Background info, some basics & a few helpful links
Our first PWF Technology article introduced RSS, a simple way to read favourite news/newsletter headlines in one place on your computer. Today we’re talking about how to get a ‘reader’ so you can read RSS.
There is a huge range of readers available and new versions are appearing all the time. Different news readers work on different operating systems, so you have to choose one that will work with your computer.
First, some definitions of terms I recognised but couldn’t explain – found it cleared away some of the fog. Just scroll down if you know it all!
Operating system – The software that the ‘rest of the software’ depends on to make the computer functional. On most PCs this is Windows or the Macintosh OS. Unix and Linux are other operating systems often found in scientific and technical environments.
Browser – any software program that lets you surf the Internet and view web pages. Microsoft Internet Explorer and Safari are two of the most common. Firefox is also very popular.
Open Source http://www.opensource.org/ is a NonProfit initiative – basically free software. It allows programmers to read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software. This means that the software evolves, people improve it, adapt it, fix bugs. I am told this rapid evolutionary process produces better software than the traditional closed model, in which only a very few programmers can see the source.
Source code – the programming language used to write web pages and software.
Firefox is an open source, cross-platform, graphical web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation and hundreds of volunteers. It is:
A platform describes some sort of framework, either in hardware or software, which allows software to run.
Cross-platform means the ability of a document, file or program to be used or seen from more than one operating system. Typically platforms include “Mac” (Apple Macintosh), PC (Windows), and UNIX (a common system used by many Internet service providers). Virtually all Internet web pages and documents and all email are cross-platform, which means you don’t need a particular machine to view them.
An RSS reader is either
Some readers are free, some you pay for.
The two types of reader are used in different ways.
Some useful links for follow-up: