Newsreaders are also called RSS aggregators, feed aggregators or RSS readers.
There are four types of newsreaders.
- Web Newsreaders
This type of newsreader requires no installation. It is really great for us boomers. Your subscriptions stay on the web and not your computer. You can access your feeds from any computer that has an internet connection. Most of the web newsreaders offer free service.
- Desktop Newsreaders
This type of a newsreader is a stand-alone programe that is installed directly on your computer. Unlike the web type newsreader your feeds are restricted to the computer where your program is installed. Some of the programs are shareware and others are commercial or free.
- Portal Newsreaders
A good example of a portal newsreader is Google and Yahoo. They provide an opportunity for you to subscribe to a newsreader while on the home page. Use of these types of services are free.
- Browser and Email
Let’s take Firefox as an example. This browser and it’s email program Thunderbird both support RSS reading. Firefox will see a RSS feed anywhere on a web page.it displays an RSS icon which invites you to subscribe.When you click the icon it creates a bookmark in the bookmark list. When you actually run your mouse over the bookmark will show entries that are in the feed. When you click on it you go directly to the entry. Both Firefox an Thunderbird are free. Check out other browsers for RSS readers.
If you click on the yellow icon on this site it will take you to the yahoo, google or bloglines newsreaders.
Which Type Should You Use?
If you use more than one computer it is probably best that you do not use a program that is installed on your desktop. Your feeds will not be portable. However, if you use a web based newsreader you can access them from any computer.
The portal newsreader is great for have powerful features do not place limits on the number of feeds that you can have.
One of the most popular web newsreaders, Bloglines, have loads of features like keyword search and folders. They arrange feeds in folders and will display the entries of any single feed.
Which Features Should Be Included in Your Newsreader?
Folders will help you to organize all your feeds.
Some services do not use folders but rather tags. It does not matter. The important thing is that tags also help you to organize your feeds. However, note that with tags one feed can be given more than one tags. For example if I have an entry on boomers the tags might be boomers, baby boomers,
If you want to revise your sorting choice be sure that the newsreader has resorting and retagging feature.
- Keyword Searches
Your newsreader should contain a search box that will allow you to search the net for content that lines up with your keywords. It is also good if they contain a list of popular feeds for you to search.
- Backtracking and Tracking
This really cool feature will in a newsreader will keep track of which items in a feed you have looked at before. loglines, for example allows you to look back in time.
- Feed Display Options
Sometimes you do not want the entire post to show. This is where having the option to have only excerpted entries really help. If you want to see the entire entry, all you have to do is click on the link. Bottom line you want a newsreader that will give you this display option.
Hope this helps
Pt. 5 Subscribing to feeds