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Comments on: RSS for Idiots

Comments on Ask MetaFilter post RSS for Idiots

Published: Tue, 21 Mar 2006 00:41:08 -0800

Last Build Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2006 00:41:08 -0800


Question: RSS for Idiots

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 00:31:17 -0800

Somebody explain the practical side of RSS to me.

I understand what it's supposed to do - you get a feed, add it to your reader, and look at the reader. That much I understand. But being the technotard that I am, I'm still having trouble finding a good reader and using it in my daily life. With the new career path that I'm headed down (freelance translator), it looks like I'll need it or something like it to stay abreast of all the jobs that get posted on the dozens or hundreds of relevant websites every day. Hold my hand and show me how to do this.

By: Building

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 00:41:08 -0800

i use Netnewswire-lite its free!
I figure if i look at the 50+bookmarks i have everyday a few times it would take me 3+hours.
Or i can use the RSS reader to browse all the sites in about 15 minutes.
-Filter all the sites that dont have new posts.
-skip the posts i dont care about
-load all the posts i want to read while i look for more i want to read in full

By: cillit bang

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 00:42:54 -0800

Are there a whole bunch of blogs and similar sites whose websites you check every day? Well, RSS checks them for you so you see exactly what has new stuff and what doesn't. That's it.

Doing stuff like consolidating job sites isn't quite what it's for, although for sites that do offer an RSS feed of search results, you can add that to your reader instead of actually visiting that site every day and doing a search.

I guess the thing you're hoping to do is have your RSS reader setup search feeds for every job site in one go with a single click. That's an entirely different problem to the one RSS solves.

By: arrowhead

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 00:49:06 -0800

I used to keep a list of websites / blogs that I visit daily in my bookmarks, every morning, would open them up in a whole loads of Firefox tabs.

However, these websites are only updated occasionally, and it was an utter waste of time checking them everyday.

One day, my friend recommended me to RSS, using Bloglines, and I've never looked back.

It shows me a list of websites that has been updated since my last visit - and I could easily save LOADS of time just knowing which sites to visit.

By: apple scruff

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 01:35:34 -0800

In the last month there have been three questions about this...check the history of the RSS tag.

By: Rhomboid

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 01:40:49 -0800

Er, you didn't mention any details of what kind of computer you have so it's pretty hard to offer suggestions for software. If you're using windows, try Feed Demon. You can also choose to just use a web service to aggregate the feeds (like bloglines) but I personally think an actual program is superior in every way. A the wikipedia has a comprehensive list of readers to peruse.

To use it is simple, you just install the program then go to whatever site you care about, find its feed URL, and add that as a channel in your reader. After you've established a collection of feeds it's simple to scan the entirety of sites in a few minutes.

By: DrtyBlvd

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 01:50:28 -0800

Newsgator is very easy to use and if you want to, integrates well with Outlook for a small fee. Set-up is a doddle - right click the Orange RSS feed buttons you see on sites and choose 'Subscribe' - can't get any easier than that, can it?

By: Haarball

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 02:02:55 -0800

Bloglines is the most widely-used web-reader at the moment, and it works like a charm.

It's bogglingly simple. Add all your feeds to the RSS reader, and any site that is updated with new jobs will be bolded and you'll see the number of updates since you last read that spesific feed in brackets.

A poor explanation, but it's better if you try it out yourself.

Sign up, add a few feeds and you'll quickly understand how it works.

By: vac2003

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 02:03:11 -0800

I too struggled with really understanding the benefits of RSS in the beginning. After I set up a few feeds in Thunderbird I now really appreciate the ease at which I can look at sites and see what's new. It doesn't work for me for all sites, such as Metafilter, because of the volume of daily changes. Try a few feeds in whatever RSS reader you settle on and I'm sure you will soon see its benefits.

By: AmbroseChapel

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 02:11:09 -0800

Thirding or fourthing BlogLines. Nothing to download or install, and it Just Works.

By: slimepuppy

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 02:22:24 -0800

I use Sage personally.
Can't vouch for any other program, but Sage is really easy to use through firefox and didn't require any computer-wizz skills to get it up and running.

I was wondering what RSS feeds were good for about a month ago. I did some looking and installed Sage. Now can't imagine not using it. It's how I found and singled out this particular askme question...

By: jerryg99

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 03:55:47 -0800

I sort of understand where you're coming from -- I didn't "get" RSS feeds because I didn't want a totally separate reader for content that was ultimately online.

