How To...

This is a page of my website called "How To". It is an opportunity for me to share some of the things I have learned that I believe others can use.


How Not To Go Psycho Over Psychometric Tests

Here is the PDF version of my September 26, 2014 presentation at Austin's Launch Pad Job Club. If you are seeking new employment. You may find that your prospective employer wants you to take a couple of tests. One is a personality accessment and the other a skills tests that is like a short version of the SAT test you took in high school.

Employers are looking for reliable, trustworthy and competent people and low scores on these tests may prevent you from getting to a face-to-face interview. With some foreknowledge of these tests and some practice you can do better. The improvement may be the critical edge you need to get to that crucial interview. Good luck!


Newsletter - Build It And They Will Subscribe!

(September 4, 2014) I have a few email newsletter blasts that go out to friends, colleagues and acquaintances on a daily or weekly bases. These contain news on several high tech topics. If you want to start your own email news blast here’s a tutorial on how I did it. I use three free internet services daisy chained together: Google Alerts, Yahoo Pipes and MailChimp.

- Google Alerts -

Lots of people use Google Alerts to stay informed. Most have an email sent to their inbox by Google Alerts’ search engine. You can also have Google Alerts create an RSS Feed. (Google temporarily discontinued RSS feeds on Google Alerts last year but soon returned the service. My guess is they didn’t like seeing the business go to competitors that were still providing RSS Feeds.)

How Do I Create A Google Alert?

Before I give you an overview you need to know that to fully use Google Alerts and create a RSS feed you will need to have a Google Account and be logged in. Without an account or without being logged in you can generate Google Alerts emails but not RSS feeds. You want to be able to generate RSS feeds to further process the results of the alerts with Yahoo! Pipe and MailChimp. So, if you don’t have a Google account you’ll need to sign up at https://accounts.google.com/signup?service=mail.

Once you are logged into your Google account go to https://www.google.com/alerts and in the search box type what you are looking for. If you want to get an alert when a company announces a single slot graphics card with the NVIDIA GTX 750 chip you might type single slot GTX 750 in the search box. Having two or more search terms implies the Boolean AND operator meaning all search terms should be present to get an alert.

However, Google will tend to search on the single words too; especially if it cannot find all the search terms in any online article. To reduce hits about singles, slots, cars named GTX and anything with the number 750 in it try using some quotes to group some of the terms into phrases that have a high probability of appearing in good hits for your search. You could search instead for “single slot” “GTX 750”.

You can also use the Boolean OR operator by typing in the keyword OR. If you wanted to get alerts on two of ARM’s newest microprocessor cores you might search for “ARM Cortex” “A53” OR “A57”. Google previews your search results so you can play with the terms to get the most appropriate response.

You can also use the minus operator to remove results that match but aren’t what you are looking for. For example you might search for AMD and get information about age-related macular degeneration. To reduce the possibility of that happening you use the minus operator to search for AMD -macular.

Once you enter your search criteria click Show Options. Chances are the defaults shown are okay with the exception of Deliver to which will either show your gmail address. That’s fine for getting email alerts but we want to get RSS alerts instead so we can do additional processing on the results of the alert. Click the small arrows on the right end of the email address field to expose the option of selecting an RSS feed. Then click Create Alert.

A list should appear showing the new alert at the top. The RSS symbol should appear after the search criteria for the alert. You can create more alerts to gather more information for your news blast. Once you leave this page you can return to it to add more or delete alerts. And, if you find you have created an alert that isn’t an RSS Feed you can change it by clicking the pencil icon to enter edit mode.

What’s an RSS Feed?

Click the RSS icon in the list of Google Alerts. In some browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer) you’ll be given the opportunity to subscribe to the RSS Feed.

This is a useful tool because you can subscribe to the news that interests you for various RSS Feeds offered by third parties or those you create as Google Alerts. In other browsers (e.g. Chrome) you’ll shown the content from the alert as the content of an XML file. It will look like the following.

