RSS readers

RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication. It enables readers to subscribe to content so they get the most up-to-date information without having to register or sign-up for an e-mail subscription. This has several advantages for the reader:

  • You don’t expose yourself to spam by giving someone you don’t know your e-mail address.
  • You don’t add to the bloat of your incoming e-mail, where everything (including e-mail from your best friends and amazing offers from former Nigerian officials) get lumped together—where it’s likely you will have trouble finding it.
  • You don’t have to worry about whether your spam filter blocks content that you really do want to read.
  • You don’t have to keep checking a Web site to see if any new content has appeared—your RSS reader software checks for you, and shows you the new content within minutes of its availability.

We wouldn’t suggest you get RSS reader software (called “aggregators) if the Press were the only publishers using it. However, thousands of Web sites (including many blogs) make their content available through RSS feeds. This is a great way to keep up-to-date on information you care about (since you choose what you subscribe to).

Fortunately, there are dozens of free high-quality RSS readers available, as well as commercial products you can buy. Here is information on just a few of them.

Picked by PC World as one of the best, Sharpreader is free and handles all RSS versions, ATOM 0.3 and 1.0 (for the non-geek set, this just means it will handle any kind of feed). It’s easy to install, easy to manage. It lives in your Systray, so you get a constant flow of information without having to log in, but it’s unobtrusive and waits for you to read it.
This software has a trial download, and is reasonably priced. It comes pre-configured with dozens of popular feeds, so you can start using it right away, and has a built-in podcast receiver that downloads audio to your iPod or other media player.
Google Reader
With Google Reader, you don’t have to download any software, and you can read your feeds from wherever you can get to the Internet. The disadvantage: it will all be updated when you log in, of course, but you have to log in.
My Yahoo! with RSS
Yahoo also makes RSS available through its My Yahoo! with RSS.

There are dozens of other products, including those that are part of other software, such as the Mozilla Firefox browser that is getting so much attention. For a detailed listing, see List of news aggregators.

You can subscribe to the feed for The Pellissippi Press here.

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