Haven’t had a tech update in a long while so here we go…
One of the most interesting technologies to emerge in the last couple of years with the rise of the blog has been content feeds which allow for quick and simple syndication of information from sites which provide them (mine included!). This basically cuts out the time involved in checking whether or not a site has been updated and allows for information aggregation and almost instantaneous indexing (search). There are two main competing standards for doing this – RSS (Really Simple Syndication) & Atom. RSS is currently the dominant leader in this field (rightly or wrongly) and basically defines an XML grammar (a set of HTML-like tags) which might look something like this for a set of news items.
This can then be passed by an RSS news feed reader and processed in a variety of different ways. If you use the excellent ‘Firefox‘ web browser then you already have an RSS/Atom feed reader built in called ‘Live Bookmarks’ – see here for details of how to use them.
This links nicely into a cool email I got the other day from a reader (yes, I was amazed people read this thing too!) who sent a photo of them reading my site on a 3G iPod (of all things!) via the magic of RSS. Another example of pervasive technology out in the wild! If you want to do likewise take a look at EphPod which lets you synchronize feeds with you iPod along with a lot more.