Have you heard the term XML and RSS but not known what people are talking about? Have you heard of ‘News Readers’ or ‘News Aggregators’ but not really understood why people were so excited about them? Well, rather than just point you to an article on the topic, I’m going to show you how you can discover the power of News Readers for yourself.
If you are a Windows computer user you can choose from a bunch of news reader programs, but I want to make this simple. So download FeedDemon (free to try for 30 days and then it will cost you $29.00), which is a great program that I have used recently and found to be an excellent news gathering tool. Click here to download it. When you install it you will be given a bunch of new feeds to read, but unfortunately there won’t be many law-related sites. We’re going to fix that.
First, download this OPML file and put it on your desktop (it has about 44 legal news feeds that will get help get you started). Look at the icon on your desktop and make sure it has the extension “.opml” at the end of the filename. If it doesn’t then hit F2 and rename it to have the “.opml” extension at the end.
Now, go back to your FeedDemon program, so you can create a new “Channel Group” called “Legal News.” Do this by making the following selections from your menus (where the ‘slash’ / indicates a succession of selections from the menu commands). Select FILE/New/NEW CHANNEL GROUP which will begin your encounter with a series of dialogue boxes (you can see a picture of the dialogue boxes by clicking on the link/instructions below:
(1) choose ‘Create New Channel Group from an OMPL newsfeed directory‘; then hit ‘next’ and
(2) enter the location of the OPML file that you put on your desktop, as depicted in the dialogue box, and hit ‘next’ and
(3) you will encounter a dialogue box that looks like this, where you will choose the ‘Select All’ option. If you do, then your dialogue box will now look like this. If so, then hit ‘next’ and enter the title of your news feed (for example, ‘Legal News’) then click ‘Finish.’
But you’re not really done yet. You may have to select your new news feed from this drop down box, which in my example is called ‘Legal News’ but yours will be called whatever you called your Channel Group. Then right below the drop down box is an icon/button that says ‘Group Newspaper.’ Click on that and you’ll be shown a newspaper view that should look something like this; you may have to play with your settings for your view to get this to look the way you want it to. Also, the setting I have is to show me the last 24 hours of legal news. There are settings for other time periods in a drop down box that is towards the middle of the screen.
If you want to print out your newspaper of legal feeds there is no way to select ‘Print’ from the file menu, but you can still do it. Just ‘right-click’ anywhere in the newspaper and pick ‘print’ from the contextual menu and you should be able to print out your newspaper and take it with you on the train.
The next thing you’ll have to learn is how to add feeds for sites that you find on your own. It’s basically the same as loading the OPML file, except you just have to add the link to the RSS or XML feed from the site that you want to read. I think you can figure that one out on your own, but if not maybe I’ll do another post on that in the future. Also, I’ve opened up the comments in case anyone has questions or suggestions.