Tag Archives: rss

Farewell Old Friend, Hello Feedly

Farewell old friend

Farewell old friend

It’s no secret that almost all of my web content consumption is done via Google Reader.  Which, of course, means that like most TV shows I watch, it was doomed.

I have been dreading, expecting and/or denying the reality of this event for a while.  So when I read the official word, I was more resigned than sad.  Google Reader is awesome and, to be frank, Google sort of owes it to us to keep it operational even if it isn’t making money.  But even in the unlikely event Google capitulates to the hue and cry of the masses, if it’s not going to actively develop the app, it’s better to pull the band-aid off quickly.

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I looked at the various alternatives, and have decided that Feedly is clearly the best bet.  In fact, in some ways it may actually be better.  Feedly is catering to the displaced Google Reader masses and promises a seamless transition when Google shuts off our beloved service.  The interface is more feature rich.  Sharing is easier (even if sharing to Facebook doesn’t work for me).  I am warming to the Magazine layout (particularly for news-related media), though Titles will remain my preferred view.

With just a little work, Feedly can be almost perfect.  Here’s what needs to be tweaked immediately.

First, make my Facebook connection work.  Currently, my Facebook sidebar feed is in forever load mode.

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More importantly, the Facebook sharing button at the bottom of each post doesn’t work.  I click on it and nothing happens.  Ever.  Twitter and the other sharing buttons work fine.  This must not be a widespread issue, as I only see a couple of posts about it.

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I miss the Readable add-in for Google Reader, which pulls full feeds from a lot of sites, but Feedly’s Preview feature is growing on me.  It’s more or less the same thing – just in a pop-up.

I wish they would tweak the menu in four minor but important ways.

1. Increase the contrast and/or text size in the side menu.  It is really hard to read.  Much harder in the app than in the screen capture below.

2. Auto-sort the categories with unread items to the top.

feedly menu

3. Let me sort feeds within categories alphabetically, or at least manually by dragging them around.

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4. Make Titles (Feedly’s list view) a default view option.

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It may sound like I’m complaining here, but that’s not the case.  I really dig Feedly.  It’s about to replace Google Reader as my must used and important app. I just want to see it evolve into the perfect app it can be.

Why Big Media Wants to Kill RSS, and Why We Shouldn't Let It

RSS is dead. Long live RSS!

Another year, another attempt to kill RSS.  Sigh.

That means I must once again bring truth to a cacophony of greed and hysteria, where repetitive games of not-really-farming and being not-really a gangster are valued more than anything other than Facebook, the platform where you not-really play said games.

This discussion cycle seems about as boring as I imagine Farmville to be, but we can’t ignore it.  Because there are armies of media companies, developers and investors out there, with dollar signs in our eyes, who can’t wait to usher RSS off to the deadpool.  For one reason and one reason only: they can’t make as much money if we read their content our way- in Google Reader or the equivalent app of our choice- as they can if they can force us to read it their way- at their site, complete with scads of browser-clogging tracking scripts and ads galore.

Let me say it another way.

Anyone- and I mean anyone- who is concerned with the end user experience should be actively promoting and supporting RSS. Unfortunately, like the very important but much maligned climate control movement, those who favor RSS as a medium for content management are on the wrong side of the ledger.  They are waging war against those who have deeper pockets and much to lose.

I can understand why someone who thinks of our eyeballs only as currency would not want us to manage several hundred web site subscriptions and the related content from a single, convenient, web-based app.  I can understand why big media sites want us to click wildly from page to page and site to site, all in the name of page views and ad serves.  Hell, even Google, who makes mint serving ads on so many web sites, doesn’t have much incentive to promote RSS and its handler, the wonderful Google Reader.

In a recent post, Louis Gray sums up my view of online utopia:

I don’t want more places to play games.  I don’t want more places that I can share photos with an increasing array of effects.  I do want better filters so that the best stuff comes to me, from all networks, without my having to sift through the noise.  That’s important to me, and part of what I am working to do.