To answer this section header’s question you can look at the code revealed above. An RSS feed is an XML file with a specific format. Google Alerts all use the same address for all the RSS feeds created there but with a really long number attached (see the next to the last line in the example). That number can be thought of as an extension to the web address that gets the RSS Reader to the specific alert.

What’s in an RSS feed file? Well, the big advantage of XML file format is its flexibility. You can put almost anything in there as long as you label it. But news feeds generally include these contents:

<channel> <author> <copyright> <title>
<description> <item> <link> <pubDate>

You can learn a lot more by going to Wikipedia or searching the web. But for now, just latch onto the idea that the basic information about a news article is included and it is organized in a format that other RSS-enabled software understands.

- Yahoo! Pipes -

I had never heard of Yahoo! Pipes before setting out to create my daily news blast. It is an amazing tool that lets you create software by drawing connections that look enough like plumbing to explain why Yahoo! gave it this name.

At one time you could log into Yahoo! Pipes with your Google account and do everything. Now it is restricted in such a way that you are going to need a Yahoo! account to fully utilities Yahoo! Pipes. If you don’t have an account, now is the time to sign up!

Once you have your account and are logged in, go to http://pipes.yahoo.com and select Create a pipe.

You’ll be presented with a programming space that looks like graph paper. Selecting processes from the list in the left margin, you drag them to the graph paper workspace. Then you draw connections between the connections on the processes. Let’s take a look at one of my pipes that you can recreate and use as a starting place for your own pipes.

In the example above the Fetch Feed process has the RSS URL for a Google Alert news feed copied and pasted into the field inside the box. The Fetch Feed does what you’d expect, it goes to the RSS URL and collects the feed information and places it in memory for processing.

The Unique process checks to see if any news feed items are duplicates and eliminates the additional copies.

The Filter process blocks any news feed that doesn’t meet the criteria. The block compares the publication date of each news item against a reference date generated by the blocks to the right. If the publication date is less than the reference date, the item is blocked, or dropped from the list. This is how the RSS feed items are filtered to keep only recent news feed items.

The Sort process puts the remaining news items in order of publication with the most recent first. Next the Truncate process limits the number of news items on this topic to only the most recent 8 items.

Finally, the Pipe Output process creates a new RSS News Feed with its own URL that you can reference to just receive the news items for today’s newsletter. MailChimp picks up this RSS news feed and several other new RSS feeds processed by Yahoo! Pipes to create the daily newsletter.

What About the Other Processes?

These process blocks create the reference date used by the Filter process to determine whether the news items are “fresh”. If your newsletter publishes weekly or less often you probably don’t need the Filter process or any of the process blocks to the right of it. But my newsletter publishes every weekday so I need this additional logic in all my Yahoo! Pipes that feed my MailChimp generated newsletter. Walk through the logic and you can probably see how you can change it to publish fewer times per week; for example, on Monday and Wednesday only.

Remember, the Filter process block tests the news items to check whether they are older than the reference date. So, on Tuesday through Friday that means older than yesterday. To give more emphasis, on Tuesday morning I want to republish every item on this topic that has appeared since the same time Monday morning. Wednesday through Friday works much the same way.

But Monday is different. I want to republish every new item on this topic that has come out since the last newsletter when out Friday morning. To clarify, I want to republish every new item on this topic that has come out since 3 days ago.

Now a bit more detail so you can do more than copy my work. The top center Date Builder process with the Date: field set to “today” does exactly what you think it does. It’s output is in a detailed format that includes the full calendar date and time down to the second. (Unix programmers will recognize this.)

The Date Formatter process with the Format: field set to “%a” strips away the details of the date and time only outputs the day of the week as the common three letter abbreviations: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat and Sun.

