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Gene Sharp's 198 Activist tactics

News Alerts and RSS

There are many ways to get news through "push technology", and this is one I use. You write the search parameters for the news stories you want sent to you, as many as you want, and when you want them sent. Google news goes out and searches for the stories you requested and sends them to you in email form. Yahoo does the same thing, and further down are instructions for usiing eh BBC website to do the same thing, ut only on theri website. Google News gets any story, matching the parameters you set up, from any source at all.
Google news alerts:

  1. What are Google Alerts?
  2. Google Alerts are emails automatically sent to you when there are new Google results for your search terms. We currently offer alerts with results from News, Web, Blogs, and Groups.
  3. What are the different types of alerts I can sign up for?
  4. Google Alerts currently offers 5 variations of alerts - 'News', 'Web', 'Blogs', 'Groups', and 'Comprehensive'.
  5. How do I sign up?

  6. Simply visit the Google Alerts home page, enter your search, the type of alert you'd like (News, Web, etc.), how often you'd like us to check for results, and your email address. When you're done, click the 'Create Alert' button. We'll send you a confirmation email; clicking the link in this email will activate your Alert.
  7. You can create and confirm your Alert in one visit on your "Manage Yours Alerts" page. To access this page, you'll need a Google Account. To create your account, click the link at the bottom of the Google Alerts home page or visit the Google Accounts home page directly.
  8. How frequently will I receive alerts?

  9. The frequency you select when you set up your alert determines how often we check for new results, not necessarily how often you'll receive alerts. If you select "once a day," we'll check for new results once a day, which means you'll get a maximum of one email per day. If you choose the "as it happens," we'll check for new results continuously and send you an alert whenever we find a new result.
  10. What kinds of topics make for interesting Google Alerts?

  11. Well, if it's interesting to you, it's a good subject for a Google Alert. We've found that many alerts are set up by people who are:
  12. I'm not getting the alerts that I expected. How do I get more relevant results?

  13. If the alerts that you are receiving for a particular query are not what you expected, then chances are that the terms you have picked are too broad or include incorrect punctuation. Try performing the same query on the property (Google News, Web, etc.) from where you want to generate the alerts. If the results are too broad, then narrow down your terms. Also try putting quotes around searches with multiple keywords.

    If the search returns no results, here are a few other suggestions:
  14. Also try using advanced search queries for your Google Alerts. To learn how to refine your overall Google web searches, visit our general Advanced Search page. To narrow your news searches, try our Advanced News Search page. Once you're happy with the results you get from an advanced search, copy and paste your advanced search query into the search box on the Google Alerts home page.
  15. I have lots of Google Alerts. How do I manage them all?

  16. On the 'Manage Your Alerts' page, you can view, create, verify, edit, and remove any alert you wish. To access this page, you'll need to create a Google Account. Doing so requires only your email address and a password. For more information, click the link at the bottom of the Google Alerts home page.
  17. Why am I not able to sign in on the Google Alerts homepage?

  18. If you're seeing an error message "username and password do not match," please check to make sure you're using the correct email address. If the email address is correct and you still seeing this error message, you may want to try resetting your account password. If you've requested password assistance and you receive a message that there's no Account in our system with your email address, this means that you don't have a Google Account registered to that email address. If you're receiving alerts at that address, don't worry, this isn't a bug; many users receive Google Alerts without ever creating a Google Account. If you'd like to cancel those alerts, you can do so by clicking on the delete link at the bottom of the alert emails. If you'd like to change your Alerts, you'll need to create a Google Account.
  19. How do I delete my alerts?

  20. You can delete your alerts by simply clicking on the 'delete alert' link at the bottom of your alert emails. If you're signed in to your Google Account, you'll automatically be taken to the 'Manage your Alerts' page and the alert you deleted will be removed from the list of your alerts. If don't have a Google Account, then you'll be taken to a confirmation page notifying you that the alert has been successfully deleted.
  21. If you see neither of these pages, then you might already be logged into a Google Account other than the one on which you are currently receiving alerts. You will need to sign out and then delete your alert again.
  22. I've set up lots of Google Alerts, but suddenly I'm getting a message that says I have too many unverified alerts.

  23. You can create up to ten alerts at a time using the Google Alerts home page. Once you confirm your alerts, you can create more. To view and manage all your Google Alerts in one place, you may want to use a Google Account.
  24. What is the maximum number of alerts I can create?

