3/25/2006

One Strike for Google

So, you know I loves me some Google.

But I've been frustrated with Google Reader lately. Several times in the past few days, it's given me errors, or not come up at all. And it makes doing simple things, like marking all articles as "read", quite difficult. The AJAX is really spiffy, but spiffy don't pay the bills. It just takes up too much of my time, having to press a key for every single feed, and their tagging process isn't as transparent as I want.

(In GOOG's defense, they did say that the underlying feed data is the important part, and that Google Reader is just an example of an application that can consume that data. So.)

So I'm switching. This is easy, because nowadays, most services and programs let you both import and export your list of feeds in an XML file. I will not use any service that doesn't offer this ability, in fact.

So what to use? There's a lot of choices out there.

I used to use NewsGator, but I don't use Outlook anymore, so that's out. I tried out Thunderbird's RSS capabilities for a couple days; seems to work well, but a) I'm stuck doing it on one computer, b) some of my feeds don't work on there (for example, this one), and c) it hasn't solved (or really, dealt with) the problem of updates to feeds (so, edited items in feeds will often show up as new, sometimes multiple times). Of those objections, (a) is the only real killer. Thunderbird is rad for using as an IMAP client, because I can share one account across multiple machines. Can't do that in RSS without doing something complicated like writing a program to copy all the feeds that thunderbird pulls in onto my email server. No thanks.

So now I'm trying out another webtop service, Bloglines. Easy to import your feeds? Check. Easy to move feeds around into folders? Check again. Seems to update very quickly, and there's a little notifier program that checks the server for new feeds and plays a sound. The coolest feature I've seen is that they'll give you a special email address that you can use to subscribe to a mailing list; then, that mailing list shows up as a feed in Bloglines (so, no more crappy band emails coming to your inbox 24 hours a day).

I've got about 100 feeds right now, and I'll probably scoop up a few more now that I'm getting settled with a feed reader I like.

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