RSS Rocks

By Lance Ulanoff  |  Posted 2004-03-10 Print this article Print

Finally a push technology gets the job done without being pushy.

Im hooked on Really Simple Syndication (RSS), but it hasnt always been this way. Over the last year or so, while we slowly built a list of RSS feeds for the Web site, I continually scratched my head and wondered, "Whats the point?" RSS technology is a result of the growth of XML and its ease of use. It allows Webmasters to produce XML news feeds for their sites easily. Those who run reader software can subscribe to and read the feeds. I understood how RSS worked. What I didnt get was who would see the feeds, why they would read them, and what they would do with the links.
I was having a hard time separating my feeling about RSS from the bad memories I still have from the Webs first dance with push technology, PointCast. Depending on whom you asked, PointCast was an Internet-based environment that was designed either to augment or supplant the Web. I still dont know which is correct (Microsoft didnt either, so it added channels to Internet Explorer to end the confusion). Using PointCast, companies like CNN and Disney would deliver multimedia-rich stories (and PointCast would deliver equally fat ads) via dial-up connection to heavy and slow interfaces. Theres no gentle way to say this: The entire system sucked wind. It was incredibly slow, rigid, and could bring any computer to a virtual halt. Thank goodness it failed.
So I had to wonder how RSS would be different. Coworkers usually answered my snide comments with, "Download a reader and try it out. Its easy." "Right," I grumbled. "Everything online is easy. Come on, guys, I work in this industry. Nothing is ever easy or works consistently for any length of time." My reasoning seemed perfect—except for one small thing. RSS, it turns out, is the exception. Click here for the complete story...
Lance Ulanoff is Editor in Chief and VP of Content for PC Magazine Network, and brings with him over 20 years journalism experience, the last 16 of which he has spent in the computer technology publishing industry.

He began his career as a weekly newspaper reporter before joining a national trade publication, traveling the country covering product distribution and data processing issues. In 1991 he joined PC Magazine where he spent five years writing and managing feature stories and reviews, covering a wide range of topics, including books and diverse technologies such as graphics hardware and software, office applications, operating systems and, tech news. He left as a senior associate editor in 1996 to enter the online arena as online editor at HomePC magazine, a popular consumer computing publication. While there, Ulanoff launched, and and wrote about Web sites and Web-site building.

In 1998 he joined Windows Magazine as the senior editor for online, spearheading the popular magazine's Web site, which drew some 6 million page views per month. He also wrote numerous product reviews and features covering all aspects of the computing world. During his tenure, won the Computer Press Association's prestigious runner-up prize for Best Overall Website.

In August 1999, Ulanoff briefly left publishing to join as producer for the Computing and Consumer Electronics channels and then was promoted to the site's senior director for content. He returned to PC Magazine in November 2000 and relaunched in July 2001. The new was named runner-up for Best Web Sites at the American Business Media's Annual Neal Awards in March 2002 and won a Best Web Site Award from the ASBPE in 2004. Under his direction, regularly generated more than 25 million page views a month and reached nearly 5 million monthly unique visitors in 2005.

For the last year and a half, Ulanoff has served as Editor, Reviews, PC Magazine. In that role he has overseen all product and review coverage for PC Magazine and, as well as managed PC Labs. He also writes a popular weekly technology column for and his column also appears in PC Magazine.

Recognized as an expert in the technology arena, Lance makes frequent appearances on local, national and international news programs including New York's Eyewitness News, NewsChannel 4, CNN, CNN HN, CNBC, MSNBC, Good Morning America Weekend Edition, and BBC, as well as being a regular guest on FoxNews' Studio B with Shepard Smith. He has also offered commentary on National Public Radio and been interviewed by radio stations around the country. Lance has been an invited guest speaker at numerous technology conferences including Digital Life, RoboBusiness, RoboNexus, Business Foresight and Digital Media Wire's Games and Mobile Forum.

Lance also serves as co-host of PC Magazine's weekly podcast, PCMag Radio.


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