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RSS, Revisited

I'm seeing a bit of confusion in the comments and my inbox about how to subscribe to this blog. I had included a quick tutorial on RSS ("Really Simple Syndication") feeds in the final edition of my newsletter this morning... but I must have left some details out. For some of you, reading this may be your first visit to a blog. (If so, my condolences!)

So let's take this from the top.

First, you're not going to see any of the icons I talked about--an orange icon or a blue RSS logo--unless you're using the right Web browser. You need a recent copy of Firefox, Safari or Opera--and only the very latest release of Internet Explorer, IE 7. Not sure what browser you're running? Odds are it's not of those.

In each browser, you normally have to take two steps to subscribe to a feed: First, you click on the feed icon at the top of the screen, then you click a "subscribe" button. You'll then usually see new blog items pile up in a specific folder under the bookmarks menu. (Here's a tutorial on subscribing to RSS in Firefox; here's a tour of how IE 7 handles this format; here's Apple's tech-support article on using RSS in Safari.)

If none of that works for you, don't bang your head against the wall. Look under the "Subscribe to this blog" heading on the left of this page and click on one of the buttons there--try the Google option if none of those names means anything to you.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  February 5, 2007; 5:07 PM ET
Categories:  Tips  
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Next: No business like show business


Rob, you gave instructions for subscribing to your RSS feed using a web browser, but one can also subscribe using a mail reader like Mozilla Thunderbird. This, for me at least, preserves the familiar paradigm of e-mail-like messages. Your other readers might appreciate a short description of how to do this.

Posted by: Miami User | February 5, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Your RSS feed is XML, leaving us FireFox MAC users out in the c o l d !

Posted by: mel5051 | February 5, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm using to send me an actual e-mail rather than having to remember to click on your link in the bookmarks. I put it in my bookmarks too but 90% of the time I forget about that. There is no way you are going to forget an e-mail coming into your inbox.
Steve Bass of PC World had this tip in his Tips newsletter--I love it.

Posted by: Dennis G | February 5, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse

I posted this earlier today, but this seems a more appropriate spot for it. The Post's RSS feeds are getting pretty bad.
I know you probably have no control over this, but you've got to talk to the geeks (I use the term respectfully as I am one myself) in charge of the RSS feeds for the Post blogs. It seems they have redone all of them (thus causing umpteen unread items in my reader) to put excerpted entries with "Please click on the title to continue reading this entry." on the end of them. There is no way I'm going to keep subscribing to the feeds if I have to click through to read the whole entry every single time. Embed ads in the feed if you must, but give me the WHOLE entry, not part of it.
Thanks for letting me vent.

Posted by: Brian D | February 5, 2007 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey Rob, read this,,2006031,00.html yet?

BTW, any way to do actual hyperlinks in this blog?

Posted by: wiredog | February 6, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Rob, I have to join Brian D in complaining about the RSS feed. You aren't really making your blog entries available by RSS if the RSS reader only gets a tease of each entry and requires us to click through to the page in order to read it.

Of course,'s blogs aren't the only ones that have this fault. But there must be a way to solve this problem without gutting the purpose of RSS.

Posted by: DougK | February 6, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Upon reading your last email, the first thing I did was find out how to get RSS into Apple Mail. Looks like Leopard will bring RSS feeds to Mail... I've nothing against RSS, but I do prefer getting things by mail when I ask for them. I'm not a regular RSS user -- it is just one more thing to click through. Cheers.

Posted by: Richard Anderson | February 6, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and... at the website I run for a non-profit professional organization, members can subscribe to receive posts to our blogger-run (long story...) news page. An option provides for receiving digests in lieu of single posts. I suppose once I am reading RSS in Mail I may not care but why not feed your posts to a announce-only list?

Posted by: Richard Anderson | February 6, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I am definitely not a skilled internet user even though I teach an online class. I have one question about Rob's blog. I have not subscribed to an RSS or whatever and I still got the blog on my regular Washington Post email. So do I really have to subscribe to an RSS? Or, (okay second question) do I have an RSS Feed and don't know it!?

Posted by: Mary Vermeulen | February 6, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Try to have the RSS feeds emailed to you.

Posted by: Chuck R | February 6, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

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