Well I apologize that it took me so long to get back to you on this issue. On this snowy Saratoga evening, I will post the second part of RSS feeds that I promised last week. Now if you are reading this post and you didn't read the first RSS post from last week, I suggest you first scroll down and read the entry "RSS feed available for Saratoga Performing Arts Center". If you are already familiar with RSS feeds, then skip this entire entry.
OK a very quick review. RSS (Really Simply Syndication) is a feed that saves you a ton of time bringing several different web sites (that you choose) to one page so you can read the latest headlines, news stories, blog entries, updates, or whatever all at once. Rather than going to CNN, ESPN, this blog, that blog, a podcast etc. to see if there have been updates, they all come to you, saving an incredible amount of time.
For additional information, go to the Yahoo page that explains RSS feeds.
LIke I told you on the first entry I posted on RSS, I am suggesting you print this one out as well so you can read and go to certain web sites at the same time.
OK, now that you know what RSS is and why it is worthwhile, lets figure out how to obtain, or aggregate, RSS feeds. The first thing you have to know is that not all web sites are RSS enabled. Most news sites are (except of course for the Saratogian, at least as far as I can tell), most podcasts and blogs are, some reference sites are, and you can even customize an RSS feed with specific language. How? Very simple - I subscribe to an RSS feed from Technorati (which is basically like a Google for blog entries) that feeds me any entry that mentions "Saratoga" or "Saratoga Springs". You can do the same type of thing on Google News (or the main Google site) to find out when perhaps your name, or your organization's name, or whatever, is mentioned on one of the thousands of news sites monitored by Google. To understand how to do this on Google - click here. Most search sites allow RSS feeds of that search and it's pretty simple.
OK, so how do you find out if a web site is RSS enabled? The rest of this paragraph was copied right off Wikipedia's page on RSS - (although as of this posting someone is messing with that page in a dumb way - that's one of the potential pitfalls of Wikipedia I guess, lets hope someone corrects it before long). On Web pages, web feeds (RSS or Atom) are typically linked with the word "Subscribe", (or in the case of my blog - you see the words "subscribe to this blog's feed"), an orange square, , or a rectangle with the letters or . Many news aggregators such as My Yahoo! or itunes publish subscription buttons like this:
(Update 2/23: For an easy look at many of these things - check out the right side of radnauseum's blog). Now I will explain how to add a page to "My Yahoo", however other web based feed aggregators are similar to "My Yahoo", so even if you use a different web site you should get the idea. First of all, find the web page you want to get an RSS feed from. We'll start with this one, "Fun in Saratoga". Again, look to the upper right of this blog and then RIGHT click on "Subscribe to this blog's feed". Then click on "copy shortcut" and then go to the "My Yahoo" or whatever your aggregator page is and then go to wherever you add RSS feeds. In "MY Yahoo!" that is to the right of the "Add content" box, where you see the words "Add RSS feeds". Simply click into that box then paste the web feed URL, which you already copied, by clicking on "Control" and the letter "V" at the same time. Then click Add, and then you have to click it again to completely add it. There you have it, it's done, and that feed should now be on your page and any updates I do will automatically come to that page. Now if they don't have the words but instead have one of the orange buttons shown above, then you simply RIGHT click on that orange button, then take the above steps. Now, just to make it complicated, if they have one of those "My Yahoo!" or 'itunes" type buttons, then you would simply LEFT click it, and it's automatically added, but of course you must be using that particular feed aggregator to make it work with one of those buttons. Let me know if this explanation is user friendly by emailing me.
OK these two entries took me forever so I hope someone got some value out of it. Take care and be safe.