Time is Even More Valuable than Money
For the uninitiated, let's start at the git-go (a reasonable-to-very good place to start): RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. The word "syndication" should not make you think of the Mafia (which some refer to as "The Syndicate") in this instance. Rather, you should think of syndication in the form of broadcasting, as is done by television and radio syndicates (hmm, maybe there is a Mafia connection here, after all - enough of that, though, because I don't think cement would look good on my feet).
Setting up an RSS reader to inform you when new content appears on your favorite web sites saves you a lot of time - instead of navigating to each site you are interested in and poking around to see if there's anything new there of interest, the RSS reader allows you to see at a glance what, if anything, is new -- and then, if you are intriged by the synopsis of the new item, you can click its link and go to the article / page in question.
So enough of the preamble; let's get down to the nitty-gritty. All you need to do to start saving time browsing your favorite websites is:
- Download and install an RSS Reader
- Gather the RSS link[s] in which you are interested
- Set up the RSS reader to subscribe to that link or those links
Using the Feed Reader
So without further ado or adon't, here are the steps you need to complete:
Download FeedReader (there are other RSS Readers, or "News Aggregators", or whatever you want to call them, but I find FeedReader to be very easy to use, and therefore I will show its usage) from here.
Note: As of the time of writing, the current version of FeedReader is "Pi" (3.14).
Install FeedReader (a simple matter of clicking and signing your life away at the EULA screen without reading it (does anybody really read that legalese?)).
Run FeedReader (if you opted for the default of making it available via the Start menu, you can find it there)
Select File > New > Feed (or mash F3)
In the wide TextBox below the "Add Feed" label, you can now enter the RSS link for the site you want to follow. If the site you're interested in offers an RSS feed, you will should be able to see an icon on said site, such as:
(the RSS feed icon is the orange "sound wave" icon to the right of the doubtlessly recognizable-to-you Twitter, Facebook, and Google + icons)
Right click the RSS icon and select "Copy Link Address" (this is the verbiage of the context menu item in Chrome; in other browsers it may be slightly different, but there should be an analagous menu item, at any rate, and it should be pretty obvious as to which one it is).
Paste the copied link address into the EditBox in FeedReader.
Note: Not all RSS links are of the same type; In the case of the website shown above (http://www.alvinashcraft.com/), the RSS link is http://www.alvinashcraft.com/feed/atom; OTOH, in the case of the website "http://www.jw.org/", the RSS feed is: http://www.jw.org/en/whats-new/rss/WhatsNewWebArticles/feed.xml
After copying the link for the site you want into FeedReader, simply select the "OK" button.
Now select the name of the "news" you just subscribed to below the "All News" pane. You will see a list of items in the great middle pane, sorted by default (see the View and Tools menus to change this and other settings, if desired) in date descending order (newest on top). Click one of the entries, and information about it, along with links, will display in the right pane:
FeedReader has many options you can set; one is to change the layout of the middle pane to show the content directly rather than via a "details" type of view as seen above. You can accomplish this by mashing the layout icon furthest right on the SE corner of the window. This causes the layout to go "full pane" like so:
When you are through looking at a specific site's new items, you can right-click the site name below "All News" and select "Mark this Feed Read" (or mash Ctrl+R on your keyboard); this will cause those items you've already seen to not display again - you will only see "new" items.
Once installed and setup, FeedReader will automatically open up each time you start up your PC to show you new items (as well as "old" ones that you haven't marked as read yet).
Don't Call It, Let It Call You
Even better, each time new content is made available on the web sites you have subscribed to, you will get an alert telling you that:
This saves you going to the website and being utterly disappointed because there's nothing new - it's a "don't call me, I'll call you" type of arrangement, but in this case very convenient rather than a kiss-off.
As Convenient as Can Be
And voila! That's all there is to it - rather than going on a "wild goose chase" for new articles that may or may not exist on your favorite sites, using an RSS Readers such as FeedReader, you can have the news come to you - simply fire up FeedReader, select the web site[s] you've added that you want to check, and anything new will display! It's a matter of a scant few seconds to check for new content using this method.