The five remaining Date Builder processes with the Date: field set to either “3 days ago” or “yesterday”. These processes output in the utime format. I could have used just one Date Builder process with the field set to yesterday and then followed it with the Split process to create four copies of its output. I have no good answer to why I didn’t do this other than I didn’t find the Split process until I had already created the four copies of Date Builder. So, I’ll let you try that!

The String Regex process performs an interesting function. It works similar to a C or Java Switch/Case statement for strings. When it’s input matches one of the Rules fields, it substitutes (destructively) with the input on the right. Each of those inputs is connected to one of the Date Builders. So, when the first rule matches it is Monday and “Mon” is replace with the utime code for the date and time three days ago. On Tuesday through Friday the match results in the substitution of the utime code for the prior day (yesterday) at the same time of day.

So, the output of the Sting Regex process is the utime either 24 hours before or 72 hours before in the case of Mondays. This is used by the Filter process to select only fresh news items.

Create Your First Pipe

I’m moving fast here, but if you have a bit of programming experience you should be able to follow the hints and help guide provided by Yahoo! to figure out the details. However, some things take longer than others so here are some of the details that would be time consuming if I didn’t tip you off now.

Log onto Yahoo! then type pipes.yahoo.com in your browser’s address bar. You’ll get to a space that looks like this:

Click Create a pipe and you’ll soon be in the workspace shown above. Start selecting the process blocks from the left margin and dragging them into the same places. Start clicking on the headings to see how additional process blocks are found. Once you have the same blocks in about the same positions on the page use your mouse to connecting them as shown. Just click and drag from one boxes connection bubbles to the next. If you make a mistake just click on the bubble you want to disconnect and a small set of scissors appears nearby. Click the scissors and the connections will be removed.

When you get ready to connect to the String Regex process box you’ll notice that there aren’t enough lines for the connections. Notice the + in front of the word Rules. Click it and move lines are added. If you add too many, click the minus sign in front of the extra lines and they’ll be removed.

Once you have all the connections made fill in the fields as shown. I realize that a few of the fields don’t show their full contents, so here’s some help with those fields. Enter this in and then we will test the pipe out before saving it.

Fetch Feed – you will use your Google Alert RSS feed URLs here in your pipes but for this example you should use the following RSS URL for my AMD APU RSS feed. You probably will need to cut and paste this into Notepad and make sure any carriage return / line feeds are removed, then cut and paste the clean version into the URL field.

https://news.google.com/news/feeds?hl=en&gl=us&q=amd%2Bapu%2BOR%2Bprocessor%2BOR%2BFX%2B
OR%2BAmur%2BOR%2Bbeema%2BOR%2Bcarrizo%2BOR%2Bjaguar%2BOR%2Bkabini%2BOR%2Bkaveri%2B
OR%2Bmullins%2BOR%2Bnolan%2BOR%2Brichland%2BOR%2Btemash%2BOR%2Bzen&bav=on.2,or.&bvm=
bv.50310824,d.aWc,pv.xjs.s.en_US.I9e44VIvEiw.O&biw=1466&bih=891&um=1&ie=UTF-8&output=rss

Filter – the Rules must be typed in manually – it is not in the pull down menu for the field. The proper information is:

item.y:published.utime is less than text [wired]

Date Formatter – be sure to enter your Timezone such as PST, EST and MST. Wikipedia has a more complete list of codes for those outside of the US.

Testing 1-2-3

Before you do some testing I suggest you save your work. The Save function is on the top right. Name it anything you like.

Now, go back to the main pipes screen by clicking “Back to My Pipes”. You should see your pipe’s name listed. Click on it and you’ll get something like this.

Notice the Pipe Web Address. You’ll use this in MailChimp in the last step of creating your newsletter.

Also notice you can click Edit Source to go back to the workspace to edit your pipe. Go ahead and return to the edit workspace so I can show you some more useful information.

Let’s do some testing and observation of how this pipe works. By the way, since you may do this on any day in the future I have no way of knowing what RSS news items about AMD APUs may appear on Google Alerts. Hopefully there will be several; otherwise, this won’t be a useful demonstration.

