Archive for category RSS

Confused about RSS?

Finally, someone has taken the time to write a short, concise and to-the-point article that you can point even your parents to in regards to what RSS is and how useful it can be/really is.

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RSSOwl – Platform Independent Standalone RSS Reader

My RSS reader of choice is currently Bloglines; it meets all my needs, is always accessible from any computer/browser I’m using at any point in time, and all the RSS data and fetching processes is conducted by the Bloglines servers. Whenever I can avoid installing another client on any of my computers is a blessing.
Now, if I needed to install an RSS reader, RSSOwl ( is definitely the client I would use. First off, it’s Open Source and as such is freely available. It’s available for many system architectures I use, such as Linux, Mac OSX, Windows and Solaris, with an emphasis to keep the same look and feel across all of these. The one negative point I have is that being a Java application, it depends on having a properly installed working copy of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) on the computer you intend to install it on.
RSSOwl has a long list of features:

  • Import your favorite newsfeeds using the OPML format.
  • Bookmark your favorite newsfeeds in nested categories.
  • Import Blogrolls into RSSOwl.
  • Built-in internal browser to read news that contain HTML.
  • Export the content into one of the formats PDF, RTF or HTML.
  • Choose between a 2-column and a 3-column layout.
  • A lot of search-options make RSSOwl a powerful application to search inside a newsfeed or an entire category.
  • The integrated newsfeed-search engine allows to search for newsfeeds by keyword.
  • Simply enter the website containing links to newsfeeds into the feed-discovery and RSSOwl will show all the newsfeeds it has found.
  • Place RSSOwl into the system tray on minimization.
  • RSSOwl is highly customizable. “Preferences” allow to change fonts, languages, colors, hotkeys and a lot more.

All in all, RSSOwl is the feature-rich reader that will definitely become my stand-alone reader of choice, when the need/time for such a thing comes around in my case. Until then, I remain faithful to Bloglines.

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How iTunes Changed the way I Listen to Podcasts

PodcastingMy good friend Matt introduced me to Podcasts a few months ago, telling me how they had totally changed his listening habits, to the point where he had stopped listening to regular radio except for the occasional traffic report now and then. As is always the case, when Matt starts preaching about something, I start listening, since many times, he’s onto something. So I started looking into this Podcast phenomenon and at first couldn’t really understand what the big deal was.
To me, it just seemed like a bunch of people simply recording shows of specific interest into MP3 files for people to download and listen to. A couple shows piqued my curiosity so I listened to them a couple times on my laptop and thought it was kinda cool. One afternoon, upon entering my car leaving work, I realized that I had left my satellite radio at home. Desperate for something different to listen to on the way home, I realized that I had synced my iPod with my PowerBook and had 3-4 Podcasts sitting on it that could be listened to. So I pulled out my old cassette tape interface, plugged the iPod in, started the first Podcast and drove home. A few minutes later, I realized what this whole phenomenon was all about; it’s not just the fact that you can download these shows and listen to them. The magic is that you can listen to them anywhere and anytime!
At that point, I became what I now call a “Podcast Junkie”; I subscribe to 13 different Podcasts which I listen to religiously. Some of these are released weekly, others are released every other day or even daily. This gives the whole thing a level of variety that makes it a little difficult to listen to the same old thing everyday (unless that what you want!).
With the advent of iTunes 4.9, podcast listeners have been taken to another level in regards to the simplicity of finding, subscribing, listening and syncing their Podcasts. Prior to iTunes 4.9, I used another client which worked, but was clunky and didn’t provide the seamless integration/experience I wanted with iTunes. Now, everything is done from one interface in a clean and simple fashion.
If you’re interested in some of the Podcasts I listen to, take a look at the list on the right of my site.

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Comparaison Shopping using your Cellphone

The folks at are on the right track with their site. Say you’re at a store and come across a book or CD you’re interested in buying. It’s on sale, but you would like to know if the price is still better than online stores. Simple. Pickup your cellphone and call Amabuddy, type in the ISBN of the book or CD and listen as Amabuddy gives you the current prices for that product on Amazon! Great concept!

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‘Listen’ to your RSS Feeds

While going through my regular series of RSS feed reading, I came across this great application. It basically lets you listen to your RSS feed articles while you work on other things. Great idea and concept. While the voices could use a little more polish, the readings are quite understandable. The application is called News Aloud, by NextUp Technologies, LLC.
More info can be found by going to

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Turning a Google News search into an RSS feed

While going through my RSS feeds oer the weekend, I came across a small script that someone wrote. In simple terms, it takes any search request you make to Google News and turns it into an RSS feed. The possibilities are endless! I’m thinking of using the script on this site allowing me to customize some feeds ofr news that interests me.

You can test the script yourself by going to

This would be a great asset to many researchers out there who have to rake through dozens of sites each day looking for information/articles related to a certain area. My friend Kirkhope of the Terrorism Research Center comes to mind. Everyday, he has to gather over 3 dozen articles related to terrorism and information security, etc. Using something like this, he could probably save himself quite a bit of time. All the “first layer” searching is done for him and he just has to review the hits for relevancy…

Pretty cool if you ask me…

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Six tips for better RSS feeds

While reading through my ever-increasing list of RSS feed entries, I came across this great article. – Six tips for better RSS Feeds

RSS seems to be what everyone who runs a site is talking about these days, yet few people actually implement it correctly or effectively. My biggest pet-peeve is Slashdot‘s RSS implmentation. They only include the title of the story and about 20-40 words from the article itself. In many cases, it’s simply not enough information to get an idea of what the article is actually about! Such a frustrating waste… This article brings up this issue, as well as a few others.

A good read for everyone who runs a site and already has an RSS feed or is planning to implement one.

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My current online RSS reader of choice

I’ve been using for about 2 weeks now and I must say, I’m addicted to it. Previously, my reader of choice was PocketFeed on my PocketPC. It’s a great app, but the current development effort is EXTREMELY slow, with a small, incremental release once every 6-9 months if you’re lucky. It also restricts me to a PDA only solution for all my RSS reading. Now with Bloglines, I have a full web-based interface for reading/tracking all my feeds of interest, as well as a ‘mobile’ version, which is perfectly designed for my PDA. I get the best of both worlds! And with OPML support, I can easily move my ‘feed list’ around to/from any machine I want, if I need to at all…

Bloglines sure makes my life easier…

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My Yahoo! RSS Beta Launched

While browsing through my daily dose of RSS feeds, I came across something that caught my eye. The words “Yahoo!” and “RSS” together in a subject-line. At first glance, I assumed it was about the new Yahoo! XML feeds that became available a few months ago. What was different this time was that the subject said “My Yahoo! RSS”. Could it be true? Could My Yahoo! become an RSS aggregator? Well, the answer is yes!

You can see some details here: My Yahoo! RSS Beta Launched

You can also go directly to the My Yahoo! RSS Addition page:

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