Using RSS

Sick of facebook deciding what you get to read from your favourite websites? Wish you could be informed of every single post so you don’t miss anything? Then step back in time and find out a little about RSS, a simple and reliable way to keep on top of posts.

Of course, it depends on websites supporting RSS, but a surprising number do (given that it’s trivial to set up), including The Moshville Times. And this one.

I use Feedly as my RSS reader. It’s accessible via the web or an app. The free account limits you to 100 feeds, which should be plenty to get you going.

Alternatively, there’s the Vivaldi web browser which has an RSS module built into its email client as of recently, though it’s still a little clunky. Those of you using Outlook (the full app) can also make use of its inbuilt RSS reader.

There are others, too. A quick Google turned up this article which lists another four.

Once you have your reader, it’s usually as simple as entering the URL of your chosen website into it. The reader will locate the RSS feed and add it as a subscription. Worst case you may need to locate the site’s feed yourself, but it should be a simple matter of looking down the sidebar for “RSS” or the logo seen above. Copy the link and use that.

Then just set notifications, if needs be, or check your reader when you want to catch up. You won’t miss a post from your chosen websites again! No stupid algorithm, no 2-day delay until the site decides that it’s your turn to read something.

Bye-bye Facebook

Finally, I’ve had enough.

If it’s not the privacy issues (I’m actually not that concerned about those, to be honest), it’s the terrible interface. If it’s not the broken algorithms determining what you see and when, it’s the broken algorithms that determine whether what you’ve written is “hateful”.

Sod it, Facebook. I’m off. I have to maintain a presence for the sake of Moshville Times, but I doubt I’ll be posting on my feed, checking comments, responding to others’ posts and so on again in the near future. I’ve disabled all notifications on my phone and deleted the app from all my other devices.

Moshville Times will no longer be paying for post “Boost” because, frankly, it’s not worth it.

If you want to read any ramblings, bookmark this page or figure out RSS (it almost seems to be making a comeback) so you can get notified of every single post not just the ones some bonkers algorithm bothers to tell you about. Hell, I might draft a post sometime soon detailing how to access RSS these days. It’s surprisingly easy.

If you want to get in touch with me, or let me know about your event or something, then I can be contacted via Messenger (yes, I know it’s FB), WhatsApp (yes, I know it’s FB), Twitter, personal email, work email, Moshville Times email, Moshville Times website, text message, comments on here, Kik, Telegram, Duo, Skype, Beacon… In other words, if your only method of contacting/notifying me is posting on facebook, then you’re not trying hard enough and whatever it is can’t be that important.

Don’t contact me via Instagram. Not because it’s FB, but because its messaging system is crap.

And, yes, I appreciate the irony in my last facebook post being one pointing you to this blog post… I also appreciate that only about 5% of my “Friends” will likely ever see the damn link. But that’s one of the reasons I’ve had it.

World Mental Health Day – a little story

Enough time has passed since it happens that I think I can share this without giving away who the person is, just in case anyone on here knows them. Highly doubtful, but discretion is important.
 
I’m on a few online forums, chat groups and so on. I was browsing posts and status updates on one a couple of months ago when I saw a status: “Had enough. Just can’t take any more.” That was it. Nobody I knew, but popped up on the group updates.
 
So I dropped them a quick message. Just a couple of lines offering them someone to talk to if they wanted, including my phone number. If they didn’t want to talk to me, I advised them to call a friend or see a GP.
 
Three days later they replied. They’d read my message, called a taxi and gone to A&E where they explained to someone there what was going through their mind. They were cared for, settled down and put onto the track to recovery.
 
I don’t know what would have happened if I’d not messaged. Maybe they’d have been fine anyway. Maybe that was the kick they needed. But something that took me a fraction of the time it’s taken to draft this post, I feel, made a difference that evening – and a very important one.
 
Keep an eye out for each other, and that includes people you don’t know. It takes a moment to ask if someone’s OK and a simple act of caring can make all the difference.

Not-a-review: The Light Fantastic – Terry Pratchett

Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho's review of The Light FantasticJust finished this as a bedtime story with my youngest who insisted, as we were 10 pages from the end last night, that she tuck up in bed again this afternoon to complete it before she went back to her mum’s. And then insisted that we dig out all my other Pratchett books so we can work through them.

With the number of them, she’ll be reading (or re-reading) them herself by the time we get ten books through. She’s 8 and she’s loved the first two Discworld ones. I wanted to sidestep to Truckers or Carpet People but she wants to continue into Equal Rites. I’m not going to argue!

Also, I don’t remember the end of Light Fantastic being so sad when I first read it – but since then I’ve been Twoflower. The line “You haven’t really been anywhere until you’ve got back home” really hit home, in the same way as Douglas Adams’ “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”

George Floyd – two children’s reaction

One of Niamh’s games wasn’t working this evening as the people who ran it had opted to take it down for two hours in memory of some chap called George Floyd. “I don’t even know who he is!” she says.

“Well,” I told her, “He was a man who was arrested, basically for being black. And even though he was trying to do as he was told, the police knelt on his neck while he complained he couldn’t breathe for almost 9 minutes… and he died.”

Austin pipes in, “He was arrested for being black? When was this, like 50 years ago?”

“No – just over a week ago.”

It makes me glad that we’ve obviously raised great kids when their reaction was complete silence and looks of disbelief. They’re 7 and 12 and have more common sense and humanity than far too many supposed “grown ups”.

#BlackLivesMatter