1. Click the title bar for the Fetch Feed process block. Note that the block turns from blue to orange. Now look down at the bottom of the workspace. You will see the news items delivered by Google Alerts on this topic at this moment in time. Can’t see them? Then look for the little handle in the bottom center of the workspace and use your mouse to pull it up to show this Debugger space.

On the day I wrote this I got the following:


Notice the little triangles in front of each news item. Click on them and you’ll open up the item to show more details.


Notice that the publication date is here including the day of the week and time.

2.       If you see any exact duplicate items, click on the Unique process block’s title bar and the duplicates should disappear from the list in the Debugger space.

3.       Next, click on the Filter process block’s title bar. The list should get shorter. In fact, if all the news items are outside the date range for the day you are testing, the list will disappear. If that happens try tricking the system by changing the String Regex fields. I tried this on a Saturday and all the items disappeared from the Debugger space. So, I changed the “Fri” field to “Sat” temporarily and then clicked on the Filter process block’s title bar. Then three items were listed in the Debugger space.

If you change on of the day of the week codes, don’t forget to put it back before saving again!

4.       Now click on the headers for the Sort, Truncate and Pipe Output to see if anything changes. In many case there won’t be any change to the list displayed in the Debugger space.

5.       Now click on any of the Date Builder process block’s title bar. Now you can see all the details included in utime. Try mentally comparing the Date Builder process block output for the block for “today” against the blocks for “yesterday” and “three days ago”.

6.       Check out the output of the Date Formatter block and the String Regex process blocks to see how they work too.

Create Your Pipes

Now, create your own pipes by saving this pipe and clicking “Back to My Pipes” at the top of the workspace. Once you are back you’ll notice you can Clone this pipe. That’s one way to avoid typing everything in for your own pipes. But I recommend for at least the first 2 or 3 pipes you create you do type in everything. That way you will learn by experience.

If you haven’t already created a few Google Alerts to feed a number of Yahoo! Pipes it is time to do that because you’ll need you Yahoo! Pipes URLs before starting with MailChimp. By the way, to save time I have copied all my Google Alert RSS feed URLs and all my Yahoo! Pipes RSS feed URLs into a document that I can quickly reference while working in MailChimp.

One final comment before moving on. The Fetch Feed process block in Yahoo! Pipes can have more than one URL in it by clicking the + sign in front of the word URL. That’s handy. For example, if AMD adds a new APU I don’t have to rewrite my Google Alert for AMD APUs. Instead I can create a new Google Alert for product XYZ and then add that alert’s RSS feed URL to the AMD APU pipe.

This also means you can do even more complex combinations. You might want a Yahoo! Pipe about the latest news on Smartphones. Every time a new smartphone of interest comes along you can add a Google Alert about it and add the alert’s RSS URL to the Yahoo! Pipe. A few months later when that smartphone becomes passé you can easily delete the alert’s RSS URL from the Yahoo! Pipe.

- MailChimp -

Lots of companies and individuals use MailChimp to create mailing lists, newsletters and marketing campaigns. For individuals or small companies it is a bargain! The “Entrepreneur“ level of use allows up to 2000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month at no charge! If you have 500 subscribers and send 5 emails a week you’ll be sending 500 x 5 x 4 or 10,000 emails per month, well within the limits of the free version. Once you grow your subscription list you’ll probably be happy to pay $10 a month for the next level of service. So, sign up now at mailchimp.com. By the way, I’m in no way benefiting from your use of MailChimp.

Mailing Lists

You can type mailing lists in by hand. You can import them from Excel. You can setup a link to put in emails, newsletters and websites to let people sign themselves up. And, they have simple forms you can embed into your blog or website to sign up subscribers too. Unsubscribe? Yep, it’s a law that you have to have a way to do that and MailChimp requires it be in every newsletter you sent out. You know, down at the bottom in the mice type. Since most of what MailChimp does with mailing lists is intuitive I won’t cover it in detail.

