On this page:
  • From the feeds: Development, food, connecting with people, e-books, finance
  • How I use Feedburner to give people the option of different blog update frequencies

From the feeds: Development, food, connecting with people, e-books, finance

Drupal / Rails development: John (from john & cailin) posted good interview tips for hiring Drupal developers. A comment in the blog post led to this funny learning curve graph, which reminds me of the Emacs learning curve. There are similar hiring tips for Rails developers.

I like the work I’m doing at IBM (mostly nonprofit projects funded by IBM grants, yay changing the world!), but it’s interesting to see lots of demand for Drupal and Rails skills. I want to get wizardly at Rails and/or Drupal, and I think this will be fun.

Winter vegetables: Thanks to the community-supported agriculture program, we have three butternut squashes, one pepper squash, lots of turnips, and lots of kale. We’ve just gotten through turning all those beets into borscht. I’m learning about all these winter vegetables. Fortunately, Cheap Vegetable Gardener has tips on what to do when you’re swimming in kale, beets, squash, mustard, or chives.

Connecting with people: A post from Linked Intelligence on social networks and relationships led me to the Mackay 66 Customer Profile – a 66-question template that you can use to gradually flesh out your knowledge of a person. I like questionnaires. I think this will help me get better at talking to people – I can pick one or two questions to focus on, then gradually fill in the blanks. Maybe I should build a CRM into Quantified Awesome

Publishing an e-book: Allison Abel shares tips on publishing your own e-book. I’m collecting data and ideas for a possible mini-book on quantifying life and changing behavior, so I’ll want to come back to this post and other tips on this topic.

Spending money well: Jason Chen points out that you may want to spend your money where you spend your time. Fortunately, I track both time and money, so I can tell if my priorities line up. =) (Good laptop? Yes, worth it!)

How I use Feedburner to give people the option of different blog update frequencies

I’ve been thinking about how to make it easier for people who want to keep in touch but who don’t want to be overwhelmed by my daily posting schedule. Instead of trying to come up with the Best Way on my own, I asked what people wanted. Out of 26 votes (as of the time I wrote this), ten people wanted weekly newsletters and three people wanted monthly newsletters. That probably means that even more people would like those less frequent update options, so I decided to spend some time figuring out a good way to offer that.

Since I already do weekly and monthly reviews, the easiest way would be to make those reviews available in a separate feed that people can subscribe to over RSS or e-mail. I’ve been using Feedburner as a way of making my feeds more browser-friendly and as a way to handle e-mail subscriptions. Although I’d been concerned about the long-term longevity of my feeds in case Feedburner shuts down, it turns out that you can set up your own domain name by following the instructions under My Account > MyBrand.

image

I set up my feeds to use feeds.sachachua.com instead of feeds.feedburner.com. That means that if Feedburner goes away, I just need to change my DNS record to point to my own server and write my own redirect rules. I wish I’d done this earlier! Anyway, if you subscribed to http://feeds.feedburner.com/sachac , please switch to using http://feeds.sachachua.com/sachac instead.

With the new feed URLs in place, I created Feedburner feeds for my weekly and monthly reviews. Category feeds are built-in, so all I needed to do was tell Feedburner to handle http://sachachua.com/blog/category/weekly and http://sachachua.com/blog/category/monthly . I customized each feed to include a short message pointing to the other feeds (Optimize > BrowserFriendly), change the URL, and enable e-mail subscriptions (Publicize > Email Subscriptions).

image

Then I modified my WordPress theme to include links to the new feeds. To make the feeds available from the feed icon in many browsers’ address bars, I added the following code to my <head>…</head>:

<link rel="alternate" 
  type="application/rss+xml" 
  title="Feed (~daily)" 
  href="http://feeds.sachachua.com/sachac" />
<link rel="alternate" 
  type="application/rss+xml" 
  title="Weekly reviews" 
  href="http://feeds.sachachua.com/sachac-weekly" />
<link rel="alternate" 
  type="application/rss+xml" 
  title="Monthly reviews" 
  href="http://feeds.sachachua.com/sachac-monthly" />

Result:

image

I also added links to the feeds in my sidebar using the Appearance > Widgets > Text widget.

Now, people should be able to easily subscribe to whichever frequency they want. =)

On another note: I was surprised and delighted to find that many people wanted daily updates. Thank you! I’ll try to make my headlines useful so that you can guess right away if you would be interested in something, and we’ll see if I can write weekly review headlines with keywords as well.

If you blog a lot, I hope you find this tip handy!