Here at Ilium Software, we now have three RSS feeds: the one for this blog, the one for our News Page , and the one for our ListPro List Exchange. These work great in desktop RSS aggregators like NewsGator, FeedDemon, or in Windows Mobile software like our own NewsBreak.
I’m not much of an early-adopter. I bought my car as soon as it was introduced because I needed a car, I bought my shiny Apple iMac Core Duo because a refurbished one went on sale for a good price, and I bought my first PDA because I was going through that age where I wanted to buy everything that was a gadget. These things were coincidences; I didn’t intentionally jump on the bandwagon while it was still a skateboard, I just happened to step on it and didn’t fall off.
RSS aggregators confuse me, because they take content from a website and shove it into one little new and special place that still makes me open up the original website in a browser. Most websites don’t post entire articles to their feeds, so why not just go to the site and read the whole thing? (Incidentally, I don’t like RSS aggregators on the desktop, but on a PDA? I’m all for packing information into a compact central place.)
That changed when I discovered Google’s Personalized Homepage. The idea is similar to portals such as My Yahoo!, where all kinds of stuff like weather, news, photos, stock quotes get aggregated onto one page you can set as your browser homepage. It’s been around for a while, and jumped out of Beta less than a while ago, but now is as good a time as any to mention it to anyone who wants to try out RSS without investing in a complete standalone program.
You get a simple website that shows news headlines from various websites (and other information), in classic Google bare-bones style, and you can add anything you want to it. It’s right in your browser, something you already use all the time.
That said, our RSS feeds go great with it. You can click on the following links to add them right away:
You don’t even need a Google account to use these – it can work with cookies in your browser to recognize you when you go back to the Google homepage. Of course, My Yahoo! has become a similar service, and they basically offer the same features with a Yahoo! flavor. I’m not promoting Google for any reason besides the fact that I like them and I know about them. Google Homepage, NewsGator, Yahoo – similar ideas, different flair.
I want to encourage you (the user) to subscribe to our RSS feeds somehow, because they help us tell you interesting and important things without having to send out mass-emails. When you subscribe to a news feed, you are in control. If a company sends out mass emails, they have to figure out how to avoid being marked as a spammer or blacklisted for putting out 10,000 emails in one day, and it’s often hard for you – the user – to control whether or not you get the email.
Imagine: instead of hoping that an upgrade email that we send out makes it through the muddy waters of the internet and through spam filters, you simply open your browser and right there, “Ilium Software announces a new program that will do everything for you!”. We’re not there yet, but if you subscribe, you’ll find out when we are.