What have I been doing? — RSS!

I’ve spent the last few days immersed in RSS readers. What are they? RSS stands (according to different sources) for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary or … What is it used for? It’s a way for websites to “publish” their content on a regular basis and for me, the user, to retrieve that content on my schedule, not theirs, without subscribing to a newsletter and giving them my email address. In a manner of speaking, RSS clients go to each website that I’ve told it to and “reads” headlines from it, storing the data until I’m ready to look at it. No, it doesn’t store the entire web page and it automatically expires old articles so it really doesn’t take up a lot of room on my hard drive. A really good discussion of RSS and its uses is here.

Which sites have RSS feeds? CNet’s News.com, Slashdot, Lockergnome Windows Daily and ComputerWorld, just to name a few. NewsIsFree syndicates a lot of sites including CNN and the AP. Heck, even Amazon.com’s got a syndicator (e.g. Amazon E-books).

RSS Bandit is a the prototypical RSS client and is written about in the MSDN article entitled “Building a Desktop News Aggregator.” See here for more info about it. Other clients include

NewsDesk from WildGrape
NewsMonster — an interesting reader that integrates with Mozilla and runs as a sidebar.
FeedDemon — a new reader in beta now, expected to be commercially available. my current favorite.

There are numerous lists of RSS clients. Here are 3:

Abbe Normal’s RSS Readers Wiki
Haiko Heibig’s Directory (a little old now)
Open Directory of RSS Readers

And there’s at least one Yahoo! group for these things: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aggregators/.

I like it!

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