Headlines Plugin


This plugin displays RSS and ATOM feeds from news sites. Use it to build news portals that show headline news.

Note: Syndic8.com ( http://www.syndic8.com/ ) is a good site listing many RSS feeds.

Syntax Rules


Parameter Explanation DefaultSorted ascending
format Format of one item. Can include these variables:
- $title: news item title (item.title)
- $link: news item link (item.link)
- $description: news item description (item.description)
- $date: the publication date (item.pubDate, item.date)
- $category: the article category (item.category)
Global FORMAT setting
header Header. Can include these variables: - $channeltitle, $title: title of channel (channel.title)
- $channellink, $link: link of channel (channel.link)
- $channeldescription, $description: description (channel.description)
- $channeldate, $date: publication date of the channel (channel.pubDate)
- $rights: copyrights of the channel (channel.copyright)
- $imagetitle: title text for site (image.title)
- $imagelink: link for site (image.link)
- $imageurl: URL of image (image.url)
- $imagedescription: description of image (image.description)
Global HEADER setting
limit="12" Maximum number of items shown Global LIMIT setting
refresh="60" Refresh rate in minutes for caching feed; "0" for no caching Global REFRESH setting
href="..." (Alternative to above) N/A
"..." source of RSS feed; this can be an url (starting with http) or a web.topic location for internal feeds None; is required

The header and format parameters might also use variables rendering the dc, image and content namespace information. Note, that only bits of interest have been implemented so far and those namespaces might not be implemented fully yet.

Rendering the dc namespace

The following variables are extracting the dc namespace info, that could be used in header and format. Nnote, that some of the variables are already used above. This is done by purpose to use different feeds with the same formating parameters. If there's a conflict the non-dc tags have higher precedence, i.e. a <title> content </title> is prefered over <dc:title> content </dc:title> .

  • $title: channel/article title (dc:title)
  • $creator: channel creator (dc:creator)
  • $subject: subject text; this will also add an image according to the subject hash list, see above (dc:subject)
  • $description: ... (dc:description)
  • $publisher: the channel/article publisher (dc:publisher)
  • $contributor: ... (dc:contributor)
  • $date: ... (dc:date)
  • $type: ... (dc:type)
  • $format: ... (dc:format)
  • $identifier: ... (dc:identifier)
  • $source: ... (dc:source)
  • $language: ... (dc:language)
  • $relation: ... (dc:relation)
  • $coverage: ... (dc: coverage)
  • $rights: ... (dc: rights)

Rendering the image namespace

An image:item is converted into an <img> tag using the following mappings:

  • src: image url (rdf:about attribute of the image.item tag)
  • alt: image title (title)
  • width: image width (image:width)
  • height: image height image:height)

Rendering the content namespace

The variable $content is refering to the <content:encoding> content </content:encoding>.


Slashdot News


  header="*[[$link][$title]]:* $description" 
  format="$t* [[$link][$title]]"
to get the latest Slashdot news as a bullet list format:

Business Opportunities Weblog


%HEADLINES{"http://www.business-opportunities.biz/feed" limit="3"}%

to get the latest postings on the "Business Opportunities" weblog:

Sat, 06 Mar 2021 22:22:32 +0000
The original blog about business opportunities and business ideas for small business entrepreneurs
Sat, 06 Mar 2021 22:01:51 +0000 Carrol Strain
Featured image by aiiapromogifts from Pixabay 

Running and growing a business has always been full of challenges. But due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, being an entrepreneur lately has been even tougher for many people. It's vital, then, to keep looking for ways to establish a clear brand, connect with consumers, and generate more leads. One way to do this is via the purchase of quality promotional products.

Buying branded gear for your organization can be rather daunting, though, with so many options available. Think about the following tips before you invest in promotional items.

Create a Budget for Promotional Products

It pays to set a budget upfront for your promotional product purchases. Doing this will help you narrow down the choices when working out what is and isn't feasible for your finances. Plus, it also reduces the risk that you'll get so caught up in finding the perfect products that you spend more than you can afford. So first decide how much works for your marketing budget. From there, investigate options to suit.

Think About the Impression and Results You're Looking For

It's also wise to decide on your goals before you start shopping. Know the impression you want the promo gear you invest in to make on current or potential clients (or other gift recipients). Also, be clear about the results you want your giveaways to achieve.

For example, are you looking for increased brand awareness and more leads? Would you like a way to recognize and reward employees? Do you wish to thank supplies or customers or highlight a new campaign? Or do you have something else in mind? Every business has different goals, so be sure of yours and go into the product buying process with clarity.