That sounds a lot more like Google Reader than it does bouncing around between web sites, Twitter and Facebook.  The only people who have a material interest in promoting RSS is us.  The people, who want to control the manner in which we select and consume content.

Someone reading this is about to say, “but wait, what about Twitter!?  Facebook!  RSS is so last decade!”  To them I say, put down the joint or the deposit slip (depending on which bias has possessed their senses).  Twitter is, at the end of the day, nothing more that legitimized spam.  It’s brilliant.  But that’s what it is.  Big media loves Twitter, because it allows them and their hoodwinked fence painters to relentlessly spam people with the equivalent of partial feeds, which lead the end user back- you guessed it- to the content provider’s web site.  Complete with boggy scripts and ads-a-plenty.

Facebook is great.  For conversing with your friends in far off places, or catching up with the freshman roommate you once hated.  But in no way, shape or form is it the place to catalog, access and consume your news and other web-based content.

Again, only those with skin in the game will try to convince you otherwise.

The people can save RSS.  And we should, because if we don’t, we’re the ones who will suffer.  Not old or new media.  Not Twitter or Facebook.

And certainly not those who see our eyeballs as currency.

Once More, With Ennui: RSS Is Not Dead

RSS is dead.  Long live RSS!

RSS is dead. Long live RSS!

My buddy Robert Scoble gets a lot of stuff right.  But he has a habit, shared by many of the internet technorati, of trying to make things into bigger things.

You know, everything is the next big world-changing technology.  Facebook is the Google killer.  Google.Me is the Facebook killer (actually, even the most impassioned technorati can’t say that with a stright face).  On and on.

Now the story is, again, that Twitter and Facebook are killing RSS, and as a result RSS readers.

Sigh…

No, they aren’t.  Bloglines died due to neglect.  Seriously, before today when was the last time you heard of Bloglines?  I figured it was already dead.  Is Bloglines the new Franco?

This past weekend, I drove a big U-Haul truck from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Bellaire, Texas (Lambert’s Café, home of the throwed rolls, in Sikeston, Missouri is the coolest restaurant on the planet) in less than 36 hours.  As such, I’m too tired to write another dissertation on why Robert is kidding himself.  So, I’ll just share two relevant thoughts.

One, while Bloglines and Franco are still dead, Google Reader is actually growing.  Yes, Google (being Google) doesn’t really have a plan for Google Reader, and has stuffed some unnecessary bloat in there, but Google Reader is, simply stated, the best tool on earth for managing, reading and sharing a lot of information in a reasonable time.

Those who think Twitter is the place to get most of your news and content (1) are lovers of the chaos and/or (2) have WAY more time to screw around on the internet than I do.

Two, an example, in pictures.

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While I was driving and driving and driving, my news items got a bit backed up.  Thousands over all, and 517 in my Tech News folder.  It would take days and days, and be a profoundly miserable and frustrating process, to find and consume this much content via Twitter or Facebook.  It’s just not feasible.

With Google Reader, it’s easy and fun to quickly scan the headlines, read the articles that interest you, and share (via the Send to feature) the most interesting stuff.  Total catch-up time: 25 minutes or so.

Long live Google Reader

Has Google Reader Entered the Fast Lane?

And how you can benefit from it.

I noticed earlier today that, in a great improvement from days (and days) gone by, posts were showing up a lot more often in my Google Reader.  I marked it up to some hiccup in the pipeline.

Then I saw a post by Alex Wilhelm over at the Next Web speculating, with at least something approximating confirmation, that Google has widened the pipe, perhaps via PubSubHubBub.

Life in the Fast(er) Lane

If this is true, or even close to true, it is great, awesome news.  For one thing, I use Google Reader all the time, and my one complaint has been that it sometimes seems to be taking a leisurely drive, when I want an on-ramp to the information superhighway.

