What they are.
News feeds allow you to see when websites have added new content. You can get the latest headlines and video in one place, as soon as its published, without having to visit the websites you have taken the feed from.
Feeds are also known as RSS. There is some discussion as to what RSS stands for, but most people plump for 'Really Simple Syndication'. In essence, the feeds themselves are just web pages, designed to be read by computers rather than people.
How to start using feeds.
In general, the first thing you need is something called a news reader. This is a piece of software that checks the feeds and lets you read any new articles that have been added. There are many different versions, some of which are accessed using a browser, email package such as Microsoft Outlook and some of which are downloadable applications.
Browser-based news readers let you catch up with your RSS feed subscriptions from any computer, whereas downloadable applications let you store them on your main computer, in the same way that you either download your e-mail using Outlook, or keep it on a web-based service like Hotmail.
Once you have chosen a news reader, all you have to do is to decide what content you want it to receive. For example, if you would like the latest Blogs, simply visit the Blogs page and you will notice an orange button on the page.
When you see this button click on it and complete the registration to subscribe to the feed. Alternatively you can:
- drag the URL of the feed into your news reader
- cut and paste the same URL into a new feed in your news reader.
Some browsers, including Firefox, Opera and Safari, automatically check for feeds for you when you visit a website, and display an icon when they find one. This can make subscribing to feeds much easier. For more details on these, please check their websites.
How to get a news reader.
There is a range of different news readers available and new versions are appearing all the time.
Readers are also available in some of the latest Microsoft products, for example Internet Explorer 9.0 and Microsoft Office Outlook 2010. It is a fair assumption to say that other software vendors offer the facility in their latest products. You should check if you use other Office software.
Different news readers work on different operating systems, so you will need to choose one that will work with your computer.
Some examples you can explore: