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To RSS, or Not to RSS

Kirt's Cogitations™ #191

RF Cafe University"Factoids," "Kirt's Cogitations," and "Tech Topics Smorgasbord" are all manifestations of my ranting on various subjects relevant (usually) to the overall RF Cafe theme. All may be accessed on these pages:

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To RSS, or Not to RSS

Like podcasting and blogging, RSS is a technology that is taking the Internet by storm. Literally every day dozens or even hundreds of new RSS feeds are being created to serve news to subscribers. What is RSS? Depending on whom you ask, it stands either for Really Simple Syndication (most popular), or Rich Site Summary. RSS is a technology that allows a piece of software called an aggregator to collect content from across the Internet that originates on websites selected by the user. Rather than making the rounds of all your favorite websites to see what, if anything, is new, the user relies on the publishers to generate an ".rss" file (called an RSS feed) for the aggregator (or RSS reader) to collect and display in a user-defined format.

In this manner, if you have, say, three news websites, two financial websites, and a couple sports websites that you surf to a couple times each day to get the latest scoop, rather than spending the time to actually go to each website, you simply take a look at your aggregator to see if there is anything worth investigating further. The website publishers are responsible for keeping your RSS feed current.

There are many RSS aggregator programs available - some for free and some for a price. Although generally the for-a-price aggregators have more features, there the free ones do a pretty good job if you can do without the fluff. "RSS Reader," for instance, is a Freeware aggregator and handles the basic collection of RSS feeds well. A screenshot of "RSS Reader" with a few useful electronics websites is provided below to demonstrate the format. Just copy and paste the URLs into any RSS reader. A Google search for "rss electronics," "rss technology," "rss finance," etc., will yield hundreds of useful topics, in many languages.

Beginning today, October 2, 2005, RF Cafe will be publishing an RSS feed that everyone in the world should subscribe to ;-) To begin with, we will include daily headlines and all of the items that make their way into the Recent Additions column. Those two features are often cited as the most useful features on the RF Cafe homepage. Additionally, whenever there is a new Factoid or Notable Quote, etc., we will try to remember to include those, too.

If you have not indulged in the RSS world, then now might as well be your excuse to try it. Give the link below the screen shot a click and download and install the "RSS Reader," then populate its list with some of the electronics website RSS feeds listed to the right of the screen shot to get you started. A couple RSS feed locator sites hyperlinks are also given to provide you with a source for other topics (underneath the screenshot).

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