Monday, March 05, 2007

RSS Feed Home page

Yet another post in my series on easing academic life, this is the suggestion of making an RSS Feed based home page for yourself to start your day with. This has the advantage of including all the news you want to see, the blogs you want to keep up with, and the journal table of contents you want to keep up with. Of course if you want to really ease your way you could just use this site or the page flakes site that I have described in this post.

But if you have the do it yourself attitude then you can follow my instructions below

Firstly you should understand what RSS is. Basically its a format that allows content from a website to be picked up by other websites. So if you have or use a feed reader either on a website, or on your desktop, then subscribing to a feed allows you to be constantly updated with the goings on of that website. RSS has been around for ages, but it is really starting to catch on, and many people are now using it to broadcast information. As such you can use it to keep up with the headlines, blogs and even journal table of contents. It is even possible to use it to keep track of email lists, although I am still fiddling with that notion myself.

While you can download a feed reader to your desktop, I prefer to use a personalised homepage, it seems more natural. Many sites provide these (just google personalised homepage!) such as Google, Netvibes, PageFlakes etc. And they make the construction of a news page very pain free using RSS feeds.

Personally I prefer Netvibes myself, because this gives you a lovely tabbed home page. Personally I have mine set up with various tools on the first page, News links on the second, Philosophy blogs on the third and Philosophy Journals on the fourth. That way when I get up in the morning I can have a quick glance at the BBC, CNN etc, then I look at the philosophy blogs I like, all at once which saves heaps of time, then I check whether there is anything new in the journals.

I've made my philosophy blog tab and my philosophy journals tab public in the netvibes ecosystem, so in principle you can easily add them to your own netvibes home page. If that doesn't work email me and I can send you a link which I am told will allow you to add them. The disclaimer of course is that these just reflect my own personal predilections of course in terms of journals and blogs, and the effort I was willing to put in (Not that much...)

But it is easy to make your own, the hardest part is usually finding and collating the RSS feeds, if you find you share similar tastes to me, then it might be worth your while going to the Flash page I made collating all the Journal Table of Contents, Bioethics News and Ethics blogs found on this site.

At the bottom of the flash widget there is a link called get this widget, if you click this then you will be taken to a page which allows you to adjust the widget, and you can just copy and paste all the feeds out of that and into your own personalised homepage.