In the beginning, the Internet was an informational Garden of Eden. There were no bannerads, pop-ups, flashy animations, or spam messages. Back then, people thought the Internet was the greatest idea ever.
Those days, unfortunately, are long gone. Web browsing now entails a constant battle against intrusive advertising and annoying animations. And with the proliferation of Web sites of every kind—from news sites to personal weblogs (blogs)—just reading your favorite sites can become a full-time job.
Enter RSS, a technology that lets you subscribe to feeds—summary blurbs provided by thousands of sources around the world, from Reuters to Apple to your nerdy nextdoor neighbor. You use a program like Safari to "subscribe" to updates from such feeds, and then read any new articles or postings at your leisure.
The result: You spare yourself the tedium of checking for updates manually, plus you get to read short summaries of new articles without ads and blinking animations. And if you want to read a full article, you can click its link in the RSS feed to jump straight to the main Web site.
Figure 20-9. The Length slider controls how much text appears for each RSS blurb; if you drag it all the way to the left, you're left with nothing but headlines. To change the number and order of the articles being displayed, use the search options on the right. And if you feel a sudden ...