March 27, 2008

Do you RSS?

OK. So you've arrived at this site through one of a number of channels: Maybe you followed a link from a comment I entered at another blog. Perhaps you StumbledUpon it or even came in through Digg, Propellor or a Google search.

Having read a couple of articles you think to yourself "I quite like the way this guy writes", or, alternatively, "This guy doesn't know what he's talking about, I can't wait to see what inane drivel he comes out with next". Either way you'll want to find the best way of keeping up to date with what's going on at this site. How would you do that?

"RSS" !

RSS (or Really Simple Syndication), as a way of taking the contents of this site, packaging it into a format that is accessible by a 'reader' and sending it to that reader. You, as a user, have simply to look at that reader and every time a new article is posted it appears there for you to peruse at your leisure. The beauty of a reader is that it can accept inputs from, literally, hundreds (indeed thousands) of sites and display them all in one place. No hunting through your bookmarks to find the site you need to go to. No getting to a site just to find out that there's been no update since the last time you were here. It's easy. It's quick. It works

Let me show you how to do it :

At the top of the page, in the sidebar, you will see the icon that looks like an orange square with white marks in it. That's the universal 'RSS' icon. (It looks like the big graphic I've attached as a picture to this article itself) If you click on that it will take you to the place where you can define which reader you want to use.

Readers: There are dozens of different readers available. Some of them will load onto your desktop, some of them will load into your browser. Personally I use Google Reader (You will need a Google profile to access this).

When you click on the RSS icon it will take you to the list of available readers. If you have defined Google as your default reader it will usually display the options for adding your feed to Google. If not, select the Google icon from the displayed links. The rest is automatic.

Now, each morning you just go to the Google Reader and see all the stories that have been updated since the last time you read them. You can read them there and then within the reader itself or you can click the link and it will bring you back to the source page and you can read it there (along with the appropriate pictures etc).

If you are so inclined you can then check out a couple of the other blogs I write:

The Flying Cafe - Thoughts and musings on flying for a hobby
The Process Cafe - My work as a business process consultant

Each of them also has the same RSS feeds available. Add them all to your reader, that way I'll feel like somebody is actually reading this and it will inspire me to keep writing!