The world’s fastest guide to RSS

2 min read

I’m only just getting initiated with RSS. What can I say? So many sites – so little time. Do I really need a new way to find fascinating but uselesss content on the web? Probably not. Can I have any credibility as a semi-professional surfer if I don’t have an RSS reader? Hmmmm…

For the uninitiated: RSS is a way that bloggers and other online content providers can make their posts available outside their website… It’s a bit like they send out an e-mail each time they do a new post, but instead of the e-mail landing in your mailbox, it is picked up in an RSS reader. In this way you can just open your RSS reader and can read the content from many websites without having to surf over to them. It makes it much easier and faster to keep track of a number of blogs.

The first thing you need to get started is an RSS reader. You can either have it as a piece of desktop software or you can use an online reader. The difference is basically the difference between choosing Outlook (on your computer) or Gmail (on the web).

Jeremy Wagstaff has reviewed a number of his fave readers here: A Directory of the Best RSS Readers.

As I can’t load software onto my office PC, I was rather keen to get a reader that was web based. After surfing around, it seems Yahoo is the easiest one for me to use as I already have an account and they make finding content a no-brainer.

You can sign-up at My Yahoo. It’s good but limited because it doesn’t take all kinds of feeds. It won’t take Atom.xml which is the feed that blogger uses for all it’s free accounts. However it’s possble to convert an atom.xml feed into an rss feed over at feedburner. You don’t even have to know what the different protocols are. The site is simple and free.

Update: Yahoo reader now works with all feeds however the hands-down online reader of choice today is Google Reader.