Know Who You're Targeting and What Will Get Them to Take Notice

A key part of choosing the best promotional products for your business is understanding who it is you're targeting with the items. Understand which category of person or organization you want to give the gear to. For example, you could be targeting potential customers, current clients, employees, or suppliers. Know who these people are and what's important to them.

Your promo goods will have much more of an impact, and thereby a better return on investment, if they're targeted to the recipient. Have a good understanding of their tastes, hobbies, family status, lifestyle, and so on. Ask yourself what the people you're buying for have in common. Is it, for instance, their geographic location? Or is it their age, their interests, or their stage of life?

Also, don't forget your company's values, mission, and products. Select promo gear that relates to what you sell, why you offer it, and why your customers choose to buy from you. For example, do you have a sustainable ethos? Do you focus on eco-friendly products or services that enable people to live more earth-conscious lives? If so, you need the promotional goods you choose to be similarly aligned.

Plus, it pays to check out what kinds of promotional offers your competitors give away. Work out what you feel is best about their offerings and what you think doesn't gel, based on your business and your particular customer base. Are there ways you can have a better effect by improving on the types of promotional gear you choose, in comparison to your competitors?

Choose Practical Items as Your Promotional Products

Another consideration is the practicality of the giveaways. These days most people are inundated with ''stuff.'' They can find gifts of superfluous items an annoyance rather than something to enjoy and cherish. Try to find promotional products that not only align with your business but that recipients will have some need for, too.

This relevance will likely vary depending on the target group you're buying goods for. For example, a beautiful journal may work well as a gift for people who are writers or coaches. Meanwhile, a bone-shaped biscuit treat could be perfect for dog owners you sell pet goods to.

Factor in Lead Time and Distribution

Don't buy promotional products without first thinking about appropriate lead times and distribution factors. For example, if you'll be exhibiting at a tradeshow in two months, you need to ensure the gear you order will arrive in time for this event.

Also, if you'll be sending promotional items via the post more so than handing them out in person, you'll want to stick with lighter, easily packaged options that won't cost you too much to mail to recipients.


Promotional Products Can Be a Boon to Your Company If You Use Them Right

Buying promotional goods takes some time and effort, but the result of your hard work and financial investment will pay off if you get it right. Follow the tips above to help ensure this marketing avenue gives you an excellent return on investment.


The post Tips for Choosing the Best Promotional Products for Your Business appeared first on Business Opportunities.

Sat, 06 Mar 2021 16:58:16 +0000 Janelle
Featured image from Pixabay

Running a trucking or a transportation business is both fun and profitable. The opportunity to help people move things from one place to another is only obtainable when having a trucking business. However, making sure you comply with all the requirements set up by the government is essential to run your business. Just like your USDOT number, the Texas dot number (TXDOT) also enables you to run your trucking operations legally. 

However, the rules to attain both of these numbers are not the same. You have to avail your TxDOT if you are carrying over 26,000 pounds on your cargo. Here are all the details regarding the TxDOT number.

What Are the Requirements for a Texas DOT Number?

All motor carriers that operate at an intrastate level and pass through Texas must have their TxDOT number issued from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

Here are all the prerequisites for getting your Texas DOT number:

  • You must have an Intrastate USDOT number.
  • You drive a vehicle (or vehicles) that carry more than 26,000 pounds of weight.
  • Your company transfers hazardous materials that require placarding.
  • You have farm vehicles that exceed the 48,000 pounds weight limit.
  • Your vehicle can transport more than 15 people.
  • You own a transport service that facilitates school students.
  • You transport household goods.


What Are the Insurance Requirements for a Texas DOT Number?

Fulfilling the minimum insurance requirements is also necessary to get your Texas DOT number. The following are the insurance requirements:

  1. Minimum insurance of $5,000,000 in case of transporting hazardous materials.
  2. $1,000,000 insurance in the case of petroleum materials.
  3. A minimum insurance of $750,000 for foreign carriers.
  4. $300,000 insurance for household right movers.
  5. $500,000 insurance for commercial school bus operators.
  6. $500,000 insurance for bus operators transporting more than 15 but fewer than 26 passengers.
  7. Insurance of $5,000,000 for bus operators transporting more than 26 passengers.
  8. $500,000 insurance for private or for-hire vehicles exceeding the limit of 26,000 pounds.

What Information Is Required?

  1. Your legal name
  2. Name of your trucking business
  3. Complete address
  4. Your Social Security Number
  5. Your date of birth
  6. Credit card information
  7. Information of your vehicle(s)

Are There Any Exemptions?

