View .Mac Web Galleries as RSS feeds not Photocasts

One of the nicer new features in iPhoto ‘08 and the new .Mac is the .Mac Web Gallery. With only a couple clicks, you can easily create some very nice photo slideshows, complete with navigation, links, and an oh-so-cool “carousel” viewing mode. You can see Apple’s example web galleries here, which will give you some idea of these new web galleries’ features.

One of the features is the ability to subscribe to a web gallery via the Subscribe button at the top of any particular gallery, such as the one titled Sicilian Vacation. What you’re subscribing to is, essentially, an RSS feed. If you work with RSS feeds much, you probably read them in a reader of your choice—either Safari’s built-in reader, or something like NetNewsWire. However, If you use Safari and have iLife ‘08 installed, clicking the Subscribe button will actually launch iPhoto and subscribe to the gallery as a photocast.

Now, this may be exactly what you want to happen…but if you’d rather read all your RSS feeds in one spot, then you’ll need a workaround. One way to get the gallery to load as an RSS feed is to load it in Camino, Firefox, OmniWeb, or probably any other browser. When you click the Subscribe button in a browser other than Safari, you’ll see an error message telling you that your browser isn’t capable of displaying Photocasts. Down at the bottom of the error message, however, you’ll see a URL for a “normal” RSS feed that can be displayed in a photo-compatible RSS reader (like Safari or NetNewsWire). Just copy and paste that URL into your newsreader of your choice, and you’ll be able to subscribe to it like any other RSS feed.

If you’d like to do this without opening up another browser, you’ll have to do a bit of URL editing. When I looked at the URL from the other browser’s error message, it became apparent how to edit the URL you see in Safari to get the gallery’s RSS URL. Let’s look at the Sicilian Vacation gallery from above. If you hover over that URL, you’ll see its address is:

http://gallery.mac.com/emily_parker#100370&bgcolor=black

The URL as seen in the error message is the same up through emily_parker, but then changes:

.../100370/?webdav-method=truthget&feedfmt=photocastrss

So to convert any particular gallery’s URL into an RSS URL that Safari will accept (and not launch iPhoto), all you need to do is:

  1. Select the URL in the address bar and copy it to a new tab or window — but don’t press Return yet.
  2. Change the # into a /
  3. Replace &bgcolor=black (or whatever else might come after the number) with /?webdav-method=truthget&feedfmt=photocastrss
  4. Now press Return, and either Safari will load the RSS feed (if it’s your default RSS reader), or your default RSS reader will launch and load the RSS feed.
  
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