Up my (feed) Arsenal

A while back I posted about feed 43 and Feed Rinse.  Since that time I’ve become even more of a feed junkie.  I find not having to go searching for information a monumental time saver, and as such I’ve let my subscriptions grow to well over 200.  Also I’d say I’ve become much more informed which may or may not turn out to be a good thing.  My weapon of choice is still Google Reader and while talking with my friend Matt I discovered he has been using bloglines.  We talked for a bit about the different features and I came to realize Google Reader is missing a few really nice things.  Since our brief chat I’ve found several new feed tools to enhance my tool set.  There are three features which Matt takes advantage of which I was unaware existed.

  1. E-mail feeds.  Use this feature to sign up for a newsletter which you want to receive but prefer to read in a feed format rather than E-mail.  It can also be used for any site which you don’t want to have your email address.  This is especially handy for those sites which block the ‘+’ operator in your E-mail address (which I wrote about here).
  2. Tracking Shipments.  Create a feed that directly links to your tracking number so you can keep ‘track’ of where it is and what it’s doing.
  3. Public feed sharing.  Let people know what you’re reading and where.  I recently wrote about using the shared items feature on Google Reader but that was just for individual items.  This brings it to a whole new level.  It can also be used to share your blogroll so you can provide an automatic blogroll list via feed.

Let me first tackle #1.  A few days ago I discovered Mail Bucket.  This handy website will create a feed out of any email address you send it.  They allow dots, dashes etc.  All you need to do is have E-mails sent to blurb@mailbucket.org and the feed for that E-mail address instantly available at mailbucket.org/blurb.xml.  Remember though, this is publicly available so make sure no sensitive E-mails are being sent there.

#2. Matt happened across Power Sellers Unite.  This site allows you to create a feed from a UPS or USPS tracking number.  This is something I had previously attempted to find but other sites had been blocked by UPS.  Let’s hope this one doesn’t anytime soon.

#3. This one turned out to be much easier than I had thought.  As it turns out you can make any folder in Google Reader public.  Thanks to Google Reader’s tagging/folder system this turns out wonderfully as any feed can exist in more than one folder.  Therefor you can keep them categorized as you wish, and simply add a feed to the ‘public’ folder (or in my case use the blogroll tag).

Another helpful site I happened across recently that can help you Up Your (feed) Arsenal is Yahoo Pipes.  This fancy little site might one day replace both Feed 43 and Feed Rinse and numerous others but for now it’s just a site to keep an eye on.

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