Reading news, the simple and fast way

Credit: Matt Callow (flickr)

As an information security professional I need to keep up to date on emerging trends and newly discovered vulnerability’s. Reading news is the only way to do it and, in the past, was very complicated to do efficiently.

The very old way of receiving news on the Internet was to give your email address to a mailing list owner and he would send you emails containing news. I didn’t like this way of doing things as you needed to disclosed an email address to a third party whom you needed to trust not to shared it with spammers.

The old way was to go at every web sites in your bookmarks to read the latest news. This was very time consuming as each site have its own layout, responsiveness and you end up scrolling over articles you didn’t want to read. Also, it wasn’t an easy task remembering where you left off the last time.

Here comes RSS. You might have noticed this icon RSS Feed on websites lately. This is the official icon for RSS feeds. You simply need to find a good RSS reader, search for feed that interest you and add them to your reader. Feed are found as link on the very same website you browsed manually. You usually find them under the standard icon mentioned earlier. Using RSS has nice advantages:

  • No need to go to many web site anymore. You got all the news you want under the same roof: your RSS reader application or website
  • You can pick exactly where you left off with ease.
  • You control the way your news are displayed: one liner, small excerpt or full articles. No more disparate font styles and sizes. etc…
  • You can organize feeds in logical folder (ex: local, international, 0day…)
  • Portability over your other devices (smart phone, tablet…)
  • Some RSS reader have an Automatic translation feature
  • Some RSS reader have filtering capability
  • Easily bookmark, annotate and share interesting news

I use Google Reader and I know Mozilla Firefox has built-in RSS support. There’s a ton of reader out there I just don’t have time to look further.

Now, thanks to RSS, I’m able to look at 1200 news header per day in about 1 hour. No one could do that the old way in the same time frame.

Of course websites that don’t provide RSS feeds or are a closed paying service fall outside the reach of the RSS reader.

 

Update 2014/11/25

Google Reader is a thing of the past as Google retired it. for now, I recommend you use RSSOwl open source client or even better, host your own Google Reader like site with the help of the free TinyTinyRSS  web application.

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