Halcyon Repose

RSS and Me

by on Mar.04, 2008, under General

For many years, I have known about this RSS thing. Some sites had them, some sites didn’t. It was basically a page with all of the updates to the site on it, and when the site was updated, so was the page. The glory of this setup is that there were programs, aptly named RSS readers, which could parse these pages, keep track of what you had and had not seen, and presented you with a nice orderly list of pages that had been updated since you last checked.

This is one of those technologies that could change the way you use the web, if only you would use it. Since I check some sites at home, and some at work, I really didn’t want to bother with trying to find a good program, since I would have to sync both locations up so I could use it the way that I wanted to. Plus if I checked at home, my work RSS reader wouldn’t know that, and I would end up having to constantly cull the things out that I had already seen. This was not appealing to me at all, but when Joe mentioned google’s new effort, http://reader.google.com/, I was immediately intrigued.

This little application seemed to solve any problems I might have had with an RSS reader. Mainly that I don’t have to worry about keeping my various computers synced up, because everything is stored on the server. Sure google now has more information on my web browsing habits, but I think it is a small price to pay for not having to manually click on 3-4 dozen bookmarks each day. Plus I get to put in some of those sites and blogs that rarely get updated (like mine), and which I rarely check, and I then get notified when they get a bit more active again.

I give this application 4 out of 5 stars, and the only thing that could make it better would be if I could also store all of the sites that don’t have RSS feeds. A list of simple bookmarks that I could store in the same application would be totally awsome.

Has this changed my web browsing habits? Absolutely. An RSS feed is the first thing I look for on a new site now, and I curse those people who have pages that don’t use them.

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