Fixing RSS Feeds

I've had a minor gripe that has been growing for quite some time. I don't like reading blogs via a web browser anymore - RSS is where it's at. I have a small collection of blogs that I didn't have a RSS feed for and I tossed those links into a Bookmark folder called Blogs. Every day or so I'd do an "open in tabs" on the Blogs folder and get as slew of tabs with these archaic blogs in them. However, lately it had been growing and Firefox got slower and slower to handle this operation. Today I declared I was going to "fix" it once and for all. I did so mostly - although I have a handful of blogs that simply don't HAVE a RSS feed. I suspect those are going to wither away though lack of caring on my part.

So, there were three main categories that were a problem.

1) Blogs that had RSS feeds but no visible link to them. In the html of the page they list a feed and Firefox finds that and gives me a cute little "Live Bookmark" icon in the address bar. The thing is I don't read RSS feeds in Firefox, I read them in NetNewsWire. sites seem to do this often. (I should not this is not the feed's fault - it's a design flaw in Firefox.)

SOLUTION: The Firefox Feed Your Reader extension. Now when I click that icon it tosses the feed over to my registered feedreader and life is good.

2) NetNewsWire doesn't like some Atom feeds (particularly only from or LiveJournal). I don't know why, they seem OK when I open them manually in a browser.

SOLUTION: If the url is in the format try manually editing it to - seems to work in every case.

3) I have friends who use LiveJournal to "lock" entries so their blog is only visible to authorized friends. I understand the motivation, but it's annoying because now to see them I have to open a web page and log into LiveJournal (which I don't use personally).

SOLUTION: Loosely based on the information here but slightly modified. The mechanism as  described is kinda cruddy, because you have to store your LJ password in a URL, presumably plaintext. In the case of NetNewsWire you can do better. Enter the following URL for the subscription and obviously replace username with the LJ account you want to read. The first time NetNewsWire tries to access the feed it will pop up a dialog for a username and password. Give it your LJ account and it stores the password in the Apple keychain, where it is safely encrypted.

Those three tricks deleted 8 links from my "Blogs" folder - cutting it from 13 to 5 links. One of the cut links was the LJ "friends" page which was 5 other pages rolled together meaning I moved 12 blogs that  annoyed me a little every time I read them into RSS where they belong.

BONUS TIP: I have my feeds organized by topic mainly. So there's a folder for "Writing" a folder for "Games", a folder for "Tech Blogs" and so forth. I realized that this was slowing me down because there are several blogs that I only lightly skim. They are prolific (many entries per day) and low interest (in that I only read a small percentage of the entries on any given day). They still have value to check but I tend to blow through them much quicker than blogs where I want to read each entry. I realized today that this trips me up because one of those skimming blogs is in the Tech Blogs folder and gets mixed in with the other tech blogs so I have to shift back and forth between reading and skimming as I review entries.

No more! I moved all the "Skimmable" feeds into their own group at the bottom of the list. So Tech Blogs now contains tech feeds that I probably want to at least process the subject. Slashdot, Version Tracker, Netflix New Releases and other feeds that I only glance out quickly all go at the bottom and I can review dozens of entries just by scrolling the titles quickly. 

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