Surfnetkids Newsletter Now Available in RSS
August 15, 2003
What are the two biggest problems facing email users today? Ironically they are:
#2) spam filters
Unsolicited email is flooding our in-boxes. Unfortunately while trying to fix the problem, spam filters are blocking mail we want to receive, even, perhaps (gasp!) our free weekly Surfnetkids newsletter. It’s a classic case of throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Surfnetkids Newsletter in RSS format
So what’s an email user or publisher to do? Rescue the baby, of course! To this end, many (including Surfnetkids) are turning to a
new delivery system: RSS. For those already familiar with RSS (which stands for a number of different things depending on who you ask) I’ll cut to the chase, and give you the URL:
Free Weekly Surfnetkids Newsletter (via RSS)
Please note that this is a full-content feed, not just a list of headlines and links. If weekly topic
headlines are more to your liking, try this instead:
Surfing the Net with Kids Headlines (via RSS)
What is RSS?
For those needing more information, here goes. RSS is a document format that requires a
special reader, because as of today (and this will change) neither your existing browser nor your
email client can read RSS. Once you install an RSS news reader, it will poll your RSS
subscriptions (such as the Surfnetkids newsletter at http://www.surfnetkids.com/newsletter-rss.xml) and automatically deliver new issues to your desktop.
RSS avoids the dual problems of spam and spam filters because you do not need to divulge your email address to anyone (no more spam) and only you control your list of subscriptions (sidestepping spam filters entirely.)
RSS News Readers
To get started, you need to download and install an RSS reader, and then subscribe to the
“Surfing the Net with Kids” RSS newsletter by adding the URL
http://www.surfnetkids.com/newsletter-rss.xml to your channel or subscription list.
Here is a short list of RSS readers, also known as news aggregators.
NewsGator (Windows, $29, free trial)
NewsGator integrates into MS Outlook, and your subscriptions look very much like email
messages I do not use Outlook for my email, but NewsGator is so slick, that I use it for my RSS
NewzCrawler (Windows, $24.95, free trial)
NewzCrawler is a standalone Windows program. I tried the free trial, there wasn’t anything
wrong with it, but I liked the NewsGator interface better.
FeedDemon (Windows, price unknown, free beta trial)
FeedDemon is still in beta testing, but I am enjoying using it.
Bloglines (web-based, free )
Bloglines is free, and works in a browser, so it is inherently cross-platform (meaning it doesn’t
care if you use Windows or Mac.) I had two problems with it, both of which I overcame. First it
wouldn’t accept my validation email (but their customer support people handled this quite quickly)
and secondly, it takes about an hour for new RSS feeds to be indexed by their system. So if you
are the first person to sign up for a particular feed through Bloglines, you will notice a delay in
your first delivery.
My Mac friends tell me both of the following are well thought of:
MacReporter (Mac OS X, $15, free trial)
NetNewsWire (Mac OS X, $39.95, free trial)
For a longer list of RSS readers (including more free options) try About Email at
Finding Other RSS Subscriptions
Once you’ve installed an RSS reader, you are going to want to take it out for a spin. So here is a selection of other RSS feeds you may enjoy, including four other feeds that I publish.
For a more complete listing, visit Syndi8.com ( http://www.syndic8.com ).
“This is True” by Randy Cassingham
“Truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction has to make sense.”
“Lockergnome Windows Daily” by Chris Pirillo
New York Times Front Page
Dictionary.com: Word of the Day
Quotes of the Day
And last, and hopefully not least, here are the other Surfnetkids feeds I publish:
Barbara Feldman: Welcome to My Office
A compendium of resources and recommendations for those interested in online publishing.
An informal and personal collection of comments that didn’t fit anywhere else on Surfnetkids.com.
How to Add Games to Your Site
Random thoughts about creating online games and updates to my e-book “How to Add Games to Your Site.”
Surfing the Net with Kids Headlines
Weekly headlines from my syndicated column, with links back to the Surfnetkids.com site.
See ya on the Net,
Barbara J. Feldman
Syndicated Columnist “Surfing
the Net with Kids”
P.S. What do you think? Had you heard of RSS before? Was this confusing or enlightening? Let me know by posting your comments here.