What’s an RSS feed and why should I be interested?
The most frequently updated content sites on the Internet are blogs. In fact, blogs are so easy to update and to maintain that some regular web sites are converting to the blog format. RSS feeds are a way that you can get titles and introductions to the lastest articles — without having to go to the web site to see if there’s something new!
The RSS reader that I use is GreatNews.
Class: RSS Reader
Version Reviewed: 126.96.36.1991 (Beta)
Publisher: Curio Studio, www.curiostudio.com
For some reason, they’re still calling GreatNews a Beta version. Beta is a pre-release status where the author(s) have resolved most of the bugs and they’re allowing others to test the program. I’ve been using GreatNews for about six months and have yet to find a bug!
GreatNews is a free RSS reader. It will automatically fetch any RSS feeds to which you "subscribe". That way, you can know immediately when your favorite blog has a new article or even your favorite web site has a new article (I’ve added an RSS feed to my Terry’s Computer Tips web site).
Unlike a magazine or an email newsletter, subscribing to an RSS feed doesn’t tell the originating site anything. You tell your news reader to subscribe — that is, you tell it that you want it to fetch the entries in the RSS feed. Then, every time you start your newsreader, it will get all the new updated feed articles.
Once GreatNews has fetched the new articles in the newsfeed, it shows you a display very similar to your email program’s display. In the list of feeds to which you’ve subscribed, it shows the feed names in bold to indicate those that have new messages.
You can download GreatNews in either a Windows Installer version or a Zip file. If you download the zip file, unzip it to wherever you want it to be installed — it’s ready to run once it’s unzipped. The Windows Installer version will install it into C:\Program File\CurioStudio\GreatNews.
When you start GreatNews, the first time or any subsequent time, you’re presented with the same display (although later times will show the changes as you add or delete newsfeeds).
At this point, you can add manually add your first newsfeed. Which one shall we get? How about my new one?
Depending on what software you have installed on your computer, you might get a debugger screen — just say no. After declining the debugger(s), you’ll get the properties dialog box that shows you what GreatNews found.
In the next screen, you pick which feed group (think “directory”) to file this one in. THe default is “All News Feeds,” that is, not in a group. Of course, you can click on New Group… to create a new group. When you’re ready, click on the Finish button.
You’ve finished adding your first newsfeed.
Once you’ve added your first newsfeed, GreatNews downloads the feed so you can see it. If an article looks interesting, click on its title. The title is a link to the article.
At this point, GreatNews will open an embedded Internet Explorer window inside GreatNews. this is not optional — Microsoft wrote an Internet Explorer embedded control (an ActiveX control, if I’m not mistaken) that programmers can incorporate into their programs to create embedded IE sessions. Even if you have Firefox or Opera as your default web browser, this will be Internet Explorer.
GreatNews is an easy way to keep track of your favorite blogs and your favorite web sites, if the web sites have added RSS feeds. More are doing that all the time. Try GreatNews — it’s a lot better option than the RSS readers built into Firefox2 and IE7.