RSS Readers

I refer to RSS in the syllabi for my classes, and mentioned it on the first day of class, but a student asked about it, so here’s my 30-second explanation:

RSS is an XML format that allows you to “subscribe” to a web site, getting updates as they are posted. The format is supported by the “Live Bookmarks” feature of the Mozilla Firefox browser and by the Thunderbird e-mail client.

There are also a number of specialized RSS Readers. Click here for a list, or try searching Google for RSS.

If you’re looking for a recommendation, I’ve used each of the following at various points:

I don’t read too many blogs regularly these days (too busy prepping lectures and assigning homework), but the last time I did, I used an RSS reader that ran as a cron job and e-mailed me updates. I wrote it myself. (Although, of course, I stole liberally from rss2email and rawdog.) E-mail me if you’d like to play with the code.

Once you’ve gotten yourself a newsreader, try to subscribing to one or more RSS feeds:

Don’t go crazy with the update-checking — every half hour is more than
enough. In the meantime, happy news-reading!

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