Note: This blog post is from 2006. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.In my previous entry, I started a multi-part series on keeping up with what's happening in the CF world. In this entry, I want to introduce a couple topics related to keeping an eye on those two aggregators I mentioned, FullAsAGoog and MXNA, by way of browsing them.
Of course, there are still better ways, including leveraging their RSS feeds, which I'll cover in the next entry. But for those who still prefer good ol' web pages, here are a couple tips that may help. These tips aren't unique to watching the aggregators, of course, and for some they may be old school. But I see plenty of folks who don't leverage them so it seemed worth mentioning.
We all know that having the URLs to the aggregator's CF category listings (as mentioned before) we can easily bookmark the pages to go visit whenever we want. But since these are pages that you may well want to visit frequently than most, you can take advantage of a couple of browser features to make them even more readily accessible.
Keeping an Eye on the Aggregators--by Quick Links
First, did you realize that both IE and Firefox have a unique toolbar-based list of favorites/bookmarks that you can see all the time? Many never bother to change them or pay attention. Here's how to use them in each browser.
In IE, when adding a favorite, you just want to put it in the special "Links" folder. Using the Favorites>Add to Favorites menu option, use the "create in" option to point to the "Links" folder. Then it will appear in the top IE toolbar area. Other things in there by default are "Windows Marketplace" and "Windows Media". You can remove them if you want, to make more room. If you don't see these links at all, make sure you've enabled View>Toolbars>Links. And if you can't see the entry/entries you just added, you may need to move the new entry around in the Links folder. Use Favorites>Organize Favorites, expanding the Links folder and moving the newly added entry up in the list of links.
In Firefox, there is a similar set of "toolbar bookmarks" that appear at the top of the screen. To add something to it, use Bookmarks>Bookmark This Page (or hit Ctrl-D) and then choose "create in" and point to "Bookmarks Toolbar". Other default items in there include "Customize Links" and "Free Hotmail". Again, if you don't see it at all, make sure that View>Toolbars>Bookmarks Toolbar is enabled. And as with IE, you may want to move the entries around in that list (or even delete some you'll never use), using Bookmarks>Manage Bookmarks and expanding the "Bookmarks Toolbar" folder to arrange things.
Keeping an Eye on the Aggregators--Making One of Them Your HomePage
One other trick to consider is that you think you just ALWAYS want to see one of the aggregator pages by default, you may know that you can set one of them up to be the "home page" for your browser. Then it appears each time you open the browser.
In IE, you do that with Tools>Internet Options>General>HomePage>Address and enter the desired URL.
In Firefox it's Tools>Options>General>Home Page>Location.
Honestly, I don't do it in either browser. For one thing, I want the browser to open as fast as possible and so just choose "use blank page" in both.
But better still, I keep my eye on the submissions using another approach, one that I'm sure many readers here know about and wonder why I'm not promoting. I will, in the next entry on leveraging the RSS feeds. If you don't know what that's about, I'll help you, even if you don't know what an RSS Reader is and don't want to install one! :-) That's coming up next.
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