Really Simple Syndication — information, your way

Election Day is fast approaching and we’ve all been implored to cast our votes on Nov. 4 ‚ “because it is our right and our responsibility to do so.” Additionally, we’re told our future depends on it! To be sure, this is important business and, as such, requires attention to detail in order to make the important choices. I would submit, the best way to make these choices is to do so from an informed position.

  • Friday, October 24, 2008 1:00am
  • Life

Tech Talk

By Wayne Nelson and Jeremy Self

Election Day is fast approaching and we’ve all been implored to cast our votes on Nov. 4 ‚ “because it is our right and our responsibility to do so.” Additionally, we’re told our future depends on it! To be sure, this is important business and, as such, requires attention to detail in order to make the important choices. I would submit, the best way to make these choices is to do so from an informed position.

But — where can you go to get the information you seek? You might expect me to say, “Online.” And if you did, you’d be correct. However, this is only half the answer.

As I write this, there are a plethora of Web sites attempting to capitalize on this year’s election season by attracting visitors to their sites with the promise of rich, diverse and intellectual political content. Please pardon the pun, but this is debatable. Also, the sheer number of sites makes it difficult to ferret out which have the content you are searching for. Of course, you can always do a Google, MSN or Yahoo search, but just for the record, there are more than 100,000,000 – that’s one-hundred million – Web sites offering information on the 2008 election! Yikes!

The other option is to head on over to YouTube.com and watch videos of the candidates campaign trail speeches, debates, interviews and the latest Saturday Night Live sketches. As entertaining as these recaps can be, after a short while they all start looking and sounding a lot alike.

So, what’s a serious and concerned voter to do?!

Really Simple Syndication — or RSS Feeds — is the answer!

Here’s how it works: First, install a free software program called an RSS Reader. Next, you configure the reader by subscribing to and configuring “feeds.” This is free also. Last, you let the reader aggregate your selected feeds by crawling the internet in search of what you’ve told it you want and it’s delivered to your reader, where you can read and review at your leisure. Yes, it’s that simple. That’s why it’s called Really Simple Syndication.

The free RSS software we can recommend is Feed Reader. You can download it from www.feedreader.com/feedreader/releases/3.13. Once downloaded, install Feed Reader like any other software program. During installation, you’ll be given the option to include a few default feeds if you choose. After installation, which is a very simple and intuitive process, my best advice is to consult the Help menu to get up to speed with the program and begin setting up RSS feeds based on your desired criteria. You can also specify the number of feeds you receive.

There you have it! A customizable solution, designed to keep you informed during this tumultuous election year – and into the future!

Wayne Nelson and Jeremy Self own and operate Wired Northwest, LLC in Redmond. Submit your questions to: techtalk@wired-nw.com. Or, for more, visit www.wired-nw.com or call 206-788-7975 or 206-788-7898.


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