(numerous new items have populated my Google Reader in the time it took me to type that bad metaphor)

Enabling Your Blog

If you want to make your blog PubSubHubBub-ready, there are two ways to do that.

If you use Feedburner, enable PingShot:

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If you use WordPress, grab a plugin.

Google Reader is truly my number one tool where online content is concerned.  I’m happy it has been speed-enhanced, however it was done.  And I’m happy Google is still improving it.  It would be a shame if Google lost focus on Google Reader.

I still miss Google Notebook.  But that’s a story for another day.  Right now, I’ve got a ton of new posts to read.  And more every minute.

Google Reader: Putting Scoble in Time Out

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I like Robert Scoble.  I really do.  But, like my 8-year old, if I don’t watch him like a hawk he gets distracted and starts doing all kinds of crazy shit.  Like pooping all over Google Reader, which is really a stand-in for RSS readers in general.  I know he doesn’t really mean it.  It’s like the time my 8-year old announced that she was giving up Skittles.  It was a radical thought.  There was logic to it.  Shoot, it made me proud.

But it wasn’t real.

Two days later she was back in the grip of her Skittles addiction, insisting that no right-thinking person would choose a granola bar when those colorful, chewy, irresistible sugar pills were just sitting there on the shelf.  Our battle over her junk food habit rages on, but I know in my heart that all the wishful thinking in the world won’t make a granola bar taste like a Skittle.

So let’s put Robert in virtual time out and see if we can get him to behave.  One step at a time.

He says Google Reader is slow.  I think that’s more of a problem with the front end platform that pushes the RSS feeds (e.g., FeedBurner), but I see his point.  But as I have said over and over, Skittles are bad for you.  Uh, I mean, faster is not always better.  I simply don’t need to read about some dude’s latest Farm Game achievement or Mafia Wars battle in real time.  And the flexibility of Google Reader (folders, the ability to rename feeds, archive feeds, search feeds, etc.) outweighs any marginal speed benefit you might get from the other sources (more on those below).

Of course, there’s a bigger flaw in that argument.  Most Twitter posts are links to other content that got served by. . . RSS feeds or some other platform.  The live on the scene Twitterer is the vast exception and not the rule.  So even if Twitter is instantaneous, most of the information put on Twitter is not.

And while I’m debunking the speed canard, let’s be honest.  When we thought that kid was in the balloon flying all over Colorado, we turned on CNN, not Google Reader and certainly not Twitter.  For live important news, the internet just ain’t the place, and the difference between 5 minutes later and 15 minutes later just isn’t that big of a deal.

image He says Google Reader’s UI is confusing.  I agree that all that sharing stuff is unnecessary screen clutter.  All we need to get our data out of Google Reader are the newish “Send to” buttons.  But Google has gotten caught up in the sharing hysteria like everybody else.  When all this sharing nonsense blows over, the internet will be a much more useful and fun place.  But come on man, all you have to do is ignore all that crap, just like I do.  And if you think Google Reader is confusing, then you must think Facebook is a big, non-intuitive mountain of Rubik’s Cubes.

He doesn’t like seeing all those unread items.  I have a folder of traditional news feeds (CNN, USA Today, etc.) that fills up faster than a cheetah can run.  You simply mark the entire folder as “read,” with one click.  It’s not hard.  Now trying to actually follow news topics on Twitter, that’s hard (more on that below).

Speaking of Twitter, does anyone really go to Twitter to consume content?  Be honest.  All I see are over there are people pushing unilateral content, like a flea market-cum-mailing list.  And social?  There’s more interaction on top of Mount Everest than there is on Twitter.  Seriously, I get the sense that the Twitter hysteria among the general public is fading.  If I owned Twitter, I’d sell it.  Now, while there are still a lot of greater fools thrashing around with someone else’s money to spend.

