nov 18, 2003.
Maybe you have wondered about this curious link, and similar ones on other sites, often by means of this intriguing orange button, with three magic letters 'X' and 'M' and 'L' ...
When you hit the button from within your usual browser window, you either get just a humble mumble of text, or the source file, presented with its mark up tags. "So what is the point?" you may have asked yourself.
The idea is that a program (a so-called news aggregator) pulls a small (generally text-only) file - the 'feed' - from the site, which lets you know when the SoundBlog or other parts of Harsmedia have been updated. The news aggregator shows you the content of the feed, which, in case of the SoundBlog, presents a short summary of or introduction to the new post, and a link. Which enables you to keep an eye on the site and know about new posts without having to go there explicitly every other day. And of course the real power of rss and news aggregators is that in this way you can track multiple sites.
Myself I use Ranchero's wonderful NetNewsWire (Lite), to keep track of a dozen interesting weblogs and several news sites. There are many others 'feed readers' available, for all platforms, and many of them are freeware.
[ hat-tip to Dave Shea, whose Plugging the RSS Usability Hole post inspired this page ]