  25. You can create up to 1000 alerts. To create more alerts, you can either delete any existing alerts or request alerts to be sent to a different email address.
  26. Can I subscribe to alerts in multiple languages?

  27. Yes you can. Once you set your language preferences, you can visit the Google Alerts homepage and create alerts in that language. If the Google Alerts homepage appears in English, then chances are that the language you selected is not yet supported. We are continuously working on adding support for additional languages.
  28. I'd like to receive Google Alerts in plain text rather than HTML. Can I do that?

  29. Yes. To change the format of your emails from HTML to plain text, you'll need to sign in to the "Manage Your Alerts" page.
  30. Can I change my email address and still get Google Alerts?

  31. Sure. But you'll need to delete your current alerts and re-enter them using your new email address.
  32. Is this just a way to get my email address so you can sell it to spammers?

  33. No. We value your privacy as much as we do our own. We don't like unsolicited email and we won't sell you out to those who send it, or anyone else for that matter. Your email address will never be shared, traded, sold, delivered, revealed, publicized, or marketed in any way, shape, or form. If you'd like to learn more, we encourage you to read our privacy policy.
  34. I'm receiving Google News or Web Clips alerts on my desktop, how can I make them stop?

  35. Google Alerts only provide email messages to recipients and does not provide desktop notifications. We suspect that you're using Google Desktop, which has a "Customized Alerts" feature that displays News, Web Clips, and Email alerts on your desktop. For more information, please see Google Desktop Help Center.

Questions? Comments?
Please send your feedback to

This is a screen capture of the signup page. You will find this at http://www.news.google.com on the left navigation bar.

This is an example of 2 email news alerts I set up. You can edit them at any time after logging in. These are set up to throw a broad net around the subject. A search parameter that says only "PTSD" will find every mention of the acronym in the news that Google searches. To limit the search to only PTSD articles about Fort Carson, you would add "Fort Carson" to the search line, or just "Carson", although that might find a story about someone named Carson that had PTSD.

News feeds from the BBC

What are News Feeds?

News feeds allow you to see when websites have added new content. You can get the latest headlines and video in one place, as soon as its published, without having to visit the websites you have taken the feed from.

Feeds are also known as RSS. There is some discussion as to what RSS stands for, but most people plump for 'Really Simple Syndication'. In essence, the feeds themselves are just web pages, designed to be read by computers rather than people.

How do I start using feeds?

In general, the first thing you need is something called a news reader. This is a piece of software that checks the feeds and lets you read any new articles that have been added. There are many different versions, some of which are accessed using a browser, and some of which are downloadable applications.

Browser-based news readers let you catch up with your RSS feed subscriptions from any computer, whereas downloadable applications let you store them on your main computer, in the same way that you either download your e-mail using Outlook, or keep it on a web-based service like Hotmail.

Once you have chosen a news reader, all you have to do is to decide what content you want it to receive. For example, if you would like the latest BBC News Entertainment stories, simply visit the Entertainment section and you will notice an orange button on the left hand side.

If you would like the latest BBC News World video stories, visit the Video and Audio section of the BBC News Website (www.bbc.co.uk/newsvideoaudio ) and click on the button at the bottom of the World section.

If you click on the RSS button you can subscribe to the feed in various ways, including by dragging the URL of the feed into your news reader or by cutting and pasting the same URL into a new feed in your news reader. Most sites that offer feeds use a similar orange button, but some may just have a normal web link.

Some browsers, including Firefox, Opera and Safari, automatically check for feeds for you when you visit a website, and display an icon when they find one. This can make subscribing to feeds much easier. For more details on these, please check their websites.

Mac OS X

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

How do I get a news reader? 

There is a range of different news readers available and new versions are appearing all the time.

Different news readers work on different operating systems, so you will need to choose one that will work with your computer.

Using BBC News feeds on your site

If you run your own website, you can display the latest headlines from other websites on your own site using RSS.

We encourage the use of BBC News feeds as part of a website, however, we do require that the proper format and attribution is used when BBC News content appears. The attribution text should read "BBC News" or "bbc.co.uk/news" as appropriate. You may not use any BBC logo or other BBC trademark.

