June 9, 2011 2:55 PM   Subscribe

What is the best way to get as-real-time-as-possible alerts of updates to a blog?

I'm a pretty technical guy, and I'm having a surprising amount of trouble getting good info on this. There are blogs on Blogger (aka aka Google), and I would like to be alerted as quickly as possible when they are updated. Ideally this would end up with an alert (audible/LED/vibrate) on my Blackberry, either just due to it coming in as an email or by the use of some particular Blackberry app.

The main thing that I keep coming across is "Feed My Inbox", a service which would allow me to sign up to get emails from any RSS feed. But it's not clear how quick it really is on updates, and to even try out the realtime updates (as opposed to once-daily updates) I have to be a paid subscriber. It seems really weird to me that there isn't a simpler/better/free solution for this particular problem.

So...anybody have a better setup for this? Or do I just sign up for "Feed My Inbox"?
posted by madmethods to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite is great, and free. You can set it to alert you when the webpage itself is updated, not just the RSS feed. Those updates aren't always simultaneous, though I think on Blogger they are.
posted by lesli212 at 3:27 PM on June 9, 2011

If this then that is a new service in beta that's sort of like Yahoo Pipes. You could set it up to do something like poll for new RSS content and send a text message with the post title.

The polling period is 15 minutes, though, so maybe not fast enough for you.
posted by adamrice at 3:28 PM on June 9, 2011

From the changedetection FAQ: "Typically pages are checked once per day for changes."
posted by nicwolff at 4:51 PM on June 9, 2011

I'd try an RSS reader of some kind for your BlackBerry.
posted by Exonym at 4:57 PM on June 9, 2011

Does anyone actually know of a BlackBerry RSS reader that fits one or both of my criteria (a noticeable alert of some kind rather than me having to check it all the time, and alerts are quick after an update happens)?

Heck, for that matter a PC RSS reader? Actually another thought there is that my BlackBerry is synced to my work Outlook email, so maybe there's a way to get Outlook to follow the feed and that would then show up on my BlackBerry as well? Still might not be real-time, though. Harumph.
posted by madmethods at 8:14 PM on June 9, 2011

I don't know of any RSS reader or feed monitor that will check feeds close to real-time. This is one of those things that is difficult to scale when you think of increasing users who need increasing number of websites/RSS feeds to be checked in real-time.

You might have to get your hands dirty and do some programming. Something like this Python script might be a good starting point. Once you have machine that is online 24/7 (or some hosted service), you can easily configure the polling interval in your code.
posted by thewildgreen at 8:35 PM on June 9, 2011

I think Google Reader checks the most popular feeds more often, so if it's a popular site you're looking at, it might be close to realtime. Probably it will check at least once an hour, according to Google themselves.
posted by IndigoRain at 9:35 PM on June 9, 2011

The issue with RSS is that it is designed as a polling mechanism. There is no way for the site to push out updates; clients have to poll regularly to see if anything has changed. This becomes a problem when you have a lot of users, because that adds up to a ton of requests to service: 100,000 subscribers each polling every 5 minutes is 333 requests per second to service, or almost 30 million requests per day, and that's just for one minor part of the site's functionality. To help correct this, the RSS feed specification added a minimum-update-time field which the reader is supposed to honor. It's usually set to something like 45 or 60 minutes. Some readers have the ability to override the wishes of the site, but this could be considered borderline abusive behavior.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:10 AM on June 10, 2011

If someone did this, and for free, it would be wonderful, and I would love it. But I've been looking for a while now, and I don't see it. I use changedetection and google reader, but ultimately we're still in the part of the game where you'll have to f5 it or hang around a site to get the latest info.
posted by cashman at 7:11 AM on June 10, 2011

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