Friday, February 22, 2013

What's an RSS feed and why do I care?

Every once in awhile on the internet somebody contributes something of great worth to many people.  If you've read the Hacker's Ethic by Pekka Himanen then you know that many of the greatest innovations online come from the hacker community. 

Contrary to the main stream media's view, hackers are simply a group of enthusiastic computer users who passionately support innovation, freedom of information and the creation of things that make people's lives better.

One such hacker is the late Aaron Swartz, a brilliant hacker who was a founder of the popular social news and entertainment site Reddit, was also a huge contributor to the creation of the RSS feed.  

RSS feeds are an automatic way to receive news and blog content using something called a Reader.

Recommended readers are:

Reeder (Mac/iOS)
FeedDemon (Windows)

Google Reader is probably the easiest to acquire and setup.  It's web based, requires no installation, and all you need to access it is a Google Account. (Not a Gmail account, just a Google ID and password).  Once you've done that and navigated your way to your Google Reader home page, you simply click the large red SUBSCRIBE button at the top left of the page, and enter the feed URL we've listed above.

Most readers work this way, in that you find the SUBSCRIBE button or option, and enter the feed URL.  Once you've done that you can set wether or not you want your Reader to notify you via email every time a new post comes into your feed.

If you want to read more about RSS Readers, check out this great article @ LIfeHacker:

If you'd like to subscribe to our blog via an RSS reader, here is our feed URL:

Sadly, Aaron Swartz recently took his own life due to the immense pressure laid upon him by the federal government in a trial regarding copyright infringement. Thought I never got the change to meet Aaron, I feel very much in alignment with his ethics, morals and values and was very sad to hear that he had decided to leave us.  If you'd like to get a sense of his character, please watch this awesome video of him giving a talk about internet privacy and government control.

Alex King-Harris (aka Rara Avis)
CEO/Co-Founder Yogi Tunes

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