Mac users have access to a little known, almost obscure, and somewhat antiquated technology which can save you an immense amount of time each day. If you use Safari bookmarks or Favorites then you have a number of websites that you click often; sites you visit for news, information, entertainment.
There’s a better way than all those clicks. Have the websites come to you instead.
The technology that makes it happen is called RSS (rich site summary to some, really simple syndication to others). It’s been around for many years and is embedded into most regularly updated websites via an RSS or Atom feed or subscription. All my sites have RSS built in and ready for use with an RSS reader.
Yes. An RSS reader is an application that automatically checks websites to see what has changed, and downloads headlines and summary for easier viewing. Think of an RSS reader as a browser just for the websites you visit regularly, but instead of clicking bookmarks, scanning websites for updated articles, everything comes to you automatically.
Open up the Mac App Store and enter ‘RSS’ in the search field. What you’ll see is a hefty list of attractive RSS reader apps which range in price from free, to a few dollars, to as much as $10. Free apps are simple but usable, while the commercial apps are loaded with useful features.
For example, the one I prefer to use the most is Reeder, which has been around a few years, works with multiple RSS subscription tracking services, and all the popular sharing services (Readability, Instapaper, Pocket, Evernote, Pinboard, Delicious, Facebook, and more).
If you’re on a budget and like things to be different, NewsBar RSS Reader is a good example of Think Different™. It places RSS headlines along the Desktop background image. Click and get the details. Also popular and worth a look is Leaf, which works much like Reeder, but costs less.
Finally, if you need more features, and prefer low budget, there’s the open source Vienna RSS reader. It features the standard three pane layout (subscriptions in the lefthand sidebar, updated articles in the top main window, and the entire article below that), plenty of useful features, and it’s free.
Regardless of which RSS app you choose for your Mac (I like Reeder because it can sync up subscriptions with Reeder on iPhone and iPad), once you’ve set up a bunch of website subscriptions all the latest headlines and summaries come to you in one location. That saves time and clicking.