blago.png It sure would be nice if local bloggers were able to make their blogs available as RSS feeds.

What’s an RSS feed?

Here comes the lab coat and Dr. Science voice: I’m glad you asked that question. RSS is a format for syndicating web content. It basically means that in addition to making an HTML version of your web page, you also make one that uses the XML-based RSS format.

So what? You might ask. One of the biggest pains about weblogs is that you don’t know when they’ve been updated. So you keep visiting the site, only to find no new content. What an RSS feed helps with is that a helper program (either called an ‘aggregator’ or an ‘RSS newsreader’) does this for you, and puts all the RSS feeds’ content together in one place.

I installed an excellent newsreader today, the free and very user-friendly Blago Newsreader. Now when a weblog’s RSS feed is updated, Blago pops up an MSN-style message in the lower right hand of my screen that tells me what the weblog name and headline are. Then I can either open the Blago window or click directly on the message, which opens the weblog’s page in the browser.

In case you’re wondering, the excellent Movable Type weblog software that runs this site automatically makes an RSS feed. It can be found here.

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