No RSS Feed on a Site? No Problem!

May 1, 2009

I have a confession to make: I am a hi-tech late adopter with a high threshold for pain.  So long as I have a low-tech method for performing a necessary task, I’m content to use it, sometimes for years on end.

When I started this blog a few months ago I encountered many sites I wanted to monitor on a regular basis.  For example, I wanted to monitor several pages deep within the NSA web site for changes.  Unfortunately, most of these sites have a common problem: they have no RSS feeds.  So I used the same method I’ve used for years: periodic manual checking.

At some point even I threw up my hands.  The work involved in checking an ever-growing list of sites was becoming too painful.  At that point I searched for, and found, a better and free solution: ChangeDetection.com.  It’s changed my life and I’d like to share it with you.

ChangeDetection.com defines itself as follows:

At your request, we monitor any website page for text changes. If a change is detected we send you a notification email. We also maintain a log of recent changes to the page and allow you to see the difference between any two versions of the page.

After registering yourself with ChangeDetection.com, monitoring any Web page is simplicity itself.  Select the “monitor a page” option, enter a page address, give it an e-mail address to send notifications to, tweak optional features, and you’re done.  And you can monitor any number of pages to your heart’s content.

When any of your monitored pages change, you will be notified of the exact changes by e-mail.  The service also records the full history of this site, showing you all changes (or inactivity!) over time.

Another great feature is the ability to enable visitors to your web page to register for notification when your page changes.  If your site lacks a built-in RSS feed, if you’re too lazy to maintain one, or if you want to enable non-techie visitors to know when your page changes, just insert some HTML code that provides a simple-to-use interface (see my Chaocipher Clearing House site for such a feature).  You can even tell how many people are currently monitoring your web page.

Although I’m a late adopter, when I finally adopt some technological feature I know I need it and I’m happy with it.  ChangeDetection.com has changed my blogging experience, enabling me to concentrate on blogging,   Don’t leave home without it.

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Trumpet Your Successes

March 24, 2009

Some while back I read an interesting article by Mary K. Pratt on the ComputerWorld Web site entitled “Five things you should always tell your boss“.  As a software manager myself for more than a decade, I agree with the list of items in the article.  Item number 5, entitled “Your Successes”, triggered a memory. Read the rest of this entry »


My “Best Technical Article Opening Paragraph” Award

March 16, 2009

We’ve all read great articles written by talented authors.  You may have even written some articles yourself.  We are well aware of the holy grail of article writing: capturing the reader’s interesting in the opening paragraph.  It’s the difference between a forgettable article and one that will live forever in your readers’ minds. Read the rest of this entry »


My obligatory initial post

February 27, 2009

After lurking on the blogging sidelines for several years (I’d categorize myself as a careful adopter), I’ve decided to take the plunge and start my own blog.  If I had a nickle for every time I said “I’d like to publish this idea/thought/tutorial/rant” I’d  have retired a wealthy man years ago.

This blog will hopefully carry my thoughts about topics and domains I come in contact with: computer science, software, music, classical cryptography, politics, religion, and more.

The blog name, Jerusalem Mosaics, is a composite of my home city and my first name (Moshe in Hebrew, Moses in English).  It will certainly be a mosaic, i.e., a design consisting of small pieces.  This blog is not about one, single subject.  Rather, I hope to write about numerous diverse, eclectic, and interesting topics.

I sincerely hope to avoid the first hurdle of any blog: writing on a continuous basis.  With this new outlet for my literary masterpieces, I’m resolved to get over this hurdle.

Let the blogging begin!