Afterword

ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Using RSS (K2 #33)

Question of the Week
What is RSS? How do I use it?
-- Karma in Adelaide
Answer
Dear Karma,

With more and more newspapers in Bhutan having websites, this is a timely question. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It is a format that is used by websites that frequently publish new articles, such as news sites and blogs, to announce their new content. It solves the following problem: Let's say you would like to stay up to date on Bhutanese news. You could do that by visiting each and every news website such as www.bbs.bt, kuenselonline.com, www.bhutanobserver.bt, and so on. If you are on the lookout for fresh news, you might be visiting these websites very often to see if new articles have been posted. A much faster and simpler alternative is to use RSS feeds, which allow you to find all the latest information in one place. Instead of repeatedly visiting each of these sites to check whether new articles were published, an RSS reader will automatically aggregate all the new content using the RSS feeds provided by those websites into one place.

To use RSS, you will first need an RSS reader, and then subscribe to the RSS feeds of your favourite websites. I recommend using Google Reader. It is a free, web-based service, so you don't need to install any new software and you can view it from any computer connected to the Internet. All you need is a free Google account. Log into Google Reader at reader.google.com

Once you are logged into reader.google.com, the next step is subscribing to your favourite RSS feeds. You will need to do that only once. Click on the big red SUBSCRIBE button at the top-left corner, then enter the address of the website you are interested in. Google Reader will try to discover the feed automatically. For example, to follow the news from BBS, click on the SUBSCRIBE button, then enter www.bbs.bt, and the feed will be automatically added to the reader. Sometimes the feed cannot be found automatically, and you will have to find the feed address yourself. Go to your website of interest and look for the orange RSS logo on the website's home page, or for the words Subscribe, Atom, Feed, RSS, or RDF. Then copy the address of the feed and paste it instead of the website address.

Once your feeds are added, Google Reader will constantly fetch new content from all your subscribed feeds. Any new article that is published will appear on Google Reader, similar to an inbox. You can add as many feeds as you like and arrange them into folders.

Almost all the websites of English-language newspapers in Bhutan provide an RSS feed, including Kuensel, BBS, Bhutan Today, The Journalist, Bhutan Observer, The Bhutanese, Business Bhutan, and Bhutan Youth. The only exception is Bhutan Times' website (www.bhutantimes.bt) - if that’s one of your favourites, you'll have to keep visiting their website.

Readers are encouraged to submit technology-related questions to boaz@thimphutech.com