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How To Get Up-to-Date Weather Info Via RSS Feeds
Jeff "Griff" Griffin
(and every other type of news)
If you haven't heard about RSS or Atom feeds don't feel bad. I just started using them about 4 months ago myself. Still, you can take a step right now to take your web surfing to the next level.
Perhaps you have heard of Blogs or Weblogs as they are properly called. These gems of the web started out and still continue today as diaries or journals put up on the net by those that just like to write and share their everyday world with the outside. These, still at this time, June, 2005, are still the largest part of blogging on the world wide web.
You can find these very easily by going to Google or Yahoo and typing in a subject followed by the word blog. For example, I just typed in Tornado Blogs into a Google search box and got 150 different blogs about tornadoes.
With that kind of exposure you can find blogs on any subject on earth. The great thing about this is that after you decide which blogs are your favorite you can put them in your favorites, bookmarked or otherwise presented on you desktop. The great thing is that many, including myself, have gone to the next level and have turned their blogs into RSS Feeds. A very simple process if you use Blogger.com
If RSS is the same as blogs then what's all this blog stuff? Let me explain, Blogs and RSS feeds are not quite the same. In short, the blogging idea was picked up and many major news sources like Fox and CNN and on and on started putting their own blogs out in the form of newfeeds. Simply RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. And we as end users can gain access to the latest news about anything including weather on our desktops.
Yet, doing this is a mystery to so many that I decided to put this report on the website so that you could gain instant access to newsfeeds and hopefully my own TipsOnTornadoes blog and RSS feeds. Now, you should understand that newfeeds are similar to HTML and require a special piece of software that allows you to read the feed. The computer language is similar to HTML on a web page but not really the same. To read a feed we need a "reader". There are many "readers" available for free online.
The one that I use is Feedreader, available at Feedreader.com. The download is free. It is simple to download and easy to use. It has a great feature that helps me out a great deal. That feature is a little balloon that rises up off your task bar when one of your favorite feeds has just uploaded a new article for you to read. The significance of this will become apparent in a moment.
I wrote this article for my subscribers to enjoy my tornado blogs as well as any other content they can subscribe to. Every time I upload a new blog to my RSS feed you can receive the notice that something new is available. And let me say, I update a great deal with stories from all over the globe which relate to weather. While I would like to think that you would love to see my feeds show up on your desktop every time I upload one, I'm not that naive.
The real beauty of this feature, for those interested in weather, occurs when you subscribe to a NOAA feed for your state. You see as the NWS issues alerts for your state the Feedreader window will pop up and you can take a look to see if your exact area is going to be effected by the weather that is maturing. How cool is that? It's like a Weather Alert radio on your computer.
These feeds are not exactly easy to find. The NOAA feeds for your state come in this format http://www.nws.noaa.gov/alerts/co.rss where "co" is the state of Colorado or the two-letter postal identifier for your state. So, all you have to do is copy this link into your feedreader and change the co (in this link) to the two-letter identifier for your own state.
As you may expect that there are search engines for RSS feeds. They work similar to Yahoo, MSN, Google and others. The trouble is finding them. So here are a few for you to peruse and choose your favorite(s). My favorite is Feedster.com.
Now, that you know what RSS feeds are you may be wondering about these little RSS and Atom tags you see on some web pages. First, let me show you a tag that I am speaking about.
rss feed graphic
indicates rss feed
indicates xml feed
rss feed indicator
feedforall rss graphic
feedforall xml graphic
feedforall rss graphic
Tags copied from the FeedforAll RSS feed generator website.
While there are subtle differences in the programming of RSS, RSS 2.0 and Atom feeds most readers like Feedreader and Pluck read either format so to you, the viewer, the operation is seamless. However, it should note that RSS 2.0 is written to include enclosures. An enclosure as applied to RSS is the same as an attachment with your email. It simply is something added to the entire file. You may have heard of Podcasts. Podcasts use RSS 2.0 or RSS with enclosures and that is where the audio portion of the feed is kept. The regular part of the RSS is used to present show data like who the artist is and title of the podcast.
I only added this here to help you understand what the differences were when you see the various tags. Now, that you have seen these tags let us examine how to use these tags to our benefit.
In general, these RSS or Atom tags are encoded with the link to the various links. You will see these on my websites like TipsOnTornadoes.com or GetYourBizGoing.com
However, just clicking on these images or RSS tags as I have been calling them. Nothing happens. A newsfeed doesn't pop up or do you get redirected to some other page. What you have to do is "right click" the tag and save the link You click on "copy link" as shown and then install it in your feedreader.
Then after you have internally saved the link or copied the link, you can go to your feedreader so that you can save that newfeed and update it as you prefer. New updates when using feedreader will appear in the bottom right corner by your systray. On the next page I will show you how to enter the feed into your Feedreader .
How To Enter the RSS Feed into Feedreader
To add the copied link to your Feedreader you open the "File" tab at the top left of the page and choose "Add New Feed". Using your keyboard command of Ctrl + V the link will magically appear in the window. Then you choose the "Next" button and finish the process. It is just that simple and now you have a new feed entered into your Feedreader. You will start getting updates immediately if there are any to be updated to your chosen feed. If you want to check you can just check on the green button with Ying and Yang arrows to update all feeds on your Feedreader.
At this point you should be able to procede to the feedreader site of your choice, I recommend Feedreader.com and Pluck.com for the best or most used readers. Once you download your reader you'll be able to enjoy a whole new world of online surfing. Plus, you get alerts that will inform you when your favorite RSS feeds have new content. This is a very sweeeeeet thing. You will wonder, just like the internet, how you did without this for so long. You won't want to do without it after this. Enjoy!
About the Author
Jeff "Griff" Griffin is an author for major publishers for over 25 years. Retiring soon from being an airline pilot he has chosen to market his writing skills in various forms online. RSS feeds are available at his websites of various interests listed below. He invites you to copy the RSS feed addresses for your use. This article is available for republishing on your webpage as long as this resource box and all material is unaltered.
About the author:
Jeff Griffin is a best-selling author about weather and flying for 28 years. Now nearing retirment as an airline pilot he uses his skills to market his writing and music.
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