For a net citizen like me, who wants to keep track of many sites, but has limited time (or is just lazy), the next best thing to sliced bread are RSS feeds. You don’t have to visit every site every other day to see if there’s something new posted. A program on your computer (your browser or a specific one) or a website (Bloglines for example (try the beta)) does this for you and you just get the results.
Now, what do you do, if you are only interested in a few specific items that appear in a particular feed? Well, you could ignore the unimportant posts, mark them read unread or delete them. That’s what one usually does. But there has to be another way. Some sites, like this one, offer a variety of different feeds for every category and tag. It’s easy to pick the topics one is interested in. And for the others? Well, there’s Yahoo Pipes.
With pipes you can do a lot of things. For example you can filter a feed for different search terms. You could also combine several feeds into one. Or build both functions into a whole pipeline, that filters the feeds of many sites and combines the results into a single feed. And after you’re done with that you can just put that through a translator to get the informations in your language.
And those are just examples with feeds. You can also use it to actively filter sites like internet auctions for special items or price ranges. Or manage your whole social networking life via a single pipe. And thanks to a growing API trend on the web you’ll be able to do a lot more over time.
So anyone who is actively using the web should check Pipes out. It’s really helpful.