Some of you reading this food blog might not be so savvy in the tech realm. I happen to straddle both worlds. To make your life a little more enjoyable and easier, I'd like to offer a quick intro to the world of RSS and how it relates to Blogs. Let's start with an abridged wikipedia definition: RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format. An RSS document (which is called a "feed", "web feed",or "channel") includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing dates and authorship. Web feeds benefit publishers by letting them syndicate content automatically. They benefit readers who want to subscribe to timely updates from favored websites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place. RSS feeds can be read using software called an "RSS reader", "feed reader", or "aggregator", which can be web-based, desktop-based, or mobile-device-based. The user subscribes to a feed by entering into the reader the feed's URI – often referred to informally as a "URL" (uniform resource locator), or by clicking an RSS icon in a browser that initiates the subscription process. The RSS reader checks the user's subscribed feeds regularly for new work, downloads any updates that it finds, and provides a user interface to monitor and read the feeds.

What this means to you is that if you read any blogs, you need to have an RSS reader. Rather than having to remember to check a blog occasionally to see if there are new posts, the articles are pushed to your reader when the author publishes them.

I treat blog posts like emails. In fact, Apple's mail application has seamless integration with RSS. All I do is click on the RSS icon (see image) in my browser and the feed is added to my mail application. You can even have the posts delivered directly to your inbox by clicking the arrow next to the feed in mail.app. Personally, I like to group my feeds into subfolders by topic (technology, food, friends) and I can read all of the posts aggregated into one list.

Many people praise the gmail reader. If you are a gmail user, it seems natural to take advantage of this feature. In fact, any web service, like Yahoo or Hotmail should have some component of RSS integration. Click here to learn more about using the gmail reader.

Another popular option is to use a standalone application. This requires you open or keep open the application to receive your feeds, but still aggregates them for convenience. Here are links to the top applications for your platform:

About.com top Mac reader applications

About.com top PC reader applications

I hope you will take advantage of this superior method of access blogs and news.