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Letter from Ed: From “Tweet Tweet!” to RSS
Unlike Twitter, RSS makes sense because it saves time and effort. RSS delivers content directly to a reader’s desktop using a general Web browser or small program called a news aggregator.

By Ed Brindley
Date Posted: 6/1/2009

            Tweet, tweet; where are you now? The communication changes during my life are amazing. When I was a child, telephones meant party lines. People wished for private lines, and most, wanting more privacy, would not have even considered carrying on a steady interchange with a network of friends about minor changes in their daily schedules.

            I remember the days before computers. I actually took an industrial arts class where we learned to use a slide rule. A slide who? Well, so much for technology. In 1965, I saw a first generation cathode ray tube computer that was actually used by the Memphis Board of Education; over 20,000 hot vacuum tubes could not do what a handheld calculator can do today.

            But today we have computers – very fast ones. And we have the Internet, which seems to expand its significance and outreach exponentially.

            Just a few years ago, Chaille told me about his Internet blog. Blog? I didn’t have a clue; I thought it was some kind of high tech foul word. Now I understand that a blog is basically a diary on the Internet. It is actually a good idea, which seems to me to be unique this day in age.

            While I have never done it, today text messaging is a common practice. It seems like just a couple of years since I heard it was often being used for cheating on tests. Now a growing number of people, particularly young people, are texting addicts, texting messages to their friends. It has become an out of control situation for many.

            But now? Now we have Twitter. Interest in the micro-blogging network, Twitter, has surged in the last six months. Millions of users broadcast short-message tweets, messages that have a maximum of 140 characters. This shorthand concept of limited messages was designed with the idea of people keeping in touch with friends. They form a network that shares brief notes concerning where they are and what they are doing. It almost seems we have come full circle from the party line days. Instead of desiring the privacy of a private phone line, people want to use the speed and versatility of the Internet to share snibbets of their life with a network of friends. Can you believe it?

            I mention these emerging communication tools here to illustrate how fast things are changing and how extreme they have often become. We do not know what the future holds, but we are sure that changes are coming faster and faster. And most of us are sure that we feel a little lost when it comes to trying to keep up with technology. Fortunately, we can continue to live a full life without participating in many innovations.

            Our staff finds itself in the challenging position of keeping up with enough of the changes so we can determine which ones might benefit our readers. We are in the communication business. We are not just a magazine publisher but an information provider. My staff is working to develop the electronic products that will assist you as best we can. A year ago we introduced digital editions of our magazines, the Pallet Enterprise and TimberLine. We are likely to offer digital versions of our market reports before too long because many readers have requested them.

            If you want to be added to our e-mail service to be alerted when a new digital edition of the Enterprise is available, call us at 800/804-0263 and give us your e-mail address.

            Another Internet electronic tool you may wish to use is Real Simple Syndication (RSS). Both the Pallet Enterprise and TimberLine are available via RSS for your convenience. What is RSS? RSS makes content from the Web come to you instead of you having to visit multiple sites to get it. With millions of sites on the Web, it can be hard to keep up with your favorite sites.

            Unlike Twitter, which we still aren’t sure how useful it would be for our audience, RSS makes sense because it saves time and effort. RSS delivers content directly to a reader’s desktop using a general Web browser or small program called a news aggregator. It could be a great time saver for you by reducing the amount of time you spend checking for updates from your favorite sites. Think of RSS as a well-organized, personalized inbox for the Web.

            Most major news or information sites publish RSS feeds that you can subscribe to for free. Look for the little RSS icon  to identify sites with this feature. You can find

out more by visiting our RSS page at http://www.palletenterprise.com/RSS_info.asp

            Our free RSS service is just another way that we are making it easy for you to access our content. The only downside to our RSS feed is that it does not offer pictures or images. If you want the most complete online experience to encounter our publication, we encourage you to read our digital edition. The latest issue can be found by visiting www.palletenterprise.com/digitaledition

            Remember. We have to keep up with technology changes. “Tweet, tweet.”

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