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I keep hearing about RSS, XML and RSS feeds. I just barely have a clue what they are, but when people then start talking about RSS aggregators, what are they talking about and why would I want one? Do you use an aggregator, and if so, which one?
Ain't jargon fun? RSS is Really Simple Syndication and it's a simple data-only version of a Web page or, in the case of a weblog, Web site. Why is that interesting? Because it's then easy to write programs that track this XML formatted data stream and let you know when there's new material added to the site.
For example, if you were tracking the Ask Dave Taylor RSS data stream then when this article "went live" on my site, you'd receive notification and be able to read it within minutes of it arriving. Maybe not so critical for my tech and business Q&A, I admit, but I also track a number of different business newswires and was reading about the Proctor & Gamble acquisition of Gillette at least a day prior to my colleagues. How do I know that? Because they've told me that it was my own article on the subject (P&G buys Gillette for $57 billion, but how much is that in human terms?) that alerted them to the $54 billion transaction).
Helpful Hint: If you'd like to track an RSS feed and you have a browser with RSS support, you can click on the cute little XML button you find on many different Web sites. If your browser doesn't know what to do with that and instead shows you a cryptic page of text, you'll need an RSS reader or aggregator. Keep reading, but remember that you can also "right click" (or Ctrl-click for you Mac folks) and copy the link address to your buffer, then paste it into a 'subscribe' field in your reader.
The problem is, I don't want to check 100 RSS feeds any more than I want to visit 100 Web sites every day, and that's where aggregators come in. Whether they're standalone programs, plug-ins for your favorite Web browser or email program, or Web-based services, RSS aggregators remember your subscription list, check each site on a periodic basis, and alert you to any new articles that have been published.
If you're not thinking "wow, very cool" then you are spending too much time visiting Web sites! To scan the headlines of just a dozen sites on an hourly basis would probably be a full time job and if you need to keep abreast of your industry, as I do, then you wouldn't have any time to actually do anything, which would obviously be deleterious to your career long-term! :-)
So there are programs you can download that are RSS aggregators (or RSS readers, basically synonymous) for Windows, Mac and Linux/Unix systems. A few of the most popular are BlogExpress and FeedReader for Windows, NetNewsWire and NewsFire for Macintosh and Lifera for Linux.
Don't like having yet another application running? You can graft RSS capabilities into your Web browser (or run Firefox or Safari / Tiger, both of which have elegant built- in RSS capabilities) or your email program. Notable entries in this category are NewsGator (grafts into Microsoft Outlook on Windows), Pluck (grafts into Microsoft Internet Explorer on Windows) and Safari Menu (add-on for Apple's Safari browser that includes some RSS support).
Finally, you can subscribe to an RSS aggregator Web service which gives you a custom Web page that includes the newest information from your hand-picked RSS feeds. The highest profile solution to this is My Yahoo, which recently announced support for RSS feeds as additional personal home page information sources, though it just shows you a rolling 'latest five articles' from each source, so it doesn't work for me because I'd still be left trying to remember which I'd read or not. Other possibilities include AmphetaDesk, Bloglines, and Feedster.
Instead of those, however, I use a great Web-based product called NewsGator Online, which gives me the ability to track as many feeds as I like (fellow blogger Robert Scoble tracks over 1200 in his NewsGator Online account) along with the flexibility of keeping in sync at home, in my office and on the road.
Whichever solution you choose, I promise you that once you start traveling down the road of RSS feeds and RSS aggregators, you won't turn back. In fact, you'll find that every time you go to a Web site that you like, you'll immediately start hunting for the "syndicate" or "rss" or "xml" button. i certainly do, and I'm more plugged in now than I could ever have been in the past.
It's a rolling sea of information out there, and an RSS aggregator gives you a sail and GPS navigation system. It might just save your life out there!
Dave Taylor has been involved with the blogging community for years and is widely respected as an expert on business blogging, among other areas.
MWC 2008: Samsung handsets round-up
U900 Soul – 5.0-megapixel camera, 4x zoom, image stabilisation, HSDPA, mobile blogging, RSS feeds, music library, and microSD slot. Out March, for €400. See details here and video here. J700 – 1.3-megapixel camera, microSD slot, FM radio, music ...
MWC 2008: Samsung epitomises 'entry-level' with the J700, J150 and L170 mobiles
We're not yet done with Samsung's plethora of entry-level handsets, as the J700, J150 and L170 will surely appeal to some people doing a Google search on these rather budget models. Oh, hai, Google searchers! Starting at the left, the J700 slider model ...
Let's go digital
Let's go digital
Snelle breedbandverbindingen en de opkomst van nieuwe webtrends, zoals blogging, RSS, video en de behoefte om zelf content bij te kunnen dragen (Web 2.0), zorgen ervoor dat bezoekers meer interactie, meer actualiteit en meer aansluiting op hun ...
7 Tips for Successful Blogging
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Blogging Your Way To Success Part 1
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Your RSS Feed Might Look Like Spam
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Blogs: The Hidden Ace Up Your Sleeve
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What is Blogging?
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Fun Free Feed Tools For Both The Publisher And The Reader
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The Full Circle of RSS Marketing Power
RSS is a many-in-one marketing & publishing tool, although unfortunately most marketers still fail to understand this powerful concept. While RSS does provide a number of benefits when used for each individual marketing function, best results are achieved when it is fully integrated in your internet marketing strategy.
Top 6 Reasons for Having a RSS Feed - Come and Explore the Possibilities!
Getting traffic to your website can be hard. No one just randomly types in "make lots of money online quickly and from home".
Starting Your Own Blog
I was sitting in my local Internet Cafe yesterday, I like to get away from my 'home office' from time to time and it's a great place to go for a cup of Espresso and to meet interesting people. The rather attractive lady sitting next to me was typing away furiously and, when she had finished, I asked her what she was writing - I'm interested in learning how other people use the Internet.
What Is A Blog?
Blogs can be described in many definitions and they are all correct.Blogs are instant publishing.
Blogging Policies, Does Your Business Need One?
Weblogs or Blogs as they are more commonly referred to, have become extremely popular in the last several years. So popular in fact that many large businesses are letting some employees post Blogs on their corporate websites.
Blog and Ping: The Basics!
The buzz words on the internet at the moment are Blogging and Pinging and according to the internet guru's we should all be looking at these as the must have system to be attracting visitors to our site and consequentially making revenue.At first glance you may be forgiven for thinking that this is a new comedic duo just bursting on the entertainment scene, but seriously what is Blogging and Pinging and how will it help us to become a viable internet site owner and if indeed an internet marketer, make a serious income online.
How to Write A Blog... And Survive
Copyright © 2004 Priya Shah The question of the day is "Should you start a Blog?" People all over the planet are blogging. Companies, CEOs, lawyers, journalists, stewardesses.
Should Bloggers be Helping Google Fix Their PageRank System?
By now, most bloggers have heard the announcement that the Big 3 search engines - Google, Yahoo, and MSN - have united in support of a new tag that will supposedly combat comment spam. The new tag is a nofollow attribute that can be added to links.
Make Money Blogging
You have created a blog and your blog is dedicated to a niche industry. Have you ever thought that the blog could make money for you? We would look here in this article, ways and means, to make money blogging.
RSS Publishing for Webmasters
Since the recent rise in interest in RSS there has been a slew of RSS sites and RSS software. RSS has been proclaimed as the next big thing.
Blog Your Way To a Successful Private Practice
What is a Blog?Blogs are a type of website often defined as an on line journal or diary. Although there are many blogs where the blog author keeps a log of their own thoughts, experiences and ideas, bloggers also frequently share and discuss information from other sources.
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