Wednesday, January 23, 2008

25 Ways to Get More from RSS

RSS may sound like a distress signal along the lines of SOS, but its real purpose is to make accessing Web information simple. An abbreviation for Really Simple Syndication, it allows you to get all the updated headlines and podcasts in one place, without having to sift through individual Web sites. You can put all your feeds together in an RSS reader, which will become your all-in-one destination for news and information. Here's our advice for getting the most out of RSS on your PC or mobile phone.
 
 
 
1. Create your own start page
Viewing your RSS feeds on desktop software is a good solution if you use only one computer. But if you use more than one PC, a Web-based RSS page containing all your feeds will let you see your news from anywhere. You can sign into a browser-based reader, such as Google Reader or My Yahoo, from any Web browser and get all your RSS feeds.
 
2. Organize your feeds with tabs
Having all your feeds on one page can get pretty confusing. Netvibes and similar sites let you create separate tabs for your feeds. Keep your sports scores away from your market news by categorizing your feeds into tabs. You can switch between them in one window and personalize them with icons and colors.  
 
3. Put it in a widget
If you want everything to land on your desktop, an RSS widget will do the trick. Simply add the RSS/XML address to Vista's RSS sidebar gadget or Mac's Dashboard widget. You can also download Yahoo Widgets and add any of the RSS feeds they have in their catalog, or you can create your own.  
 
4. Receive feeds in your e-mail
SendMeRSS.com lets you get any of your RSS feeds via e-mail. Instead of having to visit your reader or the feed itself, the service lets you input the address of the feed and your e-mail address, and it will send the information to your Inbox as frequently as you want.
 
5. Don't leave the browser 
If you don't want to leave your current Web page, you can get your favorite RSS feeds delivered right to the sidebar or toolbar of your Firefox browser. The Feed Sidebar (addons.mozilla.org) is a great add-on for Firefox; it transforms your browser's sidebar into an RSS reader.
 
6. Keep up with your team 
Add a feed to your page that provides news on only the sports team you care about. For example, if the Yankees are your team, you can subscribe to their news feed at sports.yahoo.com/mlb/rss. You can do the same for NFL teams at sports.yahoo.com/nfl/rss. If you're specifically looking for scores, try Totally Scored.
 
7. Build your own feed from a Google search
EvilRSS (evilrss.com) turns a Google search into an RSS feed. Simply type in the search term and EvilRSS will turn that search into a feed that you can put in a reader of your choice. The file comes with a disclaimer saying it may be against Google's terms of service, so download at your own risk. Google provides its own RSS feed option for its news search, so you can get many sources on one subject in one place. Simply search for the topic in Google News and click the RSS link on the left side of the page. This will generate your RSS feed.
 
8. Create a personal calendar feed
You don't have to use RSS for the breaking news. You can make your own RSS feed with a list of upcoming events, deadlines, or even birthdays. To do so, create a free Google Calendar account and put your information into the calendar. Click on the Calendars tab under Settings, select your calendar, and then click XML.
 
9. Forget updating V-Cards
Turn your contact information into an RSS feed so your friends and colleagues can keep up with your ever-changing info. Kunekt creates an RSS feed with your information. You can post a Kunekt button to your blog or simply send out the address to your contacts. When you update your Kunekt information, it will go out to those who need to get in touch with you. 
 
10. Get the latest flight delays
Subscribing to FlightStats.com lets the business traveler stay on top of the most recent flight delays. The feed includes a list of U.S. airports reporting FAA delays, as well as a brief description of the delay and links to more information.
 
11. Mix them all up
You don't have to keep all your feeds separate. If you prefer to get your news in a long list from lots of different sources, you can mix several RSS feeds into one big feed. There's no need to do this manually; Feedblendr  can do it for you. Enter two or more feeds and blend. You can put the new feed title into any reader.
 
12. Sick of text? Get pictures
RSS isn't just for text. Flickr lets you get photos of the people or things you care about the most via RSS. You can subscribe to your friend's Flickr feed and get all their latest photos in a feed. Flickr also provides RSS feeds for group discussions and specific tags.
 
