Whenever I talk to my geek friends about how they keep up with their favorite sources of information, the obvious answer is RSS. Yet most non-geeks I know don’t seem to be aware of it, much less use it. So, in an effort to correct this travesty, I’d like to make the case for RSS.
What is this RSS you speak of?
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a way to automatically get updates from your favorite web sites without having to visit them. Not sold yet? Well, let me give you an example of how useful it can be.
Imagine that after reading a couple of posts on this blog you became a fan. “I want to read whatever this guy is writing” you say to yourself, “but I don’t want to take the time to visit tatiyants.com every day to check whether he posted something new“. That’s quite a difficult situation. On one hand, you don’t want to miss out on such quality posts as People I don’t want to work with. On the other hand, you have a life.
Well, this is exactly what RSS is good for. By adding my RSS feed to your favorite RSS reader, you will automatically get an update whenever I post something new. Awesome, right?
What is this RSS reader you speak of?
RSS reader is an application that aggregates RSS feeds. There are many, many choices you have available to you, but I’d like to focus on just two: Microsoft Outlook and Google Reader.
Yep, your favorite email program also happens to have a pretty sweet RSS reader built in. Adding a new feed is as simple as right clicking on “RSS Feeds” folder under your Mailbox and pasting the feed URL:
What I especially like about Outlook’s implementation is that RSS posts within it work a lot like email. For example, you can forward an RSS post just like you would an email.
Yep, your favorite search engine also happens to have a pretty sweet RSS reader. Similar to Outlook, you just add the feeds you want and Google will get updates for you. You can read those updates though their web site or a whole host of apps that integrate with it:
I personally find Google’s interface a bit busy, so I don’t use it often. Instead, I read my Google Reader feed through an amazing iPad app called Flipboard:
Flipboard is a free app that presents all posts from Google Reader (as well as many other sources like Facebook) in a beautiful magazine style layout. This app won Apple’s App of the Year award for 2010 and it is well deserved.
So, next time you visit your favorite site or blog, keep an eye out for the orange RSS icon. Mine is in the top right corner 🙂
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