Your favorite college newspaper is about to get a lot better.
No, not The State Hornet.
The Orion Online is becoming even more convenient for your online lifestyle.
There is a total redesign that’s beginning to find its legs. We’re going to pull an Apple Computer on you though and just say it’s going to be good once it’s ready and not give away too much.
However, it is time to let loose one of our little surprises: the magic of Really Simple Syndication.
What the hell is that, you ask? Allow me to answer.
RSS is going to help you, the reader, find out more about Chico State.
But first you need an RSS aggregator. This program acts like a butterfly net for the news that brings the headlines to your computer, instead of you having to search for them.
While there are many aggregators on the Internet, I’m going to pull out two easy-to-use options to bring you The Orion Online, CNN and even the New York Times.
The first covers a large chunk of Mac users. When Apple introduced its new OS 10.4 operating system a few months ago, it also introduced a new version of its browser, Safari 2.0.
In this new version, you simply need to look at the address bar for a blue RSS button. Click on that button, title it, put it in the bookmark bar and now you have The Orion Online’s latest headlines with a little number next to it. That’s how many new stories have been put up.
Mac OS 10.4 can be picked up at the A.S. Bookstore for $69. If you’re not sure what version you have, go to the apple menu and choose “About This Mac.”
But what if $69 seems pricey, or you run a Windows machine?
iPodderX (www.ipodderx.com) has a basic version that costs nothing and can run on both Mac and PC. If you want the full version, it’ll knock $30 out of the beer fund.
This program isn’t as ridiculously simple as Safari, but it’s close. Simply click on the “New Subscription Feed” button and paste this address:
If neither of these aggregators fit your needs, go to www.versiontracker.com and search for “RSS.”
While this may seem like a useless frill to appease techies, this is actually a glance into the future of getting the news.
Print editions of newspapers are quickly being cloned and their Internet twins are helping to bring new news to people. The race for information is being led by 24-hour-news networks like the FOX News Channel and CNN, with newspapers trying to make up ground.
One strategy that many newspapers, including The Orion, have tried is e-mail updates. While the information is sent to the readers in a somewhat timely manner, the reader still has to log in to their e-mail, open the message and read it.
By then, they’ve probably heard it from Yahoo!, one of the many news networks, or even from one of their friends. This doesn’t even consider that urgent e-mail possibly landing in the junk mail box.
Now RSS gives a simpler option for people to get their news.
It’s just a matter of popping open the aggregator and clicking on the headlines that look interesting. Maybe you’ll be the first to get the facts straight from The Orion instead of being the last to know.
Two other reasons why RSS will be your best friend with The Orion are its speed and accuracy. There are many different publications with different levels of credibility and intelligibility all competing to bring the news to the readers.
The Orion strives to get it fast and accurate.
I don’t recall seeing any crime scene photos from the Chico Enterprise Record or the Chico News & Review after the shooting death of Chad Keichler.
As a matter of fact, the Enterprise Record had nothing, in terms of a story, until Tuesday–a full 16 hours after The Orion’s first story. The News & Review had nothing until their Thursday print edition.
Our new feed will keep our readers from being the last to know.