My Summer Discovery

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 at 3:47 PM | Filed under ,

A computer program I came across this summer has completely changed the way I use the Internet. It's Microsoft's Windows Live Mail, and it's currently in the beta phase. Even so, it seems to work remarkably well. Windows Live Mail is an e-mail client, and it's very clean looking; there are no ugly ads or anything. There is one specific feature, however, that has revolutionized how I view content on the Internet: web feed aggregation.

I'm a fan of many websites on the Internet, but it was always tedious to have to click on each of the items in my Links folder to check if the authors of those sites had updated with any new content. Web feeds fix this problem. Basically, they deliver new content to you whenever it's available, as long as you have an aggregator--a program that gathers web feeds together. Windows Live Mail is an aggregator, and a good one at that. Internet Explorer 7 also has a built-in aggregator, but I think it's rather limited.

The thing I like best about Windows Live Mail's is that it has an option to show you only your unread feeds, and it lists them kinda like e-mails. You can open a feed, read it, and then read through the rest of your unread feeds. It's nice to not have to dig through a big mixture of read and unread articles. Another thing I really really like is that you can choose to have Windows Live Mail display the article directly as a webpage (instead of a summary and a link to the article), and it does this right within the program. Right now, it won't display JavaScript or Flash; that's something I hope Microsoft makes available for the release version.

Be sure to check out this blog's feed if you're interested in web feeds.

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