What is RSS? The acronym stands for Rich Site Summary, but it's often called Real Simple Syndication. The XML-based format delivers headline feeds to readers, providing an easy way to keep up to date on news of all sorts, either via web browsers or apps for desktops and devices. Sign up for Sky & Telescope's RSS feeds and each SkyandTelescope.com entry will show up as an individual news feed item, and you can select the items to read the full entries on the Web.
To access RSS feeds, you'll first want a news reader or aggregator such as MyYahoo! The next step is to add feeds - simply add "/rss" to any site category. For example, to keep up on the latest news, subscribe to http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/rss. Or for observing-related tips, subscribe to http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/rss.
Of the many tools that are available, here are some of SkyandTelescope.com’s favorites:
Web-based News Readers
These are some of the top Web-based news readers that we are aware of:
Feedly is the quintessential news aggregator app that works on most web browsers, as well as iOS and Android devices.
AmphetaDesk is a hybrid news aggregator. While there's a small application you run on your desktop (works with PCs and Macs), feeds are actually read on a customized Web page. AmphetaDesk's easy "Add a Channel" feature makes it one of the more flexible Web news readers.
NewsIsFree collects headlines from almost 7,000 sources and allows users to browse and organize feeds online.
Syndic8 is a a clearing house for RSS feeds, as well as for efforts to get sites to use RSS.
MyYahoo - a customizable webpage that can include weather, stock quotes, and the like, as well as RSS feeds from any site.
Apps and Plug-Ins
Below are a few of the top news reader applications that we are aware of:
FeedDemon pledges to "make RSS as easy to access as your e-mail." The reader is free and runs on Windows computers.
Feedly is one of the most popular RSS readers in 2013, with synchronized browser and mobile versions available.
NetNewsWire was designed for use in Mac OS X. Similar in layout to Apple Mail or Microsoft Outlook, the application is an easy-to-use news reader that's extremely flexible.
NewzCrawler lists a directory of RSS feeds, and bills itself as an aggregator, reader, browser, and blog client. Compatible with most PCs, the $24.95 program features a Microsoft Outlook-like user interface and allows users to access feeds in various formats, including a news ticker.