Mar 042009
 
Authors: Glen Pfeiffer, Ryan Gibbons

Today is one of those days that we, the Boys, will take a complicated sounding tech term and demonstrate to you that it is, in fact, simple enough for you to use and benefit from in your daily life. It is our goal here at the Collegian to provide tech know-how to those in need. So without further adieu, this month’s How-To: RSS feeds (are you guys excited?)./

As the headline indicated, RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Don’t worry — it’s not lying to you, it is really simple. It’s also syndi/cation/n. — producing/an article for publication in many magazines or newspapers at the same time. Only RSS isn’t for print — It’s for the Internet! Yay Internet!/

Today, all professional online news services, as well as many other Web sites that post information regularly, publish RSS feeds. So, what exactly is an RSS feed? All the basic Web browsers make them easily available —- in Internet Explorer, there is a tab with the orange and white RSS symbol on the right hand side just below the URL, and in Safari and Firefox, it is on the far right of the inside of the URL box.

If you click on that button, it opens the feed. It displays a simple version of the Web site, with all of the site’s most recent posts in a basic list, linking to each full article. But this isn’t the benefit of using feeds.

The real benefit gained from using feeds (can you feel the climax of the column building?) is that you can use an RSS feed reader to consolidate all of your news sources into one easy window. Now if that doesn’t get you all excited, maybe you should go read Andrew Woods’ comic. But if you just stopped reading to change your pants, come hither.

If you’re using a Mac, go ahead and download the free program NetNewsWire (http://newsgator.com/individuals), or a similar RSS reader from the same Web site if you’re using Windows. Open up NetNewsWire, click subscribe in the top left while the Web site you want to sub to is open, and it will prompt you to add that site’s RSS feed. Voila!

Now, instead of waking up every morning and checking MacRumors, the New York Times US and World sections and our tech blogs on several different Web sites, we get one nice list of headlines from NetNewsWire./

As an alternative to downloading NetNewsWire, those of you running Vista actually have an RSS feed Gadget called “Feed Headlines” that comes by default in your gadgets.

To add a new feed to the gadget, all you need to do is subscribe to the feed in/Internet/Explorer and the feed will automatically be added to the gadget./

We hope you enjoy staying connected 24/7. Feel free to abuse conversations with your knowledge of current events as we do (Glen: “Hey Ryan, did you hear abou —-” Ryan:”- t the possible Apple media event on March 24? Yes, yes I did.”).

It will be more fun to reach columnists Glen Pfeiffer and Ryan Gibbons on Twitter (binaryboys) than at verve@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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