More on RSS Readers (But Still Less Than I Want)

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….

Reader Comments

Marc Hedlund

August 1, 2005 9:09 PM

Rob,

If you go to http://www.bloglines.com/myblogs_display?all=1 , you'll see all of your feed items in one page. I have a bookmark to that link and find Bloglines much easier to use with it (as I agree with your usage preferences).

Hope this helps.

Mark Fletcher

August 2, 2005 12:46 PM

Thanks for the comments about Bloglines. You can display all the unread articles in all of your feeds at once by clicking on the '# Feeds' link at the top of your subscription tree in the left pane in Bloglines. The difference with My Yahoo in this case is that you're only shown articles you haven't seen before, which many people like as it lets you track more subscriptions in less time. And of course there's no pesky 100 feed limit. :)

Rob Hof

August 2, 2005 1:24 PM

Mark (and Marc too), thanks so much. Cool to hear from Mr. Bloglines himself. Unfortunately, when I clicked on the # of feeds, it marked everything read for some reason. Ack! I like the fact that you can see the whole list; only problem now is, they're marked read, so all the feeds are empty. (And personally, I like seeing the last five or 10 items, read or unread, both because I can know for sure that that I haven't missed anything, and because I often want to go back to something I've already read. I don't always have a chance to take action on an item I'm interested in at the time I'm scanning it. Guess I'll have to get the hang of the clipping service!) Anyway, good to know Bloglines can do more of what I'm looking for. Thanks for the tip!

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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