August 11, 2008

Leçon du jour

Today I will be teaching you about a valuable tool that I discovered a few months ago. I had many blogs that I bookmarked but I was getting tired of going everyday to check and see if there were any new posts. Very time consuming. Then I happen to read an article about RSS FEED. Hmmmm. Here's what it is. This was taken from Google. I have a more laymen terms at the bottom if this sounds too complicated.

Feed 101

What are feeds?
I see "RSS", "XML", and "Atom" out there, but I don't know how I might use these links when I find them.Feeds are a way for websites large and small to distribute their content well beyond just visitors using browsers. Feeds permit subscription to regular updates, delivered automatically via a web portal, news reader, or in some cases good old email. Feeds also make it possible for site content to be packaged into "widgets," "gadgets," mobile devices, and other bite-sized technologies that make it possible to display blogs, podcasts, and major news/sports/weather/whatever headlines just about anywhere.

Why is This a Good Thing?
Technology evolution in online publishing has made it really easy to not only publish regular updates to web-based content, but also keep track of a large number of your favorite websites or blogs, without having to remember to check each site manually or clutter your email inbox. You can now streamline your online experience by subscribing to specific content feeds and aggregating this information in one place to be read when you're ready.

Consumer Bottom Line: Subscribing to feeds makes it possible to review a large amount of online content in a very short time. Publisher Bottom Line: Feeds permit instant distribution of content and the ability to make it "subscribable." Advertiser Bottom Line: Advertising in feeds overcomes many of the shortcomings that traditional marketing channels encounter including spam filters, delayed distribution, search engine rankings, and general inbox noise.

How do I read feeds?
If you want to browse and subscribe to feeds, you have many choices. Today, there are more than 2,000 different feed reading applications, also known as "news aggregators" (for text, mostly) or "podcatchers" (for podcasts). There are even readers that work exclusively on mobile devices.
Some require a small purchase price but are tops for ease-of-use and ship with dozens of feeds pre-loaded so you can explore the feed "universe" right away. Free readers are available as well; a search for "Feed reader" or "Feed aggregator" at popular search sites will yield many results. A handful of popular feed readers are listed at the bottom of this page.

A typical interface for a feed reader will display your feeds and the number of new (unread) entries within each of those feeds. You can also organize your feeds into categories and even clip and save your favorite entries (with certain applications).

If you prefer, you can use an online, web-based service to track and manage feeds. Online services give you the advantage of being able to access your feed updates anywhere you can find a web browser. Also, upgrades and new features are added automatically.

So, what this means to some of us readers is that we call all read our favorite blogs at one place. You will need to sign up at either Google Reader or Blogline (others other there but these are free). Now you subscribe to any blog that you want to read about. Once you do, you will now know when there's a new post from one of your favorite blogs. I like to check my Google Reader in the morning and evening. All of my blogs are there and I don't need to blog hop anymore. To those that have blogs, it also shows you how many subscribers you have. That's a good thing too.

I hope you guys learn something new today. Not only will this save you time but it's also very convenient. And most of all, it's free! This ends the lesson for today. Class is dismissed!

A bientot!



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