RSS, Email Subscriptions

I’ve been thinking about some of the things I want to with the site redesign.

Along  those lines, I decided to make the RSS feed (really simple syndication) more prominent, up on the top of the right column. My sense is the geekier amongst you know all about RSS feeds, while the rest of you may need to be brought into the world of RSS more slowly.

I’ve been very happy using Feedburner for RSS — their ads are not intrusive, and the quality of advertisers  seem better than Google Adsense.

The other change was the email subscription. I went looking for one, and when I saw Feedburner now does that, it was a simple solution. I hardly use blog email subscriptions personally, but other people have had good experiences with them.

I juggled some other stuff around, stripped out the things I’m bored with (bye-bye technorati cloud).  About half way down the left hand side,  I added a bunch-o-chicklets for various other feeds. I don’t know if they will stay. I am unconvinced that these are not merely space wasting eye candy.

Any other suggestions, I am all ears (which makes shopping for pants rather difficult) .

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  1. SINGER commented on Feb 16

    I have Q-Tips in bulk quantity for sale at reasonable prices…

  2. Eclectic commented on Feb 16


    WTF is a RSS feed?

    I’m not kiddin’ so what TF is it? Tell me in simple languague. Assume I’m a dumbass, as I know you’ve already assumed that.

    Don’t give me technical lingo… tell me in simple language what TF it is.

  3. Bob A commented on Feb 16

    I recently added Big Picture RSS to My Yahoo and I wonder why I never did that a long time ago.

    This is also a testament to why Yahoo is on so many desktops. The ability to create your own customized “Newspaper”. No other company has matched this functionality. And If MSFT or Google did exactly the same thing tomorrow I wouldn’t use them. I like to spread things around. Keep the yin/yang balanced. Inspire innovation. Discourage hegemony. etc.

    Big Picture still has a horendous delay on loading quite often which I think is caused by one or more the the ad servers and/or typepad.

  4. Bob A commented on Feb 16

    p.s. eclectic and anyone else interested
    To Big Picture to My Yahoo just click on the Feedburner link on the right, then click on the My Yahoo button.

  5. Bud commented on Feb 16

    Maybe add a simple vocation poll to your site. It would be interesting to see the industry breakdown of your visitors.

  6. DonB commented on Feb 16

    ditto Eclectic’s comments.

    yeah, I’ve read the Wikipedia definition of RSS, but I’m still not sure how it works. I’m a daily ready of Big P and would like to understand any potential improvements to the site. I would guess that there are a lot of folks like me who read BP… reasonably tech-savy, but not a geek. Keep us in mind.

  7. David commented on Feb 16

    Re: RSS feeds.

    I’m no techie, so let me share the best one sentence explanation I’ve found.

    From “What is RSS?”

    “RSS (Rich Site Summary) is a format for delivering regularly changing web content.”

    Basically, RSS is one of the most popular formats (along with Atom and others) of blog or site feeds which deliver regularly updated web content to readers.

    You can subscribe to any blog or site by finding it’s site feed address and adding it to your feed reader of choice. To do this, you can use a web-based feed reader like Bloglines, Google Reader, or My Yahoo to store a list of your favorite blog/site feeds and read their content as it becomes updated and gets added to the reader.

    If you have a personalized Google account, you’ll see an option for the Google Reader program listed under the “My Services” menu. Try it out and you’ll find you can use this service to find site feeds and subscribe with the click of a button. There is a search option that will help you find the blog/site feeds you are looking for.

    You may also be able to subscribe to any blog or site feed by clicking the orange RSS icon button in newer version of Internet Explorer and Firefox. A window will open up asking you if you’d like to subscribe to an available feed. Click yes, and it will be stored in a favorite feeds folder in your browser.

    Hope this helps!

  8. Doug commented on Feb 16

    The amazon kindle has a roster of blogs that get delivered to the device. I would like Big Picture on the list.

  9. donna commented on Feb 16

    RSS is like reading the headlines. Usually you get the header and first few sentences, click if you want to read more.

    I prefer the visual look of the pages, myself, but I’m old school Internet all the way back to the Arpanet days. ;^)

  10. George commented on Feb 16

    I really love this blog because it gives me valuable information on different topics I really enjoy. It’s a good read to say the least.

    I also love RSS. I don’t consider myself to be a total expert, but I am really addicted to RSS and I use it heavily.

    I (for one) am really glad you added the “bunch-o-chicklets”. They are not “eye-candy” to me because having them made it easy for me to add your feed to my favorite reader at Fwicki.

    For what it’s worth (from an RSS junkie) I vote to keep the “bunch of chicklets” you have chosen. Those of us who use them have come to appreciate the service they provide.

    Keep up the good work!

  11. Eclectic commented on Feb 16

    Thanks to all, especially David.

