Wednesday, July 13, 2005

My daily web jog

I thought I'd share my daily web habits. I like "jog" better than surfing or browsing, since it's more of a regular routine, like a jog around the neighborhood. (Actually, I don't ever really "jog" - at most a brisk walk. During the last local elections, someone asked me if I "was running" - which in Hebrew is the same as "do you run". I said, "look at me, does it look like I run?")

I've been using the internet for quite a while, back to around 1993. For a while I used bookmarks/favorites to mark those sites where I wanted to return to visit often. But recently, I've begun taking advantage of the wonderful technology of RSS, which allows you to "subscribe" to web sites that publicize their changes. Some people use software to read their RSS feeds, but I prefer web based, since I check them both at home and work. So the first site I visit is My Yahoo! which contains many (most?) of the sites that I visit daily. It's very convienent, since I can very quickly see which sites have new content.

So on My Yahoo!, what do I check? First, the news. Ynet is the only Israeli site with an RSS feed of their own. But I also visit HaAretz regularly. And when I want to follow a breaking news story, or just see what's been going on in the past hour or so, I go to Fresh. Fresh has up to the minute headlines from most Israeli news sources (in Hebrew.) My Yahoo also has headlines from Reuters, so I can keep up with what's going on in the rest of the world.

Then comes the blogs. My regulars:

  • Chayyei Sarah. In a way, this one got me interested in the world of blogging. We have a common friend in Jerusalem, and when we had a shabbat meal together, she mentioned something (which I've long forgotten) that I wanted to lookup after shabbat. When I tried finding it on Google, I came across her blog, which led me to others, which led me to starting my own, etc.
  • Lamed. Lamed is run by a friend, neighbor and teacher, and on a daily basis has an interesting link about something in the Jewish and/or educational world.
  • An Unsealed Room. I've been following Allison Kaplan Sommer since the Gulf War (before she was a Sommer). I've always enjoyed her writing, and was pleased to come across her blog when I was looking for gossip about the management changes at the Jerusalem Post.
  • Treppenwitz. We live in the same town, although I don't think we've ever met. Constantly good writing, daily updates, interesting pictures, and often gives me cause to comment. A real leader in this field.
  • Ben Chorin. Another fellow resident (although this one I've finally met!). A fascinating thinker with much to say. After hearing him speak in public, I'm even more impressed. He's leading some amazing changes in this country - someone to watch.
  • Bloghead and Hirhurim. These two are so prolific and update their blogs so much, that I can't read every post. But to follow trends in the Jewish world, you can count on them.
  • The Slumbering Lungfish. Lore Fitzgerlad Sjoberg deserves (and I hope will get) a post of his own. Perhaps the funniest guy on the internet. I used to await weekly his new Ratings, but now that it's not being updated (although, Lore, if you read this, it's never too late to start again), I can still count on his blog to make me laugh.

Now what's the daily papers without the comics? I've always been a loyal reader of the comics (my dad and I used to fight in the morning about who would read them first.) Here are my regulars:

  • Dilbert
  • Doonesbury
  • Pearls Before Swine
  • Speed Bump
  • Fox Trot
  • Mr. Boffo

A daily site for me that's not on My Yahoo is Newsmax's Liners. They quote most of the jokes from the monolouges of talk show hosts like Leno, Letterman and Conan. Besides being funny, this is one of the best ways for me to keep up with current events in the US. When I read the news I find out about what's imporant. When I read the Liners, I find out about what people are talking about.

Some sites I visit are updated weekly, and I can remember what day of the week it is by what's coming out that day (or is it the other way around?):

  • Sunday: The New York Times Sunday Magazine. While there are often a number of interesting articles, I need to read William Safire's On Language column.
  • Wednesday: The Onion The classic satirical magazine. While some pieces fall flat, there's always a few that hit the bullseye.
  • Friday: Cecil Adams' column, The Straight Dope. The expert on everything, never ceases to enlighten the teeming millions.

All this is in addition to to the dozens of columns about computer news that I read for proffesional enrichment. Without RSS, I can't imagine how long it would take me to go to all those sites!