What is RSS?

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” It’s a little piece of technology that allows you to receive up-to-date information from your favorite web sites, all in one spot, where you can then read it on your own time. It’s similar to subscribing to a magazine or newspaper, except that it’s free.

How do I use RSS?

First you’ll need a news reader (also called an ‘aggregator’), which will check for and inform you of new content in the RSS feed. For Windows users, there are applications such as FeedDemon, and for Mac OS X, there are NetNewsWire, NewsFire and Safari RSS. Firefox users can also download extensions such as Sage and Lektora to allow them to read RSS feeds in the browser. Alternatively, Bloglines, My Yahoo and Google Reader are online services which eliminate the need for downloading an application.

If you’d prefer the convenience of having your RSS feeds simply show up in your email inbox, RSS Popper is a free plugin that will give Outlook Express this ability. Apple’s Mail program already has RSS capability built in.

I’ve chosen a news reader. Now what?

RSS“Smart” blogs make it easy to subscribe. You’ll see little buttons that say ‘RSS’ (or sometimes ‘XML’ or ‘ATOM’), and you can click on those to take you through the steps. The common, universal symbol is an orange box with three white diagonal stripes. Sometimes you’ll also see a little button with a subscription count, and clicking on that will let you subscribe as well. To subscribe to our site, just click the little orange icon at the upper right corner of the page.

Modern web browsers, including Firefox, Opera and Safari, automatically check for feeds for you when you visit our web site. An RSS icon is displayed in the address bar, which you can then click on to get the feed.

Why should I subscribe?

1. It saves you time. Instead of you going to all the sites you enjoy, they come to you. And they only come to you when they have something new to share.

2. It saves you mental energy. You don’t have to remember the sites you want to read – they’re all waiting for you in your reader or your email inbox.

3. Many blogs provide extra perks for their subscribers – extra information, free downloads, e-books, and other things available only via RSS.