He says the social network features suck.  I would completely agree with this if it was an absolute statement, and not limited to Google Reader.  They probably do suck in Google Reader, which is one of it’s strongest points.  I don’t follow (or whatever the right word is) anyone via Google Reader.  I just find my content there, and push it from there to my blog, Facebook page, etc.  Let’s be honest, the social networks aren’t all that social, so why does a feed reader have to be social?

About this interaction business.  If you want to interact online with real people, the fact is that there is only one place to do it- Facebook.  The infrastructure is there.  The developers are there.  And most importantly, the non-nerds are there.  The battle for the mind of the so-called social networker is over, and everyone but Facebook lost.  Hell, I did everything I could to stay off of Facebook and I failed.  Lots of my real world friends are there, and none of them are on any of these lesser services.

He says he sees most news faster on Twitter than in Google Reader.  Uh, OK.  That’s like saying I got to California faster on a horse than when I walked.  The greatest myth in the history of the internet is that Twitter is the place to get news.  First of all, you have to separate those who actually know the news and have the desire and ability to accurately describe it from the spammers and nut-jobs.  Then you have to wade through the chaos and scrolling pages to find it.  At least on the CNN and Google News pages, there is some semblance of an organizational structure that the nut-jobs must adhere to.

He says headline scanning is easier on Twitter.  This is simply wrong.  Robert, I challenge you to walk me through this and show me how it is easier on Twitter.  If I’m wrong, I’ll eat my pocket protector.  Hell, I’ll go one step further- it’s impossible to scan headlines on Twitter.  Because there are none.

He says the iPhone apps are better for Twitter.  I agree with that.  Of course they are better, because Twitter has enjoyed a lot of momentum.  Like Hanson did at one point, and the Jonas Brothers do now.  Pretty soon all the kids will gravitate to the next big thing and Twitter will be relegated to the opening act.  Like Isaac, Taylor and Zac.

The only question is who will get rich before that happens.

What do use to get your online content?  And why?

Drinking from a Fire Hose: In Defense of RSS

There’s lots of talk today about how RSS is dead, and whatnot.  Let me set things straight.

firehoseFirst of all, as a practical matter, RSS has never been alive.  Ask anyone other than a hard core geek (like me) what RSS is and they won’t have any earthly idea.  RSS is probably the most useful tool on the internet, but regular people don’t use it.  Why?  Because no one has figured out how to make money pushing RSS feeds, and so the informal brotherhood of mercenary content producers (e.g., old media and big new media) don’t embrace it.  In fact, they really don’t want you to use it.  They’d rather force you to their web sites where they can serve those ads you never click on, but that advertisers still pay for.

It’s the desire for money once again screwing up something beautiful.  The environment, professional sports, our computers, etc.

This conspiracy to kill RSS is just one more attempt to prolong the death of an antiquated system.  It’s the same sort of battle the record label cartel is waging against the digital distribution of music.  In the case of RSS, the system they are desperately trying to save is the one in which the provider selects and aggregates content, either on paper or a website, and the consumer accesses that content at the provider’s place.  Where the experience is tightly controlled, complete with ads, etc.  Under the new system, which will be much better for the consumer once it matures a little, the consumer selects both the content and the package, and then accesses it wherever he or she wants: internet browser, phone, RSS reader, Facebook, etc.  Of those choices, the RSS reader is currently the best choice, by far.

Why?

It is easy to use.  It’s free.  It has archival and search features. You can organize it any way you want.  There are tons of ways to slice, dice and organize your feeds.  Only the fishy smelling partial feeds used as bait by those trying to keep control of the experience detract from what would otherwise be a nearly perfect experience.

A perfect experience that the brotherhood is trying to ignore and the attention deficient bloggerati are trying to replace.

Many are boldly stating that, while simultaneously saving the entire world, Twitter is the best way to get our news in 2009.  There’s a lot wrong with that argument, but I’ll settle for three gigantic and obvious flaws:

1. Twitter is nothing more than a shared partial RSS feed.  Other than a headline, every bit of the content one consumes via Twitter is located elsewhere.    Someone tosses you a scrap, but to get the meat, you have to take a walk- usually right back to one of the brotherhood’s sites.  If you don’t think this has something to do with old media’s love affair with Twitter, you’re not watching closely.

