Complete Geek Boutique

Nothing in cyberspace is sacred

RSS: Read headlines without the ads

You have your morning cup of caffeine and want to read the headlines quickly on your computer. Or when you get back home from the office, you want to catch up on what you’ve missed while you were at work. But in either case you just don’t feel like being blitzed with ads just to find out what the headlines are. What do you do?

Use RSS.

So what is RSS, and where do you get it?

First, RSS means “Really Simple Syndication,” and it was created so folks could get information from a Web site without having to surf to that site just to see the latest information put on the site each day.

How to get it: Users “subscribe” to the information (called a “feed) they want to receive from a Web site offering RSS feeds, and then either their Web browser or a RSS “News Reader” will create a link that shows ONLY the information users have subscribed to. Sites using RSS range from blogs to news, to sports, to entertainment — virtually everything you may be interested in. Don’t worry — “subscribe” doesn’t mean you pay anything or give out any information at all to get a “feed.”

How do you know a site has a RSS feed? Look in the address bar of your browser. If there’s nothing there, you can look for icons on the front page of the site you’re visiting for the RSS, XML Subscribe or other icons to see if the site offers RSS feeds.

On this blog, for example, the RSS feed is actually hidden under the “Subscribe” link at the top right of this page AND when you click the “Subscribe to RSS” icon. Click on either link. It takes you to an RSS feed for the blog, which lists all news posted.

On many sites (not this one), you’ll also notice a little RSS icon in the address bar of your Web browser for this blog that takes you to the same feed when you click on the icon there. You can add the link to the feed by either “subscribing” to it with your Web browser, or your favorite RSS News Reader. Now, you can see what’s new on the blog without having to GO to the blog. If you want to read the posts in their entirety, you’re taken to the blog by clicking on the headlines of any given item. Thus, you only go to the blog when you WANT to.

One final note: For WordPress-powered sites, the theme used determines where or IF an RSS or Subscribe icon is displayed on your WordPress site. If you know the site you are visiting is using WordPress and you don’t see an RSS icon, you can typically just type the name of the site into your Web address bar and add “/feed.” For example, for this site, you’ll also find the RSS at

Up next: Okay, where do I get a RSS News Reader? Or do I even need one? Until then, here are a few RSS feeds for you to chew on:

CNET: Computer Geek Headlines
CNN (You pick the category)
ESPN headlines
Ocala Star Banner (Pick a feed)
Weather alerts for Citrus County

Do you see the possibilities for using RSS?

Next: Where do I get a reader? Or do I need one?


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