What is RSS and why do (you think) I need it?!?

If you get your online news from more than 2 sources and more frequently than once a week, read on! — RSS readers can simplify your life.

In a nutshell, RSS is an XML-based standard for publishing information in smallish chunks a lot like stories or news articles (go to this article on about.com — it’s got a good explanation of RSS). Typically, the article will be the same as the original article and will have live hyperlinks to the original story in case you feel you’re missing something. In practice, a lot of sites will “publish” an RSS feed that is IDENTICAL to what’s on (some of) their pages. For instance, CNet.com publishes their Tech News through this 20-story RSS feed. You can get news stories from that site via your RSS reader and not have to go to CNet’s News.com site (here is CNet.com’s list of RSS feeds). Computerworld and InfoWorld have RSS feeds, too, (here and here, respectively) as do a lot of other places. Now, imagine that you can get all of this information in ONE place (your RSS reader) as opposed to going to each of those sites. See how it can save time and effort?

How do you find RSS feeds? There are two main sites that publish lists of news-related RSS feeds: NewsIsFree.com and Syndic8.com. Besides that, just about every weblog has an RSS feed and you can find list upon list of those at places like weblogs.com. And if you don’t wanna download and install an RSS reader you can use bloglines.com — it’s an online service that provides RSS reading capabilities via your browser.

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