When I started blogging, I made the decision that I didn’t want to be yet another geek blogger. I spend much of my time in technology, I don’t need to blog about it too. However, I am making an exception because this bit of technology relates more to urchins than geekdom. Occasionally, urchins goes through periods of neglect (like our backyard) when Jen is too busy to post. — I guess Jen was right, she has become the managing editor here and I am just an occasional contributer. I blame it on having a job that actually requires me to work, but if you have read all those links you know otherwise. — The first time this happened we lost some readers, even my mother-in-law thought it had come to an end. If urchins ever does come to an end we will let you know. In the meantime, if you are tired of the frequent letdown of visiting urchins to find nothing new, I would like introduce you to the miracle of RSS feeds.

What is an RSS feed you ask? Basically, it is a syndication service similar to Reuters or AP. Like most things, the internet has leveled the playing field for syndication. This means the critical news items from urchins can easily be integrated into your my.yahoo or personalized google home page. Don’t believe me? Try it.

Add to Google

But wait, thats not all! RSS slices, dices and makes julienned fries. Ok, well maybe not, but if you keep your eye out you will notice that most of the other blogs you read and many more sites offer RSS feeds. Using one of the many great feed readers out there you can now aggregate all your reading into one site and see only the new articles. Online feed readers like Bloglines and Google Reader are a great way to get started. If you want to get more complex with your feed reading there are a number of standalone feed readers for Mac and Windows. On the Mac I use Vienna and Jen uses NetNewsWire Lite, but if you are willing to spend a few bucks Newsfire seems to be the current darling.

RSS is a key part of the new breed of sites being called web 2.0 and evolving beyond the syndication of blogs. Here are a few of the more more fun and unconventional feeds you can get:

  • See what’s new in your GMail inbox
  • See all the flickr photos with you favorite tag
  • Get local traffic reports from Yahoo
  • iTunes Top 25, new children’s music or your own custom feed
  • See new posts on craigslist that contain the word canon
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