If you are like me you find that trying to find information on the Microsoft web sites is... well..... somewhat frustrating, you might want to sign up for a recent service that the kind people at http://www.thundermain.com have set up.... a RSS feed for the Microsoft Download site that immediately alerts me to new downloads. Lately these new downloads have included lots of Security Whitepapers.
1. What is a RSS feed and how can you set it up?
According to http://backend.userland.com/rss, RSS is a Web content syndication format. Its name is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication.
RSS is dialect of XML. All RSS files must conform to the XML 1.0 specification, as published on the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) website.
Web sites that provide a RSS feed can be "subscribed to" using News Aggregators that will at a prescribed time go an "pull" the feeds into your news reader. Thus I don't have to go to web sites anymore to see if the content has changed, the notification comes to me inside my news aggregator.
2. What is a news aggregator?
A news aggregator is a program like FeedReader, AmphetaDesk, NewsGator that is either a standalone news aggregator or in the case of NewsGator, resides inside Outlook.
All of these programs allow you to "subscribe" to these RSS feeds and then at a predetermined time, grab these updated feeds.
You can search inside these Aggregators for these RSS feeds. Click on the subscribe button and voila! You don't have to go to that web site again looking for new content, the "RSS feed" gets pulled by your News Aggregator program and you get notified of the new content.
In my computer I've got the following feeds pulling into my Outlook NewsGator:
A RSS feed from Thundermain that monitors the Microsoft Download site: http://www.thundermain.com/rss [This one is my treasure find as it pushes to me all the "new" downloads that hit the MS site]
MSDN RSS feeds
I subscribe to the MSDN Just published and the Security feeds [note this is NOT the security bulletins on RSS just the MSDN Security content]
Mary Jo Foley Feed [the Microsoft-Watch RSS feed]
Handy for keeping up with Bill ;-)
Security topics from the Register
NewsisFree provides headlines from 5931 sources around the world....
But there are thousands of feeds that you can subscribe to... just do a search on Microsoft or Security....
You can also subscribe to "blogs". Blogs are "Web logs". According to http://www.salon.com/blogs/, "A blog, or weblog, is a personal Web site updated frequently with links, commentary and anything else you like.
New items go on top and older items flow down the page. Blogs can be political journals and/or personal diaries; they can focus on one narrow subject or range across a universe of topics. The blog form is unique to the Web -- and highly addictive"
Jiri Ludvik has begun a listing of Security Weblogs:
These blogs change and just like the news sites you can get their changed information pushed to your desktop. Information pushed to your desktop in one "aggregated" spot rather than a bunch of bookmarked web sites that you have to visit.
IMHO news and awareness are the first line of defense. I hope this explaination helped to highlight some additional tools to get information directly where it needs to be.