Thursday, March 26, 2009

RSS, The Acronym . . . to Search

I originally wrote this entry on August 30, 2004, and published it on

Acronyms often have multiple uses, and I have been wanting to write something about the multitude of things for which "RSS" stands.

I first ran into "RSS" as "Received Signal Strength." It is still used in that sense. For example, in Anthony J. Weiss' "On the Accuracy of a Cellular Location System Based on RSS Measurements" published in Vehicular Technology, IEEE Transactions on , Volume: 52 , Issue: 6 , Nov. 2003.

Then there is "RSS" standing for "Radar Support System." For example, see B. O'Hern, et al.'s " The Radar Support System (RSS): a tool for siting radars and predicting their performance" published in Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE , Volume: 12 , Issue: 12 , Dec. 1997.

There's also "RSS" as in "Resource Sharing System." I won't bother with an IEEE citation. I think by now you trust it can be found.

Last but not least is "RSS" as in Really Simple Syndication, possibly the most favorite use of the acronym for those of us who spend a good deal of our lives on the web.

Acronymfinder gives IBM as the user of RSS as an acronym for "Retail Store Solutions." How Acronymfinder got that fact into its index remains a puzzle. Perhaps, they used the same investigative techniques that they employed to associate "Remote Surveillance System" with Tom Clancy. Frankly, I've read absolutely nothing from Clancy. But why was I not surprised to learn he gets a kick out of generating acronyms? Perhaps, they make his novels more "real," at least for some people who must matter. I do know some people who live through his novels, and can testify that they do love acroynms but my sample size is quite small.

I just wrote this weblog because I don't think everyone out there really uses RSS in the same way as the blogging community does. It's important to know about such differences and variations.

I'm sure there are a number of other things "RSS" stands for.

Now, here comes the catch--a question about search.

If I've heard RSS used in one of these senses and do a search on Google, how do I get what I want? Try it yourselves. For example, try to see if you can find any mention of RSS as received signal strength in a context associated with AT&T Wireless.

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