What is RSS anyway?
RSS (Real Simple Syndication) is a way in which you can have content delivered to you from almost any source. Content publishers provide an ‘RSS feed’ which you subscribe to. An RSS feed is simply a special URL which you load into an RSS reader.
To know if the page has an RSS feed available, go to your favorite website and look in your browsers address bar. All modern browsers can detect whether an RSS feed is available by an icon alongside the URL. Below are illustrations of how Safari and Firefox detect an RSS feed.
The RSS Reader
By default, the web browser has an RSS feed built right into it, so clicking on an RSS link will usually load the file into the browser. This by itself doesn’t get you much more than a new way of viewing the same web page, but upon bookmarking the RSS feed, the web browser will keep track if the site has been updated or not, so you don’t have to return to the site unless there has been an update.
A better way, is using a dedicated RSS Reader. There are a slew of applications that you can download for your computer, web based applications and even mobile RSS readers too. Below are just a few excellent suggestions for whatever system you are running. Try them out.
Mac OS X
- Google Reader (Google account required)