There are several Web sites (Slashdot, for instance) that I visit regularly or semi-regularly to check for the latest news; there are also several more (like, say, the EFF) that post regular updates and that I'd like to visit regularly, or that would like to have me visit regularly, but which I don't visit regularly because it's just too much work to keep track of all of them, and too disappointing when I remember to check and find nothing new. I even run a Web site of my own which I'd like to have people check regularly - but since I don't spend time making the rounds of my friends' similar sites, I can't expect them to visit mine. Rippy the Aggregator aims to solve all these problems.
There is a standard called RSS, for Web sites to publish their updates in a machine-readable format. An appropriate client can quickly visit all the Web sites you're interested in, download their updates, and present you with a customized list of all the newest items. Most "blogging", "portal", and "content management" software already generates RSS files (although its operators may be unaware of that!), and there are services like Syndic8 that compile lists of RSS "feeds". So it only remains to get an appropriate client.
The name "Rippy the Aggregator" refers to an Arrogant Worms song about a cute, cuddly little alligator who goes "chomp, chomp, chomp," down in the bottom of the swamp, swamp, swamp. Abram Hindle has suggested that Rippy the Aggregator should go "grep, grep, grep," down in the bottom of the net, net, net. Anyone wanna write the rest of the song?
You can see an example of Rippy in action by looking at my own installation.
Feeds I provide have been moved to the new Skippy page.