Midseason Replacement

Earnest Pettie, comedy writer

RSS and Relaxation

If you are reading more than five blogs or news sources a day, you are in serious need of an RSS aggregator. What? No one has told you what an RSS aggregator does? Well, it’s very simple. Most blogs and news sources that publish on a regular basis push their content out onto the web using a system called RSS. When something gets published on their site, the content that gets published becomes immediately available for download to computers everywhere. If you use an aggregator to subscribe to and collect this information, you have a one-stop destination for reading the content to which you have subscribed.

For many of you, you need nothing more than a simple to use web-based aggregator. If you’re wanting to experiement and already have a hotmail or Yahoo mail account, you’re in luck! Both Yahoo and MSN allow you to easily add RSS content to your My MSN and My Yahoo pages. In fact, if you look at my sidebar (to your right), you’ll see “add to my yahoo” and “add to my msn” buttons. Clicking those will automatically add my site’s content to your home pages.

Those options are good for the casual user, but the power user might prefer something more flexible and robust. You people need RSS client software. If you’ve used any e-mail application (like Eudora or Outlook), using RSS client software will be a snap for you. In fact, if you’re using Mozilla Thunderbird, RSS aggregation is built into the software. For those of you interested in dabbling, I’ve got a download for you. It’s a simple RSS client named Feedreader that is already configured with some feeds installed, including this one. Note: You must be using a Windows machine to use this software. Click here to download this special version of Feedreader. That client is light on features. Other aggregators include many more features, including the ability to publish to your own blog and subscribe to podcasts (also called blogcasts).

There are plenty of aggregators out there, you just need to find one that suits you. Ideally, I would like to see a cross-platform, client that stored my list of blogs on a central server so that I could access it from whatever computer I was on. I’d also like it to not be ugly. But that may be asking a little too much.

Update: link to download fixed.

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This entry was posted on July 25, 2006 by in Uncategorized.

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