We reserve the right to prevent the distribution of BBC News content and the BBC does not accept any liability for its feeds. Please see the Terms and Conditions for full details.

Can I make my own feeds?

It is possible to create your own feeds, by using the BBC News search engine. The first step is to choose a search term, and type it into the search engine as normal. When your search results load, then choose the "BBC News & Sport" tab. Review the new results, and if they accurately reflect the topic you have chosen you can now use the orange feeds button to add the selection to your news reader, or to your website.

Another way to get news sent to you and the subject matter you want. There are ways to specify the subject, given the software you use. Most all browsers have RSS feed software incorporated already, so all you have to do is use it.

All About RSS (Really Simple Syndication)

What is with that little orange XML tag that is popping up all over the Internet appearing everywhere from Yahoo, to USNews.com to your favorite weblog? That little tag indicates the availability of an RSS/XML newsfeed. RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication" and it is a form of XML (an acronym for extensible markup language). An RSS file is basically a list of headlines or article titles or events encoded so that it can be easily used by another program called a "news aggregator" or "news reader". These programs allow users to read headlines or events from dozens or hundreds of aggregated news sites at one time. Click here to see a sample page generated by the news aggregator within Radio UserLand.

RSS has been around since the late 1990s. The most recent version, RSS 2.0 was developed by Dave Winer and originally copyrighted by UserLand Software. On July 15, 2003, UserLand transferred ownership of the RSS 2.0 specification to the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. The specification is now licensed under terms that allow it to be customized, excerpted and republished, using the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike license.


What is RSS and How Is it Used
History and Development of RSS
Detailed Information about RSS
Additional RSS Resources

What is RSS and How Is it Used

Pssss... Have You Heard About RSS? Alan Levine
RSS allows you to choose specific sources of information from the Internet, and then efficiently review the latest published information, events, data, and writings from hundreds of sources you select to monitor. It is very much a "pull" rather than a "push" technology.

Enthusiasts call Web feed next big thing Associated Press
RSS has been called the TiVo of the Web, the first "killer app" of the anticipated automation of social and commercial transactions online using the Web's second-generation XML (extensible markup language) standard."If you're not reading it in RSS you're wasting your time," declaimed Microsoft's blogging evangelist, Robert Scoble, who says he subscribes to nearly 1,300 feeds.

The Really Simple Future of the Web BBC News
So what is it about this idea which gets people so excited? The most compelling use of RSS is that it lets users read dozens of websites, all on the same page. The sites can be scanned in seconds rather than having to be laboriously loaded individually.

Can RSS Relieve Information Overload? EContent
Although RSS is only just beginning to make headway into the mainstream enterprise computing environment, it has great potential to help knowledge workers gather information more efficiently. What makes the news aggregator so useful is that it collects information effortlessly from the sites you previously needed to visit. Scott Young, CEO of UserLand Software, one of the pioneering RSS companies and makers of the Radio UserLand and Manila blogging tools, says, "RSS is an interesting way of getting information and news that you don't have to look for. RSS allows the information to come to you."

What is RSS? Darwinmag.com
RSS has gained in popularity especially with publishers and users. For publishers, RSS is a way to present structured information. For users, RSS is a tool for getting content where, when and how they want it.

RSS Feeds are the Better Email Newsletters About.com
The best thing about RSS is that if you subscribe to an RSS feed, you only get what you want. If you tell the feed reader to stop collecting a site's feed, it will stop. And there's no spam. And there's no spam!

RSS: Hot Fix for Info-Junkies PCWorld.com
Meet your next Web-based time-saver: customized news feeds that give news junkies their fix quickly and easily, without their having to scour the Web for all the latest bulletins. Called RSS, this standard could radically change the way you gather and manage information online.

History and Development of RSS

What is RSS? Mark Pilgrim
The name RSS is an umbrella term for a format that spans several different versions of at least two different (but parallel) formats.

Web RSS (Syndication) History goatee.net

Detailed Information about RSS

RSS 2.0 Specification Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School
RSS is a Web content syndication format. Its name is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication. RSS is a dialect of XML. All RSS files must conform to the XML 1.0 specification, as published on the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) website.

