Look Ma, No RSS!

My friend, and internet super sleuth Gary Price, has been talking about tools to track content changes when there’s no RSS available. It’s something I used to use years back, but long since fell out of the habbit with. But for news bloggers in particular, the post he points to by fellow librarian Marshall Kirkpatrick and his own round-up for Search Day are a veritable gold mine of information on how to keep ahead of the pack when it comes to being first with the story.

I don’t run Windows, so can’t use Gary’s favorite, Website Watcher, but i’ve opened a trial account (it’s $20 a year) at Trackle and have entered a couple of urls to monitor to see how it works out.

First impressions are NOT good. You know, I don’t care how well it works now, I was so put off by the gaffa tape website that it’s just ruined anything further for me. One great example of how to piss users off right from the outset was demonstrated superbly: Instead of a friendly and informative error message when the registration form is filled out incorrectly (and never mind bothering to give any instructions on the form in the first place!), why not just report the error as “problem”, and make the user guess what he did wrong.

Oh yeh, that’ll get my credit card into hand real quick heh…

Still, there are plenty of other tools listed on those linked posts and im going to run through a few of them and see if I can’t find something a little more suited to my needs.

If you use any of these tools, do let us know what you think of them, and if you have tools to add to the list, please post the links!