2. Twitter has no meaningful archival value.  The ability to save a big pile of “Favorites” takes us back at least a decade, to the era of chaotic browser bookmarks.  Nobody, other than the deeply Twitter-addicted, sits in front of his or her computer all day staring at Twitter, which means that if you aren’t staring at the screen when something happens, that something will soon drift away on a river of quotes, links, self-promotion and spam.  If you have any meaningful number of Twitter follows, that breaking news story that Robert Scoble talks about will be buried in a matter of minutes, if not seconds.  Meanwhile, your RSS feeds wait patiently for you in Google Reader, nestled in topical folders (paging Evernote) and ready to be read by you, on your timetable.

3. Twitter’s search capabilities are rudimentary at best.  You can search your feeds via Google Reader (and no doubt other feed readers) in just about any manner you can think of.

Now, about that real time thing.  I have complained loud and long that RSS needs to be faster.  But when I talk about slow, I’m talking hours.  The difference between two hours and 15 minutes is one thing.  The difference between 15 minutes and 5 minutes is another.

And about this single criteria speed assumption. . .

Why are people assuming that faster is always the goal?  That more is better?  I don’t know about you, but I’m not really in a race to find out some piece of news before anyone else.  If you’re a gossip hound and you get your news from any online source, you’ll have plenty of time to blab to those who still wait for the TV news or morning paper.  And if you’re just someone who wants to stay informed, why do you need instant?  And if you demand instant, what price are you paying in terms of the experience?

It’s like skipping the movie to watch the credits, in fast forward.  Maybe it saves you a little time, but at great detriment to the experience.

Once again, there are way too many people drinking the Twitter Kool-Aid- apparently from a fire hose.

If RSS is really dead, it’s the brotherhood that killed it, not Twitter or any other flavor of the week.  People need to wake up and realize before it’s too late that RSS is the best thing going.  It is the single best way for users to take maximum control of the content and presentation of their news, simply because the man doesn’t own RSS.  The people do.

The man doesn’t like RSS because it’s disruptive of the establishment.  We can kill it, but if we do we’ll be sorry.

So what’s it going to be, the man or the people?

Improving the Google Reader Send to Feature

I still think Google could do a lot better than it has done so far with the new “Send to” feature.  And I sure hope Google isn’t going to get all sharing and social network obsessed and turn Google Reader into some chaotic FriendFeed wannabe.  But I will admit that half a feature is better than none at all, and I have been experimenting with the “Send to” feature.

To me, of course, experiment means use, customize and improve.

The first thing I wanted to do was add my typical “Interesting:” to the beginning of items I send to Twitter.  Here’s how to hack up a custom “Send to Twitter” link.

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All you have to do is change the word “Interesting:” to whatever you want to appear at the beginning of your Twitter post.  Easy as pie.  After setting this up, you may want to uncheck the default Twitter “Send to” option in the provided list.

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I also hacked my “Send to Facebook” link to add a shortened link,

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but I haven’t figured out a way to pre-populate the “What’s on your mind?” box yet.

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If there’s a way to do that, I can’t figure it out.  Another example of Facebook making it hard to control what’s inside those walls.  The end result, however, is simply that I will continue to create little or no content from within Facebook.  I’ll just send my content there via an alternate path, for consumption by those who live in Facebook’s Pelbarigan-like city state.

Finally, I hacked the Delicious “Send to” link to include a Note “For future blog post.”  I would have greatly preferred to automatically add a Tag “FNOBP,” but there doesn’t seem to be a way to populate a tag via a URL.  Which is but one of a long list of reasons I almost never use Delicious.  If I could auto-populate a Tag, Delicious might find its way back into my toolbox, so I could store article ideas there and save my “Starred” Google Reader items for other things.

