General Question

kevbo's avatar

How does one use RSS?

Asked by kevbo (25634points) September 8th, 2007

I understand the concept and know it’s supposed to be simple, but somehow I don’t get it despite having looked it up online. Do I use my browser or a Web site or some other plug in or software? I’ve looked at Google Reader, but it hasn’t yet made it into my circle of habitually viewed pages. Is there a preferred option for iPhone? Thanks!

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5 Answers

samkusnetz's avatar

i use google reader, but before that i used netnewswire (mac only, i think). the idea is that if you’re on a site that you visit frequently, and they have an RSS or XML tag, click that to add it to your RSS feed list. then you think of your RSS reader as the front page to a newspaper… each article is started on the front page, but you’ve got to go looking inside the newspaper to see the rest of the article… so for me, i open up my reader first thing, and it shows me the short version of all the newly updated stuff on my favorite sites. and then i can click through to the actual site if i’m interested. it’s a great way to stay up to date on several sites without having to wade through a lot of stuff that isn’t what you’re looking for.

glial's avatar

I use NewsFire on the Mac

mdy's avatar

I too use Google Reader (although I used to use Bloglines.com). Both these products are web-based readers, which means you typically don’t download the content to your machine, you just read them online. I use many different machines throughout any given day, so the online aspect is one that I very much appreciate.

A few months ago, Google Reader also introduced an offline reading feature, which allows you to download your latest feeds to your machine (say, for reading on a plane). The next time you connect, your feed status is updated / synchronized.

If you’re 100% sure that all you want is offline reading, you can explore some of the mail software products (for example, Outlook 2007 can track RSS feeds). I’m less familiar with this area, though.

If you listen to podcasts, you’ll find that most of them also offer their episode feed using RSS, which you can subscribe to using iTunes.

Speaking of podcasts, if you are in the habit of listening to them, there’s a recent episode of New Comm Road by Bryan Person that talks about Google Reader. The relevant segment starts 7 mins 17 sec into the recording.

Vincentt's avatar

Mostly you’ll want to look for this image. It is easiest when you use Firefox, because when a site has an RSS feed, this icon will mostly show up in the address bar, and when you click it, you get an easy way to subscribe to the feed. Plus, you can find many extensions that will make subscribing or even reading RSS feeds even easier.

jerico's avatar

I too did’t get the concept at first. But after a while of trying, I now find it easier to read updates from web pages in an RSS reader instead of visiting the sites individually.

My Google Reader acts as a notifier when web pages are updated.

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