Author Topic: You can help us find news stories!  (Read 13110 times)

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Offline fledchen

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You can help us find news stories!
« on: November 14, 2008, 04:55:32 PM »
A few of our regular members have set up custom news searches to scour Google and other search engines for online newspaper and TV news articles about service animals, pet product safety recalls, and dog health news. We can't catch everything, however, so we need your help.

If you have a local newspaper or TV station that posts articles or videos on its website, we'd appreciate it if you could monitor it for stories from your area. The easiest way to do this is to find out if the website has a feed, and subscribe to it.

Now, I know most people are probably saying, "What the heck is a feed? How do I subscribe to it? Does it cost money?

A "feed," in the context of the internet, is a kind of file that you can use to be informed of updates to a website. The two most common kinds are RSS and Atom. You don't really need to know the difference between the two, but knowing that both "RSS" and "Atom" mean a kind of feed can make it easier to locate the feed for your news website. It's also helpful to know that the most common logo used to indentify feeds is an orange square with some curvy lines in the bottom left corner. Some sites will change the color of the logo to blend in with their color scheme.

To use a feed, you will need a feed reader. Some people use a standalone feed reader program, but if you don't want to mess around with that, you use the feed reader that is built into Mozilla Firefox (if you use that browser) or you can use Google Reader, which you can use in any browser on any computer as long as you have a Google account (free!) and an internet connection.

Firefox calls feeds "live bookmarks," and it does treat them like a kind of bookmark. You can put a live bookmark on your bookmark toolbar, or just leave it in your bookmark menu. Firefox makes it very easy to add a live bookmark. If you are on a webpage that has a feed associated with it, Firefox will display an orange feed icon on the right side of the address bar. Just click on that orange square and follow the on-screen instructions to add the live bookmark. When you have created the live bookmark, you can check it any time you want to by going to your bookmarks menu. Firefox will treat the feed kind of like a folder, and all of the "files" inside that folder will be links to the latest updates to that feed.

You can sign up for a free Google Reader account by going to http://reader.google.com They have an extensive help section that explains how to use it much better than I can.

Except in very rare circumstances, feeds do not cost any money to use.
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