How to Keep Up

It has come to our attention that many of you aren’t keeping up with Heathen, or perhaps other sites you wish you had time to read. We admit, it’s a daunting task. However, the Web has answered at least part of this problem with the idea of feeds.

Most blogs today have a feed you can access with a special program called a feed reader (or news reader). You give these programs your list of feed addresses, and they obligingly go out, check for new material, download it, and present it for your review in a neat interface. Obviously, this is way more efficient than manually visiting each site, or even than having a folder of links to be opened as tabs simultaneously. You just leave it running in the background, and it shows YOU when, for example, BoingBoing has new material. Most of them also cache the info, so it can be read when you’re offline.

We here at Heathen use a program called NetNewsWire, which is really the go-to feed application for the Mac. It’s not free, but it is very strong and quite worth the modest cost. There are, of course, alternatives, including both Thunderbird (Firefox’s mail-reading sibling) and Apple’s Safari, but neither have the capabilities or flexibility of NNW.

On a PC, you of course continue to have the option of Thunderbird, but you can’t have NNW. However, the firm that owns NewNewsWire also makes a Windows app called FeedDemon that we suspect is also cool (though we’ve never used it). It’s also not free, but it is cheap. We’re sure there are free and open-source options as well, but have no idea what they may be.


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