Something I’ve been trying to get into lately is RSS Aggregators. Many sites, such as this very blog, include a link to what’s called an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) newsfeed. This link, when used in an application that can read it, allows users to read updated content from news and blog-like sites without going through the trouble of opening their web browsers, navigating to the sites, and looking to see if there is anything new. Instead, the program runs constantly on your computer, checking the sites for you, and alerting you if and when there is any new content.
If you’re using MovableType|http://www.movabletype.org/ as your blogging system, and you haven’t done much to change the template, then you probably already have an RSS feed set up! Just look for “syndicate this” somewhere on your page for the link.
This also works with some web-based forums, such as my personal favorite, Broadbandreports.com|http://www.broadbandreports.com/. Each forum at BBR has its own RSS feed, which is updated whenever a new topic is posted.
At home, the program I’ve found for Mac OS X is called NetNewsWire Lite|http://ranchero.com/netnewswire/. It displays an alert in its Dock icon when it finds updated news items. I can then open the application to quickly browse through the news, and if I see anything interesting, I can open it in Safari to read the full article.
At work, I’ve had a bit more difficulty finding a good program to run on my Windows XP machine. There are tons and tons of RSS Aggregators out there that work on Windows XP. Many of them are no longer actively maintained. I’ve tried FeedReader|http://www.feedreader.com/, Syndirella|http://www.google.com/url?sa=U&start=1&q=http://www.yole.ru/projects/syndirella/&e=42, NewsDesk|http://www.wildgrape.net/, and some others who I deleted so quickly after trying them that I’ve forgotten their names. What I’m looking for is an application that will go out every five minutes or so, check for news on the feeds I’ve selected, and then quietly display an alert in my System Tray that new items have been found. I would also like to be able to browse those news items simply by right-clicking in the system tray, rather than having to open the app to see what the news is.
So if anyone out there happens to be using Windows XP and has a good RSS Aggregator that does what I want… let me know? I want the aggregation aggravation to end!