Keeping up with news through RSS feeds.



Most of the visitors to this site already know about this, but I thought it might be worth an article. I remember an application years ago (1993?) that would let you setup multiple news sources and when the program loaded it would go, skim their sites and present you the new stories. It was a news aggregator of sorts, I don’t recall it’s name or what file format it used for the news feeds, but it was useful. These days it’s called RSS, there are standards, this site implements RSS feeds as do many others.


In keeping up with news to deal with computer work I’ve found myself reading 15-20+ websites a day. Add in an addiction to knowing the latest news and you probably could tally up 35-40+ sites a day that I visit, sometimes multiple times each day. I’ve recently started switching to using an RSS reader exclusively to browse “what’s new” and then opening a browser window for greater detail. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Pages that support RSS will have either a “syndicate this page” link, or an orange box with the word XML or RSS, or an orange square with a dot and several “waves” emenating out from it. The RSS feed typically includes the recent article titles and the first paragraph or so of the article, as well as the direct link to the article.

Under linux, I’ve been using Akregator as the RSS reader of choice, although there are plugins for Firefox (firefox has integrated rss utilities such as live bookmarks). Google also has a “reader” for RSS content on their site, which I may wind up exporting my akregator feeds to soon. (opml is the file format many of these readers use to keep your feed information.)

Anyway, one of the things I like about Akregator is it leaves an icon in the system tray that shows the number of unread news articles, currently there are 2 articles I haven’t read. On a double-click it pops up to show me which articles are new (categories with a new article are printed in bold with a number showing how many new articles exist in that category.) What’s neat about this is I can organize my feeds and still be able to see easily where the new articles are. *(Something the firefox plugins seemed to lack – with those I had to branch out each category to find the new articles.)

Another nice thing with akregator is the right click integration with konqueror, so that a right click on an rss feed lets you import directly into akregator.

Anyway, just a short blurb on rss and a plug for akregator. This is an area I’ll like talk about more eventually because so of its possibilities.

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