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Computers and Internet

Last Build Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2017 11:42:05 +0000


A Guide to RSS Aggregators

Thu, 27 Nov 2008 10:33:00 +0000

A Guide to RSS Aggregatorsby: Terry Leslie One of the most popular features of Internet portals, websites, pages and even emails is a frame that features an organized list of news headlines and periodic updates from other web sources. Really Simple Syndication, formerly “Rich Site Summary” or simply, RSS makes this possible.Most users visit a lot of websites whose content continually change, such as news sites, community organization or professional association information pages, medical websites, product support pages, and blogs. As Internet surfing became an intrinsic part of business and leisure, it became important to get rid of the very tedious task of repeatedly returning to each website to see updated content.RSS easily distributes information from different websites to a wider number of Internet users. RSS aggregators are programs that use RSS to source these updates, and then organize those lists of headlines, content and notices for easy reading. It allows computers to automatically retrieve and read the content that users want, then track changes and personalize lists of headlines that interests them.The specially made computer programs called “RSS aggregators” were created to automatically find and retrieve the RSS feeds of pre-selected internet sites on behalf of the user and organize the results accordingly. (RSS feeds and aggregators are also sometimes referred to as "RSS Channels" and "RSS Readers".)The RSS aggregator is like a web browser for RSS content. HTML presents information directly to users, and RSS automatically lets computers communicate with one another. While users use browsers to surf the web then load and view each page of interest, RSS aggregators keeps track of changes to many websites. The titles or descriptions are links themselves and can be used to load the web page the user wants.RSS starts with an original Web site that has content made available by the administrator. The website creates an RSS document and registers this content with an RSS publisher that will allow other websites to syndicate the documents. The Web site also produces an RSS feed, or channel, which is available together with all other resources or documents on the particular Web server. The website will register the feed as an RSS document, with a listed directory of appropriate RSS publishers.An RSS feed is composed of website content listed from newest to oldest. Each item usually consists of a simple title describing the item along with a more complete description and a link to a web page with the actual content being described. In some instances, the short description or title line is the all the updated information that a user wants to read (for example, final games scores in sports, weblogs post, or stock updates). Therefore, it is not even necessary to have a web page associated with the content or update items listed -- sometimes all the needed information that users need would be in the titles and short summaries themselves.The RSS content is located in a single file on a webpage in a manner not very different from typical web pages. The difference is that the information is written in the XML computer code for use by an RSS aggregator and not by a web user like a normal HTML page.There are 2 main parts that are involved in RSS syndication, namely: the source end and the client end.The client end of RSS publishing makes up part of the system that gathers and uses the RSS feed. For example, Mozilla FireFox browser is typically at the client end of the RSS transaction. A user’s desktop RSS aggregator program also belongs to the client end.Once the URL of an RSS feed is known, a user can give that address to an RSS aggregator program and have the aggregator monitor the RSS feed for changes. Numerous RSS aggregators are already preconfigured with a ready list of RSS feed URLs for popular news or information websites that a user can simply choose from.There are many RSS aggregators that can be used by all Internet users. Some can be accessed through the Internet, some are already incorporated into em[...]

A Guide on RSS Tool

Thu, 27 Nov 2008 10:31:00 +0000

A Guide on RSS Toolby: Terry Leslie The stock market is in a tumult. Actually, it has been for about a year, ever since the subprime fiasco (anyone take a look at Moody's performance over the past year?) Now that that particular issue has been beaten to death, other mortgage related issues are cropping up. Most of the stuff covered in the media is financial in nature, but some of those mortgage related issues do concern information security.It's no secret that there are plenty of companies in the US that discard sensitive documents by dumping them unceremoniously: leave it by the curb, drive it to a dumpster, heave it over the walls of abandoned property, and other assorted mind boggling insecure practices. In fact, MSNBC has an article on this issue, and names numerous bankrupt mortgage companies whose borrowers' records were found in dumpsters and recycling centers. The information on those documents include credit card numbers and SSNs, as well as addresses, names, and other information needed to secure a mortgage.Since the companies have filed for bankruptcy and are no more, the potential victims involved have no legal recourse, and are left to fend for themselves. In a way, it makes sense that companies that have filed for bankruptcy are behaving this way. (Not that I'm saying this is proper procedure.) For starters, if a company does wrong, one goes after the company; however, the company has filed for bankruptcy, it is no more, so there's no one to "go after." In light of the company status, this means that the actual person remaining behind to dispose of things, be they desks or credit applications, can opt to do whatever he feels like. He could shred the applications. He could dump them nearby. He could walk away and let the building's owner take care of them. What does he care? It's not as if he's gonna get fired.Also, proper disposal requires either time, money, or both. A bankrupt company doesn't have money. It may have time, assuming people are going to stick around, but chances are their shredder has been seized by creditors. People are not going to stick around to shred things by hand, literally.Aren't there any laws regulating this? Apparently, such issues are covered by FACTA, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, and although its guidelines require that "businesses to dispose of sensitive financial documents in a way that protects against 'unauthorized access to or use of the information'" [], it stops short of requiring the physical destruction of data. I'm not a lawyer, but perhaps there's enough leeway in the language for one to go around dropping sensitive documents in dumpsters?Like I mentioned before, inappropriate disposal of sensitive documents has been going on forever; I'm pretty sure this has been a problem since the very first mortgage was issued. My personal belief is that most companies would act responsibly and try to properly dispose of such information. But, this may prove to be a point of concern as well because of widespread misconceptions of what it means to protect data against unauthorized access.What happens if a company that files for bankruptcy decides to sell their company computers to pay off creditors? Most people would delete the information found in the computer, and that's that-end of story. Except, it's not. When files are deleted, the actual data still resides in the hard disks; it's just that the computer's operating system doesn't have a way to find the information anymore. Indeed, this is how retail data restoration applications such as Norton are able to recover accidentally deleted files.Some may be aware of this and decide to format the entire computer before sending it off to the new owners. The problem with this approach is the same as deleting files: data recovery is a cinch with the right software. Some of them retail for $30 or less-as in free. So, the sensitive data that's supposed to be deleted can be recovered, if not easily, at least cheaply-perhaps by people with[...]