For some reason, I can only seem to come up with thematic things for Thursday. Some of the other bloggers I follow are pretty consistent about having things be routine, but my life follows such little routine that it seems apropos that this blog won’t either. Haha.
Anyhow, I know some of my lovely readers are newer to blog reading and might *gasp* want to follow my blog (and others) outside of my Facebook-connected posts. So I thought I’d give a tiny brief intro into the world of RSS readers (Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert, so apologies for things I get wrong. I’m sure Mr. UnRunner will school me about it later).
So a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, there was this magical thing called Google Reader. Google Reader was a free application that allowed you to basically create your own special page that brought together everything you read into one place–so every blog you follow, news site, etc. without having to type in or click on every bookmark. It created a streaming feed that updated every time one of your sites updated. It was beautiful and everyone loved it, which meant it was doomed. Google, for unclear reasons, maybe because it wasn’t creating any revenue for them, decided to get rid of it. And the world wept (ok, a very small, nerdy portion of the world).
Really quickly, according to my friend Wikipedia, “RSS (Rich Site Summary); originally RDF Site Summary; often called Really Simple Syndication, uses a family of standard web feed formats to publish frequently updated information: blog entries, news headlines, audio, video…RSS feeds enable publishers to syndicate data automatically.” An RSS reader allows you to hook into that site and follow updates without actually going to that site.
When Google Reader vanished forever in 2013, folks scrambled to come up with relatively comparable substitutes. There are a host of different applications that do similar things, like Digg, Feedly, Blog Lovin’, Flipboard, and Newsify (this is by no means a complete list). They vary according to your needs, like whether you tend to follow more news-intensive sources or blog-intensive, whether you want to explore more or just read what you’ve selected, whether you want more images, etc. I played around with a few of these, and some are geared more towards Android platforms and others more iOS. I’m going to talk briefly about 3 of them.
Flipboard might look familiar to folks as it comes pre-installed on Samsung phones. It’s very pretty and image-heavy. Folks keep describing it as very slick and the most magazine-like. I found the generic feed to be very fashion and news-intensive. I think it’s good for exploring, and you can also get it to stream your Twitter and Facebook fees, which is appealing. I couldn’t seem to get a good handle of it, though. It almost felt like there was too much in the mix. When I had to switch to an iPhone (donated by a friend) after destroying a couple Samsung phones (long story), I didn’t bother trying to install Flipboard, so I can’t speak for its compatibility/functionality with iOS.
Feedly is the one that I have used the longest and am the most familiar with. I have it on my phone and iPad, though I don’t use it much on my laptop (really not as pretty on there). When I first looked to transition from Google Reader, I read a million different reviews/suggestions and Feedly was one that seemed to come up as being the best substitute/alternative. It’s great because you can search for blogs, but I imported my Google Reader list straight into Feedly. You can categorize your links into topic areas like: running, cooking, fashion, home decor, etc. You can also create a “Must Read” section which will pull your favorite blogs into a home page. Otherwise, it can be daunting to be confronted with 100s of unread blog posts, especially when you have feeds coming in from sites like ApartmentTherapy, which posts multiple times a day. I have my niece’s Tumbler page on there, which is nice, and I like that I can link to any specific site.
BlogLovin’ is the one I have most recently started exploring. I have to say that I find it to be prettier than Feedly in terms of general overview. I also found exploring blogs much easier on this one. There’s an easier to navigate search/generic feed section so that you can quickly see popular blogs by category or overall. I know you can also create your own profile so that you create almost a community within so that you share with others what blogs you follow, comment, and interact. I am considering moving over to this application–at least for actual bog-following. One downside I realized of the Feedly is that you get a streamlined version of the blog post. In other words, you get the words and pictures. However, if they are having a giveaway or even some of their featured ads, what have you, that gets filtered out. It’s an easy hyperlink away to see their website in a browser window, but I realized that BlogLovin’ actually shows the post as it looks on their page.
I think overall, you will have to play with what works for your reading interests, phone, etc. for yourself. However, if you are a big geek like me and want to read others’ reviews of these apps and others, you can find some here:
Finally, some words about running–the focus of this blog after all, haha. I had a longer mid-week run yesterday that was hard. I was supposed to do 8 miles with 10x100m strides. I did 6 strides…I think. It’s hard to keep track. One of the things about the plan I’m following now is that it’s got pretty high mid-week mileage. For the most part, it’s been going pretty well, but yesterday was the first time I felt kind of tired. It might have been because the run was at 3:30, which is usually a low time for most people’s circadian rhythms, or it was humid, or it was hump day. Whatever it was, I was not feeling it. I ran with Jen and Michelle (or they ran 5 of the 8 at least), and Michelle also wasn’t having a great run. Of course Jen was like, “I feel great!” (boo, hiss).
Anyhow, it reminded me that as much as I love running, sometimes training is a grind, and just like anything else, you just have to grind through. I’m not talking about if you’re really tired or hurting (in those cases, you need to take a break for real or see a Dr.), but on those days when you’re just like, “Ugh, seriously?!” you gotta push through. I think that might be one reason why I hate that whole, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” I love alot of things, but it’s a lie to say that it’s never work. Some days it’s work and it’s hard. So here’s a little inspirational video to help you get through the rest of the week.
The only thing that irritates me about is is that they talk about 6 am like it’s early. That is LATE for waking up for a run in my world. HA.
One last thing, the Dear Kates underwear ends tonight!