[Paleopsych] NYT: Q & A: Monitor Web Sites Without Visiting
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The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > Q & A: Monitor Web Sites
March 31, 2005
Q & A
Monitor Web Sites Without Visiting
By J.D. BIERSDORFER
Monitor Web Sites
Q. What does it mean when a Web site says it has an R.S.S. feed
A. Really Simple Syndication (R.S.S. for short, and sometimes called
Rich Site Summary) is a tool used by a Web site for condensing new
headlines and information from the site into a bite-size summary, also
known as a feed. You can use a program called a news aggregator or
news reader to display these R.S.S. summaries (which usually include a
headline, a short description of the article and a link to the full
article) on your screen for a quick bite of news.
Some sites also indicate their R.S.S. feeds with a small orange XML
button on the home page. XML stands for Extensible Markup Language; it
is the code typically used for R.S.S. feeds.
Inexpensive news reader programs for Windows include FeedDemon
(feeddemon.com/feeddemon) and NewsApp
(server.com/WebApps/NewsApp). Pluck, the free Web organizer
software at pluck.com, can also handle R.S.S. feeds. There are
several news readers for Mac OS X as well, including Net News Wire
(ranchero.com/netnewswire) and NewsMac (thinkmac.co.uk/newsmac).
Some news readers work as stand-alone programs, some work within a Web
browser and some services like My Yahoo can display R.S.S. feeds
right on a customized page. The Lockergnome site has a tutorial on
using R.S.S. programs at channels.lockergnome.com/rss/resources,
where there are links to dozens of news reader programs.
In the Pocket PC
Q. Is it possible to replace the rechargeable battery in a Pocket PC?
A. If your Pocket PC hand-held is not under warranty and you're stuck
with a failing battery, you can find replacement parts from a number
of companies on the Web. For example, you can buy batteries for many
Pocket PC devices at www.pdainternalbattery.com as well as at
pdasmart.com, which offers a mail-in repair service for some models
if you're squeamish about replacing the battery yourself.
Security Software For Frugal Users
Q. What security software does the average Windows user need to stay
safe on the Internet these days, without spending a lot of money?
A. Security threats run far and wide, so an antivirus program, a
firewall program and a good antispyware program have become essential
for protecting your PC. Because junk e-mail can also bring
identity-fraud scams and malicious attachments, a spam filter for your
e-mail program is also helpful.
You can buy individual programs to protect your computer from the
various Internet ills, but there are less expensive options. You can
buy a commercial software package with a variety of security programs
under one roof (and price tag), or use helpful shareware programs.
Microsoft has free tools as well.
Companies that offer an Internet security suite of antivirus,
firewall, antispam programs and other defenses include Trend Micro
(www.trendmicro.com), Symantec (symantec.com), Panda Software
(www.pandasoftware.com) and McAfee Security (mcafee.com).
These packages may cost $50 or more, but they are updated frequently
and provide technical support.
There are several free programs designed for protecting a PC, but
these may not be as full-featured as a commercial product. Among the
free antivirus programs are AntiVir Personal Edition
(www.free-av.com), AVG Free Edition
(free.grisoft.com/freeweb.php/doc/2) and eTrust EZ Armor
(www.my-etrust.com/microsoft; free for one year). Zone Alarm makes
a free firewall at zonelabs.com, and Windows XP comes with its own
As for spyware stoppers, Ad-Aware Personal Edition
(www.lavasoft.de) and Spybot Search & Destroy
(safer-networking.org/en/download) are among the freeware programs
available. Commercial products like Webroot Spy Sweeper
(www.webroot.com) are available as well. Microsoft is working on
its own antispyware software; you can download a free test copy at
Questions about computer-based technology may be sent to
QandA at nytimes.com. This weekly column will address questions of
general interest, but e-mail and letters cannot be answered
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