For goodness sake use that feed reader - A howto on using a feed reader


Whenever friends call me, they ask me what I have been up to these days and how my company is doing. I humor these questions by explaining in detail what I have been up to and on what Zyxware has been doing recently. But the sad part about this exercise is that I would very likely have blogged about all major events on my blog or updated on my company site. When I mention this the excuse I would normally get is that they check the sites once in a while but missed the recent updates. This, by Jove!, is what Feed Readers are for.

A feed reader is a simple application that can keep track of new posts and updates on blogs and websites that support one of the syndicating protocols like RSS Feeds or Atom Feeds. Or simply put a feed reader will keep checking for updates on websites and blogs that you would like to follow and let you know of the sites where the updates have been posted and the excerpts (or even the complete post) of the new posts. Only if you think the posts are interesting to read you need to go and visit the site.

Simple isn't it? Using the feed reader you can very efficiently follow hundreds of blogs and websites. You can also configure most readers to classify the feeds manually or automatically into categories to further increase your efficiency. So all your friends blogs could go into one category, all technical into another, all news related into another etc. Scanning through the latest updates on the feed reader would be like browsing through the titles of news articles in a newspaper and reading only the ones that you like.

If you use multiple machines for accessing the web you can get the services of online feed readers like Google Reader, Bloglines. Alternatively you can use your browser as a feed reader. Most of the popular browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer have feed reader functionalities built in. Even if you don't use multiple machines I would recommend that you use an online reader because you will always be able to remain connected even if you are traveling.

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