Sooo, the way I got around Delicious’s crappiness was to create a dedicated Gmail sub-email address, and write an “Email to” link to that address.

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Then I set up a Filter in Gmail that identifies these emails, archives them and adds a “For Blog Post” label.

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All in all, not a bad afternoon’s work.

How to Make a Sporty, Customized News Page

I continue to believe (actually I know, but I’m trying to be diplomatic) that good old html and some cheap server space is a far better choice for creating customized news pages than My Yahoo, iGoogle and the like.  Over the past few days, I decided to make some upgrades and improvements to the Headline News pages I have used for years in lieu of newspapers (we haven’t subscribed to the paper in well over a decade).

Tools

To create these pages, I used Notepad (any text editor will do) and Feed.Informer.  I continue to be irritated by the stupid graphic Feed.Informer adds to the end of every RSS bundle, but the fact is that Feed.Informer is the best tool I have found for rolling up and serving bundles of RSS feeds.  It’s an awesome service.  I just wish they had a real business plan so they’d dispense with the page litter.

National News

I started with the National News Page, since it is the one I use the most.  First, I updated the layout to use the look, feel and CSS of the main Newsome.Org pages.  This creates site harmony, helps with branding and, most importantly, will allow me to implement future design changes across the entire site via Notepad and my CSS document.

imageI used the same basic header as the main Newsome.Org page, for the above reasons.  I used a similar left sidebar, but with a few tweaks.  I added a news-specific menu to the top, followed by the regular site-wide menu.  I added a box to display my latest blog post (via Feed.Informer).  I kept the Quote of the Day, Today in History and Today’s Birthday content, which is provided via scripts from BrainyQuote (script page) and BrainyHistory (script page).

I added the typical links for RSS or Email subscriptions, and a simple site search via Google.  I wanted to keep the page open, so I caused links to open in a new window via a <base target=’_blank’ /> <base target=’_output’ /> command.  This may be annoying to some users, but I greatly prefer it that way when reading news.

And, last but not least, I made my buddy Dave an involuntary regular contributor by adding a box that displays his latest Twitter post.  For some reason, the native Twitter RSS feed crashes Feed.Informer (it knocks Ruby right off the Rails), so I had to run Dave’s Twitter feed through Yahoo Pipes (what a great, under-appreciated application) first, and then to Feed.Informer.  It’s a roundabout path, but now I can feel like a real Web 2.0 developer by letting Dave unknowingly create content for my benefit.

The main content consists of a sub-table with two RSS bundles (again, via Feed.Informer).  I populated each bundle with my preferred national news sources.  You can add any RSS feed you like.

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I used two bundles because the page looks better and is more functional with two columns of news.  Feed.Informer is very flexible, and allows you to manually configure the way the content displays.

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At the end of the process, you have a highly customized news page, with the content you select, displayed the way you want it.  Plus you can incorporate the page(s) into your blog or website in a way that’s not possible with third party apps like My Yahoo.

Local News

After I finished the National News Page and admired my hard work for about ten seconds, I decided to make a similar page for local news.

The Local News Page (Update: now depreciated) is identical to the national one, except for the content of the two RSS bundles.  And I removed Dave, so he can focus full time on the national/international scene.  In his place, I added weather content from local channel 13.

All, Me, All the Time

Finally, I decided to create a mashup of all of my online content (other than my Facebook content, of course, which is walled-in and inaccessible).  I added my content from Newsome.Org, GoodSongs.Com, Twitter (because of the above mentioned Twitter RSS problem, I used my FriendFeed RSS feed), my shared Google Reader items, my YouTube content and my Flickr feed.  Update: now depreciated.

In lieu of Dave and the weather, I added a box showing my most recent Twitter reply.

