Blogs (Web logs) are one of the ways the new Web is being done: better, faster, more interactive, more efficient, and more fun. They used to be just for news, but when people found out how easy and useful they were, suddenly they were being used for almost everything. From Mark Pilgrim’s xml.com article on RSS:
RSS is a format for syndicating news and the content of news-like sites, including major news sites like Wired, news-oriented community sites like Slashdot, and personal weblogs. But it’s not just for news. Pretty much anything that can be broken down into discrete items can be syndicated via RSS: the “recent changes” page of a wiki, a changelog of CVS checkins, even the revision history of a book. Once information about each item is in RSS format, an RSS-aware program can check the feed for changes and react to the changes in an appropriate way.
Here are a couple of videos describing RSS and how to take advantage of it:
- What is RSS? from the Peoria Unified School District (About ten minutes, rather detailed)
- RSS in Plain English from Common Craft (Shorter, more fun but less informative)
The best way to read this blog, or any blog for that matter, is through an RSS reader (sometimes called an RSS aggregator). As you may have learned from the videos, there are Web-based readers and there are readers you install on your computer.
On your own computer:
- FeedReader (Windows)
- Liferea (Linux, Gnome)
- Sage (Mozilla Firefox extension)
- RSSOwl (Java-based, should work on any machine with a modern Java VM installed)
- Akregator (Linux, KDE)
And of course, now that you’re all set up with a reader or two (I use both Liferea and Google Reader), you’re going to want to subscribe to some blogs. The NLPhilia Blog feed is http://nlphilia.net/feed/, and there are many other good ones in my blogroll on the main page.