Friday, April 21, 2006

Camino and Bloglines; Firefox and Google Reader

Blogger was having some publishing problems. We haven't had many posts on the class blogs recently... perhaps this was the problem. Anyway, this morning everything seems back to normal and some new posts have arrived.

Tuesday morning. I first tried to post this yesterday... Time for a quick run through of some of the software I'm currently using.

I have been using Firefox ( for a long time now and have been more than happy with its performance and look (esp. with 'Black Japan'). Now, as I'm using a Mac (OS X) at home, I'm trying out Camino ( (v.1). It's very pretty, very quick, but doesn't have any native extensions (you can get third-party ones) and you can't have those useful buttons on the toolbar ('', 'live bookmarking'), but feels really nice on a mac. I'm looking forward to version 1.1... I've just added a 'Get Camino' Button to show my support; doing this I noticed that my adsense buttons and adverts which show when I use IE or Firefox don't show when I use Camino!
I have just discovered that it's a simple check in the Camino Preferences causing the problem. Under the Web Features pane just uncheck Block web advertising and adsense and other ads will show up.

I'm using a web-based feed reader as I use a mac at home and a pc at work - bloglines. I've also just set up a Google Reader account.

Bloglines ( - If you have more than one blog, this is great for keeping track of them. Everytime someone posts, you are alerted and can read the post from bloglines rather than having to go to all of your blogs. Very useful when y0u have a number of student blogs. I find Bloglines very easy to use, though it isn't always clear how to perform slightly more complex operations, like importing other blogliner's feeds into your own account. This is how to do it:

1) Find a blogliner's list of feeds you find interesting. The URL is My public feeds, for example, are here:

2) At the foot of the page, you will see 'Export Subscriptions'. Click on this and an OPML file opens. This is the page you need to save onto your computer. In practice, it makes things easier if you open the OPML file in a new window (i.e. right click on 'Export Subscriptions') and then save the file onto your desktop.

3) From your own bloglines account, click on 'Edit' and then on 'Import Subscriptions' (under 'Extras' at the bottom of the page).

4) Browse for your OPML file (on the desktop if you saved it there).

5) Click 'Import'.

6) All the feeds will appear. Unfortunately, there isn't, as far as I know, any way to steer the feeds into a particular folder before importing, so they arrive as just a long list of feeds. However, once imported, you can manually move them around. There's a great bloglines tutorial available: Link

Google Reader ( - at the moment this is very unfriendly for people with a large number of feeds. You can't delete mass subscriptions, but have to unsubscribe one by one, which takes hours. Also, you can't clear the 'Read' items; in bloglines you can mark with one click all items as read and they disappear, whereas in Google, they just stay there, nagging at you. I find this particularly annoying. Even now, after clearing manually over 200 subscriptions, the left pane is overloaded with feeds for me to read.

In the meantime, until I have explored OPML editors (a basic text editor is horrible for this), I'm just bookmarking other people's public public subscriptions rather than adding their feeds to my own account.

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