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Update: I've got the remote XML feed working but it's static at this point.
I'd really appreciate any ideas, links, tutes, code, whatever, that will help me figure out how to set an interval to check for a data change/update with the XML source if the AIR app remains open on the desktop.
You can use the Timer & TimerEvent for doing things at an interval.
To load something that's been modified, take a look at adding a header to the URLRequest with URLRequestHeaders. Try the "If-Modified-Since" header.
http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616-sec14.html (14.25 If-Modified-Since)
I hope this helps!
Thanks so much for the ideas and links! I'll look it over this weekend and see if it is the solution. I'll post results when known.