First of I’d like to introduce myself as this is my first blog post here on The Blob.
But lets leave this for now and get on with the RSS thing…!
Although it has been around for quite a while now, RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is still unknown to a lot of people but hopefully I will be able to shed some light on it with this brief blog post.
In broad terms RSS is the lazy mans way of browsing the web. Why go to the kiosk to buy a newspaper when you can have it delivered directly to your door? – This is exactly what RSS does.
You might have noticed a little orange icon like this in your browsers address bar or on some of the sites you visit regularly, this icon tells you that there’s a RSS feed to subscribe to.
Say that you wanted to stay updated on what’s going on in the UK2 blog “The Blob” but don’t want to visit it every day- RSS helps you with this by serving the information directly to your computer. This is of course not limited to just our blog, try visiting sites like bbc.co.uk and many others and look for the orange icon.
“So how do I do this?” I hear a lot of you asking – well, it’s actually quite simple, especially if you are using a newer browser like Firefox or Internet Explorer 7 since have built in RSS support. Just click the orange icon in the address bar and subscribe to the feed – simple as that.
The major problem with the built in RSS support in Firefox and Internet Explorer 7 is that it is very basic. What I would personally recommend is downloading a stand-alone program called a “feed reader”. There’s quite a few alternatives out there both freeware and payware so I’m only going to list a few of them here:
- Sharpreader (freeware) – very basic feed reader, but it’s lightweight and most of all FREE 🙂
- FeedReader (freeware) -nice looking and lightweight feed reader.
- FeedDemon ($29) – lots of configuration options. Does cost $29 but it’s possible to download a trial.
As I’m not a Mac-man I can’t really help on this one, but I guess a quick stop by Google can help you out 🙂
A last thing to note for all you Firefox users out there: There’s a nice feed reader add-on called Sage that I recommend you take a look at if you prefer to have as few applications open as possible.
Alright I think that more or less sums it up for now but just to let you know, there’s a lot more to RSS than what I have described here, so if you feel like it stop by Wikipedia and read what they have to say about it.