RSS News Feed Campaign

Many people probably enter a new weekly or monthly newsletter manually. But if you want it to have news feeds and go out frequently you don’t want to be bothered with that. You want it automated. Here’s a step by step overview of how to create a simple newsletter campaign using the RSS news feeds you have created from Google Alerts and Yahoo! Pipes.

I am going to assume a few things that may not be true for you. For example, you have some art work for a logo, a contact information for people to connect with you or come buy your products and have entered at least a small mailing list. If you don’t have those things you can still do this and add those features later.

Be Certain It Will Publish

One hick up I experience early on in my first newsletter based on RSS feeds was my newsletter didn’t get sent on some days when it should have gone out. The problem was MailChimp uses one of the RSS feeds to determine if there is news and if that news feed is empty that day your newsletter will not be sent!

To solve the problem you want to add a bit of window dressing to your newsletter with an RSS feed that will always be there. I use a RSS feed with a competitive marketing thought for the day to do this. It appears at the bottom of the newsletter but is the RSS feed you’ll be asked for before you begin to construct the rest of your newsletter design. To find that newsfeed I went to www.quotesdaddy.com where you can find daily quotes on a wide range of topics. Pick one you feel is appropriate and click the RSS feed icon () to get the address. Copy the address to your list of RSS feeds that’ll you’ll use in the newsletter.

Creating a MailChimp Campaign

MailChimp refers to a newsletter (whether sent out once or on a regular schedule) as a “Campaign”. Let’s create a simple one that you can elaborate on to create your newsletter…

1.       Once logged into MailChimp.com, and once you’ve created a mailing list (your email address is enough to get started), click Create Campaign. Don’t see that on your screen? Then you are somewhere other than the MailChimp Dashboard. look for the chimp icon on the upper left and click that. A menu should appear. Click Dashboard. When the Dashboard appears, click Create Campaign on the upper right.

2.       Select RSS-Driven Campaign and a new screen appears with a few things to do…

a.       The RSS Feed URL is where you put the URL of the newsfeed that you know will be fresh every time your newsletter is to go out. I got mine from www.quotesdaddy.com.

b.      Pick the frequency you want your newsletter sent (Daily, Weekly, etc.). Notice that just below you turn the daily selection into certain days of the week.

c.       Pick the time of day that the email will go out. Think about this a bit before you choose. If you live in the US Central Time Zone and most of your recipients are in the US you probably want a time in the morning that will still be before the start of business on the east coast. For example, 7 AM is 8 AM in New York City. If your newsletter is primarily for people in the same time zone you have some greater flexibility. You may want it to go out before work, before lunch, just after lunch (when people are often catching up on email) or after work (when retail customers may be relaxing with their tablets on the couch). I want to catch people at the start of the business day and I’m in the Central Time Zone so I pick 7 AM.

d.      Pick which days to send the newsletter (a.k.a. campaign). My newsletter goes out Monday through Friday so I check everything except Sunday and Saturday.

Here’s what my screen looks like.

When you are ready, click Next Step: Recipients > at the lower-right of your screen.

3.       On the next screen pick a distribution list. You did set one up with at least your email address in it didn’t you? Once you’ve selected a list a set of secondary choices is displayed. Generally, you’ll want to select Send to entire list. Once you’ve made your selections click Next Step: Setup >.

4.       On the next screen you setup the name of your newsletter/campaign and fill in the information that will appear in the header of your email. You can call it almost anything but I suggest you be descriptive and put a revision number and/or a date in the name. This can be helpful in the future when you may have multiple newsletters/campaigns active and you want to edit, clone or delete one.

The suggested Email subject line probably won’t work for you. I want this to be my newsletter and not something lifted from the newsfeed I used to make sure it goes out. So, I’ve changed my subject line here to “Charles Mitchell’s Daily News!” I suggest you click the link below this field for information on snappier subject lines that will get opened by more recipients, more often.

