This is a post I’m creating for the sole purpose of having something I can point my friends, family members and associates to when they ask about any of the "new" web based technologies and services. Basically it’s an overview of things like blogs, RSS (real simple syndication), RSS readers, podcasts, wikis and some p2p (peer-to-peer) applications. I plan on updating this post regularly.
Definition: A weblog (usually shortened to blog, but occasionally spelled web log) is a web-based publication
consisting primarily of periodic articles (normally in reverse chronological order). Although most early weblogs were manually
updated, tools to automate the maintenance of such sites made them accessible to a much larger population, and the use of some
sort of browser-based software is now a typical aspect of "blogging". (source: wikipedia)
Definition: RSS is an abbreviation for:
Here’s a good article to read from Business 2.0. The author explains RSS this way:
RSS, or real simple syndication, is a way to subscribe to a website’s
regularly updated content without actually visiting that site. It
allows you to look at headlines and stories from as many blogs or news
sites as you like, all in one place. As simple as this sounds (indeed,
because of its simplicity), it is going to change the way you consume
information on the Web.
Robert Scoble, a famous blogger that works at Microsoft, provided a nice four step overview of the software you can use to subscribe to RSS feeds:
There are three basic types of RSS News Aggregators:
1) Server-based aggregators. Some, like Newsgator cross the lines
since Newsgator has a server-side service too. Other server-side
aggregators are Feeds.scripting.com, MyYahoo, Bloglines, and MyMSN.
2) Standalone client-side aggregators. RSS Bandit. FeedDemon. SharpReader. Radio UserLand. Among these, my favorites are RSS Bandit and FeedDemon (REX NOTE: FeedDemon has Nashville connections – use it).
You’ll need to download and install these. They don’t depend on any
other application being loaded, and are browser-independent too (for
the most part). On the Mac, NetNewsWire is the one most of my friends like. (REX NOTE: I use NetNewsWire.)
3) Built in the browser. OnFolio 2.0 adds onto IE or Firefox. Optimal Access adds onto IE. The Mozilla team offers Sage for Firefox users. Pluck adds onto any browser. My favorite here is OnFolio. Pluck is pretty good too.
4) Dependent on Outlook. NewsGator is my favorite here (it’s still the aggregator I use most), but there’s also IntraVnews.
Definition: Podcasting, a portmanteau of Apple’s "iPod" and "broadcasting", is a method of publishing files to the Internet, allowing users to subscribe to a feed and
receive new files automatically. It first became popular in late 2004, used largely for audio files.
Podcasting is distinct from other types of audio content delivery because of its subscription model, which uses the RSS 2.0 file format. This technique has enabled independent producers
to create self-published, syndicated "radio shows", and has given broadcast radio programs a new distribution channel.
Users subscribe to podcasts using "podcatching" software (also called "aggregator" software) which periodically checks for and
downloads new content. It can then sync the content to the user’s portable music player. Podcasting does not require an iPod or
iTunes; any digital audio player or computer with the appropriate software can play podcasts. The same technique can deliver
video files, and by 2005 some aggregators could play video as well as audio.
Here’s a list of Podcasting directories from Loosewire (added to this post 6/25/05):
Definition: A wiki (pronounced
[viːkiː]; see Pronunciation below) is a web application that allows users to add content, as on an Internet forum, but also allows anyone to edit the content. Wiki
also refers to the collaborative software used to
create such a website (see Wiki software).
Wiki (with an upper case ‘W’) and WikiWikiWeb are both used to refer specifically to the Portland Pattern Repository, the first wiki ever
created. A lower-case ‘w’ for ‘wiki’ is generally used by savvy wiki proponents. The name was based on the Hawaiian term wiki wiki, meaning "quick" or "informal." It is used
commonly in Hawaii as part of its rich "pidgin English"— the native language of the
The first wiki I’ve been a part of is for the ConvergeSouth conference planning.
Definition: A peer-to-peer (or P2P) computer network is a network that relies on
computing power at the edges (ends) of a connection rather than in the network itself. P2P networks are used for sharing content
like audio, video, data or anything in digital format. P2P network can also mean grid computing.
A pure peer-to-peer file transfer network does not have the notion of clients or servers, but only equal peer nodes that simultaneously function as both "clients" and "servers" to
the other nodes on the network. This model of network arrangement differs from the client-server model where communication is usually to and from a central server. A typical example for a non
peer-to-peer file transfer is an FTP server. One user uploads a file to the FTP server, then many others download it, with no need for the uploader and downloader to be
connected at the same time.
Some networks and channels, such as Napster, OpenNap, or IRC @find, use a
client-server structure for some tasks (e.g. searching) and a peer-to-peer structure for others. Networks such as Gnutella or Freenet, use a peer-to-peer
structure for all purposes and are sometimes referred to as true peer-to-peer networks, though Gnutella at least is greatly
facilitated by directory servers which inform peers of the network addresses of other peers.