RSS Feeds – What are they and how will they help you.

A good way to keep up to date with the posts on this blog is to sign up for RSS feeds. Since I spend time researching and writing in great detail about various products, its not possible for me to post daily like most bloggers. I am working on picking up the pace a bit but it’s hard, as a friend of mine put it “paralysis by over-analysis”. There is some discussion in blogoshpere as to whether or not posting frequently is important.

Here is a good link on the topic:
Why Blog Post Frequency Does Not Matter Anymore

This is where RSS come in.

Well, What is RSS?
According to Microsoft (its the best explanation and easiest to understand that I found):

RSS technology is used to create a “feed” (list) of headlines that you can have delivered to you. For example, when we publish new headlines on a site that supports RSS, those headlines can be added to a feed that you can subscribe to. (Note that not every headline that goes up on a Web site will automatically be sent to you. What you receive may vary depending on how we update the feed.)

RSS feeds enable you to get update notifications delivered directly to your desktop through the news aggregator software program of your choice. RSS offers a convenience because you can subscribe to feeds from several Internet sites and automatically pull together headlines from all the sources into one list. This lets you quickly browse the list of new content without visiting each site.


Installing and Using RSS readers

If you are like most people, you are probably using Internet Explorer. If you’re using Internet Explorer 6.0 you wont be able to install an RSS reader into the browser. Apparently, that’s one of the many complaints people have against IE 6.0. Either you will need to download a RSS reader or upgrade to Internet Explorer 7.0, which comes with its own built in reader.

Some popular RSS readers are:
Sharpreader
Bloglines
My Yahoo
Feedreader
Rssreader

After you download and install or register with one of the above readers you will be able to easily add any website, blog, or news source that offers RSS feeds.

How to subscribe and use RSS feeds with Internet Explorer 7.0

When you have installed IE 7.0 there will be a little icon on the toolbar for subscribing to RSS feeds.

Once you come to a website, such as a blog, that offers feeds the RSS icon will immediately detect the feed. Click on the RSS icon as shown in the photo above and the browser will take you directly to the feed page.

When you click on “Subscribe to this feed” at the top of the page a window will open asking you where you want to create the feed. Click on the subscribe button to have the feed added to you RSS feed list.


Accessing your RSS feeds

Now that you have subscribed to an RSS feed simply click on yellow star on the left side of the toolbar above the browser window. This will open the “Favorites Center” where you will be able to click on either your list of favorite websites, RSS feeds, or history.

Clicking on the RSS icon will open your subscribed list of feeds. Now choose the feed you want to open and your browser will display the latest posts provided by that feed. The RSS reader is set to update all the feeds daily by default.

How to subscribe and use RSS feeds with Firefox

Click on the RSS icon on the right side of the URL window.

Then click ‘Ok’ to add the feed to your toolbar and that’s it.

You can now click on the RSS feed on the toolbar to see the list of latest posts available.