What would our lives be like without mailmen? We'd have to drive to the People Magazine shop or the Popular Photography stand each time we want to pickup the latest editions. Either that or we could just get the news through the grapevine and wait on our friends update us…
Well if you're still typing in the web addresses to visit your favorite news sites and blogs each time you want to check for new articles, you're basically using this mailman-less system where you're doing all the work.
So is there a mailman of the 21st century that can deliver our favorite news?
Heard of it? Stands for "Real Simple Syndication" (not too simple sounding huh?). It's a notification system that can keep you updated on all of your favorite blogs and headlines. How the heck does that work?
Most sites these days now offer what are called RSS feeds. There are applications available called aggregators that can subscribe to these RSS feeds, so you can see all of your feeds from one location. One of my favorite applications that does this is called NetNewsWire for Mac. (There are others for Windows and Google has a great web-based version called Google Reader.)
With NetNewsWire you can type the address of a site you visit often, say www.cnn.com, and NetNewsWire will check if they offer an RSS feed. If so, it subscribes to it and you'll then be notified each time cnn.com (or your favorite blogger) updates their site. Not too bad huh?
NetNewsWire also has free iPhone app so you can stay up to date on the go (Link to iTunes App Store). In order for your computer and iPhone to sync, though, NetNewsWire requires a Google account (same as a Gmail or Picasa if you already have one). If you don't have an account, NetNewsWire will allow you to create one when you first launch the application.
Aggregators like NetNewsWire allow you to consolidate your favorite news into one location. In other words, you now have your personal mailman that can deliver just the mail you want. Better yet, you don't have to give him a Christmas gift.
Have questions? Leave 'em in the comments, we'll be glad to assist!
Mailman image credit: naturalpatriot.org