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Keep informed with RSS

RSS, which stands for (among other things) "Really Simple Syndication", is a very useful tool that allows you to stay up to date with websites and information sources of your chosing, without having to deal with the problems of email overload and the growing tendency of email providers to kill the emails you want to see along with the spam you don't.

Here's how it works:

A website, like a blog or CNN or, in this example, the Lively Arts History Association, publishes an "RSS Feed". You can usually find out the address of this feed by clicking on an orange button that says something like "RSS" or "XML" or "ATOM" on it. It will bring up a page that looks like this.

You then paste this URL address into your RSS reader. When the feed you subscribed to is updated you will see the update, automatically, on your reader. A site like CNN updates their feed with new headlines every few minutes. LAHA updates their feed when ever there is new information, like a new vintage dance being scheduled.

How to select a reader:

There are several ways to do this.

  • Easiest: Have an "RSS aware" web browser. Firefox, Safari 1.4 (Mac OS X.4 only) and Netscape 8.1 all detect RSS when it is present and give you the option of adding them to your "favorites/bookmarks". Microsoft is lagging behind in this area, and won't have RSS detection until the release of Internet Explorer 8, which has not been scheduled.
  • Easier: Use a web based RSS manager. The most popular is "Bloglines". You will, of course, have to remember to check it from time to time or set it up as your default home page.
  • A Bit More Complicated: Download a feed reader to your computer. This will operate in the background when your computer is turned on, and give you alerts when your subscriptions are updated. Here are some options. They are generally free.

Why you should bother:

What's that you say? One more damn thing to keep track of!

I sympathize.

This does however, have the BIG advantage that you have control over what you hear about. Spammers haven't yet figured out how to spam RSS, and with RSS you can keep track of what you feel is important. As time goes on, more and more sites will make RSS part of their structure, and you will be able to use it to monitor these sites without having to go back and check them regularly.

Happy web surfing.


Yay! I'm really glad LAHA & realted events are now available via RSS subscription. Thanks!

Thank you Walter/LAHA for advising us. We enjoy the updates and of course the dances. We would be so disheartened if we did not receive your information. Edward and Lady Myra