Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What a computer virus taught me about feeds

So my desktop computer caught a virus last week. I don't know how that happened, considering we have three different virus scanners running on that thing, and they all scream at me every time I try to do anything on that machine. But it happened. And my desktop stopped booting.

I lost neither files nor time. The desktop files were able to be retrieved and saved to an external hard drive.
And I have a very nice laptop where I do most of my real work. So the desktop can go off to the computer repair center to be fixed up.

The only thing I never set up on my laptop was email. I used webmail to check email from the laptop as needed, and I used Outlook on my desktop to download the emails and store them offline.

With the desktop dead, I suddenly lost the email organization once provided by Outlook. I now had to keep up with six different email addresses somehow. So I caved in to peer pressure (my sister), and started using Microsoft Live Mail to check and sort through all the email.

And boy am I glad I did. I won't say it's a perfect system by any means, BUT I immediately noticed an interesting feature up at the top: Unread Feeds.

Here's where the story gets embarrassing.

My old-school Outlook hadn't had this feature. I observed that I had approximately 1300 unread feeds. What feeds were these, anyway? I clicked on the Unread Feeds box and found myself reading new and old posts from several blogs that I enjoyed.

I was, I admit, floored by this technological miracle. Previous to this discovery, in order to read blogs, I'd made it a habit to personally click on the link to each and every blog I wanted to follow. Once there, I had to figure out where I'd left off and whether there were any new posts. Doing this for the 40+ blogs I wanted to read required a minimum 1-hr chunk of quiet time to click and look—and even longer if there were new posts. It became almost unmanageable to find that hour of time, much less to comment.

I felt sure that there was a better way to do it, likely using these mysterious feeds that everyone subscribed to. But figuring it out would have taken some time I just didn't have.

And then the virus made me upgrade my email program, and the new posts started magically appearing in my mailbox. How easy, how relaxing, to see the new posts and comment on them as they arrived, rather than forging through 40 or more in one sitting!

I have one puzzle left, which is--how does my email program know which blogs I want to follow? For some reason, Windows Live Mail has some, but not all, of my favorite blogs in the feed list. How it came up with this list, I can't figure out. How to add the rest of the blogs, I also can't determine.

It might take me a while to get around to fixing the settings.

I can't believe it took a virus to shove me into the 21st century. I feel so out of touch.

Next time: I gots me some foster puppy updated pics!


Daisy Dog said...

I lost my desktop at work by clicking on an infected website! It was for an airport shuttle service, someone had hacked their site. What a mess. I don't do any feeds or readers, but I should to keep up without doing what you were doing. Good to see you posting, we love reading your blogs :)

Texas The Doxie said...

Google Reader is my friend. I follow ..oh 500 or so blogs between my two accounts, else there'd be NO WAY I'd be able to keep up!