The Beauty of RSS

I may never need to go to another website again (OK, so that's exaggerating). RSS is quickly changing the way in which the web can be navigated and how quickly people can be informed. For those people like myself who have an above average knowledge of internet-related technology, we already know and use RSS on a daily basis. But for those of you who are still in the dark, let me see if I can help clarify what it is and why it is so freggin' wonderful.

RSS stands for really simple syndication. If a site has an RSS 'feed' you can use certain programs or web applications to subscribe to those feeds. If you look closely on many of your favorite websites, you will see a link that says RSS or XML, or perhaps notice one of these images: This indicates that the site (or section of the site you are reading) has an RSS feed. You may say, so what? Well, let me explain…

Like the nerd I am I always must have the latest and greatest software, so I recently downloaded Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2. Outlook 2007 supports subscribing to RSS Feeds which has really changed the way I get news from websites. To the right is the RSS section of my Navigation Pane in Outlook 2007. As you can see I have added numerous sites which I frequently visit. What this means is when a site posts a new article or gets updated, it appears as a new message in one of my RSS folders (or wherever you specifiy). What this means is I spend less and less time navigating to my favorite sites to see if they have recently been updated.

Outlook 2007 is still in Beta after all and isn't running 100% smoothly so I suggest you try using your own program. There are many other alternatives to reading RSS feeds, some are standalone applications that run as a program on your computer while others are web-based. Here is some guy that lists a bunch of 'em. In each program or website there will be a simple way to add the RSS or XML links from your favorite sites.

Want to know more? Click here to get another really good overview of RSS.

*You can even create your own feeds now without being too big a nerd. Feedburner lets users create their own RSS feeds and spares them the technical detail of writing XML.

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