So, I’m sure many of you have heard of RSS before, but may not know the benefits, or if you do, how to set it up. Yet another acronym, RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and basically what it will do is allow you to subscribe to the content of a website that has a ‘feed’. Then, whenever this site is updated with new content, you will know right away. Most current browsers (Firefox, and Internet Explorer 7) have built in RSS reading capabilities under names such as Live Bookmarks or something similar. In the top right corner of the address bar you will see an icon similar to the one to the right. Clicking on this will walk you through the process of setting up an RSS feed right in your browser.
There are also many programs that you can download for free to read RSS Feeds. If you are using Firefox (which I highly recommend… I’ll write about this another time), there is a great plugin called Sage that I have used previously. Sage will let you categorize and search through your feeds on your computer nicely. If you are looking for a stand-alone application, something like SharpReader will do well for you. If you are using Linux, I’ve heard that Liferea is a great gtk application with all the basic features you’ll need.
After using numerous applications, I have ended up using Google Reader. Now, you’ll need a Google Account (yup, it’s free) to use their RSS reader, but I’ve found that it is worth it. It’s very quick to process lots of data (on an average day, I’ll read at least 120 headlines, and that number keeps climbing). One major benefit of using Google Reader for me was the fact that since the data is not stored on a computer, you can log in from anywhere and pick up exactly where you left off. So, it doesn’t matter if I’m at work, on my laptop, desktop, or on the other side of the World.
All in all, RSS is a great way to keep tabs on dozens of sites without spending hours clicking through to each one. Most of my family and friends blog or run websites of some sort and it’s great to keep tabs on all of them If this has inspired you, feel free to add me to your RSS to stay up to date on the lastest posts here!