13.5. Viewing RSS Feeds
Internet hounds love to visit their favorite sites, always seeking out fresh content. But if the site doesn't have anything new, it's a wasted trip. RSS (which stands for either Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary, depending on who you ask) solves that problem by regularly publishing updates of newly created headlines (and short summaries that usually accompany these headlines). Instead of clicking through sites to see whether they've added new material, you glance over headlines (also called "news feeds") from all your favorite sites. When you spot something interesting, give it a double-click to fetch that specific story for a read.
Receiving headlines requires a program called an RSS reader , also known as a news aggregator . Some sit in your Desktop's taskbar, sending announcements of newly published stories. Others function as standalone programs, letting you browse through interesting feeds during your spare time. Still others are built into browsers like Firefox, as shown in Figure 13-11.
Figure 13-11. The Firefox Web browser comes with a built-in RSS reader that creates live bookmarks. Whenever you open Firefox, it dashes off to each site, collects the latest headlines and presents them to you on menus sprouting from the site's bookmark. That saves you time, letting you jump to the good stories, and ignore those that are boring. When you spot the little orange Live Bookmark symbol in Firefox's bottom-right corner (circled), you know you're viewing a site with RSS support. Click the link, and Firefox bookmarks the site, letting you view its RSS list for new stories.
Not all sites support RSS, however. Sites currently offering RSS support include Flickr (Section 188.8.131.52), blogs , and many online magazines and newspapers. RSS is growing in popularity, so expect to see more RSS live bookmark symbols in Firefox, like the one circled in Figure 13-11.