RSS, Podcasts and Thunderbird

Ok, I’m a newbie to email clients again. One thing I always heard about but never was bothered to learn about RSS feeds. They never really made sense to me when the specification now came out, mostly because I had no need of them and with all that was on my plate at work at the time, I never had the luxury of time to dedicate to studying the technology behind Really Simple Sydnication. That is, of course, until I started using them to load up Slashdot headlines in my Firefox bookmarks toolbar folder so I wouldnt have to keep visiting the homepage every time I wanted to see if there was a new article up. I realised alot of sites I’m used to visiting on a daily basis have such feeds, so now my Firefox bookmarks toolbar loads feeds for Slashdot, Digg, Newsforge and Ars Technica and more recently my own blog. That satellite icon on the bottom right of my Firefox indicating an RSS enabled site is so powerful for such a small button it amazes me how many people don’t know about it still, and I thought I was late finding out about that feature of Firefox.
RSS feeds have also become useful for Podcast listeners, and as a newbie to this technology as well I am finding RSS feeds very useful for keeping track of when new TWIT or Caribbean Free Radio feeds come out.
The first time I used Thunderbird was a very early release back in 2003 when the Mozilla project split its integrated suite so that a group could focus on developing the browser component, now known as Firefox. The email component of Thunderbird started as a separate effort to have a standalone email client just after I believe (but I could be wrong about the timeline). Still, I’m amazed at how mature they’ve both come since those days, especially Thunderbird which I haven’t used since that time in 2003.
I chose Thunderbird over Evolution for POP email because firstly I was curious to see it evolve and secondly I no longer have need to access an Exchange server at home.
Since I’m restricted to my brother’s PC until I get my network up and can access the net from home via my Linux laptop and he runs Windows XP I figured it would be easier to port downloaded email from one Thunderbird to the next since Evolution has no Windows version and also, exporting from Outlook Express sometimes strips away very valuable file attachments from email bodies.
One immediately COOL feature of Thunderbird I’ve realised from just 10 minutes of using it is that I no longer need iPodder to pull my Podcasts. Thunderbird has the option to do it for me since and store it inside a neatly labelled “News and Blogs” folder separate from my POP3 mail folder since it can recognise RSS Feeds and make them useful inside an email client in a similar manner to how RSS feeds are made useful inside the Firefox browser’s bookmark toolbar.
The benefit for me? One less program to be running while on the net and information at my fingertips more quickly than before. RSS feeds are just darned cool!

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