Tuesday Tutorial: What are blogs, RSS, and Google Reader?

Thanks to Dottie for this guest post to kick-off our Tuesday Tutorials!

“Blog” is short for “web log”. A web log is a kind of online diary, where someone posts little articles about whatever they’re interested in. Many blogs are updated daily or several times a week. They show you photos, post free patterns to download, make you laugh, let you learn about life in other countries . . .

There are some really good blogs about quilt making, knitting, crocheting and other crafts. How do you keep track of them? How do you know when they post something you haven’t seen yet?

“RSS” stands for “Really Simple Syndication”. It’s an easy way to keep track of websites whose content changes frequently, without having to go visit each of those websites just to see if anything’s new.

“RSS in Plain English” is a quick explanation of how to get started:

Google Reader is a popular way to read RSS feeds; it’s the one I use. You need to go to Google, click the Sign In button at the upper right, and create a new Google account by entering your email address, and creating a new password. Don’t use your regular email password – create one just for Google. (If you already have a Google Gmail account, you can use that.)

Once you have a Google account, at Google’s main page, click the “more” button at the top of the page, and choose “Reader” from the drop down menu.

Here’s Google’s Help page on getting started with Google Reader:

Depending on the way the blog owner has set things up, you may be able to read the whole article directly from Google Reader. Or you may just see a page title, so you need to click to leave Google Reader and go to that blog to read the rest. If you set your browser to open a new page or a new tab when you leave Google Reader, it’s easier to go back and take up where you left off.

Some blogs you might like:

Material Obsession, a quilt shop in Australia:

Mrs. Schmenkman Quilts does interesting things. In her right hand sidebar, she links to some good tutorials, and has a long “blogroll” – a list of other quilters’ blogs for you to try.

Moda Bake Shop, from Moda Fabrics, has free patterns for their jelly roll and layer cake bundles.

One Pretty Thing roams the Internet finding ideas from the craft blogs, and posts a daily selection for you.

– Dottie

Note: If you have additional questions on blogs or RSS Readers, please ask. We’re here to help you understand, and enjoy the abundance of quilt and craft blogs available on the web!