My compromise, and I'm very happy with it, is setting up my RSS feeds on Netvibes which is now my homepage. Pageflakes also looked promising.

By: bim

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 04:40:17 -0800

I finally just started using RSS a couple of weeks ago and I love it. It makes it so much easier to check the blogs and news sources that I like and I've even added some feeds from Flickr for pics of places I like or people who's work appeals to me. I could kick myself for not getting organized earlier.

I quickly tried a boat load of readers recently. And the folks on this forum were dead on as to the best news aggregators to use. Thanks for the great advice.

At home I use Sage, an extension to Firefox. You just wind up with a folder in your bookmarks called "sage feeds" and bookmark one of those funky looking pages like this one for AskMeFi in that same folder. Sage will do the rest.

Sage doesn't work right at work, though, for a number of feeds. Who knows what's been monkeyed with on that network. So, as everyone suggests, I use Bloglines. That's a web based thing that you can use from any computer. It's nice and neat. Just note that to force it update ASAP (like for constantly changing MeFi and such), you got to press the "r" key (for refresh). Otherwise, it only updates once an hour. Bloglines, IMHO, is much better than newsgator, rojo or net vibes and such. I could just use bloglines at home too, but I like my sage best. :)

Try RSS. You'll like it!

By: StrangeTikiGod

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 06:31:28 -0800

I'm a huge fan of RSS. I'm up to 97 feeds that I check at the moment, so the time saved by not checking every website manually is considerable.

When I first started, I used Sharpreader, but soon I grew to love the integration with Firefox that Sage provided.

However, lately, I've had enough downtime at work that I could check my RSS feeds during the day. That screwed things up with getting home and having to recall where I left off, so I gave Bloglines a whirl. It keeps me synced between home and work, and there's quite a few useful Greasemonkey scripts for it, to boot.

It's not for everyone, but odds are very good that once you start with it, you'll find it difficult to do without. It's like heroin, but without all those nasty jonesing side-effects.

By: dash_slot-

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 07:01:54 -0800

well i just added Sage. 2 of the first 3 sites I wanted to add - & Talking Points Memo - have RSS syndication that doesnt work with Sage.

Why don't they have a SSS - single simple syndication?

By: bendybendy

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 07:34:36 -0800

I'm prefer interface over Bloglines. No frames! You can use the OPML import/export features to try your set of feeds in both. I move frequently between computers, so a web-based feedreader is a must for me.

By: bendybendy

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 09:58:36 -0800

I'm prefer teh enlish, too.

Argh. Rojo's pretty good. Don't let my incompetence scare you off. I like their interface a lot.

By: sjvilla79

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 10:26:45 -0800

There are three main ways you could approach using RSS in your daily interactions online.

You could use a free online service to aggregate the contents of your chosen feeds. Most popular of them all would be Bloglines, but of course you can easily search online for more. See [1].

Another option is to run an application locally from your computer. Many of these programs exist nowadays, so you're really spoilt for choice in this department. See [2] for a partial list of popular programs.

Yes, read RSS via email. Many people are doing this now. It's a brilliant little hack if you don't mind getting a few extra posts per day. See [3].


By: chrominance

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 12:24:55 -0800

In addition to Sage, which is more of a fully-featured reader, Firefox also has a built-in Live Bookmarks feature that works with RSS feeds. It's about as basic as an RSS reader can get: you'll end up with a bookmark folder for each RSS feed, and the contents of that folder are "bookmarks" created from the individual entries in the RSS feed.

Most people I know go for Sage instead because Live Bookmarks doesn't allow you to reed the RSS feed itself, but if you're like me and just want a handy, automatic, low-key way of finding out when sites have updated, Live Bookmarks may be the way to go. I personally use Live Bookmarks to keep an eye on when new comments have been posted to my Wordpress blogs, a neat tip for the more serious bloggers who want to keep in touch with their readers. (I also use it to see at a glance the latest indie and electronica uploads to Oink... *shhhhh*)

By: brundlefly

Tue, 21 Mar 2006 13:08:14 -0800

I have #1 to thank for pointing me in the direction of reBlog. It's a server side reader (so you'll need your own webspace) and it lets you publish posts you like to a new best-of-your-feeds feed. Fun stuff. If setting that up is too technical for you, then I'd suggest NewNewsWire Lite. That's what I was using 'till recently