Thursday, August 24, 2006

Part 1: Keeping up with the blogs you read

Okay - sometimes I just can't help my inner teacher coming out. I'd like to make your life easier. I hope I can explain this via a post when I'm used to demonstrating this in a classroom. If you know all this... feel free to let your eyes glaze over.

This post is a heads up to my fellow scrapping blog readers. I've noticed as I read your posts that some of you use bookmarks or links on the blog side bar to browse around and read everyone's blogs. That's cool. But let me show you an easier way! ;-)

RSS Feeds

Have you heard of RSS? RSS stands for "really simple syndication". Well, that's one of the interpretations so we'll go with it. It is a type of file format called XML. That probably means very little to most people but that's okay - your computer can read it and that is all that matters. What is more relevant is what it can do for you.

Sites such as newspapers, some discussion forums, news communities and blogs use RSS (or a similar thing called Atom) to help their readers keep up with the ever changing content on their site. Instead of visiting many different blogs (or sites) each day, you can subscribe to an RSS or Atom feed, and get all the new content from one place. This can save you time and will also mean you don't miss a post from a blog.

To do this, you need to use an RSS aggregator (sometimes called news aggregators). This is just a little program that captures all your subscribed feeds and displays them for you in a nice organised format. It's a little like getting an email everytime something new is updated, but much better because a) you don't just get the alert, you get the content and b) you don't end up getting bombarded with emails. It periodically checks for new posts from the blogs you read and groups them according to your choice.

There are a number of different aggregators out there. See my next post for the next installment.

1 comment:

  1. Man, this is a lot of reading Penny! But so, what I need. Off to get immersed in your blog, will let you know what I end up doing.