What’s an RSS reader anyway?

April 1, 2011

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. The RSS symbol looks like this:

RSS is supposed to provide a way for you to read a lot of blogs more efficiently. You tell a piece of software, your syndication reader, the addresses of the blogs you read. The software fetches all the new posts from those blogs as they appear on the web, and stores them in one place. Most people used to use Google Reader as their syndication reader, but Google shuttered the service in 2013. There are other readers that have taken Google Reader’s place, such as Feedly.

I read a lot of blogs, but I have to say I never really liked the format that Google Reader presented the blog posts in. Once I read a post, or decided not to read it, I wanted it to go away. But in Google Reader, it seemed to hang around, which only confused me the next time I accessed Google Reader. I tried other reader software and had the same experience. So I gave up on RSS. I just bookmarked the blogs I liked in my browser and visited them every few days. It wasn’t an efficient system, but it worked.

Then I discovered an elegant iPad program called Mr. Reader, which I purchased in the iTunes App store for five dollars. Mr. Reader accesses all the blogs I told Google Reader about (and now, that I tell Feedly about), but presents them in a way that is useful to me. I can skim through all the new posts of the blogs I like, and read in full whichever posts I want. Once I’m done with a post, it fades away unless I bookmark it.

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