Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26, 2008

There are so many nice things about Thanksgiving.

1. Turkey
2. If you don’t like turkey, there’s shopping on Friday.
3. If shopping scares you, there’s the Macy’s parade!
4. If you don’t like parades, well, I’m all out of suggestions.

If you do like parades, maybe you’ll enjoy reading about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – on Google Books too! Link to Macy’s site?

And if you aren’t put off by shameless commercialism, there’s some fun stuff here too.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

RSS & Email: Journal Alerts

November 24, 2008

Broke, hard times. Need to cancel some magazine subscriptions. Some of these magazines are in TEL, but that would require me to login to the library web site and look up each magazine; that’s too much hassle. If only there were another way for me to read my favorite issues every month without a subscription.

Wait, what’s this? Journal Alerts? I can have the latest issues delivered to my Email Inbox or RSS Reader as they become available each month? Then, I can link directly to the articles by title? No login, no searching! Awesome!

How Does It Work?

  1. Visit TEL and do a Publication Search for the magazine’s title.
  2. On the results list, choose .

It’s the third and final week of RSS Month! I hope we’ve shown you that RSS doesn’t have to be a lot of work. You don’t have to subscribe to MSNBC and get 400 news updates an hour. It can function as a reminder service (music and events), a shopping helper (Craigslist), or even a way to catch up on TV.

Yup, RSS and TV.

Do you watch TV? Do you ever miss the show you want to watch? What about shows you didn’t know you’d like but now you’re hooked and you missed the first season?

I’ve lost all the TiVo customers, but for those of you who remain, I’ve got a cool RSS trick to show you.

Did you know you can get shows like The Office, ER, The Colbert Report (and a lot of other shows) on a site called Hulu? Neat site, but who’s going to remember to go there while you’re gripped by “I missed my show” panic?

What if I told you that you can subscribe to TV shows in Hulu with your RSS reader? When a new episode is added, you’ll get an update in your feed reader with a link to the new episode!

And you’re not just subscribing to shows you know are online, either. You can subscibe to any number of feeds:

* Recently Added Videos
* Recently Added Shows
* Recently Added Movies
* Soon-to-Expire Videos (This is handy because current series episodes don’t stay on Hulu forever)

So, not only can you watch a show you missed, you can be altered when new series are added to Hulu – like Doogie Howser, M.D. It’s on Hulu.

There’s also a pretty neat tool around for those of you who’d rather not miss your favorite show. It’s called mytvrss. Select your favorite shows from the list and sign up for an RSS feed that will send you reminders when there’s a new episode. You’ll even get a nice little episode summary with each update. This is great for shows like American Experience and Frontline – shows that don’t require weekly devotion to a storyline.

One more thing…

If you don’t like Craigslist, you keep up with music just fine, and you have TiVo, there are other fun uses for RSS. Try getting a recipe a day, word of the day, or LOL cat of the day. Just remember, RSS doesn’t have to be a stress inducing nightmare – it can bring a smile to your face too.

RSS: Concerts and Music (51)

November 10, 2008

It’s week two of RSS Month! This week we’re talking about music.

Do you ever feel hopelessly unplugged when it comes to Nashville’s music scene? Are you kicking yourself because you didn’t hear about Air Supply at the Wildhorse Saloon? If you’re like me, you probably hear about artists who visit town days after their performance – when you hear other people talking about how great a concert was.

Don’t miss another show – stay in the loop with RSS!

There are several ways to keep up with concerts using RSS. It’s a matter of finding the site that works best for you.

I use feeds from the site Bands in Town to alert me when some of my favorite artists are on tour. Here’s how it works:
Search for an artist or group (use the search box in the upper right corner). We’ll search for the Black Crows.

The profile page for the Black Crows is below. On the right hand side, there’s an RSS feed for the band’s calendar. Subscribe to the feed and you’ll get RSS updates for concerts or events. One thing to keep in mind with this site – you have to be on the profile page to see the RSS feed.

If you’re looking for concerts you might have missed that you probably couldn’t have gone to anyway, check out All Songs Considered. They have a feed for past live concerts. This feed will let you hear recordings of Tom Waits at Atlanta’s Fox Theater or the Raconteurs when they were in D.C. I think it is pretty cool that concerts appear in my RSS feed. For free!

Want updates on all manner of events? Try Upcoming. You can subscribe to feeds for events based on the category (music, sports, etc.). You might even learn about events you didn’t even know existed – like the Saturday evening star shows at the new Adventure Science Center planetarium!

The beauty of music updates in RSS? For one, your email box isn’t cluttered by updates from tons of websites. But, most important, it doesn’t matter how often you check your feeds – this isn’t news, so there’s no daily commitment!

See you next week for one more tip about using RSS. Oh, and if you have tips of your own, please share them in the comments!

November is RSS Month! To celebrate, I give you An RSS Tale:

Bob: “Hey, I just got a great deal on two Titans tickets off Craigslist!”
Jill: “Aw man, I didn’t check Craigslist today – I always forget and, frankly, I don’t have the time to check it every day.”
Bob: “I didn’t visit Craigslist today either. My RSS feed alerted me on the tickets when they were put up!”
Jill: “RSS for a Craigslist search? How???”

The end.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I know, you’re probably really sick of RSS by now. Sure, you can read news and blogs by subscribing to an RSS feed, but you don’t feel like you have the time. I hear you.

RSS is always talked about as a way to keep up with the news, or a way to keep up with what’s going on in your industry, or a way to keep up with something else – and all of that sounds like work. But there are other ways to use RSS that are very useful and require very little “keeping up” time.

RSS for searches on Craigslist

Take our example of the Titans tickets on Craigslist. If Jill had been using RSS, she might have heard about the tickets before Bob. Maybe Jill thinks checking RSS feeds is time consuming, but for just minutes a day, you can monitor several feeds. Just start with the things that matter most to you.

Like Titans tickets.

Here’s how you can subscribe to a search on Craigslist:

Don’t care about Titans tickets?

Maybe you are shopping for an electric bass, digital TV, or kayak? You can set up your search for the brand name of the item you’re looking for.

Are you looking for a new apartment in Donelson? You can set up your search for the price range you want and any keywords that narrow your search, like “Lebanon Road.”

More than just Craigslist

Lots of shopping websites have RSS, so look for it the next time you’re on your favorite site.

And if you don’t shop online? Just wait until next week – we’ll give you another tip about RSS.