Looking for a good way to explain or understand RSS? This NewsMax article is one of the best real-world summaries I've seen lately. From the article:
"For an average Internet user who regularly visits about 50 Web sites, rather than have to go visit those 50 sites wouldn't it be cool if those sites could somehow visit you? And not only that, but if they could also tell you when they've changed?" said Greg Reinacker, head of NewsGator, which sells an add-on for Microsoft's Outlook e-mail client that offers one leading way to read feeds.
Anyone who builds a Web site can incorporate Web feeds. If it lives on the Web, it can be brought to your desktop - or to your wireless device, for that matter.
Human Rights Watch keeps activists current with feeds sorted by region. The U.S. Geological Survey's feeds let seismologists immediately know where the world is shaking.
The U.S. Product Safety Commission just began providing recall notices via RSS. General Motors offers feeds on topics including safety and automotive tech. And a growing number of companies use feeds to disseminate info internally.
Yahoo and Google recently embraced Web feeds, and Microsoft is expected to incorporate tools for managing them in its next-generation operating system, code-named Longhorn.
The article briefly touches on some of the various RSS turf wars (Winer vs. mark, etc). Overall, a good summary of where RSS is at, how it's being used now, and where it's going.