Wednesday, January 16, 2008

RSS This

Lofty Celtic tunes turned up past sane fill my brain as I attempt to make sense of the last hour in search of a better grip about just what RSS really means. Another computing mystery I would attempt to unravel and solve. My ensuing pain can be blamed on Carlita. She got me fired up. Planted the seed that would make my morning one experienced frustrated and when I came out on the other side, not much closer to the truth.

Okay, Clannad turned up loud certainly did not help me concentrate. And my always behind the curve ways had to hinder progress. But I stuck with it. I hung in there while words I had no idea of what they meant attempted to fill me in on concepts so foreign it might as well been sanskrit. I might just have a better chance with sanskrit.

RSS - Thanks to those enigmatic Wiki folks I finally figured out what the letters stood for - "Really Simple Syndication". Might be simple for for someone out there. But this about as close as I got to having a clue.

Atom this, Aggregator that, Syndicate and Feedburn it all immediately put my mind into a funk. Befuddled and lost before I even started, I stepped into another section of the Blogging Jungle. Without a blogosphere map or Internet compass, I allowed Google to steer me through this evil land only computer geeks wearing bad ties, short sleeves and pocket protectors can safely navigate without a guide.

And even though Google treated me kindly, was polite and helpful, I came away battered and bruised. Emotionally traumitized, I gave up trying to understand. RSS was now relegated to that filled past capacity mystery bin in my mind. I did not have to understand as long as I believed. Faith alone would make it work for me. The Feedburner site assured me even a dumass like me could and would benefit from all the features and perks found inside it's guts. I would become a blogging giant in no time.

I had no real concept of what RSS would, could, should do for my blog. I took the leap of faith, joined the masses and signed on the dotted line. I'll figure it out later......Right. If it adds some zip to the blog and makes other folk's visits a more pleasurable and smoother experience, then great. Regardless, I have filled the promise to myself to not let this blog sit getting stale. And even if I was the last to tie into the newest and greatest, I was at least moving forward. A tweak here. A tuck and fold there. A work in progress.

It's just that the more I accept without understanding wears me down. Makes me know the World is definitely moving faster than I am. Each fall from the turnip truck takes a toll. Hurtling toward the abyss would be easier to take if I had some clue as to the how and why.


Carlita said...

This post by Darren Rowse at Problogger taught me what I needed to know about RSS:

I have a google reader account, which is free, and subscribe to about 100 blogs, including yours. If you read a lot of blogs, it's an easy way to manage all that content without getting overwhelmed.

Noah said...

RSS is simple. It's just another way to convey what you type. There are 2 parts you need to care about: Providing RSS (which Blogger does on its own, and FeedBurner helps as well) and READING RSS, which is what Google Reader does.

I second the suggestion of Google Reader

Just click "Add Subscription" and type the web site URL in and GR figures it out for you.

They call most readers "Feed Aggregators". They take a feed, a stream of data not much unlike the obdurate stock figures and headlines you see hogging pixel space at the botoom of the boob tube on a news channel, and they aggregate it. Collate and sort it for your perusal as you see fit.

So you sort out your news sites, the blogs you read, and the flood of weather reports into neat little sub-folders. Go one place, and you have access to everything you want without clicking a million bookmarks. Basically, each snippit that gets written shows up like an e-mail that you can choose to read, ignore, file away for later, or mark as a favorite.

If you see something worthy of one of your musings in the comments, you can simply click on it, and it will pull up the part of the blog you wanted to read, and from there you leave your comments. It's very slick.

I use FeedBurner for my bike blog, and it's nice to see numbers for someone like me who's a statistician to the core.

Sheepish Annie said...

All I did was tell Blogger to turn on the Atom feed in my dashboard. This lets people subscribe to your blog and be made aware when you post. If you use an aggregator like Bloglines it is also a handy way to keep track of how many people are reading you in addition to organizing the blogs you like to read.

Very handy, really. I don't necessarily get how it all works...but it does. :)

ptaws said...

I myself was unaware of what RSS exactly was, how it worked, or what the purposed served was.

I have certainly learned more about it from your post and other readers' comments than I have from any other media source.

It just goes to show that some of the more interesting information to be learned is from your peers. In this case, blogging peers.