Making Headlines with RSS New Architect
The Web offers a new open-ended syndication model. The basis for this new model is an XML-based format known as Rich Site Summary. Content providers like Slashdot, the Motley Fool, Wired News, and Linux Today have been adopting RSS as a means of circulating headlines and links to new stories on their sites. RSS is becoming a vital "What's New" mechanism that serves a variety of purposes while helping to attract traffic from many different locations on the Web.

Lockergnome's RSS Resource Lockergnome
It's understandable there are lots of questions floating around about RSS. Even Gnome Staffers scratched their heads when they first heard about it several years ago. Here we attempt to clarify the confusing, demystify the code, and help you get more comfortable with RSS.

Dave Winer's RSS 2.0 Political FAQ Dave Winer
Who controls RSS? What is the future of RSS?

Additional RSS Resources

Microsoft - Aaron Skonnard reviews the status of RSS and weblogs
syndic8 - a community-driven effort to gather syndicated news headlines
Feedster - a search tool for weblogs
Technorati - a site that tracks conversation, what is being said on weblogs and who is pointing to whom
Blogdigger - an excellent weblog search engine

Help With RSS

Help With Adding An RSS Feed
Where To Get A News Aggregator (or RSS Reader)
What Exactly Is RSS?
Other CMP Media RSS Links

Help With Adding An RSS Feed
RSS is an Internet format that gives you a new way to quickly and easily access Web-based headlines, blurbs, and article links from a wide variety of sources. It's most often used for showing the latest headlines from online newspapers, magazines, weblogs, and vendor and technology information sites.

Using Automatic Discovery
To access an RSS feed, you need a software program known as a news aggregator or RSS reader. If you already have a news aggregator and it supports auto-discovery, you can usually add an RSS link for a given site by using your aggregator to surf the home page of that Web site.

Adding An RSS Link Manually
When auto-discovery doesn't work, the manual process is easy enough:

1. Copy the RSS feed link from the content site. For many people, this is the most confusing step. If you see an XML icon like this, and you're using Internet Explorer in Windows, you can right-click this button and choose Copy Shortcut to copy the RSS link. Another option is to left click the link and copy the URL from your browser's Address bar. You'll often see unintellgible code in your browser window when you just click an RSS link. This is the XML stream, which is not intended to be interpreted by most browsers. (New plug-ins available for some Web browsers will make this possible, however.)

2. Open your news aggregation tool, initiate a new channel, and paste the RSS link into the URL field. After a few seconds, the feed will populate in your RSS reader. The process of initiating a new channel goes by different names in different news aggregators. It might also be called "adding a new feed." If necessary, consult your news aggregator's Help or documentation for more information.

Where To Get A News Aggregator (or RSS Reader)
News aggregators are available in several varieties. They can be Web-based services, standalone client software, or plug-ins for existing Web browsers or email packages.

Most of the Pipeline editors are using FeedDemon by Bradbury Software. It was written by Nick Bradbury, author of HomeSite and TopStyle, two popular Web development tools. Here's a short list of RSS readers you might like to try:

FeedDemon full-featured Windows news aggregator
Bloglines free Web-based aggregator
SharpReader simple, well designed, reads RSS and Atom
NewsGator plug-in for Outlook 2000 and newer
NetNewsWire well-thought-of Mac RSS reader.
NewsMonster Mozilla browser plug-in supports Linux, Windows
Google Search: News Aggregators.

What Exactly Is RSS?
Most sources define RSS as an acronym standing for Really Simple Syndication; other sources say the acronym derives from Rich Site Summary or RDF Site Summary. In fact, all may be correct.

Whatever the letters stand for, RSS is a light-weight XML format for distributing headlines, links, and brief descriptions of Web-based content. Web content providers develop and serve RSS "feeds," or streams of headline content designed to be accessed by news aggregator or RSS reader client software. An RSS reader lets you peruse headlines, read summaries, and the click links to specific stories to open them right on their original Web sites in your default Web browser.

Introduction to RSS - WebReference.com
What is RSS? - XML.com
All About RSS - Fagan Finder
RSS & Atom Tips - Lockergnome
What Is Atom? - Google's Blogger Help
RSS Tutorial for Content Publishers and Webmasters - mnot
RSS 2.0 Specification - Technology at Harvard Law

RINF alternative news feeds:


EcoMall activism alerts and petitioins:


Collection of RSS and ATom feed son Sindic8:


RSS collection and news portal from New Is Free: