Sketch: RSS Awareness Day

Pencil, 8×11 in.

Today, 01 May, has been dubbed RSS Awareness Day, so i’m going to go off on a bit of a tangent from art and ramble about just how awesome RSS is.

But first, a bit of an RSS-centric announcement: you can now subscribe to only the completed artworks posted on Torn Canvas. If you’re not interested in seeing my sketchbook’s intestines every day, you can skip that and get just the good stuff. The original everything-but-the-kitchen-sink feed is still valid, though, and is what you’ll get if you subscribe via e-mail (i may change that in the future. Something to think about, anyway).

Now, more on this strange thing called RSS…

RSS, aka Really Simple Syndication, is basically a digital mailing list – except it skips the “mailing” bit. There’s a couple of reasons why this is preferable over e-mail lists. You don’t have to give your e-mail address to every stranger whose site strikes your fancy. You don’t have the latest posts from your favourite blog getting mixed in with the latest e-mail from your favourite cousin (on that note, if you’re the type who checks your e-mail every hour, you can actually check your e-mail, with significantly less distraction from the automated lists you’re getting.) Depending on the RSS reader you use, it may be as simple as one click to subscribe and one more click to un-subscribe.

Speaking of RSS readers, there’s plenty out there, and they’re all really simple to use. Do a Google search for “rss reader” and you’re bound to find something you like. Personally, my favourite is Google Reader. It’s web-based (meaning you won’t have to download a separate program for it) and free (meaning, well, more tea money.)

Now, if you want to subscribe to a web site, all you have to do is look for the RSS icon. Odds are there’ll be one in the address bar while you’re browsing the site. Click, subscribe, and you’re done. No typing in your e-mail address, no “click here to verify your subscription,” no double- and triple-checking your spam filter to be sure it hasn’t caught the mass mailing you actually want. Just click.

Isn’t it awesome?

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