43 Folders

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”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Too many RSS feeds? Put ’em on probation

rethink(ip) - Controlling RSS Overload...Animal House Style

Good idea for managing the RSS feeds you think you might be able to live without:

Most aggregators allow you to create "groups" for your blogs. I have groups for "blawgs," "bored," "technology," etc. (see a picture below). The most important group of all is called "Probation." Into the Probation group goes every new blog I add to my aggregator. EVERY one. Consider it a quarantine tank for your RSS aquarium. Once a month, go through your Probation group and cull the herd, promoting some to the big leagues, while giving others the boot.

At a more byzantine stage, I did something kind of similar to this--but in less-effective reverse.

I actually had a folder called "Sequester" where I'd throw any feed that was starting to get on my nerves (too many [kitty photos | jokey memes | posts about the salvation promised by Longhorn/Vista]). In NetNewsWire (and probably others) you can set a custom refresh time for a feed or its parent folder (cf.) to, in this instance, ensure you get a nice break from the bothersome content.

So, for example, you could say to check your "Sequester" folder just every 72 hours. When the updates pop up, you can decide whether your ardor has truly cooled enough to unsubscribe (at which point, if you're like me, you move the feed to "Deleted" with "Don't Refresh this Feed" selected).

Managing the glut of easy-to-subscribe RSS feeds is an issue I hear people asking about all the time. Do you have a good trick for culling your XML herd?

[thanks, Ian]

Ricky W.'s picture

I have a category for...

I have a category for frequently updated/consistently interesting blogs that I read daily (i.e. 43folders), followed by a few conceptual groupings (i.e. flickr contacts, friends’ livejournals). The rest of the blogs (of which there are by now an obscene number) get randomly assigned to a set of arbitrary chunks. Lately I have started limiting myself to one chunk a day. For instance, today I might check in on the activity in Chunk 1. Tomorrow Chunk 2…and so on until I am back to Chunk 1. I currently have five chunks, each with a bite sized sampling of content.

I went this route mainly because I got tired of trying to meticulously catalog each blog (does this belong in lifehack/productivity or maybe there...well really it is both…). It has the added benefit of curbing my reading habbits (remember: one chunk a day) so I don’t waste an entire afternoon trying to slog through all 400 unread entries. Also, it somehow seems more exciting sifting through a random assortment every day. It’s like rummaging through that $5.50 dump-bin at Wal-Mart and discovering, beneath all the Dolph Lundgren dvds, the lone copy of Blade Runner.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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