Fast Forward's Help File

By Rob Pegoraro
Sunday, May 4, 2008

Q When I tried subscribing to a site's RSS feed, my browser asked me to choose "RSS 1.0," "RSS 2.0" and "Atom" versions. What makes them different?

AThese are all different ways for a Web site to publish updates of its content. Most sites will only use one of them, but some will provide two or three, leaving you to choose among them from a menu that will pop up when you click the RSS icon that pops up in your browser's toolbar.

Internet Explorer 7, Firefox, Safari and Opera all offer this feature. If your browser doesn't, it's past time to upgrade to one that does.

RSS, short for "Really Simple Syndication," is best known as a general term of these Web feeds, but it also refers to a specific feed format used by a Web site. As you might expect, RSS 1.0 is the older version and has been replaced almost entirely by 2.0. So if a site asks you to pick between the two, go with 2.0.

What about Atom? It's newer than both RSS 1.0 or 2.0, with formatting that can help Web authors but may be invisible to readers. It's also further along as an Internet standard, in terms of being approved by a group of developers and engineers called the Internet Engineering Task Force.

So if you must choose, go with the Atom feed.

What kind of antenna do I need for digital TV broadcasts?

Much of the time, the antenna you once used for analog reception should work. But if it doesn't -- forcing you to shop for a larger model -- or if you don't have one at all, the only feature you need is the ability to pick up signals on both the UHF and VHF bands.

You don't need to stress out over claims that certain antennas are made for digital or high-definition reception, since digital broadcasts use the same chunk of the airwaves as analog.

Rob Pegoraro attempts to untangle computing conundrums and errant electronics each week. Send questions to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 orrobp@washpost.com. Turn to Thursday's Business section or visit washingtonpost.com anytime for his Fast Forward column.


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