Bloglines and RSS

Ever since discovering Bloglines a few months back, I’ve been meaning to write about how much I love the service. So here goes. Prepare to be proselytized (just like I’ve previously raved about delicious and Firefox and the Mac experience).

You’ve heard me mention RSS before — though a better way to describe RSS would be to avoid the acronym and focus on what it provides: Web feeds.

RSS (er, a Web feed) is simply a way to subscribe to automatically receive notices when Web sites have been updated. You’ll find all sorts of complicated descriptions out there, but it’s one of those things you kind of have to see on the screen to grasp. Which I why I urge you to check out Bloglines.

Web feeds hold a lot of promise, and I’d messed around with RSS before — I experimented with NetNewsWire and the Firefox RSS aggregator plugin. But I didn’t like the way those worked; I don’t like the idea of using a separate application (like NetNewsWire), and the I didn’t like the way the Firefox plugin appeared in my browser. Bloglines, however, is Web-based, so I can access it seamlessly using a separate tab in Firefox. (Another nomenclature-related bone to pick, though: Bloglines is a bad name, since the service can be used to track not just blogs but traditional news sites, weather, whatever — any site that provids a Web feed.)

Here’s more info on Bloglines and RSS:

“Using Bloglines” (an illustrative tutorial)

“15 things you can do with RSS (it was supposed to be 10, but I got carried away)”

(Oh, and a final note: when you get Bloglines up and running, don’t send me emails expressing your gratitude. Just subscribe to the RSS feeds — links to ’em are on the top left of this page. That’ll be thanks enough.)

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