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    Technology for “us” and RSS Feeds

    October 29th, 2008

    On Thursday I attended the Technology Leaders Association monthly networking meeting.  Jim McGee spoke about Technology for “us”.

    One of his points was that many new technologies require you to use them before you can understand them.  I tend to agree with him, much like you cannot really understand baseball until you play it.

    A tool that I have found very useful for me, yet I find few friends or co-workers who use it is RSS.

    As of today, Wikipedia defines RSS as:

    RSS is a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works – such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video – in a standardized format. An RSS document (which is called a “feed”, “web feed”, or “channel”) includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing dates and authorship.

    I call it a way to simplify how you interact with the web.  This is a way to get content, or content summaries, delivered to you without cluttering up your mailbox.  Think of it as a newspaper box.

    I subscribe to many web feeds, some are published daily, weekly, monthly, or only occasionally.  Subscribing solves at least two problems:

    1. It keeps a list of the publications I like to read on a regular basis.
    2. It tells me when there is something new to read, I don’t have to go to the web page each day to see if there is something new, or, for example, remember to go every Monday to see the latest article.

    Confused?  Actually, I expected that.  This is something that has to be used to be understood.

    There are at least two tools–actually there are many tools, but here are two–you can use to subscribe to RSS feeds:  A stand alone feed reader like FeedReader, or my favorite, the Google Reader.

    Once you have set up your reader, you can find links on websites for RSS or web feeds.  Generally all you need to do is click on the link to begin the subscription.  To subscribe to this blog’s RSS feed, click here.

    I find the Google Reader my favorite.  It is portable, you just need web access to get to it.

    As you begin to find more and more RSS feeds, you will find that your reading is organized in one place.  You may have to click through to the primary site for the article for many of your feeds, but you knew it was ready to read.

    Here are a few of my favorite feeds:

    Download Squad – Software Reviews and Tips

    Chicagoist – Blog about the Windy City

    Curt Cavin – IndyCar Blog

    Notre Dame Observer Newspaper

    Since I use the Google Reader, I could share my favorite feeds with you on a daily basis.  If you are interested in seeing what feeds I have *shared*, leave me a note and I will consider it.