Posted by: Rob Hof on August 1, 2005
All the helpful comments on my post on RSS feed reading frustrations (well, except for the person who suggested my complaints are “slop”—gee, thanks) made me realize exactly what I like about the way MyYahoo provides my feeds: Not only can I see them all at once, on what’s already my home page, but I can see the latest headlines under each one. This way, I can immediately see whether I should read one or more of the new headlines, and it’s easy to tell what I’ve already read.
The problem with the otherwise excellent Bloglines is that, as far as I can tell, I have to click on an individual feed to see the headlines. They don’t come up automatically. It’s sort of like too many magazines these days, where you can’t find the table of contents to save your life. I just don’t have time scan all my feeds individually that way. Maybe it’s counterintuitive, but it’s waaaay faster to zip through them if they’re all there in one list. What’s a scroll mouse for, anyway?
As one helpful reader pointed out, Russell Beattie has his own RSS reader critique that gets to this issue and others. And I’ve come to a new appreciation for the “River of News” idea that Dave Winer has been advocating for years, though that’s not precisely what I want. Neither Russell nor Dave gets to exactly what I’m looking for, and maybe that suggests a solution: a reader that lets you set up the feeds just the way you want them. I suppose that might be a little complex at this stage in reader evolution, so I’d settle for something simple: Just let me read as many feeds as I choose, on one page, with five or 10 headlines under each feed. And do it with a Web interface, so I can see them on any computer I’m using. Is that too much to ask? Apparently so….