A new page on LiveSide: read our favorite blogs (and subscribe!)

To celebrate attaining 6,000 RSS readers (it changes everyday, but we’ve been steadily climbing over the past months), today we’re introducing a new page on LiveSide, the LiveSide Blog Sampler.  We read a lot of blogs in order to keep up with the latest Windows Live news, but we know all of you aren’t crazy enough to subscribe to over 600 blogs, and read them everyday. So we thought it would be fun to present a little sampler, along with some links to instructions on some good RSS readers and some helpful links on how to get it all running, and a complete list of our sampler so that you can subscribe, too.

To set this all up, we used our free Newsgator Online account, and created a new location by navigating to Settings>Edit Locations. NewsGator allows you to create a number of different locations, each with different subsets of your main list of feeds (you can even use NewsGator Go to read feeds from your phone!).  We then clicked on Feeds (just to the right of the LiveSide Location we set up), and chose some of our favorite feeds from our main list, very simply, by just clicking a checkbox.  Next we clicked on Headlines, enabled the javascript, and set up some custom html to render the posts the way we wanted:

ngheadlines_thumb News  

We then created a new page in Community Server, dropped in the javascript, mucked around a bit with some more html get the look of the page the way we wanted, and that was it!  Then it was on to do almost the exact same sequence of steps, but instead of Headlines, this time we turned on Blogroll.  That bit of javascript went into a sidebar box to the right of our article pages.  We then created a sidebar box to hold the links to some more information on RSS, and we were pretty much done.

So now you can get a quick glance at the latest Windows Live headlines right from within LiveSide.  There’s a link on the sidebar to the right.  What’s best about this is how drop dead simple it is to change out feeds.  If we find a new feed with the latest news (and yes Shipping 7 is there in our list), of course we will subscribe in NewsGator.  Then all we have to do is place a checkbox next to the new feed, and it will instantly show up in the sidebar list on the right and any timely posts will also be there in the headlines.  Likewise, if Windows Live Wire posts even less frequently than they do now and we decide it’s just not worth it, then click and they’re gone!

Anyway, it’s been a heck of a lot of fun to get this up and running, and with very little html knowledge required (whew!).  Check out our sampler, and let us know what you think.  We’d be happy to take requests for any feeds you’d like to see show up, just leave us a note in the comments.

Update: still playing with this a bit, just added a link in the navigation bar (Feeds), and an opml link to the list of feeds, just copy the shortcut and import it into your blog reader.