RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a relatively new technology. It has actually been in development for over 7 years. Here is a little FAQ that will teach you more about RSS.
What is RSS?
RSS or (RSS feeds) is a format that websites use to distribute their content. This content may be news stories, information from blogs, and even music and sound files in mp3 format. This information is updated regularly and delivered to your computer. The content delivered to your computer is called “feeds” or RSS “feeds.”
How are these feeds delivered to your computer?
RSS feeds are now available for viewing in many web browsers, like Internet Explorer 7, Firefox, Opera, and Safari. But feeds are also available through other software programs called RSS Readers - or sometimes called “aggregators” or “news aggregators” or “feed readers” or sometimes simply called “newsreaders.” The advantage of an RSS Reader is that you don’t have to be using the internet to receive these feeds. You do need to have an “always on” connection to the internet, like a cable modem, a T-1 line, a wireless connection, or a DSL connection. If you have dial-up, you won’t receive the content, unless, of course, you on on-line through your modem.
How much do these RSS Readers cost?
This software is available for free on the internet. Do a Google search for RSS readers or aggregators and you will get many links to various readers, all pointing out why they are the best “free” readers on the internet.
Why would you need one of these RSS reader programs if you can read the RSS feeds right in Internet Explorer 7 or one of the other browser programs?
The RSS readers are constantly monitoring new content that is automatically delivered to your computer, and when this new content arrives, a small popup window appears in the lower right hand corner telling you that new content has arrived. You can then take a break from what you are doing and read the newly arrived content. You may be working in Microsoft Word like I am doing now…Oh…excuse me, I just received a new feed… I’ll be right back….
OK - I'm Back. So which RSS Reader program should I use?
There are dozens out there to choose from. One of the best and easiest to use is called SharpReader. It is very easy to learn – and there are only 3 drop-down menus – including the Help menu. It is available for download here:
How does it work?
After you download and install the program, you can begin “subscribing” to feeds. The program comes with some subscriptions to feeds. If you don’t like them, just right-click on the feed and select Unsubscribe. To subscribe to a feed, first use your browser (Internet Explorer 7) go to the webpage that contains the feed. Copy the address (in the Address Bar). Now open the SharpReader program and click on the File menu and select Open RSS Feed. Paste the internet address that you just copied into the blank address bar and click on Subscribe to feed. Click OK.
That’s it, you just subscribed to your first feed. You can now read all the content that is delivered to the program or just wait for the little popups that appear periodically in the lower right hand corner of your screen.
How can I learn more about SharpReader?
There is an excellent help section in the Help drop-down menu. Read the Introduction part and then read the FAQ part. This is very simple software and you will be up to speed in no time at all.
Well, give this a try - you may like this service. If you don’t like it, you can always uninstall the program.
Have fun reading feeds!
Lyon County Government Center • 607 W. Main St. • Marshall, MN 56258 • (507) 537-7046