If you read most of your daily news over feed readers or RSS aggregators, then skip this article and go do something else.
The reason why I am writing about RSS feeds, is because of how great I personally think this way of keeping your self on top of thing is. If you think that reading newspapers is the best way to get news, think again, you have to keep in mind that newspapers provide readers with news that are a day or at best a couple of hours late, so it’s stale news by the time you read it.
In the US, some magazine publications have shrank there copy sizes dramatically, removing the news sections, simply because their readers know about the news before the publication hits the news stands. Now most publications provide their own take and opinions on those news articles instead of running the headlines, simply because it’s a waste of ink, paper, and time.
I have been using feed aggregators for years now, and people tend to get a shock to see how updated I am when it comes to the latest news, I would surprise anyone when I start talking about the latest tech news, a day or two later they call me up telling me, “you’re right, I have just read this in the newspaper”.
You see man-kind is advancing in numerous ways, ways we never even dreamt of, take blogs and the way they have evolved, or listening to podcasts, and how much fun and informative they became. But I will address both on a later article, now let’s focus on RSS.
RSS means Real Simple Syndicate, well that’s one definition, it has a lot of meanings but simply it’s information that come to you upon subscription, but what makes RSS unique? And how is it different from Ezines or emailed newsletters?
Ezines and newsletters are both delivered to your email account, and to be honest we tend to ignore them at times, because they are too long to read, we would waste hours going through heaps of information, so we tend to pile them up in our inbox, till we get fed up with there inbox-presence and decide to read them over the weekend, now this is old fashion, no one does that any more, or at least shouldn’t do that any more, you see technology has advanced a great deal, and now getting informed is easier, and much more fun.
Enter RSS or news feeds, the major difference is the fact that instead of reading news off your email inbox, or typing a URL and going to a news website, you get the news to your aggregator of feed catcher software, once you subscribe to a feed the site will send the latest news to your aggregator software, you can select the length of the news feed, so that you can read a summary of the news, instead of having to read the whole thing, time is money, and this is especially true these days.
Let’s say you subscribed to a news site, you fire-up your aggregator, it will grab all the latest unread feeds on that news site, after going through them, the aggregator will remove them, and refresh to update your feeds with new news.
No time wasted, and you got what you wanted thanks to XML technology, what can be better then that, well aggregators come in different types and forms, there are the free ones all over the net and of course there is the paid subscriptions, but to round them up, aggregators fall under four major types.
Thanks to the advancement of what is known as Web 2.0, you get online software like Gmail, Flickr, Digg, the new Yahoo home-page, or even an online aggregator, most of these aggregators are free to subscribe to, they work efficiently, my personal favorites are Bloglines, and Newsgator.
These are small simple softwares that you download to your machine, they will notify you with a popup with whatever news hits your subscription, you can download them after joining an online aggregator and they will sync with the aggregator’s server, to check on new feeds.
Browser built-in aggregators:
You can find these in free browsers like Apple’s Safari 2.0, which comes with Mac OS X Tiger, you can also find it on Firefox, on all major OS platforms, and also you can find it on the upcoming Internet Explorer 7.0 (you can download the IE 7 Beta 3 for now).
These are designated software where its only job is to grab news feeds for you, there are a lot of those, but the best would be NetNewsWire for the Mac platform, and FeedDemon on Windows, but to use anyone of these you have to pay an annual subscription.
What you should do next:
Now you should go to one of the available aggregators, and subscribe to one of them, after doing this step you should pick the news feeds you want to subscribe to and choose them, that’s it. Simple, easy, and sufficient.
I recommend that you try a free online subscription to see how useful this technology is before paying an annual subscription and downloading an RSS reader.
Stay informed 24/7 and Enjoy!