Two days ago, I finally figured out how to add some much-desired (but I'm certain will be little-used) functionality to this blog. (Note, I can't do much with my blog on Yahoo 360 as Yahoo doesn't allow customization or tinkering with the template).
These exciting additions to turbo-charge my feed were #1)adding email subscription and broadcasts #2) adding links to individual posting for del.icio.us & Digg.
I did this via the site Feedburner. This free service (I do so love how much great Internet stuff comes free!) was really quick and easy to set up and offers a lot of other functionality. And did I mention it was free! Most of the functionality seems exotic and esoteric to me, but maybe one day I'll see through the glass darkly.
Feedburner adds most of these feature with the push of a button and copying and pasting a line or two of code into your template. It was that easy!
#1) Email subscriptions
Feedburner provides an opt-in email sign up and place to store and manage your list. You can schedule when you want the broadcast to go and specify a couple branding details. But otherwise the email broadcasts that day's blog entries automatically without the need or the opportunity for manual edits.
#2) Del.icio.us and Digg it links
This give people the opportunity to add an individual blog posting to their del.icio.us bookmarks (ie. individual and collective bookmarks sorted by user-entered keyword tags) or give it a Digg (ie. a plug/vote on Digg's site). I really spent some time trying to figure out how to do this - researched on the web and found nothing. Not sure if this a reflection of how little is written about this topic, or how poor search engines still are, or how poor my research skills are.
There was some additional functionality that I hadn't initially been looking for but was happy to see how easy Feedburner made it.
They offer stats on how many people have subscribed to my feed. Alas, there's is only one person other than me who has subscribed and they live in Germany (which narrows it down to my former German exchange partner)- thank you.
The other feature they have is making it very easy to assert one's level of Creative Commons. Creative Commons is an iniative to encourage respect for copyright and to facilitate sharing and re-use of content where permitted. I ended up not allowing much use of my content (not very Web 2.0 of me but I have issues since childhood with not getting credit for my accomplishments so I'm not yet ready to let go of this).
You can try out all these new features below and to the right of this blog entry. I won't know if you have though as I'm avoiding looking at my subscriptions, diggs, bookmarks and stats so as to not get too depressed yet.
It's going to be a long winter - fortunately Feedburner can heat it up (sorry to end on such a corny, bad pun).