Apr 14, 2023

(+) RSS and Newsreaders Explained

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

Your paperboy just got smarter. This article will tell you how to easily read more information on the Internet in a shorter period of time. In short, you can use much of the Internet without all the clutter.

I used to spend 2 or 3 hours per day visiting specific web sites over and over in an attempt to find new information. I regularly visited looking for news, looking for the latest weather forecast for my home town, various stock market web sites, and, of course, genealogy sites looking for information about a variety of topics. The old method meant visiting each and every web site, one at a time, then waiting for the page to appear on my screen, then looking at menus to find the new information, waiting again for the new pages to appear, and so on. It was a tedious way to search for new information.

Today I can accomplish the same thing within a very few minutes instead of spending hours searching for elusive information. Today I “subscribe” to,, stock market quotes, and many other web sites. New information automatically appears on my computer’s screen whenever I want; I no longer have to open a web browser to visit dozens of web sites in search of new information. I only see new information. Older information that has already appeared on my screen earlier is not displayed to me a second time. Most of the advertisements are also not displayed although a few do manage to appear. The result is in the a form of a “custom newspaper” designed for me, containing new information about topics of interest to me.

My computer automatically retrieves information daily from dozens of web sites, using RSS formatRSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a method of publishing and subscribing to to frequently updated content, such as blog entries and news items. In short, many web site(s) publish information in RSS format, and software in my computer automatically retrieves that information in RSS format and displays it on my screen in an easy-to-read format. 

A newsreader, sometimes called a feed reader or simply an aggregator, is client software that you can download and install in a computer or perhaps is available on a Web site which aggregates or consolidates data that has been published in RSS format. In either case, you can “subscribe” to news headlines, blogs, podcasts, and video blogs in a single location for easy viewing. You do not need to “surf the web” looking for content; the new information is automatically delivered to you in a packaged and convenient manner.

RSS-formatted data works well for information that changes often. For instance, stock market information and weather forecasts are a natural fit for RSS newsfeeds. The same is true for the latest news and even for new articles posted to a genealogy newsletter’s web site, such as Almost all genealogy blogs also offer RSS newsfeeds. 

RSS newsreaders reduce the time and effort needed to regularly check for updates to multiple websites, creating a unique information space or “personal newspaper.” Once subscribed to a feed, a newsreader is able to check for new content at user-determined intervals and display the updates for you. 

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