Thursday, September 15, 2005

What are RSS feed readers

Reading News and Blogs via Really Simple Syndication - Spam Free

Most of us keep a mental list of our favorite Web sites--perhaps 5 to 10 destinations that we swing by every day. But usually only a few of them contain new stories that are worth reading immediately, so a habit of loading and scanning each of these sites daily can waste a lot of time. If you can't afford to miss out on the latest news, are having a hard time managing the deluge of information you receive via e-mail, or simply want a more convenient way to manage and control your online news and information, RSS feeds may be the next best thing for you. Email newsletters are great, but spam is not. The deluge of junk mail has made it increasingly painful to follow the news and what's happening on your favorite web sites via email.

Either the newsletter you're eager to read can be hidden in a massive spam attack or it does not arrive because your ISP is blocking spam and your favorite newsletter falls victim to the filters, too (now you know why a "false positive" is something negative).

RSS Feeds as an Alternative to Email Newsletters

Fortunately, there is an alternative way to subscribe to the web sites and blogs you visit regularly: RSS. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary (of course, the acronym can be explained in many other creative ways), and it allows you to "syndicate" news summaries from web sites. Along with breaking-news headlines from online versions of publications, feeds can deliver everything from Weblogs and weather alerts. Feeds arrive in various formats, but the most common are RSS and a new standard called Atom that expands on the capabilities of RSS. Both can be read by most available readers.

You can use these syndicated RSS "feeds" to display the latest news from major newspapers, for example, on your own web site or read them on other sites collecting these feeds. Using very simple, easy-to-use, free or low-cost software called an RSS reader, Also called "RSS aggregators," RSS readers are one of the biggest new categories of software in recent memory. A quick online search will find more than 50 programs designed to scan subscription news feeds, and each one works a little differently than the others. Some are stand-alone applications; others plug into your e-mail client or your Web browser; and still others act as Web services, permitting you to access them from any browser. The type that will suit you best depends on your work style. You can have all the latest headlines on topics you choose delivered to your desktop for free. You can even choose the source. When your reader displays a headline of interest, click the headline and you'll be whisked to the source Web site for the full story. And there is NO SPAM. With RSS you no longer have to visit your favorite Web sites to check for new updates--you simply open up your reader and see all the headlines from all your selected sources in a matter of seconds.

Where do I get a RSS reader

New RSS readers are being developed every day. Here is a list of some of them

Using RSS Feeds

Subscribing to an RSS feed is easy.

  1. Look for a little orange XML icon on your favorite news site or blog, telling you to "syndicate this site".
  2. Copy the feed's URL (it will usually end in .xml, .rdf or .rss).
  3. Paste it in your RSS feed reader.
  4. Now let the feed reader do its aggregating work, and enjoy the news.
Should you ever encounter "Atom" or "web" feeds instead of "RSS" feeds, do not let that confuse you. Essentially, they are all the same, just different names and slightly different protocols for the same functionality. Your RSS feed reader should be able to use either version just fine.

RSS and Your Email Program

While dedicated programs to read RSS feeds are developed, have you noticed how the most useful borrow much of the interface and functionality known from your email program? Before long, more and more email programs and web-based email services will be able to read RSS news. Mozilla Thunderbird, for example, integrates RSS feeds nicely and seamlessly, and NewsGator turns Outlook into a capable aggregator. Email clients are the natural environment for Usenet news, email and RSS feeds. These methods of following news are strikingly similar, and aggregating them all in the same powerful program has many benefits.

Which feeds do I need

Every reader includes a list of sites to get you started--sometimes hundreds of them, usually organized into categories like the sections of a newspaper. Here are some places where you can find more news feeds

Most websites now a days provide a RSS link so you can go to your favorite website & locate and copy the link into your RSS reader J Happy surfing

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