We all know that that technology has created new ways to allow us to multitask. I dont know if that is a good thing or not, but Im not complaining so far. Although I will admit that my attention span seems to be shorter now that I can listen to music on my computer, talk on the phone, forward an email, instant message with coworkers and burn a CD; all at same time. I think I was diagnosed with Adult ADHD but I couldnt tell you for sure because I wasnt paying attention to what the doc was saying. I was too busy trying to figure out who the person on one of the paintings on his wall looked like. Looked like that guy who used to sell oatmeal on TV and is now doing ads for diabetes medication. What was his name?
Anyway, back to the point of this post: multitasking. I enjoy using online news readers that allow you to scan through your favorite Web pages and see what's new. How many of you have several Web pages you go to every day just to see if the page has been updated?
Well you can save a few clicks by checking if those Web pages have an RSS feed.
RSS feeds What are they?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is a format that enables updating of headlines to personal pages, RSS readers or news aggregrator. The aggregator or reader contains the collection of feeds that are of interest to the user. As the RSS feed is updated the content in the reader or aggregator updates with the new information.
So this means all you have to do now is scan your list of news feeds to see any updates said Web page has. Take for example this blog. We all know how diligent I am in updating it every single day. Ok, not really. By having an RSS feed to my page you can easily find out if I have updated my blog by looking at your news feed list. You dont even have to visit my actual blog Web page.
There are two main types of RSS reader. Standalone applications are simply programs that process RSS feeds for you. The advantage of a standalone is that it is a new application that you can populate as needed. The disadvantage: it's one more app to have open on your desktop.
The other type is the plug-in. This app works within an existing program such as Microsoft Outlook or Internet Explorer. The advantage of having RSS work with an existing app is that you likely have Outlook or IE open already, so the reader becomes a new component of that app. The disadvantage is that if you have a lot of e-mail folders or bookmarks already established, you may not want to overload your application with daily feeds of new information.
How can I use RSS feeds?
Another option is using something like My Yahoo, a page each Yahoo user can personalize and add their RSS feeds into. You need a Yahoo account for this and I think most people have one. If not it is very simple to set up and it is free. To set up an account click here.
The My Yahoo page can even be set up as your homepage on your Internet browser. You can configure the page to display your email inbox, weather for a certain area, and a ton of other little modules that Yahoo proves. See an example of my own personal MyYahoo page below.
Click on photo to see larger image.
Notice the section with the news, those are all RSS feeds I added. Ive also added a few modules Yahoo provides like weather, Yellow Pages lookup, package tracking and a photo viewer. If I had created a photo album on Yahoo my pictures would show up there.
Yahoo isnt the only place that has this type of service. If you have a Google e-mail account (Gmail) you can also customize your home page and add your own feeds. See an example of my Google home page below.
Click on photo to see larger image.
Notice how once again I've added news feeds as well as a few other modules, even an event countdown clock. To create you own account I believe you have to be invited by a person who already has a Gmail account. I you want one hit me up on my contact link there, I have plenty of invites.
How do I know if a Web page has a RSS feed?
On the Web page look for an icon with an orange triangle or icons that have the words RSS or XML .
For more information on RSS feeds and news readers click on the links listed below.
Informative article from Cnet.com News you choose
Article on RSS feeds from Wikipedia
As far as a feed for my blog is concerned, I will have one available for my readers very soon.
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