Without really knowing it, I’ve actually been using RSS feeds for the last 3 years.
Of course, there is a lot more fanfare now (particularly with ie7), and every man and his dog are rushing to provide RSS support, and make is easy to subscribe to RSS feeds.
I must admit I’ve tried using the RSS features built in to a few browsers, but it never feels right.
It always feels like browser-based RSS ‘viewers’ are forcing me to view RSS feeds like a large collection of web pages… and it just doesn’t work for me.
Since I learnt about the internet during the early 1990’s (before browsers), I’ve just gotten used to the idea of using different applications for each type internet ‘media’.
As an example: I use a web browser to view web pages, an email program to read emails, and a usenet reader to read usenet… So I also use an RSS reader to view my RSS feeds (It feels, to me, that there is an odd resemblance between usenet and RSS… but I can’t quite put my finger on it).
There have been a few apps (eg netscape) which tried to integrate email and browsing, but nobody seems interested (probably because a program that does on one job and does it well, is better than a jack-of-all-trades program).
So, about 3 years ago, I stumbled over a nifty program called desktop sidebar. It was nice, in that it stayed hidden on the left on my screen, yet it had many useful plugins that I could use without having to run 6 different applications. Apparently you can get a similar tool from google (the google sidebar, which is part of the Google Desktop).
There is a good comparison between the two, at: Hmm.
Here is what my sidebar looks like:
Although I have added a clock, an internet slideshow (which is automatically refreshed when new images are available… you could call it an image RSS feed), winamp controls… I also have a ‘newsroom’… which is just a different name for RSS feeds.
And although adding new feeds is not totally smooth and polished, reading the feeds is just effortless!
I don’t care if adding new feeds is a little awkward, since I only do it every few months, but I read RSS feeds every day, so it needs to work with a minimum of hassle.
Its really nice to be able to just browse the RSS titles, and as soon as I see one I like, I can either hover my mouse over it (to get a popup of the full article, or I can click on it, and have a new browser window open up with the article in it.
If I decide to change browsers, I won’t have to learn any new RSS tool that is built into the browser… Desktop Sidebar and google sidebar work with any browser.
So what are you waiting for? give it a go!