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You may have noticed Web pages sprouting orange boxes with the initials RSS or XML and wondered what they're for. These orange boxes indicate that the site offers RSS feeds, a fairly new tool to read Web content more quickly.
Depending on whom you ask, RSS stands for either "Really Simple Syndication" or "Rich Site Summary." Lately people are opting for simplicity and calling them "feeds."
How do I get them?
Until recently, people had to download software called a "news aggregator" or "newsreader" to view RSS feeds. Check Lockergnome for a comprehensive list of news aggregators and background on RSS.
But now Web sites such as Bloglines, MyWireService and others aggregate the feeds for you.
The Web browser Firefox includes a function called "live bookmarks" that lets users read RSS feeds without leaving the browser. Firefox users can add extensions such as Sage for more options in how they read RSS feeds. IE 7 and above also have utilities for tracking and reading RSS feeds
Why use them?
One enthusiast notes that his RSS reader, "enables me to keep up with my favorite sites in a fraction of the time it used to take to visit them each day."
When you check our feeds, you'll see a list of headlines and summary paragraphs of our most recent articles. To read a full article, click on the headline and you're directed to the article on our Web site.
If you check several Web sites daily, you'll begin to appreciate the convenience of quickly checking for updates in one place.
How do I subscribe to feeds? Click on one of the orange RSS buttons or section names above and follow the instructions for your particular news reader to subscribe to RSS feeds.
Don't worry about seeing a lot of Web code when you click on the link. The important thing is to get the address at the top of the Web browser into your RSS reader.
Can I read RSS in my handheld?
RSS readers are available for handheld computers that connect to the Internet via cellphone connection or WiFi
Handhelds that don't connect directly to the Internet can use the excellent Sunrise Desktop software in combination with a program called Plucker to capture RSS feeds and sync them for reading on the handheld.