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Archive for March, 2010

(Mom, this one’s for you!)

Over a year ago I wrote a blog post called “Tweet Resistance.” I talked about how people resist new technologies that are totally awesome and how I think that is so crazy! For instance, RSS Feeds and Readers. I set up a Google Reader about two years ago and it has totally changed my Internet life. Check out the following Technical Tuesday post and you might just decide you need a RSS Reader too.

Please read on, it’s like the Beatles, Women’s Rights and skinny jeans: at first, you might be skeptical, but with time, you will absolutely love RSS feeds!

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary.  To understand an RSS feed, think of it as TiVo (or a DVR) for your computer. TiVo and DVRs work through your cable television box to record your favorite programs. They recognize when your shows are on and automatically save them so you can watch at your convenience. RSS functions in much the same way. An RSS aggregator (also known as an RSS reader) monitors your favorite websites and blogs for new content and collects the new information for you to view at any time. Rather than having to visit each of your favorite sites to see what’s new, you can visit your RSS reader to see all of the new content from all of your favorite sites. It’s like one-stop shopping. I love it.

In other words: Instead of getting on the Internet and spending 30 minutes going to all of your favorite website to see if there is something new, you go to one place: It’s genius.

(I have used my Google reader for the following examples.)

Follow these steps to set up an RSS Reader:

1. Sign up for a Reader using one of the following free sites:

Google

Blog Lines

My Yahoo

2. Set up a connection between your reader and your favorite websites. This is called “subscribing.” Most news sites and blogs allow you to subscribe to their RSS feeds by clicking on one of the following icons that can be found somewhere on the site:

3. When you find one of these buttons on your favorite website or blog, click that button!

4. After you click the RSS button, a page will pop up that allows you to select the button for your appropriate reader. Click the appropriate reader.

If you are using Google, Google will give you an option to add this RSS feed to your Google homepage or your Google Reader. Choose the Google Reader Option.

Some sites make it a little bit harder. My website is an example. When you click on the RSS feed button, my site takes take you to a page filled with HTML code. This will look like computer jibber-jabber.

Attention! Do not freak out and give up. If you can play the original Nintendo Mario Brothers and throw a fireball, you can do this! You won’t have to kill the Dragon and save the Princess, it’s just like grabbing the Flag and going to Level 2.

If a website’s feed link leads you to a page with a ton of HTML, copy the browser’s feed URL (grab the Flag) and add it manually to your Reader. (Go to Level 2.)

Below is my Google Reader home page. Look at the top left for the “Add a Subscription” button. Click on the “Add a Subscription” button.  The Reader will prompt you to paste the website’s feed URL into the box provided. You will then name the subscription, (i.e. The Tiger Lilies) and it will be added to your Reader. Done-zo.

It’s pretty simple and I am willing to walk you through it if you need help. Please send me a message on my Contact page. And please don’t resist this new technology. You will be “that guy” who is behind on everything. Much like the guy that used to say, “Email, this will never last!” Get on the RSS train people, or you will be left behind.

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Please check out my comments on Tiger.

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For all my fellow writers out there, I am starting “Technical Tuesdays!” (Cheers and Applause resound.) Each Tuesday, I will post a helpful, technical writing tip. I will make these tips short and fun to read and all I ask in return is that you:

a.) use the tips

b.) forward the tips to your friends/really, I just want you to direct them to my blog

c.) feel free to suggest topics that you would like for me to cover on Technical Tuesdays. (I already have a request in the que for RSS feeds.)

And so it begins….this post marks the First Ever, Technical Tuesday.

Everyday or Every day?

As a technical writer, it is my job to understand how to correctly use the words, “every day” and “everyday.”  And almost every day, I see these words used incorrectly. In fact, the misuse of these words is an everyday occurrence in America. So you are in luck; you are going to learn how to use them correctly!

Here are the easy rules:

  • Every day is used as an adverb.  This means that you should use two words to explain when you are going to do something. For example: I am going to watch the Ellen DeGeneres show every day.
  • Everyday is used as an adjective. You should use one word if you are modifying a noun. For example: The Ellen DeGeneres Show has everyday people for audience members.

One business that really gets it right is Sonic Drive-Ins. I have been a fan of Sonic since my Pfizer days when I needed a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. (My favorite boss of all time, Mike, can attest to my obsession with Sonic.) Anyway, they serve delicious Diet Dr. Peppers every day for half price during Happy Hour. When do they sell them? Every day.

And, even if you go to Sonic in the morning or late at night, they have an “Everyday Value Menu” with items starting at $1. What kind of menu is it? An everyday value menu.

These are the rules, people. If you don’t believe me, check out The Associated Press Stylebook. Now you are equipped for everyday life. I expect you to use these phrases correctly every day. Unlike this poor twitterer, who was too wrapped up in Justin Bieber to get it right… Come on now, when do we listen to Justin Bieber? Every day.

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I’m fighting the Justin Beiber Fever, but I don’t know if I can resist.

Let me tell you one time, here are the reasons I’m falling for Bieber:

  1. There’s nothing like a 15-year-old boy calling you “Shorty” that will make your heart melt.
  2. He’s got a  baby-face, but dances like he’s about 23. Perfect. That’s how I feel for Justin Timberlake.
  3. He’s partnered with Usher and Ludacris. I feel in love with Usher when he came out with Burn- it was hot. And Luda’s Stand Up endeared me to him forever. Bieber’s got some pretty freaky, adult role models, but I love it.
  4. He will be on Saturday Night Live on April 10. You know how I love some SNL– Baby, Baby, Baby, oh!

What is it about kid stars that I can’t get enough of? I love Miley Cyrus. (Pre-Annie Liebovitz posing.) The Climb is seriously inspirational and there is no denying that Party in the U.S.A. is the one song we all danced to the most in 2009.  (If we are truly being honest.) I also love Taylor Swift. Although she can’t sing live and only sings about high school, have you heard Our Song, Fearless or Teardrops on my Guitar? And if you didn’t like her singing, check her out on SNL- she did a brilliant Shakira impression. And what about Dakota Fanning in New Moon? She’s a great Jane. The list goes on.

But they will all have to grow up and I’m just hoping that they can keep it all together. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Justin can avoid the pitfalls of Brittany and Lindsay.

Dear Justin,

I  just have one request: Don’t grow up. And be careful, Usher and Luda are really bad role models.

Make me One Less Lonely Girl for you.

Love, Leanne

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