As you are no doubt aware the Internet is a huge place and
with billions of pages at your disposal it can sometimes be
a little tricky keeping up to date with the information that
you require. Luckily a technology known as RSS (Really
Simple Syndication) makes it easy to have the latest news
and features delivered directly to you rather than you
having to go searching for them. By using an RSS reader or
compatible browser you can easily get the latest headlines
and articles from your favourite sites delivered to you
Whilst not all websites provide RSS feeds the format is
rapidly growing in popularity with many of the most popular
news sites such as the BBC and Sky News supporting it.
Potential uses for the technology have expanded from just
offering users the headlines to now offering a whole range
of subjects such as Job Openings, Auction items, MP3
releases, celeb information and so on.
There are plenty of ways to begin using RSS. One is to
use a compatible browser (such as Firefox or Internet
Explorer 7) and to be honest this would probably be my
preferred method. If your current browser doesn't support
RSS try downloading the latest version of FireFox
(www.firefox.com) or Opera (www.opera.com) as these include
RSS as standard. When you find a site that supports RSS you
simply click on a subscribe button from then on you will be
kept up to date with the latest developments.
For those that don't have a compatible browser and don't
fancy the idea of changing there are plenty of alternatives.
One would be in add a third party piece of software or plug
in to your current browser in order to make it compatible -
a popular option for this would be the Google Toolbar which
can be downloaded free of charge from toolbar.google.co.uk.
Alternatively there are plenty of dedicated RSS readers
available for a range different Operating Systems. A quick
search on the Internet will yield results for many different
readers and you should possibly try using a couple of them
to see which one you prefer but possibly a good place to
start would be to visit www.rssreader.com to download a
program which is both compact and best of all free of
Before RSS was created there were several similar formats
available however none of these achieved widespread
popularity or indeed still in common use today. Netscape
initially developed the RSS format but then lost interest
in it which essentially left the technology without an
owner resulting in several different off-shoots being
created over the coming years. This means that several
different formats exist however most RSS readers should be
compatible with all the existing variants.
Another good feature of the RSS technology is that if you
run your own website you can use an RSS feed to display the
latest news from your favourite sources on your own site.
This allows you to provide your visitors with relevant on
topic news that is continuously updated which as well as
potentially making your site more interesting also gives it
the impression of being continuously updated which wouldn't
have been easily achieved prior to RSS.
Whilst RSS will not interest everybody I would certainly
recommend those with an interest in current events to look
in to this flexible and free technology.
About the Author:
Chris Holgate is a director and copyrighter of the online Ink
and Toner website Refresh Cartridges
www.refreshcartridges.co.uk He writes a weekly
article of all things tech related.