Wednesday, November 09, 2005

News and Blog Feeds via RMail

Are you interested in subscribing to a few news or blog feeds but just not ready to take on another piece of software or website for aggregating and reading those feeds? Now you have another option for getting your feeds via email.

screenshot of RMail subscription form

You can subscribe to any feed via email by entering the feed address and your email address into a form at RMail.You will receive an email from RMail asking you to subscribe by clicking on a link in the email. When you click on the link, your browser will open to the RMail home page, with the phrase "Subscription activated" appearing just below the RMail logo.

How do you find the feed address to enter into the RMail form? Most sites with feeds will have something on their front page to alert you to their feed options. Frequently the availability of a feed is indicated on a web page with a small XML, RSS, or other small graphic like you see on this page, or with a "Syndicate this site" or "Subscribe to this site" link. Click on the feed link and copy the URL from the address box at the top of your browser. Or you can right click on the XML or RSS graphic or link and select "Copy Shortcut" (in Internet Explorer) or "Copy Link Location" (in Firefox). Then click in the RSS box on the RMail form and paste using the Edit -> Paste menu option or by holding down the Ctrl key and pressing the letter V.

Once you have subscribed, you will receive an email each time one of your subscription feeds is updated. The email will show the news or blog site as the sender. The subject line of the email will be the title of the individual blog entry or news item, followed by the word Rmail. The email itself will consist of the full entry, part of the entry, or a link to the entry, depending upon how the news or blog site has set up its feed.

How is RMail different from Bloglet? If you subscribe to a feed using Bloglet, you will receive one email for each day the feed is updated, regardless of how many times the feed is updated throughout the day. The email is sent by Bloglet in the early morning hours of the next day. We occasionally have problems with our Bloglet subscriptions, because Bloglet will disable a subscription if it has trouble contacting the blog's server. This can happen if the server is very popular and therefore very busy. For example, the Law Dawg Blawg is hosted on Blogger's server, which is so busy that the server sometimes has trouble keeping up with demand. Then Bloglet disables our feed subscriptions. I can re-enable them, but in the meantime you miss some entries.

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