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RSS Feeds

Monday, December 6th, 2004 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms, E-Mail Help, Using The Internet

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication”. It’s a way to get news, weblogs, announcements, and any other information automatically updated right on your desktop. You can avoid going from web site to web site for the latest news or constantly checking a favorite page for updates.

In order to get an RSS feed you’ll need a reader. There are many RSS readers out there—you’ll find that every RSS user has their preference. In addition to stand alone programs some email clients, like Opera Mail and Thunderbird, have their own built in RSS reader that collects feeds just like it gathers email.

Many news outlets like Fox News, The Washington Post, Reuters, The New York Times, CNN, and NPR have newsfeeds. You can select from headlines, politics, arts & entertainment, finance, and more. In addition, RSS is popular with bloggers.

Now that you know what RSS is you’re probably asking, “How does it work?”

Well, as I mentioned, you first need to get a program to read RSS feeds. These are called aggregators. Many aggregators simply bring up text headlines and a summary, then you must click a link to see the whole story or go to the updated page. Since getting Mozilla Thunderbird for my email, I prefer using it for RSS feeds. It gives the headline then shows the actual page in the preview pane.

If your favorite site offers an RSS feed, you’ll notice an orange button like the one seen below. When you find one on your favorite site, click on it.


Each website may have a different system for accessing feeds. For example, on the Worldstart site, clicking on the RSS button will open a list of options.


From there, you can choose how you’d like the feed delivered. Once you‘ve made that decision, you’re offered a choice on whether or not to subscribe. If you choose to become a subscriber, there are also several subscription methods presented.

Once you get famili
ar with RSS, you’ll wonder how you ever kept on top of news and events without it. Have fun keeping up-to-date

~ David

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