High Wired: RSS is nothing to fear
Hi there everyone. Today we’ll tackle a topic that many people a) have heard of but remain scared of, b) have heard of but have no clue what it is, or c) have never heard of. Regardless, it’s here, it’s not going away, and if you visit the same set of websites on a regular basis, it’s likely that it’ll enhance your online experience by at least 4,350 percent. It’s called RSS, and I’ll explain what it is after revealing the Site of the Week and the Tip of the Week.
This site offers the ultimate replacement for Adobe Photoshop ” and it’s 100 percent free. Sounds too good to be true, but I promise it isn’t. Visit http://www.gimpshop.com to learn more.
In Microsoft Word, clicking a web link (eg: http://www.hello.com) doesn’t do anything at all. This is because Word doesn’t know whether you want to visit the site or edit the text. Sooooo, next time try holding down the Ctrl button on your keyboard before clicking a link; this tells Word that you really do want to visit the website address you’re clicking on. Works like a charm.
RSS is not scary. It’s actually quite cool and extremely useful. In fact, the middle “S” stands for simple. And the “R” actually stands for really. That last “S”? It just stands for Syndication. Let me show you.
Let’s say there’s a website that I like to visit often because the content is updated regularly. Now imagine I have about 25 other websites I like just as much; I have them all bookmarked because I love to check in on them several times a week.
It would be rather inconvenient to have to visit each individual site every morning when I first hop onto the web ” not only because of the sheer number of sites, but also because I have no idea whether or not those sites have even been updated.
Nothing quite wastes your time like visiting the same site(s) over and over to check if there’s new content … when there isn’t.
Enter RSS. With RSS, you get all the great content from all the sites you love on one neat-and-tidy site. That one site is what’s called an RSS Reader. The Reader simply keeps track of the content from the sites you like. You can add new sites to and remove old sites from your Reader whenever you’d like. One of the easiest Readers to use is Google Reader (http://www.google.com/reader). It’s free and takes about 30 seconds to set up.
As long as a site says “RSS” or has the little orange RSS icon somewhere on it, you can be sure that the site’s content is syndicated and available for you to view in your Reader. Almost every single blog on the web has RSS.
When you like a website that has RSS, you “subscribe” to that website’s “feed.” That’s all the technical terminology you need to know. So, when I first setup my Google RSS Reader, I typed in the addresses of all the sites with RSS that I wanted to subscribe to. And now every morning when I check my Google Reader, all new postings to these sites are displayed right there in front of me.
In a nutshell, I can view the content from as many sites as I’d like (I think I subscribe to about 25 right now) by looking at my Reader. Having an RSS Reader is convenient, saves time and means you’ll never miss a posting on any of you favorite sites.
Try it out for yourself. Once you’re comfortable with the concept of RSS and if you’re a Craigslist user, check out this blog posting I stumbled upon ” such genius: http://tinyurl.com/2wbpm6. On the other hand, if you run into any problems or have any questions, you know where to find me! (And if you don’t, just e-mail me at email@example.com).
Based in Frisco, eRin pheiL is the primary creative force behind timeforcake (www.timeforcake.com). She can be reached via phone at (970) 668-0709 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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