Separating the signal from the noise

Mikey no comments
Separating the signal from the noise

Keeping up to date with the latest news and information on the web can be daunting. No doubt your bookmarks have grown so large that finding your favourite sites has become a chore despite your best efforts to keep them organised.

Never fear, RSS is here. I have spoke of RSS many times but neglected to really explain what it is. RSS stands for either Really Simply Syndication or Rich Site Summary if you ask some of the old school Netscape users. Either way it all means the same to you and me - a simple service that allows you to filter all your prefered news and information without being exposed to the myriad or junk out there.

Using one of the many freeware news aggregators (RSS readers) available online, you can manage all your news and information requirements, be it regular news, blogs, personals or classifieds. More and more sites are offering RSS feeds, and it is surprising when you find a site that doesn't.

Sites that offer RSS feeds will have an icon somewhere on the pages that says RSS or XML, like the one on this site. You need to copy the URL of that page into your RSS reader. New browsers like Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorerer 7 are already able to agregate the feeds for you. In the case of this web site for example, the URL is

Once this URL is added, you will be sent a headline, summary and hyperlink every time we add a new article to this site. Based on that small slither of information you can decide if you want to read the full article or not. And any good RSS reader will allow you to set the frequency at which you receive updates. Essentially, with an RSS feed coming from this site straight into you reader, you never have to come to this site again unless you decide to click on the article link.

With all your favourite RSS feeds coming in on a specified regular basis, the benefits become evident when you realise you have consumed 10 web sites worth of information in the time it usually takes you to browse a couple of sites.

There are plenty of free readers out there. The feature set varies from application to application, so get one that is as simple or complex as you like. Or and see what happens. Happy feeding.

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