Feeding on RSS

NetNewsWireIf like me, you’re new to the concept of RSS, here is the lowdown: ‘Really Simple Syndication’ is an XML dialect that allows Web content to be easily re-purposed. Just about anybody, including me, can publish content in RSS format and have it effortlessly re-used by any number of RSS-compatible means… like, for instance, the terrific NetNewsWire, a news reader for Mac OS X that “can fetch and display news from thousands of different websites and weblogs, making it quick and easy to keep up with the latest news.”

There are two versions of NetNewsWire, one that goes for US$30 and one that goes for absolutely free. Play around with the free version and you’ll wonder immediately if its publisher, Ranchero Software, is being too generous. NetNewsWire Lite is robust, elegant and dead simple to use. You can tap into the Subtraction RSS feed with barely any effort: just click on ‘Subscribe’ and type in the URL <http://www.subtraction.com/index.rdf>, and you’re good to go.

NetNewsWire Interface

Because of its simplicity, there is no shortage of RSS feeds available. NetNewsWire itself includes a hefty list of feeds ready to be browsed, and sites like Syndic8 catalog even more. There’s so much content becoming available every day that RSS readers are really enabling a kind of alternative Web. Keep an eye out for a major software player to get into this arena before too long, much as Google did with Blogger.