The large majority of people I know in the real world don’t have the first clue what RSS is, and don’t use feed readers- despite my efforts to show them the light.  Plus, most people who read blogs via the web don’t visit everyday, so I thought it worthwhile to pile a lot of my content on a single page.  Unlike the traditional news pages, where items are in chronological order, I put this content in random order.  This gives slightly older content another chance at life, and it increases the usefulness of the page to periodic visitors, who may have missed something that I posted since their last visit.

Think of it as my own private FriendFeed.

Conclusion

I like the way these pages turned out.  The great thing is that you can create your own, at little or no cost and- hopefully thanks to this article- in just a few minutes.

If you don’t have server space, fear not.  Web pages can be kept locally and bookmarked, just like online pages.  You won’t be able to access your page(s) from another computer, but you’ll get the same benefits when you’re at
your desk.

A Halfway Good Idea

I noticed tonight that Google Reader has added a new sharing function, which lets you send items you share to various social networks, including Facebook and Twitter.  You can even create custom “send to” links.

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This is a good idea, and would be really helpful- if they had implemented it right.  Which, unfortunately, they didn’t.

As implemented, you are presented with a new link at the bottom of each item.

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When you click that link, you are directed to the destination application, where you can then add the desired item to your social network content.

This is about infinity times more complicated than it should be.  Google Reader should give users the option to fill in your social network name and password on the Google Reader Settings page and then automatically add either (at the user’s election):

1. selected items, on a one-click basis (i.e., without having to visit the destination application); or

2. every item you share,

to that social network.

I would very quickly implement the second option, thereby giving me a faster, more flexible way to push my shared items.  It would allow me to avoid the link-dump problem with Twitterfeed.  It would just be a whole lot better.

This was a good idea, halfway done.

Has Feed.Informer Lost Its Mind?

I have a couple of places here at Newsome.Org where I publish breaking news headlines.  One is in the right hand column of The Home Place, my internet start page, and another is on a dedicated Headline News page.  For years, I have used the service that is now called Feed.Informer to combine RSS content into combined RSS feeds, called digests, to display this news content.

image The other day, I noticed that Feed.Informer had inserted a Feed.Informer logo and link at the bottom of each of my digests.  Being very stingy with my web site real estate and deeply ad-averse, I visited the Feed.Informer web page in search of a way to get rid of this logo.  What I found was interesting.

Like most of its generation of web services, Feed.Informer has offered both free and paid accounts.  Because I like the service andimage have found it to be the best option for combining and displaying content, I have had a paid account for a long time.  In fact, I thought I still had a paid account, and my account details at Feed.Informer confusingly indicate that I still have a premium account, though one that expired in April of last year.  This confusion seems to result from Feed.Informer’s decision to eliminate premium accounts, seemingly in favor of paid support and, get this, paid logo removal.

Do what?

A paid support option is just another way to spin a premium account.  I’m cool with that.  What I am definitely not cool with is having to pay $50.00 per digest to get rid of the logo.  I have 6 digests, so if I were insane enough to do it, it would cost me $300 to have logo free content.  And that charge would apparently apply even if I had a premium account.

Which I can’t get, even if I wanted to, because the Buy Premium Account button doesn’t work.  No harm here, though, since I don’t need priority support.  I’d just like to lose the logo/link/ad.

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There seems to be a smattering of complaints in the Feed.Informer support forums.  I don’t know if the lack of a general uprising is indicative of Feed.Informer’s user base (e.g., that it is small) or that most people don’t mind choosing between a logo/link/ad and stack of $50s.

But I think this is one wacky business model.  Sure, I have and would pay for a premium account to avoid the logo/link/ad.  I don’t recall what the premium accounts cost back in the day when you could buy one, but if they keep the service fresh and feature-rich, I’d pay $20 a year or so.  But $50 per digest to get rid of the logo/link/ad?  Not in this lifetime.

I’m not sure what other options are out there, and a logo/link/ad or two is not going to cause me to rip down my Feed.Informer digests in some tea party 2.0 hissy fit.  But it does make me wonder about the decision process that led the Feed.Informer folks to this business model.