If you were to pick between visiting this newsletter on the Web or letting this newsletter automatically come to you every day, which would you choose? For those who prefer the latter, there’s a really simple solution. In fact, it’s called Really Simple Syndication, or RSS for short. Instead of navigating to various Web sites to read information, RSS “feeds” requested news to your computer so that you can read it all at your convenience. Now an RSS/XML feed of this newsletter is available.
RSS/XML feeds can update headlines from many different sources on your computer's screen whenever it is running.
NOTE: XML is a second cousin of sorts to HTML, the markup language used to create many Web pages. RSS, an offspring of XML, displays information in a format that you can read with an RSS reader.
The latest news headlines, stock market info, weather forecast, and even genealogy news is available to your Windows, Macintosh or Linux computer. You do not need to go out on the Web and click your way through page after the page; the information can be delivered to your computer in a background task while you do other things. Content can fly to your desktop faster than you can say, "What's new?"
Getting started is easier than you think. All you need to do is download and install a free RSS reader program. Then you add the following channel link below to your RSS reader: http://eogn.typepad.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/index.rdf
That's all! Now you need not miss a newsletter article again. Each article will automatically be delivered to your computer soon after it is published. The RSS reader runs in the background as long as you are connected to the Internet. It will work on dial-up connections as well as on full-time broadband connections.
In fact, those who use slower dial-up connections often prefer RSS readers in place of Web browsers since all the requested data is downloaded as a background task and stored on the computer's hard drive. When the user later goes to look at the information, the data appears almost instantly on the screen. The user does not need to wait for data to download over a slow Internet connection in the manner of a Web browser. Using an RSS reader can save a lot of time. The result is a faster and more pleasant user experience.
Of course, you are not limited to this newsletter. There are thousands of Web logs (blogs) published in RSS format today, including a number of genealogy-related Web logs, the New York Times, technology news sites, sports scores, and the latest weather reports for your home town. Your free RSS reader program will be able to retrieve as many of them as you wish.
RSS (really simple syndication) is a format for distributing and aggregating all kinds of content on the Web such as news links, headlines and summaries. It is a form of XML, which means that each piece of data - a headline, introduction, or description - is coded separately. In this way, software will know exactly what to do with it. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Your RSS reader will gather information related to any areas of interest you specify - movies, sports, genealogy, politics or breaking news - and deposit the information directly on your desktop. So, in effect, if you don't stop by the site, the headlines pretty much pay your PC a visit.
There are many RSS readers available. Most install in your computer although one popular reader is Web based. Each displays information in the manner that the program's authors think is best. You can see one view of this newsletter as displayed by an RSS reader right now if you visit Bloglines at http://www.bloglines.com/blog/eogn?subid=2303862.
Here is a list of the more popular free RSS readers and the locations where you can find them:
BlogExpress for Windows 98 or later. Newbies don't need to look any further than this. Providing a familiar, usable interface and high-usability; BlogExpress stands out as an invaluable tool for those getting started with RSS. http://www.usablelabs.com/productBlogExpress.html
SharpReader for Windows 98 or later. This is the one I use on my Windows computer. SharpReader has a clean and simple interface. However, other RSS readers add more "bells and whistles." I like SharpReader because of its simplicity. http://www.sharpreader.net/
FeedReader for Windows 98 or later. Power-hungry techies will appreciate this program's more advanced features and options. http://www.feedreader.com/
NetNewsWire Lite for Macintosh OS X 10.2 (Jaguar) or later. This is by far the most popular Macintosh RSS reader. It is available in two versions: a free Lite version and a full version for $39.95. The full version has more features; a 30-day free demo of the full version is available also. However, I would suggest you first start with the Lite version; it is free forever. http://ranchero.com/netnewswire/
Lifera for Linux with Gnome 2. While not for the beginners, Lifera is a popular RSS reader for anyone using Linux. http://liferea.sourceforge.net/
Bloglines, a Web-based RSS newsreader. Bloglines allows you to easily read many different RSS news feeds without installing any software on your computer. The downside is that Bloglines cannot automatically deliver the news to you; you still have to open a Web browser and connect to Bloglines' Web site. Nonetheless, it is an easy method of getting started with RSS news feeds. http://www.bloglines.com
The above is an abbreviated list; there are many more free and commercial RSS readers.
Once you have installed an RSS reader, you need RSS feeds to read. Each feed is just like the address of a Web page. All you need to do is use the "subscribe" function of your RSS reader to start receiving updates from a particular feed. To subscribe to this newsletter, copy-and-paste the following address into your RSS reader's “subscribe” function: http://eogn.typepad.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/index.rdf.
Welcome to a whole new Internet experience with RSS.