The best and worst things about Blogs


To me, the best thing about Blogs is that you find some amazingly useful stuff written by some fascinating people.

The worst thing about Blogs is that you have to keep going back to each web site to see if they’ve changed.

But there are tools out there, very simple ones, that can make that a no-brainer.

I’ve started using “google reader“.

It’s free although it needs you to follow a very simple sign up – how else would it know who you are next time? Note that’s “sign up” for a google account, not a gmail account (but if you have a gmail account, you already have a google account).

It shows you all the Blogs you’ve added in a nice clean easy to see screen. Most importantly it shows which ones have new, unread articles on them. That’s the single feature that makes it invaluable to me.

It even lets you read the Blogs from the google reader page itself in a plain text view or with pictures.

On a side note, it also recently saved my “HR Kit: Cold Weather” posting from being lost when I left my home machine logged in to the site and carried on an edit from work (if you use WordPress to produce a Blog – always log out of one machine before logging in on another!). Google had cached a copy and I retrieved it from there. Phew!

There’s another tool that looks very nice as well but I’ve not used it very much: Net Vibes

It’s a bit more richly featured (it has the weather and allows you to add other things like your ebay watch list) but I find myself preferring the simple google reader interface.

Oh, and if you’re looking for an outdoor related posting – the picture is from a walk we did in the Low Arctic (sounds exciting that eh?). It’s from near the Abisko Hut in the far North of Sweden, at the start of the Kungsleden. I must put up a post about it later in the year.


6 Replies to “The best and worst things about Blogs”

  1. Howdy,

    Thanks so much for pointing this out to me. I already had a Google a/c so I’ve now added a number of sites and it’s great!

    2 further questions: have searched but not yet found answers.

    1. Is there some button on my Firefox that I can click to get there? If not, do I just have to type “googlegroups” into search box to get to my page?

    2. I’ve got things on extended view, but can’t yet work out how to mark a particular entry as ‘read’. I have an option to mark them all read, but naturally that’s not what I want to do.

    I love your site, btw. It’s full of really interesting things, and so extremely well written.

  2. ‘lo Peewiglet! :)

    1. In Firefox, right click somewhere on the toolbars up at the top and make sure that “Bookmarks Toolbar” is selected. Then when you’re on the Reader page (or any other page!) drag the little icon that’s to the immediate left of the “http://…” text onto the Bookmarks toolbar. It will make a button that you can click (right click it and choose properties to edit the name and address it goes to).

    2. Marking things as read in Expanded view should be as easy as ticking the box next to “Mark as read” at the bottom of each entry. However – I’ve noticed that box sometimes isn’t shown. I expect that’s where google have released a new version of Reader and have broken it! It’s there as I write but I have know it to be missing on more than one occasion. (Google’s configuration management is rather loose and fast – I am informed).

    Very glad you like the site! I’ve always enjoyed your postings on OM and was very happy to see you start to blog again! :)

  3. Thanks so much for the info :) I now have the little button and it works perfectly.

    Sadly, the ‘Mark as Read’ button does seem to be absent in my copy of the Reader. Maybe it’ll pop up at some stage.

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