Having stumbled into the world of RSS Readers, I did a brief survey of the available options at blogspace and at dmoz. They require varying amounts of technical knowledge. Some of them are truly multi-platform, and the majority that run on Windows require the .NET platform [~20Mb?] to be downloaded to your hard drive.

Feedreader is the simplest, most flexible Windows-compatible option I could find - at the "no cost" option. It has a three window display and is written in Pascal. It is already available in a large number of languages and up to Release 2.5, but is still in (a VERY conservatively defined) Alpha. It comes with a series of sample feeds from moreover. These give you a taste of how RSS Readers work - before you go out scouring for other sources. (Try the Windows 2000 feed.)

RSS feeds parse the xml content of certain pages and effectively give you updated headlines. The BBC has published its own series of pages. There are a large number of technical sites that provide their own feeds. Most "hard" news sites - New York Times, CNN, etc - are linked into some form of subscriber option; presently "free for personal use". Blogs are somewhat split between free access and some form of subscriber option.

The world of RSS, taking into account the availability of blogs, could be described as being somewhat of a cross between Newsgroups and old-fashioned "push" content. The readers themselves either have their own (usually IE) browser engine or integrate with your default browser.

If you are looking for "no cost" feeds, syndic8 is probably the best bet. The server/bandwidth, however, is relatively small so there are times when access grinds to a halt.

There are, as I have indicated, a large number of options - both in readers and in feeds - that are either presently or appear that they will soon be in subscriber mode - including at least one that integrates into the Outlook shell. Loungers may wish to consider these at their leisure.