If you’ve got a ton of blogs and news sites you like to monitor for new content and you’d like a better way than visiting them all (maybe there are too many of them, or maybe they don’t update as frequently as you’d like), check out Amphetadesk.
Amphetadesk is an open-source news aggregator. It runs on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, among others, and it already knows how to talk to thousands of sites. Add a site to Amphetadesk’s list, and it’ll check every so often (the default is every three hours–you can set it to every hour if some of the sites you monitor update a lot) and display headlines your Web browser.
If Amphetadesk doesn’t know about a site you want to monitor, don’t fret. Most sites that offer an RDF or RSS newsfeed aren’t shy about talking about it. If the site doesn’t have an orange XML icon on its navigation bar (a usual tell-tale sign), search the site, either with Google or with its own internal search engine, for the words RDF, RSS, and newsfeed. Then plug the URL you find (mine is at https://dfarq.homeip.net/b2rss.xml if you want a quick example) into Amphetadesk and you’re set.
It’s an unobtrusive, simple program. In Windows, installation is dirt simple: Unzip it and run it. No installation. No Registry mess. No files in weird places. If you decide you don’t like it, delete it. If you decide it’s great and want to share it with friends, Zip up the directory and hand the file over. (Friends can always download it themselves, but didn’t you always want this option?) Very nice. I assume the procedure is the same or very similar for any other OS.
Give it a whirl for yourself. I’m pretty sure you’ll like it.