RSS Feeds for Blogs
For a long time I've thought of RSS feeds as being pretty useless for me. Then I realized I was spending a fair amount of time checking different websites to see if they've changed. Well, this is where RSS comes in. Some blogging software will produce a RSS xml file that gives a summary of what is on the website or webpage. My blogging software, for instance, puts a link on the top right side of my blog that reads XML. The link brings up an XML file that summarizes the last 15 or so entries. Other websites, like slashdot and wired have RSS feeds that you can check (don't check /. more often than every 30 minutes, they end up blocking your IP address.) So instead of manually checking your favorite websites, you can let your RSS aggregator do it for you. I wasn't able to find any decent ones until I upgraded my Opera browser that has a built in "Newsfeeds" reader. All I do is find someones RSS link, click on it and then my browser will automatically import the RSS xml and then monitor that link every X number of minutes. I came across a free web based RSS feed reader today, bloglines. It works well, you type in the URL of RSS feed and it will monitor the feed for you. Plus you can access your feeds from anywhere and you're not tied down to a client sitting on a certain machine. I really think it's nifty that you can have some program do your website checking for you. It could really free up a lot of time if you have tons of sites to visit to see new things.