How do you keep up? RSS et al.

Lets face it, what is ed the blogosphere—buzzword alert!—is massive. With an estimated 12 million blogs and counting, health care how is anyone expected to keep up with any of it? Granted, no one will ever be interested in nearly as many blogs, but say you wanted to keep tabs on twenty or so (My blogroll currently stands at around 100 blogs). Before I discovered aggregators I would periodically visit certain sites I found interesting. The problem was, I had no way of knowing when those sites were updated and I couldn’t possibly visit them every few hours just to see what was up. Then I stumbled upon RSS (and other syndication formats)—herein referred to as feeds. Feeds do exactly what their name implies, they feed you information. Well, actually, they’re XML files—or server side scripts that output XML— containing an up-to-date list of all the news, posts, articles, comments, etc… of a particular site. A feed aggregator’s job is to take your list of feeds and check them periodically for you. That way, all you need to do is check your aggregator from time to time to see what’s up in your own little slice of the blogosph… ugh.

Being the power user—is it possible for a term such as “power user” to be too old to be considered a buzzword?—that I am, I like to be able to check my feeds from more than just one computer, so I ended up needing a way to synchronize my feeds across multiple machines. Of course, the solution was simpler than that. I found myself a web based aggregator. As of this writing I use Bloglines, but there are several others out there that beg to be tried out. A couple of newer ones are: Google Reader and SearchFox.

So there you have it. Now you don’t have any excuses for missing out on the high quality content I post on a semi-regular basis! ;-)

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