Next, fill in your name and email address so that your recipients will recognize who is sending this newsletter and hopefully think well of you. I believe it is a legal requirement that you not fake this.

On the right I suggest you click Personalize the “To:” field so your email doesn’t look like it is being emailed to the equivalent of snail mail’s Occupant. There are other merge tags that you can explore but I am using the suggested *|FNAME|* *|LNAME|* to show the recipients first and last names.

Below the ruled line you will see checkboxes for tracking options. I suggest you take the defaults for your first newsletter and explore the other options once you have it up and running.

Ready? Click Next step: Template >.

5.       Next up is the selection of a template. I suggest you start simple. PLEASE NOTE: this is where I wasted a day the first time I tried to create a newsletter. I don’t want you to do that! The first templates shown DO NOT WORK WITH RSS-DRIVEN CAMPAIGNS! So scroll down until you see the template labeled Basic RSS.

You will be automatically taken to the template design screen where you can enter text, graphics and more RSS News Feed addresses.

6.       Move your cursor up and down over the template and notice that it is built of blocks that are highlighted one at a time.

Notice the three icons that appear on the right of the heavy bar over a selected block. They permit you to edit (pencil icon), clone (icon of two boxes with plus sign), and delete (trash can icon).

If you have a graphic that you want to use as a masthead you can click to pencil icon on the top block and upload the image. If you do that you may want to spend some time in your favorite image editing software to get the scale of the image right before uploading it. The image should be no wider than 620 pixels. The suggested height is about 200 pixels.

7.      The second block from the top uses the RSS News Feed you are using to make sure your newsletter goes out as a title. You probably don’t want to do that you want something personalized. So highlight that block and click the trash can to delete it.

To create a personalized title or opening message we want to Insert another text block below the masthead image. On the right of the screen are some blocks you can drag into the newsletter.

Click and drag the Text block from the right over the newsletter template and position it below the masthead image block. You’ll notice that while you hold down your left mouse button you can position the new Text block where the Drop block here bar appears.

If your aim is poor and you drop it in the wrong place don’t worry. Just use your mouse to grab the block by the with the “nine-dot square” on the left end of the block and drag it up or down to the correct location.

Now that you have the block placed notice the text editing screen on the right of your screen. You can type the text you would like to see in the block and format it. The is also a link icon that lets you put in a hyperlink to a website. That’s a great way to funnel newsletter recipients to your website and even to a specific page or item.

Once you the introductory text looking like you want it click Save & Close at the bottom of the window.

8.       Now let’s add some of the news items that are coming from your Yahoo Pipes. From the right hand side drag and drop another Text block into your newsletter below the block you just entered. Once the block is in place click the pencil icon in the block header to edit the block’s contents.

This is not the only way to put an RSS News Feed item into your newsletter. There are some predefined blocks you can drag over and use, too. But I prefer to edit the Text block and insert a merge tag into the text to show the RSS feed. Here’s the basic format of what you will type into the Text block:

        Your Title
        *|FEED:url[$count=N. $content=full]|*

The two items in red are the URL of the RSS News Feed and the maximum number of items from that feed you wish to display. Here’s an actual entry using one of my Yahoo Pipes. It overflows and wraps to two lines because the URL from Yahoo Pipes is very long. The red highlighting is only for emphasis and is not something you’ll want to do to the text you enter into the Text block.

        AMD APUs and Processors
        *|FEED:http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.run?
        _id=b75025d3d3fe739c020041090c7b1ce3&_render=rss
[$count=3, $content=full]|*

Now try to do this with one of your Yahoo Pipes RSS News Feed URLs. If you don’t have a list of URLs ready you can copy and paste mine as a test.

