Wednesday, February 21, 2007

RSS ???

For a while now, I've heard a lot about rss feeds on the internet. I would look at them online but not being really quick with a lot of the newer advances on the internet, I just couldn't figure them out.

Then, around Christmas time, I read somewhere online that a website had put together a suite of shareware programs that were supposed to be well thought of.

The deal was that you would get a bundle of eight shareware programs for $49.99, for a value of over $300.00. Twenty five percent of the money would go to charity with the remaining being split among the various software developers. One other thing, if they reached their goal of $100,000, two additional shareware titles would be thrown in as a bonus.

Since I like charity and I certainly admire software developers (especially those that support shareware) I decided to go for it, even though I was unfamiliar with the software titles.

Let me tell you, this has been one great deal! So far, I've only explored three of the titles, but they have each had a significant impact on my computing, which brings me back to rss feeds!

One piece of software was NewsFire, which is an rss reader for the Mac.

After a bit of digging, I found out that rss stands for Really Simple Syndication (almost too easy, huh?). What rss technology does is continually send headlines or clips to your reader.

Another way of thinking about it is instead of having to go out on the internet to see which of your favorite sites has updated, this will go out, check for updates and let you know, via a headline, what has changed on your favorite site.

Pretty Cool, huh?

Once you become aware of this, you'll begin to notice, up in the menu bar of your browser, many pages have an icon of some kind, indicating it is eligible for an rss feed reader.

For instance, on this site, up at the top, in the right side of the address pane you'll see rss. By clicking on this, a new page will open showing a summary of past entries in this blog.

In my rss newsreader (NewsFire) I can now "subscribe" to this blog. Now, when I open my rss reader, I have a list of all the webpages I've subscribed to.

I monitor several news sites, a number of my friends blogs, a bunch of Mac sites (because I am a dyed in the wool Apple girl), several tech "deal of the day" sites, a couple of movie sites and several sites that deal with RVs.

This new technology saves me a bunch of time, as many of the subjects that show up daily I can just ignore. However if there's a headline that catches my eye, I simply click on the link in the reader and a new window with the full content opens up in my browser.

While this is a pretty simplistic explanation of how this works, I thought I'd share as this has opened up a whole new dimension of web surfing for me.

If you have any better explanations, please be sure to share via the comments below, I'm fascinated with this technology!

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