13. RSS without the Internet connection
If you're about to jump on a plane but want to read the latest headlines, you can use RSS2PDF (rss2pdf.com) to convert your feeds to PDF. You simply type in the feed address; the site will automatically convert it to a clean and readable PDF. Save it to the desktop and read from your seat.
 
14. Create a local movie-listing feed
For those who are constantly going to Moviefone's Web site to get the latest movie showings, isnoop.net has made things a lot easier. Click on "Favorite Theater Feed" and simply type in your zip code and select the theater you want, and you've got an RSS feed with the latest showtimes for that location. Plug the feed into your reader and you will never have to worry about fighting for a seat.

15. Find the feeds you want
It can be time-consuming to go to all your favorite sites, find the RSS address and add it to your RSS reader. Syndic8 makes finding all the RSS/XML feeds you want easy. Just type the topic or the name of the publication into the search engine, and the RSS address will appear.
 
16. Stay on top of new music
Keep up with what's being added to the iTunes Store at apple.com/rss. Select the type of information you want to receive, such as New Releases or top iTunes songs, and the site will generate a feed. When you add the feed to your reader, you won't have to keep visiting the online music giant.
 
17. Track your eBay bids
The best way to keep tabs on an eBay auction is to closely monitor the bidding. RSS Auction lets you create an RSS for a certain item or item number you're watching (or selling). It will generate the feed address for you and will disappear once the item has been sold.
 
18. Stay in the social loop
Facebook allows you to subscribe to your friends' updates via RSS. Click Status Updates on your profile page and click the Friends' Status Updates button to obtain a RSS feed of the statuses. Add this link to your reader or your browser's bookmark folder to quickly view all of your friends' statuses.
 
19. Don't miss a job posting
If you're looking to stay on top of a job search, subscribing to Monster's RSS feeds can keep you in the loop on openings in your fields. Visit the RSS site (jobsearch.monster.com/rss.aspx) and subscribe to feeds in your professional area or in your geographic location.
 
20. Listen to your feeds
For those who have a hard time reading on screen, or who want to get the news while doing something else, NewsAloud will read your feeds out loud. Download the program and plug in your feeds; hit the play button to have the feed read to you (in a robotic voice). 
 
21. RSS to TXT
If you don't have access to the mobile Web on your cell, ZapTXT steps in to offer a mobile RSS solution. ZapTXT lets you pick the site or RSS you want to monitor and sends the content to your phone via SMS. Register at ZapTXT with your phone number and determine how often you want to receive alerts. You'll be getting texts from your news sources when you need them the most. 
 
22. Access your reader from your mobile
Accessing your RSS feeds on the go doesn't have to be complicated. Google Reader's mobile site allows you to log into your Google account and access your feeds on your phone. My Yahoo, Netvibes, and NewsGator offer similar mobile sites that are clean and easy to access.
 
23. Mobile widgets for feeds 
Mobile widget applications, such as WidSets, let you have your own mobile widget platform in your pocket. WidSets is compatible with Java-enabled phones, so you can download widgets and subscribe to a number of RSS feeds or create your own right from your cell phone. 
 
24. Get a good mobile browser
One of the most noteworthy features of Opera Mini 4 is its RSS support. You can subscribe to feeds through the browser and get updates every time you connect. You can sort articles by source or date.
 
25. Ultimate RSS for your iPhone
Google's iPhone application is a simple way to access your feeds. Clicking an RSS feed in Reader will load the full story in a few seconds. Much like in the full version of the Reader, you can also star stories for later or share them with other users who subscribe to your feed.

2 comments:

Matt said...

I came to know about some good websites which helped me a lot. Thanks for posting it.

Pratheep

Sarin Samuel said...

Better than newsaloud, try Text Speaker text to speech software. It has customizable pronunciation, reads anything on your screen, and it even has talking reminders. It is great for learning languages as it highlights the words as they are being read. The bundled voices are well priced and sound very human. Voices are available in English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, and more. Easily converts blogs, email, e-books, and more to MP3 or for listening on the go.

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