    I think I understand it for the first time, and I tried it… but I think the emergency surgery may be successful and I’ll recover from the misadventure within a few days.

    However it did knock out a couple of my remaining undamaged Win 98-SE hard drive sectors (HP Pavilion going on 11 years-old)… and sent some of my nekkid women pictures out to my email address file!

    I’m afraid that the content of the sites I’d want to feed in to a reader would all just change too fast. I read almost all of TBP, including most of the comments… and the same for a couple of others.

    How about for items that don’t change often or sporadically, like, say… Bill Gross’ PIMCO commentary? Would it feed that as an update?

    Can you share RSS feed favorites, like a favorites file for websites is shared?

    I’m getting old and I’ve had about all the Future Shock I can handle for now. I’m a monkey see – monkey do kinda guy. Anybody know a good source for a tutorial? Demo?

  12. Eclectic commented on Feb 16

    Okay, for example, I see the MyYahoo feed for TBP.

    Only, I’d read every single story, so why isn’t it just a waste of time from using my own browser favorites link?

    But then, Barringo spins topics like the Wheel of Fortune. Some others don’t… they occasionally sleep like normal human beings.

  13. sujal commented on Feb 16

    MyYahoo is the weakest choice for serious news junkies. This blog, like many others, has a full content feed. That means that I can read Barry without leaving my RSS News Reader.

    There are sites like BlogLines, NewsGator (what I use), and Google Reader that allow you to have a all-in-one-place news aggregation.

    I actually use desktop software thats’ now owned by NewsGator. On the mac, they have NetNewsWire, and on the PC they have FeedDemon.

    All of these services and software allow you to add feeds from a lot of different sites. For example, I follow nearly 70 blogs, most without leaving the aggregator. I also have feeds from ESPN, CNN, the Times, The Washington Post, etc.

    Barry, I really appreciate that you have a full content feed, by the way. Really helps keep my news reading streamlined.

  14. Chuck Ponzi commented on Feb 17


    Who said that RSS stands for “Rich Site Summary”?

    I have to shake my head and wonder where these urban myths start from because it obviously always has and always will mean “really simple syndication”.

    You can aggregate RSS feeds into a list like I do on my site… like someone said, creating my own personal information portal that I and others can share in.

    Besides, if it did mean “summary” how do you reconcile that with “full syndication” options of rss feeds?

    rolls eyes> Noob in the room!

    Chuck Ponzi

  15. toto commented on Feb 17

    It’s funny because feedburner has been bought by google ;-).. In a way the same company is providing ads

  16. B.B. commented on Feb 17


    I know a bit about computers but an new to bloggs. I didnt know what “RSS” feed was either. I just applied it to my yahoo home page last night. This is great. Sorry Barry I dont need to check your page as many times a day now. But this is so much more efficient. Thanks!!

    BTW, your CDO GOOG slideshow seems to be making the rounds of other blogs I read. Its popular. I post credit to you when I see someone post it. (at least you did the work of putting it in goog slideshow).

  17. Ross commented on Feb 17

    Never tried RSS feed. Used IAMS and some Raulston Purina though I prefer to blend my own.

    Oops, thought this was the Farmer Mac blog.

  18. David commented on Feb 17

    Hi Chuck,

    Regarding RSS acronym: I’d always taken RSS to mean “Really Simple Syndication” as well. At least, that phrase seems to make sense and it is the most commonly offered explanation for what the acronym stands for.

    I did wonder about the “Rich Site Summary” term in the opening sentence, but I guess this phrase dates back to earlier standards of RSS (RSS 0.91).


  19. dblwyo commented on Feb 17

    If you’re taking suggestions I’d move the Ritholz icon on top of the r.h. column over the RSS/email/search and move up recent posts. Been using RSS for a while and extensively. On a blog the two things that’re useful are recent posts plus category archives. If you could shrink the blogroll down and/or put it in an expandable, categorized group (ala category) that’d be great as well. Ditto for infosources.

    For all practical purposes the space you’re working with are the first page – what appears there is what people will notice and then move on if their eye is caught.

  20. JasRas commented on Feb 17

    Thanks for keeping the rss feeds. It makes things easier for us lazy folks–plus rss pulls up on my iphone quickly…

    As for updating of the site–I looked over the comments from when you threw out the idea. A lot of “don’t change”. Not in that camp, but you do have a good thing going here. So if you make “improvements”, do it slowly.

    The nature of the site is a blog, so do not change that. The stream of consciousness is part of the attraction. Your aggregation of links interspersed with your commentary is high entertainment value. Could the clutter be tidied up? Probably, but I have yet to see a blog that has successfully remedied that issue. You truly have one of the best blogs going.

    I really enjoy “essays and effluvia” and wish that could be expanded upon.

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