What Is Rss For

Okay, I confess, I'm completely mystified. There is an rss reader built into my browser. I check it out. There are a bunch of links identical with those presented on the sites originating the links. I can filter the links, but it's not like that gets me anything I can't get with google. What is this stuff supposed to be doing for me? I just don't get it.

I read RecentChanges through my FireFox RSS reader. Not as useful as a real reader, but also more compact. Useful for just a quick peek "has something happened" without having to load the real page. People who are actually more into this stuff see RSS aggregation as the real feature, I think.

For me, it's somewhat like a Usenet replacement. I get lots of headlines updated several times a day from a few dozen feeds which I can scan quickly and read the few of interest. A great way of keeping up. The problem with websites is they all need navigating to separately, and they all look different. The problem with email summaries is much the same - they all look different. RSS presents everything the same way, and I control the categorisation of different feeds etc.

I use MozillaFirefox's LiveBookmarks feature for RssFeeds. The titles of articles (or changed wiki pages, uploads to certain sites, or anything else that may appear sequentially and be put in a list) appear automatically in my browser's bookmarks list, obviating the need for me to go and visit the site in question to see what's new there. I'm subscribed to something like 75 feeds, for everything from people's DelIcioUs bookmarks to SlashDot articles to BBC news to RecentChanges on various wikis to UseNet groups (GoogleGroups provides a feed for every group). It would be impossible for me to keep track of what's going on in all these places manually; this way I can collate all the "headlines" into one, convenient place.

Clicking on the headlines takes me directly to the page in question on whatever site I've subscribed to the feed of. It is possible to use an external feed reader application to see the pages the feeds link to; I find that quite pointless. What, I have to use another application when I already have a perfectly good browser? If I follow any links I'll have to go back into the browser anyway. Or even just to read the feeds; there's no guarantee that the site will offer a "full-content" feed anyway. LiveBookmarks is perfect for my RSS needs; I use it multiple times daily. -- EarleMartin

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