You can use the boldface attribute on the title and I recommend you use the Style pull down box to also make the title TOC Heading 2. TOC stands for Table of Contents. Not only does the formatting for the title look nice but you can now put another block in for a table of contents and all your text blocks using this Style will be listed and hyperlinked for quick access.

Once you are done click Save & Close.

9.       To add a bit of style, drag and drop some of the Divider lines into the template. You can place them above and below your RSS News feed blocks to separate the topics.

10.   Remember the RSS News Feed that insure your newsletter will go out. That’s the next block in the template. It looks like the one below on the left. I edited mine to be less prominent so the block looks like the one below on the right.


When you open the editor for this block you may be surprised by what you see. It doesn’t look like the editor for the Text blocks. To get to the WYSIWYG editor change the RSS Items Style to Custom. Then you should see the following. Note the changes I made shown to the right. You can choose to format this text differently if you like.

ï Added a Title at top in TOC Heading 2 style

ï Removed By *|RSSITEM:AUTHOR|*

ï Removed *|RSSITEM:CONTENT_FULL|*

As a matter of style I capitalized “On”.

ï Removed Twitter and Like merge tags

ï Removed everything below this point.

When you are done, click Save & Close.

 

11.   The last block lists a copyright notice, your email address and how to unsubscribe or update their email preferences. This must remain. If you do mass emailing the low requires it.

Now review your work for any obvious errors. Below is what my example looks like. Yours should be very similar.

Test It Now!

You could go on with the process and wait for the first time the newsletter is emailed to you to know if it looks or works correctly. That’s probably a bad idea. Instead, test it now. In the black bar at the top of the window, over on the right you’ll see the option Preview and Test. Click on it and you’ll see a bunch of options. Use the first one, Enter Preview Mode. If something doesn’t look right you can go back and fix it and try again. To leave the Preview Mode click the X on the black circle near the top-right of the window.

Ready to Move Forward

When you are satisfied with your Preview Mode results move forward by clicking Next >. If you have saved your work and returned to editing you’ll likely see a different screen than if you have been steadily plowing forward. In the former case you’ll see a summary of all the steps in creating a campaign. Those that need your attention will be marked in yellow with an exclamation point. In the latter case you’ll be taken to the Edit Plain-Text Version window. Unless you have unusual needs to provide those stuck in a plain text email world, just click Save to move on.

You may also be lead through additional topics. If so, just take the defaults if forced to make a choice and click Next to move on. At some point you will be presented with a new option in the lower-right corner of the window: Start RSS. Click this and you will be asked to confirm that you are ready to Start Campaign and once you click that your campaign will be activated.

You should take the chimps sign as a positive gesture like a thumbs up. If your in Austin Texas this gesture will be greated with a smile but just don’t try this in Spain or you’ll probably get beaten up!

You can now return to the Dashboard. If it isn’t a visible option on the screen click the chimp in the upper-left. You can also click the chimp to get to your Campaigns (i.e., your newsletters) to see their status. To edit a campaign that you have saved you must first pause it. To do that click Pause in the pull down menu for the Sent Campaign.

If a Campaign is already paused you’ll see the pause symbol in front of its title and instead of Sent Campaign below the campaign’s information you’ll see the Edit option.

Waiting with Anticipation

Once you have your campaign active you should check your email a few minutes after the send time you have designated. My campaign is set to go out at 7 AM and is usually in my inbox about before 7:03 AM. That’s impressive considering it has several RSS News Feeds to be checked and formatted before it is sent out.

Summary

This has been a successful way for me to create more than one newsletter that goes out regularly. If you need additional help please check the online instructions for Google Alerts, Yahoo Pipes and MailChimp before sending me an email. I like being helpful but only have limited to time to send detail responses. With a bit of work I think you'll find this is a easy way to do very complex newsletters based on news feeds. Remember, if you have a simpler need you may be able to eliminte the Yahoo Pipes and use the Google Alerts RSS news feeds directly in MailChimp.

Good luck and regards,
Charles