The Lone Star State has declared in the Texas Transportation Code that vehicles registered under the Federal Unified Registration Act are not required to obtain a USDOT and Texas DOT number.

Here are some vehicles that don’t require a TxDOT number:

  • Cotton vehicles
  • Tow Trucks
  • Daycare vehicles
  • Private school vehicles
  • Nursing home vehicles
  • Hotel vehicles

Here’s How to Apply for a Texas DOT Number

As stated earlier, having a USDOT number is compulsory before you apply for the Texas DOT number. So securing your USDOT number is the first step in the application process. You can apply for your Texas DOT number using the online portal. Applying online is both easier and takes less time. However, those who are operating a passenger carrier vehicle cannot apply through the online portal.

Here's how to apply for TxDOT if you don't own a private passenger bus service:

  1. Make a call to the Texas DMV office.
  2. Ask the officer for UIN and PIN.
  3. Access the application portal using the UIN and PIN keys.

However, if you are running a passenger service and don't want to visit the office for the Texas DOT number, you can apply by contacting the office via email or fax. Before you apply, you will have to fill out the 1899 or 1899T form.

  • The 1899 form is for registration for 1-2 years.
  • The 1899T from is for short-term registration.

You can obtain short-term registration for as few as seven days, and the maximum duration of short-term registration is ninety days.

Complete the Forms

Here are the details you need to provide while filling out the forms:

  • Your basic information
  • Information about your vehicle(s)
  • Your USDOT number
  • Your insurance plan

However, there's one important thing to fulfill after you submit the forms and the fee. You have to contact your vehicle's insurance provider and ask them to send the details of your insurance plan to the Motor Carrier Division of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicle before they can process your application.


It's easier to get your Texas DOT number with a dedicated team of professionals. Contacting Texas DOT number service providers can help you save time and effort. Please don’t overlook the importance of the Texas DOT number and receive it as soon as you can. Happy trucking!


The post Texas DOT Number: What You Need to Know appeared first on Business Opportunities.

Sat, 06 Mar 2021 15:22:14 +0000 Carrol Strain
Featured image by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Now that the worst of the pandemic is in the rearview mirror, a new question is hanging in the air. How can companies begin to rebuild? What areas of business did you neglect or change over the course of the past year? How do you know that your company is not just surviving the present but building toward a successful future?

2020 was a year for the ages. The coronavirus pandemic left businesses from every industry scrambling to adapt. A year later, most companies that are still in existence have done just that.

Here are four areas of business that could use an overhaul after the disruptions of the past year.

1. Customer Service

Customer service is a business area that took a huge hit in 2020. Homebound setups replaced call centers. In-person staff meetings had to take a back seat to virtual meeting software. And yet, throughout the chaos, countless customer service teams managed to come through. They fielded phone calls, answered emails, and responded to onsite chats.


Now that so many customer service teams have successfully adapted to a remote-first customer service format, how can they take things to the next level? Where can your business improve its current customer service activities?

Do you need to do something simple, like create a cloud-based customer service handbook? Universal documents like these can help reps maintain consistency in your brand's voice, tone, and offered solutions.

If you're looking for something more advanced, consider implementing a better IVR option. Interactive voice response tools are often frustrating for customers to work with. Is yours delivering results? Can you shift to a cutting-edge visual IVR solution that gives your company an edge over the competition?

Whatever the specifics, it's important to review your customer service situation. After all, if you don't keep your clientele happy, your company won't have a future. It's as simple as that.

2. Marketing and E-Commerce

The marketing landscape shifted a lot in the past year. However, even with those changes, it didn't shift much from its trajectory. Marketing was heading online far before the pandemic gave it a push in that direction. Chances are your enterprise has taken advantage of some of the benefits of online marketing in the past twelve months or even earlier.

However, online marketing isn't an area of business that's known for its paucity of options. Quite the opposite. Marketing can be an overwhelming process with countless options and solutions. So if you're already using online marketing, consider overhauling your current strategy. Now that you're established online, how can you improve? Are you tracking your results? Do you have a social media presence? Are you utilizing search engine marketing (SEM)?

The same goes for e-commerce websites. Long before quarantines and shelter-in-place orders forced businesses onto the cloud, companies were creating their own websites. Your business probably had a site, too. If not, it most certainly does now.

With e-commerce here to stay, how can you improve your existing site? Are you using an efficient e-commerce website builder that stays updated and cyber secure? Do you have a safe way to process payments from customers online?

