September 6, 2005

I am in RSS hell

Every so often, I come to a point in my life where I hate all my software. This is one of those times. It seems like all my apps are conspiring against me to make my life a fractured inefficient hell. While some love their web apps, I tend to love/hate mine. While the apps are useful, I hate having my data spread out all over the place. I work on two computers regularly (work and home), and you’d think that moving to web-based apps would help with my synchronization. And it does, for the most part. I use, Backpack, Basecamp, FeedBurner, gmail, and Flickr, and while I can access all this stuff from wherever I am computer-wise, it still makes me feel disjointed and slightly schizophrenic. And I need to have about 80 tabs open in my browser at all times. And my two machines are on different operating systems, so my version of Saft won’t work at home, but I digress. What brings all these fractured apps together for me, is my use of RSS to keep track of it all. Which leads me to the point of this post: I currently hate every RSS reader in production. I own NetNewsWire and NewsFire. While they are both great products, I really would like something web based. I am trying to simplify my life these days, and it seems like I shouldn’t need to have another app open just to read my feeds, when I already have a browser open. I should just be able to read my feeds from there. I always click through to a browser to read articles, and the switching back and forth between the reader and the browser is driving me nuts. Plus synchronization across my machines is a chore. NNW can synchronize, but the method is clunky and annoying. NF, while I love the simple interface, can’t synchronize at all. I have tried Bloglines: too frickin’ ugly. This is shallow, I know, but I can’t stand looking at it. I have tried Rojo: this to me is the epitome of an app that was designed by men for men. That part is stupid, and I take it back, see comments. While the interface isn’t ugly, per se, it does nothing for me. Also, it is too slow, in several ways. It takes forever to refresh the display when you click on a certain feed, and articles show up hours after they have been published. This would be OK if I used my feeds only to read blogs, but as I said above, I use them to keep track of all my data. When my student assistant completes a project I set up for him and clicks Done” in Backpack or Basecamp, I need to know right away. I have tried Kinja: it has the same problem as Rojo with feed being updated too slowly, and seemingly pretty randomly. This is a shame, because Kinja currently has the interface I like the best. Simple and to the point. I was in love with Feedness for all of Saturday, until I figured out that it is the slowest of them all in updating feeds, and it can’t understand the feeds from Backpack. I was all ready to write a post about how all those years of Spanish came in handy after all. Rats. So, what to do? Currently, I am leaning toward NewsFire because it understands all my feeds, updates them reliably, and doesn’t have a lot of features I don’t need. The synchronization is an issue, though. I really would like something web based. So what aggregator do you use? Have I missed any worthy web-based readers? I’m really hoping one of you can point me to a gem I’ve been missing…

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