Sunday, February 24, 2008

RSS for Dummies

I consider myself to be rather clever when it comes to figuring out stuff. I have been a long time user of the computer, and not afraid to try new things, or even old things previously undiscovered (by me).

Now first off, if you are accessing this blog using an rss feed reader or aggregator, this may seem very basic. But that's okay. This can either be a refresher course, or you can use it to share with other RSS newbies out there.

But this RSS thing has had me pretty baffled. They talk about rss readers and aggregators, but what are they exactly? How can it help me?

Well now that I've joined the blogging world from the writing end, I've become more aware of these questions. Maybe I'm a little slow, but I'm okay with that.

They say that if you have a question, that there is likely someone else in the room who has the same question (I'm hoping anyway). I've been wondering for a while, but didn't have the ambition to take it any further. And once I started to try to figure it out, I found vague, or worse, found explanations that were too technical (read, scary), or just too busy promoting themselves, to really get a handle on it.

First stop: Wikipedia

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines or podcasts

Let me comment on the "Really Simple Syndication" part. If my eyes start to glaze over when I first try to figure something out, I don't think they've succeeded on the simple part.

So now that we got that part of it over with, let's get to the nuts and bolts of this stuff.

I found this video morning, and because the guy who produced this video is very clever, he provided what I needed to easily share with you.

RSS In Plain English

Now I would also like to add one thing that he didn't cover:

Aggregator = RSS Reader

So now you know what I do - and so much smarter for it, don't you think?

There are other ways to get this info to arrive on your desktop, and that is by downloading a simple application, many of them free. This provides a handy icon located right on your desktop, or wherever you keep such handy icons.

Where To Find It

Now I would be remiss if I shared all of this valuable info, and then didn't give you any information about where to find such things. It's a tangled mess of info out there, old and new, so here's a list that can help you sort it out, organized by your operating system:

So invite you to add me to your RSS reader. And you now have all the info you need. There ya go. Happy RSS'ing.

Contributed by Jamie Naessens

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