Filed under: a group of folks,blogging,neat! @ 13:09

I’ve been interested in a while in some sort of centralized feed reader. Currently, I use NetNewsWire on my laptop (a fantastic program), and Thunderbird at the office to keep track of all the sites I read. The problem is that the one reader I use doesn’t know anything about the other; I get fed the same articles in both.

Via Dixie, I’ve heard of Thunderbird-centric solutions to this dilemma, but that runs into my second major feed problem. As a feed reader, Thunderbird is crap. It just doesn’t have all the bits I need (read “want”) and the interface is pretty kludgy. Plus, Dixie’s solution requires, as I recall, a physical object for the negotiation. That doesn’t solve the problem, it just transfers it from one object (me) to another (a usb drive). It still would not be centralized (in the sense I’m after) and, worse, it would be subject to my forgetfulness (How many times have I left my iPod in your posession, Dixie? You can imagine the pen drive would escape my notice with far greater frequency.)

So that’s out. My first idea was to set up some sort of feed server. It would grab all the feeds, and then I could subscribe to those central feeds both from home and from work. It’d need to have some sort of POP-like ‘delete item from server’ (server side) option, though, to prevent the same type of duplication I see now. That ended up being a bad idea: too much work.

So I looked around at a couple web based feed systems. “Heck,” I said, “I like web apps. Gmail has served me quite well, perhaps there’s some equally good feed reading web app out there.” Most notable was Bloglines. Somehow, though, it didn’t seem quite what I needed. In particular, the interface just didn’t cut it. Part of what makes Gmail great is it’s interface; it’s easy to use, intuitive and has that robust feel of a of a real app. Bloglines is not and does not, and that’s important. If I’m going to use something every day multiple times a day, I want it to be easy to use and to feel solid.

So I was out of luck. I was too lazy (and too ignorant) to set up some sort of central feed server of my own, and too picky to be happy with the web apps currently available.

In steps FeedLounge. Oh, man, does this look hot. I encourage everyone to check out the screenshots on the front page there and to take the little tour. The interface looks clean, and there’s keyboard action up the wazoo. Plus it’s geeky and zeitgeist friendly; as Alex King, one of FeedLounge’s developers said:

Pick your favorite web application buzzword: AJAX, tagging, keyboard commands, etc. – FeedLounge has got it.

I’ve asked to be in their beta testing phase, but I’m sure they’ve already received a lot of such requests. Maybe they’ve got a random number generator involved, and I’ll get lucky.


    Paul.za 06.10.2005 @ 19:14

    One option would be to store that file you’d have to carry around, on a network drive accessible from anywhere. You could probably set one up on your server.

    But that FeedLounge sounds pretty sweet!

    suavisimo 06.10.2005 @ 22:13

    one word for you, plastics

    skippy 06.29.2005 @ 13:19

    Try FeedOnFeeds! I’ve been using for some time now, and am quite pleased with it.

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