Your Friendly Neighborhood RSS Feed

AKA - How to subscribe to your favorite TechLore contributor.

I had a friend the other day ask me how to be notified when I submitted new content to TechLore. As we were talking through how to do that, I realized that it might not exactly be second nature to everyone, so I thought I'd write my answer here for him (and everyone else) to see...

TechLore, like many other sites, uses a technology called RSS (stands for "Really Simple Syndication") to syndicate content. This means that if you install a small, typically unobtrusive reader on your computer, you can use it to subscribe to any site that broadcasts information using this RSS technology. (For more information about RSS, check out the Wikipedia.)

Here's how it works...

1) Download and install your favorite RSS Aggregator -- the piece of software on your local machine which you can configure to "listen" for updates from your favorite news / information source. I use FeedReader. I know a number of people who swear by SharpReader. The point is that there a million of them, and many are freeware.

2) Get the RSS feed from the site you want to keep up with. In this case, TechLore. If you select navigate to my blog, and look on the right, there's an "About This Author" box. In that sidebox, there are two links. One for subscribing to me as an author in general, and the other for subscribing to my blog specifically. If you click either, your browser will simply display a bunch of XML code. Not very helpful. Instead, right-click on the one you want, and select "Copy Shortcut" (in IE) or "Copy Link Location" (in Mozilla), etc. This places the URL to the RSS feed in your copy buffer.

3) Launch your newly-installed RSS aggregator, tell it you want to add a new RSS feed. And when it asks you for a URL, paste the contents of your buffer in. It will recognize that a new feed has been added, and should display some feedback to help you verify. For instance, FeedReader shows me the following...

4) Now, sit back and be notified of new data to your feed. If you subscribe to me as an author, then every time I write something (crazy or otherwise), you'll get a popup in the lower right-hand corner of your screen (or at least that's how it usually works) notifying you that you might want to check it out. Or, if you subscribed only to my blog, then that's what you'll get.

And please don't hear this all as a bunch of self-advertising. I'm just using my blog as an example. You can subscribe to just about anything these days -- news sites, being one of the most popular. In fact, most readers come pre-configured with a bunch of popular sites, most of which I turn off, given that there's just too much volume and too much noise.

Anyway, hope this helps you stay on top of the information you care about. That's what the net is all about, after all -- finding the valuable stuff.



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