I write this after having a day of unplanned relaxation. It wasn’t my intention; Sunday and Monday were epic workdays where I made major headway on framing the arguments for my current thesis chapter, as well as outlining tell me no lies. However, I woke up to sunshine streaming through my windows. Given that the past few weeks have looked like this…
…it’s little surprise that I abandoned working for laying out in the backyard with a book.
As a result, I’m slightly behind on my writing goals, which means I need to write roughly 3200 words today to catch up. I’m a little worried about how things are going to go this weekend, as I’ve been tapped to drive to Los Angeles so I can help my mom move my sister into her new apartment before school starts. We’ll be staying at my apartment in Santa Barbara to help break up the trip a little bit, which is definitely exciting — I miss my deck garden, and I left a few things behind that I’d like to pick up. Still, I’m not sure exactly how much I’m going to get done, so I am resigning myself to the fact that I might not make 50K by the end of the month.
However, not all was fun and games today! I wrote a silly blog post about my first story, and more importantly, I finally battled the mess of my Google reader.
Google Reader organizes RSS feeds, aggregating blogs and news sites into one easy-to-navigate, easily-organized place. I’ve used it off and on, but given the number of blogs I’ve started to follow, it’s become essential to have a central place where I can access them.
There are other RSS readers out there, of course, but I like Google Reader because of its integration with Google’s other services. I think it has a few other advantages as well (though I am not sure if these are unique, or shared by other RSS readers):
- Starring: Google reader offers the ability to “star” individual posts, similar to the starring system in Gmail. I use this function to mark posts that I want to return to, or ones that I might want to discuss in a future link mash-up.
- Integration with Google dashboard. All subscription to Blogger-hosted blogs are automatically added to the Google dashboard, which then pops up in the Reader. As a WordPress blogger, it makes it a lot easier for me to keep track of what everyone outside of WP is doing.
- Folders. Okay, this is actually something new I just learned about and just spent the past hour instituting. Feeds can be cross-posted into multiple (!) folders, which really makes life a lot easier.
- Trends. I haven’t gotten around to using this at length, but the Reader provides stats on number of subscriptions, number of items read, how often subscriptions are updated, and lots of other interesting info. There are also charts, and, you know, I have a love affair with charts.
I’m sure there are other awesome things that can be done, but these are some of the highlights that I’ve noticed. Overall, I think this’ll keep me more organized, and streamline my blog-reading, which up till now has been incredibly hodgepodge. Even better, it will help me to keep track of the blogs that I stumble upon in my research and world-building endeavors, since up till now I’ve been bookmarking pertinent articles and then forgetting about them.
Don’t forget to swing by the other ROW80 participants to offer cookies, hugs, and words of support!
Anyone else using Google Reader or another RSS aggregator? What are your favorite features? Least favorite features?