(musTh211) A Better Way to Keep Up With this Blog

I mentioned subscribing to this blog’s RSS feed in class a couple of times, and I know some of you are already doing this. But I think that most of you probably aren’t making use of this feature, and it really is one of the cool and very helpful aspects of using a blog to post course content.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. In general terms (with a little geek-speak thrown in), RSS pushes content to your computer, as opposed to the standard web surfing paradigm of pulling content. You pull content by navigating your web browser to a web address, requesting that information at that address be sent to you browser. RSS subscribes to an information source. Whenever new information from the source is published (like a new post in this blog), the title of the post and a link to read the full text are sent to your feed reader, typically your web browser. It’s like subscribing to the newspaper. You don’t have to go to a newspaper stand each day to buy the paper; it comes to you. You don’t have to read the whole thing, but it is a lot more convenient already having it in hand if you want to read it.

To subscribe to this blog’s RSS feed, you have a few options:

  • Most RSS-aware browsers have some type of icon in the address bar that appears whenever a web page offers an option to subscribe. (Firefox and Netscape Navigator both have an orange/white icon that looks like a wireless signal. Safari has a blue icon with the letters RSS in white.) Click on this icon and bookmark it. If you bookmark it to a visible toolbar, then you can click on the bookmark to see a drop-down menu of recent blog entries. Selecting one of the entries takes you to that post.
  • Along the lower right of the blog (scroll down a bit) you’ll see a Subscribe header. Each link below the header is a link to subscribe to a particular sorted feed for the blog. You can subscribe to the whole blog (except comments), or individually to musth211_lectureNotes and/or musth211_Assignments. (I’ll add a link to subscribe to the comments separately.)

The hope is that you will bookmark the RSS feed(s), and be able to quickly see from your browser if I’ve posted new material without having to navigate to my blog and hunt for things.

As always, ask me for help and I’ll show you how to set this up.


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