Reading RSS feeds on my Kindle.

Today I downloaded a program called Calibre. It manages e-books to view on one’s computer as well as transferring them to one’s e-reader. What attracted me to this program was the promise of including RSS feeds as well. I have yet to buy a wireless router, and even if I did the web browser on my most basic of Amazon Kindle models doesn’t have a RSS feed reader component. Apparently there is a way to access RSS feeds by using the web-based Google Reader, but Google is discontinuing that service anyway. I think there’s another site out there that is supposed to more or less replace it, but I’m not concerned. Like I said, I don’t have wireless Internet at home, so the only way that I can get anything for my Kindle without driving to a coffee shop or library is by downloading said files to my computer first, then transferring them to the Kindle via a USB cable.

This may be all cumbersome, and there are two easy ways around it. First, I could get that wireless router. I intend on doing so one of these days, but they’re just a little out of my price range at the moment with all of the other financial concerns I have to take care of right now. Besides, I would still face the problem of not being able to download the RSS feeds to the Kindle so I could read them later, like at work or something. Secondly, I could just avoid all of this by getting myself one of those fancy smartphones that I see people carrying around with them all day. I do just fine with the basic cell phone that I have, thank you. I see no need to spend extra money for features that I know I won’t use in a portable manner.

Of course, I could just make an effort to read RSS feeds on my computer in the morning when I leave for work or when I get home. This certainly would be a viable option if I didn’t know my own bad habits. I have subscribed to some of these in the past via e-mail or news ticker programs what would sit on my desktop displaying the headlines. I would read every article or blog post when I saw a new one in the feed, then I would only check occasionally, then either the ticker would just be decoration (not to mention a drain on memory) or the e-mail would go unread. I’m just not good about reading things on my computer. I don’t know why, but I have to have a more portable option that I can easily hold in my hands. Books I can stick with, and I’m finding that I’m the same way with my Kindle. Besides, with my daily routine outside of work, I don’t have a lot of time in the morning or when I get home, which would be the ideal times I would want to get on the computer and check those things out.

Calibre can take several RSS feeds and convert them into one “ebook” for easier navigation. What struck me at first when I tried this was that it looked exactly like the layout for my subscription the Kindle version of The New Yorker. This leads me to wonder if Amazon uses a template for all periodicals. I haven’t subscribed to any more to find out, but it does make sense. I haven’t bothered checking out Calibre’s other features as I haven’t needed to, so I’m not going to turn this into a full review of the software.

However, one of the features of the RSS feed portion of the program is worth mentioning. In my effort to make technology automate aspects of my life (within my means), I noticed that it has a scheduled download feature. As long as I have the program running, it will download my RSS feeds on a schedule of my choosing. I chose four in the morning, the time I get up. The only problem is that I’m not going to want to boot up the computer every morning. It would just take too long. What I can do is leave the computer in sleep mode, which I used to do when I had all sorts of scheduled tasks. Unfortunately, I think this invited problems which ended up in my computer crashing. However, I’m not running as many tasks as I used to, which could have been the real problem. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to try again. If I see any problems I’ll stop.

As far as the RSS feeds I’ve subscribed to, I only have a few for now: The Freethought Blogs RSS feed, Robert Llewellyn’s feed, David Byrne’s Journal, and a couple of news feeds, I think from Reuters and NPR. I would love to include some news feeds from more alternative news sites, but I haven’t researched them enough. I welcome any suggestions. I won’t bother with sites that deal primarily with conspiracy theories or bad reporting. I need delve deeper into the world of RSS. It appears that there really is a separate world out there based on it, whether we realize it or not.

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