You may have built up your online marketing and e-commerce presence in a quantitative manner over the course of the last year. The question now is how you can refine the quality of those efforts going forward.


3. Your Offerings

Many businesses changed their company's offerings in response to the pandemic. Sometimes this consisted of tailoring existing services to fit the new normal. A good example of this can be seen in the food industry. Countless restaurants set up websites, took orders online, and then created curbside pickup spots for customers to get their food.

At other times, companies made more serious pivots into other areas of expertise. The car manufacturer GM, for instance, was given a nearly 5-billion-dollar contract to manufacture 30,000 ventilators to help with the ongoing crisis.

While most small businesses didn't make such drastic changes, the point still stands. There's a good chance that you adjusted the way that you present your company's offerings (including, at times, the products and services themselves) to the public.

If that's the case, this is an area of your business that needs your attention. It's essential that you review the current state of your products and services. Are they still meeting a consumer need? Are you delivering them in a manner that is appropriate for the current times? How can you adjust your research and development to ensure that your business offerings continue to meet customer needs in the future?

4. Your Brand

Finally, there's your brand. Times of crisis aren't the best occasions to consider how your brand looks. Crises tend to push businesses to focus on basic survival. In 2020 things like maintaining payroll and setting up a remote workspace were areas businesses tended to rank above branding.

Now that business has begun to resume a sense of normalcy, what is the state of your brand? This is a separate consideration from your marketing. Your marketing efforts should focus on finding prospective customers, cultivating relationships, and closing sales.

Your brand, on the other hand, refers to the persona your company exudes at all times. This includes everything from marketing and sales to your website, your customer-facing employee behavior, and even your products themselves. What is the state of your brand right now? How can you begin to build your brand once again? A few suggestions for ways to do so include:

  • Reviewing your logo, website, mobile app, and any other branding elements to ensure that they're still consistent.
  • Creating a brand handbook for your employees to define the voice, tone, and vision of your brand.
  • Brainstorming ways to make your brand more personal and relatable.
  • Using your online marketing to spread brand awareness through social media, influencers, and other marketing channels.
  • Asking for feedback from customers to help increase the effectiveness of your branding efforts.


With the ''survival'' part of the pandemic fading into memory, it's time to start thinking about the future. What areas of your business operations need a once over?

Critically Examine the Areas in Your Business

Every area of business should be reviewed at times. However, your customer service, marketing, offerings, and brand should all be high on your review to-do list. So make a plan, schedule in time, and start figuring out how you can get your business back on the path to success.

The post 4 Areas of Business That Could Use an Overhaul appeared first on Business Opportunities.

Plugin Settings

Plugin settings are stored as preferences variables. To reference a plugin setting write %<plugin>_<setting>%, for example, %HEADLINESPLUGIN_SHORTDESCRIPTION%. Note: Don't modify the settings here; copy and customize the settings in Main.TWikiPreferences. For example, to customize the USERAGENTNAME setting, create a HEADLINESPLUGIN_USERAGENTNAME setting in Main.TWikiPreferences.

  • One line description, shown in the TextFormattingRules topic:
    • Set SHORTDESCRIPTION = Show headline news in TWiki pages based on RSS and ATOM news feeds from external sites

  • Refresh rate in minutes for cached feeds. Disable caching: 0, default: 60
    • Set REFRESH = 60

  • Maximum number of items shown. Default: 100
    • Set LIMIT = 100

  • Use LWP::UserAgent, or fallback to TWiki's internal getUrl() method. Default: yes

  • Timeout fetching a feed using the LWP::UserAgent. Default: 20

  • Name of user agent. Default: TWikiHeadlinesPlugin/2.21
      * Set USERAGENTNAME = TWikiHeadlinesPlugin/2.21

  • Default header: (variables are explained in the syntax rules)
      * Set HEADER = <div class="headlinesChannel"><div class="headlinesLogo"><img src="$imageurl" alt="$imagetitle" border="0" />%BR%</div><div class="headlinesTitle">$n---+!! <a href="$link">$title</a></div><div class="headlinesDate">$date</div><div class="headlinesDescription">$description</div><div class="headlinesRight">$rights</div></div>

  • Default format of one item: (variables are explained in the syntax rules)
      * Set FORMAT = <div class="headlinesArticle"><div class="headlinesTitle"><a href="$link">$title</a></div>$n<span class="headlinesDate">$date</span> <span class="headlinesCreator"> $creator</span> <span class="headlinesSubject"> $subject </span>$n<div class="headlinesText"> $description</div></div>

  • Values taken from configure: (only supported if CPAN:LWP is installed)
    • $TWiki::cfg{PROXY}{HOST} - proxy host, such as "proxy.example.com";
    • $TWiki::cfg{PROXY}{PORT} - proxy port, such as "8080";
    • $TWiki::cfg{PROXY}{SkipProxyForDomains} - domains excluded from proxy, such as "intra.example.com, bugs.example.com";

Style sheets

The default HEADER and FORMAT settings use the following styles. See the style.css file defining the default CSS properties (indentation illustrates enclosure).

