My Sweet Setup: RSS

Being an RSS user is probably one of my most unconventional and nerdy habits, but they’re such a better way to experience the internet I feel I must evangelize them.

I could write paragraphs of text, but inspired by a recent talk I saw at RailsConf, I’d like to show you instead in a more… visual form:

RSS sketchnote page 1
explanation of what an RSS feed is
explanation of how an RSS feed reader works
demonstration of the convenience of RSS feeds
rss feeds are cleaner
final notes on why I like RSS

If you want to subscribe to some things via RSS, here are a handful of my favorite feeds:

  • Ars Technica (I pay to subscribe to Ars Technica, which gets me access to a special version of the feed with full-text articles, which I strongly recommend)
  • xkcd.com – a fantastic webcomic for nerds
  • The Onion
  • GitHub’s Blog
  • Daring Fireball
  • 9to5toys (a great feed of deals on gadgets, updated daily)
  • Meh founded by the prople who brought us Woot.com, Meh is its spiritual successor, selling exactly one thing each day at a good discount. I’ve been getting KN95 masks from them on the cheap lately.
  • Jacob Kaplan-Moss
  • Julia Evans
  • Macrumors

Most sites offer an RSS feed. RSS links aren’t as prominently placed as they used to be, and sometimes they’re called a “feed” or maybe even an “atom feed” or similer. Sometimes you might have to guess at the feed URL (it’s often found by adding /feed to the end of the home page URL).

RSS feeds are a little nerdy and that might predispose you to think they’re kind of arcane and weird to use. But in fact, the opposite is true. They are a much nicer, much cleaner way to use the web. When I watch other people browsing full web sites loaded with ads and annoyances, I get the same jarring feeling I get when I go home to Iowa and see family members watching broadcast TV with its obnoxious and loud commercials and terrible shows.

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