Re: solo writer--how do you keep up, etc?

Subject: Re: solo writer--how do you keep up, etc?
From: Laura Lemay <lemay -at- lne -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 11:10:48 -0700

> >every day (RSS has made my life SO much better).
> Repetitive Stress Syndrome has made your life better? Explain?

Well, that too, since tendonitis forces me to get off the computer
and Have a Life(tm). But no. Not that kind of RSS.

RSS is an XML format for publishing website headlines. Its used
generically to mean both publishing and reading those headlines; I
used it as shorthand to mean "reading web sites through the use of a
program that understands RSS." I'm not actually sure what RSS stands
for, and a quick google search turns up a bunch of conflicting
expansions -- RDF Site Summary (RDF in turn stands for Resource
Description Framework) , Rich Site Summary, or Really Simple

Here's how it works: you download an RSS newsreader program, usually
free or shareware. I use netnewswire for OSX, but there are a whole
pile of them for windows (google "RSS reader"). You subscribe to
web sites that support RSS. The newsreader program polls the web
site on a regular basis -- daily, hourly, twice a day -- and downloads
new headlines. Headlines can be actual headlines for new sites, or
new postings to blogs, whatever the web site creator defines as
a headline.

What you get in your reader is a list of headlines. Click on the
headline and you get some additional summary text (again, whatever the
web site creater defines). The text is really simple, some bold
and italic, maybe an image or two, but its not heavy-duty web site
design. If the headline or the summary text interests you, you
can double-click on the headline and then your browser opens up
and you can view the source of the headline on the original page.

The point: the RSS newsreader lists a whole bunch of stuff in one
place. Rather than going to individual web sites, waiting for the
download, and then scrolling around to see what's there, I launch my
RSS newsreader in the morning, wait for it to download all my
headlines (I can go get coffee while its doing that), and then scan
the list and read only what's interesting. I'm done reading between
60 and 75 web sites in about 30 minutes. Its a huge timesaver.

RSS has massively changed the way I read the web. I rarely go to
actual web sites just to browse anymore -- but on the other hand I am
reading way more web sites and regularly and keeping up with more
technologies and more people's blogs. In fact, I become annoyed when
I find a web site that I like and there isn't an RSS feed available
(do I have it on my web site yet, uhhhhhno not yet...(guilty
expression). Its great stuff.



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RE: solo writer--how do you keep up, etc?: From: John Posada

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