Remember “push” technology? It was all the rage back in 1997 when Pointcast launched its software that turned a PC screensaver into a headline ticker for all sorts of real-time information. The problem was, users quickly tired of the constant onslaught and network administrators complained the massive data downloads overwhelmed their systems. By 1999, the whole thing had been largely forgotten, until the recent surge in blogging (Web logging) resurrected the concept. Using RSS (really simple syndication) software, any Internet user can automatically receive the latest updates from thousands of Web sites, and this time the “feeds” are so bandwidth-efficient, network managers aren’t even likely to take notice. The technology caters to ruminators who churn out a running commentary on their favorite topics, but many news organizations—including CNN, the New York Times and the BBC—have also quietly added RSS feeds that provide constant updates to their subscribers. To read RSS feeds, you need a program called an aggregator. There are a number to choose from, many of them free, but one adaptable that works with Windows, Macintosh and Linux can be found at

(Boston Globe 5 Jan 2004)