RSS feeds

Overall, I consider myself to be fairly tech-savvy. I program in multiple languages for my research (right now: python and MATLAB, though I have used C++), I use both windows and linux systems (though I’m still not entirely comfortable in linux I’m getting there), and when I have computer problems both software and hardware I can usually diagnose and fix the problem.

However, when it comes to new trends on the internet, sometimes I can be quite a Luddite. I still have yet to register on facebook/myspace (I can’t remember which one is considered ‘cool’ and which is considered ‘stalker’s playground’), and I have no desire whatsoever to ‘tweet’. I blog is only intermittently updated, and its traffic is somewhere near the bottom of the internet. I’m fine with that, since notoriety on the internet is definitely a two-edged sword.

A couple of days ago though, I finally decided to start using RSS feeds for checking websites. My morning internet routine has grown to include several dozen websites, and many of them only update every few days. There are other sites that update less than once a week, and I always forget to check them by the time the next week comes around. (The ones that update many times a day, like Fark, Reddit, and Digg I had to quit cold turkey. They were just sucking up too much time).

So I broke down and registered on google for their google reader service, and started registering for RSS feeds. It’s amazingly simple and it works very well. I just wish I had tried it earlier. Another thing that I found it is great for is keeping track of the latest research. Not only do many research journals have RSS feeds, but some of the larger databases for scholarly research will let you do an RSS feed on search results, so that if a paper that matches your search criteria is published in any of the journals in their database, they will send a link to you. I think it’s a great idea and I hope I can get a lot out of it.

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2 Responses to RSS feeds

  1. Peter says:

    Google Reader is incredibly useful. I’ve actually used it for research too. Some people think that RSS is dying with the advent of Twitter, but I hope not. It’s incredibly useful. I can even use Miro Player to subscribe to RSS feeds of television shows over Bit Torrent, so they land in my player the next day. Um, the legal ones, of course.

  2. Without RSS I wouldn’t know when you’d updated. I follow quite a lot of bloggers who write when they will rather than treat blogging like a daily duty. RSS is wonderful for keeping up with infrequent posters.

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