  • headlinesRss: output of the HeadlinesPlugin (div)
    • headlinesChannel: channel header (div)
      • headlinesLogo: channel logo (div)
      • headlinesTitle: channel title (div)
      • headlinesDate: channel date (div)
      • headlinesDescription: channel description (div)
      • headlinesRight: channel copyright (div)
    • headlinesArticle: one news item (div)
      • headlinesTitle: article title (div)
      • headlinesDate: article date (span)
      • headlinesCreator: author of article (span)
      • headlinesSubject: subect category of the article (span)
      • headlinesText: article text (div)

Plugin Installation Instructions

  • Download the ZIP file
  • Unzip it in your twiki installation directory. Content:
    File: Description:
    data/TWiki/HeadlinesPlugin.txt plugin topic
    pub/TWiki/HeadlinesPlugin/style.css default css
    lib/TWiki/HeadlinesPlugin.pm plugin perl module
    lib/TWiki/HeadlinesPlugin/Core.pm plugin core
    Check if above examples show a news feed instead of variable.
  • Optionally, run HeadlinesPlugin_installer.pl to automatically check and install other TWiki modules that this module depends on. You can also do this step manually.
  • Alternatively, manually make sure the dependencies listed in the table below are resolved.
    Digest::MD5>=2.33Required. Download from CPAN:Digest::MD5
    LWP::UserAgent>=5.803Optional. Download from CPAN:LWP::UserAgent

Plugin Info

Plugin Author: TWiki:Main.PeterThoeny, TWiki:Main.MichaelDaum
Copyright: © 2002-2009, Peter Thoeny, TWIKI.NET; 2005-2007, Michael Daum http://wikiring.de
License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
Plugin Version: v2.21 - 12 Feb 2009
Change History:  
12 Feb 2009: {PROXY}{HOST} supports domain with and without protocol -- Peter Thoeny
06 Feb 2009: added {PROXY}{SkipProxyForDomains} configure setting, added USERAGENTNAME plugin setting -- Peter Thoeny
11 Dec 2008: added {PROXY}{HOST} and {PROXY}{PORT} configure settings -- Peter Thoeny
13 Sep 2007: fixed parsing of content:encoded
23 Jul 2006: improved atom parser; if a posting has no title default to 'Untitled'
26 Apr 2006: added lazy compilation
10 Feb 2006: packaged using the TWiki:Plugins/BuildContrib; minor fixes
03 Feb 2006: off-by-one: limit="n" returned n+1 articles; make FORMAT and HEADER format strings more robust
23 Jan 2006: released v2.00
05 Dec 2005: internal feed urls must be absolute
02 Dec 2005: added web.topic shorthand for internal feeds
29 Nov 2005: fixed CDATA handling
21 Nov 2005: added ATOM support; extended RSS support; added dublin core support; added content support; optionally using LWP to fetch feeds to follow redirections; corrected CPAN dependencies ; recoding special chars from html integer to entity encoding to increase browser compatibility; added css support; use getWorkArea() if available
11 May 2005: TWiki:Main.WillNorris: added DevelopBranch compatability
31 Oct 2004: Fixed taint issue by TWiki:Main.AdrianWeiler; small performance improvement
29 Oct 2004: Fixed issue of external caching if mod_perl or SpeedyCGI is used
02 Aug 2002: Implemented caching of feeds, thanks to TWiki:Main/RobDuarte
11 Jun 2002: Initial version (V1.000)
Perl Version: 5.8
TWiki:Plugins/Benchmark: GoodStyle 100%, FormattedSearch 99.5%, HeadlinesPlugin 94%
Plugin Home: TWiki:Plugins/HeadlinesPlugin
Feedback: TWiki:Plugins/HeadlinesPluginDev
Appraisal: TWiki:Plugins/HeadlinesPluginAppraisal

-- TWiki:Main.PeterThoeny - 12 Jan 2009
-- TWiki:Main.MichaelDaum - 13 Sep 2007

Topic revision: r1 - 13 Feb 2009 - 03:55:45 - TWikiContributor
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