Hot News with HotSheet

By Eric Foster-Johnson, ITworld |  Opinion

Like many Internet users, I try to keep up with the latest technical
news. Normally, this involves checking a number of news sites every
day, such as LinuxToday.com, and scanning the headlines. Each of the
sites I visit are chock full of ads and content, which means these
sites take time to load. If none of the articles on a site interests
me, then I've wasted time I don't have accessing something I don't want.

Downloading headlines from the sites and then scanning them locally can
cut down on the time it takes to scan the news. A new application
called HotSheet, which is a news industry term that refers to a list of
important breaking news, presents news headlines from major news sites
on your desktop. HotSheet presents a scrolled list of article headlines
in a simple GUI interface. Select a headline and HotSheet launches your
Web browser to view the article from the news site.

HotSheet uses an XML standard called Rich Site Summary (RSS) to parse
the headline summaries from many sites. The default user interface
includes sites such as BetaNews.com, PDABuzz.com, xmlhack.com, and
Freshmeat.net but many Web sites, including the ever important
Slashdot.org and LinuxToday.com, export summaries of their articles.
Automated tools such as HotSheet can then download these summaries and
present them to you.

Download HotSheet from http://www.johnmunsch.com/projects/HotSheet.
HotSheet is written in Java, so it runs on Linux, Windows, Mac OS, and
many other systems. In addition, HotSheet uses the still relatively new
Java WebStart technology. You just click on the launch link on the
HotSheet Web site and the application automatically downloads and
installs itself on your site. Each time you launch the application, it
checks the HotSheet Web site for updates and then only downloads a new
copy if needed.

If you have never run a Java WebStart program before, it provides a
neat way to distribute application updates, so long as you have
installed Java WebStart itself on your system.

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