on to another. So it’s not as smart as I thought it was. In fact, it’s pretty dumb.

    But still, it could be done (and should be done,) and maybe someone has done it. I just don’t know of any feed readers that do. But maybe someone else does.

    Comment by Robert Waugh — 2/18/2006 @ 6:10 pm

  4. Agh…rss feed = twitch. Must plug in brain and figure it out. Twitch. Maybe Boy can help. Or Dawg. Or Queen B. Nah, she’d drool on the keyboard again.

    I have my must read blogs on a daily addiction listing. Without fail, that’s the first thing I reach for b.c. (before coffee). Addiction covers it.

    Now to go stare at rss info on blogger and hope my brain doesn’t start smoking. Maybe I better go watch 2-man bobsledding first. :D

    Quesadillas!! Yum!

    Comment by Kait — 2/18/2006 @ 8:32 pm

  5. Hi, Robert! April, you are fine!

    I guess I look at it in a selfish way. As a reader on the road, it’s a lot easier for me to stick with Safari, which loads all my favorite pages without my having to visit them; and it’s a lot easier to stick with full feeds, because I can’t click on the “read more” links when I’m offline.

    As you can see, my list of full feeds is much larger than my list of partials, because I can only read the full feeds on the road. The partials are more work (I have to come back to them later, when I’m online) so I’ll only mess with them if I think they’re worth it.

    In WordPress, we can set our feeds to be excerpt only, meaning we’d have to set the excerpt to be the first X number of words in the post. We could also write an “excerpt” or a summary for each post. I originally did that, but it was tedious and I am a lazy woman and gave up on it.

    But you’re right, it’s good to be read! I look forward to your new redesign.

    Comment by Bonnie Wren — 2/18/2006 @ 8:35 pm

  6. Yabba dabba doooooooo, super sabadooooooooo!
    Hope you’re having a top weekend!

    Comment by Michelle — 2/18/2006 @ 10:33 pm

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