Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Ask Leo! is available as an RSS feed.

Each time an item is added to the Ask Leo! archives, it is simultaneously published via RSS and made available to subscribers immediately.

If you're not familiar with it, RSS, for "Rich Site Summary", or "Really Simple Syndication", is a new way for publishers to deliver their content.

Why? In a word: spam. From a publisher's perspective, over-aggressive attempts to prevent spam are more and more frequently blocking legitimate mail as well. Rather than publishing an email newsletter, which is particularly vulnerable to getting improperly blocked, an RSS feed bypasses email completely, and ensures that you get the content you asked for.

Here's how RSS works: RSS feeds are coded in XML (eXtensible Markup Language) and are thus not readable by ordinary web browsers or email programs; you "subscribe" using special reader called an aggregator. Aggregators allow you to subscribe to the feeds that interest you without having to give any information, such as your email address, to the publisher. How you subscribe will depend on the aggregator you're using, but it can be as simple as clicking (or right-clicking) on the RSS icon icon you see on this site's homepage. Once you've subscribed, your aggregator periodically checks the RSS feed for updates and, if there are any, downloads and displays them for you.

There are many news aggregators available, and more on the way as RSS becomes more popular.

Posted June 23, 2009