RSS News Feeds and Blogs- How To Get Started

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Joined: 01/12/2004

I've heard a lot about RSS news feeds and blogs. From what I've heard, it sounds like a great way to get just the news I want, without wasting time sorting through topics I'm not interested in. How do I get started?

-G

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Joined: 02/12/2009

It's an awesome way to tailor your info- skip the fluff and skip to the meat! An RSS feed can connect you to the latest updates on a blog or on a news website. Not only can you customize which news sources you get... you are only handed the items you have not yet read.

Here's more about the RSS concept and terminology,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS

First, pick a news aggregator (aka news reader aka feed reader) so you can "build your own morning paper" out of the various feeds. Pick a web-based one (rather than local software on your computer) for many many reasons:

https://feedly.com/

http://www.bloglines.com/

https://my.yahoo.com/config/cstore?.opt=rss&.src=my&.page=p1

or dozens more:
http://www.dmoz.org/Computers/Software/Internet/Clients/WWW/Feed_Readers/Web_Based/

Now, add the feeds- just look for the little orange RSS or XML icon. Over time you'll keep the ones you like and drop others. I drop any that have more than a few posts a day because it's impossible to keep up.

Here are a bunch of places to find feeds...

http://www.wired.com/about/rss_feeds/
http://www.cnn.com/services/rss/
http://news.yahoo.com/rss
http://www.sfgate.com/rss/
http://www.nytimes.com/services/xml/rss/index.html
http://slashdot.org/faq/feeds.shtml

I like these feeds, good examples to start with:
http://www.wired.com/rss/technology/internet.xml
http://feeds.wired.com/wired/culture/music
http://www.sfgate.com/xml/rss/dlazarus.xml

Music fans will dig these MP3 blogs with lots of rarities:
http://diddywah.blogspot.com
http://tofuhut.blogspot.com
http://soul-sides.com
http://superdeluxe.typepad.com/funk_you/
http://www.moistworks.com/

Search for more feeds:

http://www.google.com/blogsearch
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You'll want to customize the arrangement. For example, I like to sort each by "oldest first".

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Podcasts are essentially audio blogs which you can subscribe to (there are video podcasts too). Podcast is the latest buzzword but this is a truly cool concept, particularly if you have an iPod to listen to them anywhere:
http://www.npr.org/podcasts
http://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/

The easiest podcast aggregator is Apple's iTunes app:
http://www.apple.com/itunes/

Once you're using iTunes, you can get podcasts with one click. I organize them into groups for different listening moods....

Music podcasts (iTunes links):
Groove Salad Taste of the Week- New mellow downtempo.
XLR8R's Podcast- cutting edge, electronic and hip-hop
Solid Steel DJs and Guests- DJ action.
Hieroglyphics - HIEROCAST- indie hiphop.

Word podcasts (iTunes links):
NPR's "All Songs Considered"
NPR: Music, music-related stories from various NPR shows.
NPR's "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" - The NPR News Quiz.
NOVA ScienceNow - brief brain ticklers.

...and here's a whole 'nother level: Video Podcasts!

HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher
NASAcast video

Have fun!!!

n/a
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Joined: 01/12/2004

I'm a Netscape Navigator user and am hoping they have a plug-in. Any suggestions?

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Joined: 02/12/2009

The "news aggregators" listed above are RSS readers. They are all web-browser-based and don't require a plug-in, but check to see if they work well in Netscape. Some might have a plug-in to integrate into your browser, too... Or try the Google Desktop app.

"Aggregator" and "news reader" are basically interchangeable terms. I don't think there's a distinction between web-based and desktop applications. I guess the lines are blurring between the two anyway... (Enter Microsoft's antitrust issues, stage right.)

One downside to open-standards like RSS is that there's often no universally agreed-upon names for things. Lame name recognition makes for a bumpy road to adoption. But sometimes the non-corporate path is beneficial: having no bloated marketing department can be a great thing to consumers, it means that the product might live or die solely on it's own merits...

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