Rebooting my newsreader

Rebooting my newsreader: I give up. I returned from vacation yesterday and while I glanced at certain folders within my newsreader when I was away, I went a week letting many RSS feeds pile up. I now realize the only way to handle this backlog (backblog?) is to hit the “mark all read” button and forget trying to even glance at the headlines of many of my “read when you get a chance” feeds. Ah. Ignorance is bliss.

Update: My fingers almost mistyped “backlog” into “backblog” which I thought was a good word for the pile of unread RSS feeds in your newsreader. Apparently, it has another pseudo meaning, as well.

Update II: Dave Winer says I have a poorly designed newsreader. I would not fault the newsreader, but the reader – me. Actually, I think I have it set up in a real efficient manner that enabled me to review the flow of feeds I enjoy despite my spotty web access last week. I didn’t go fishing, but I was able to keep up with the flow.

My frustration today is with those RSS feeds piled into folders I call “read and review” . It was these “get-around-to-it” feeds I purged. I know there are some great posts in there but I don’t have the patience to catch-up with them.

Another thing, before I left for vacation, I spent several weeks unsubscribing to every e-mail newsletter that hit my inbox. For some who offer the same content via RSS, I switched. For those who don’t, well, bye-bye.

  • Shawn Lea

    Yes, if someone could solve the “while I’m away” NewsReader problem that would be wonderful. They need to come up with something similar to an Out of Office reply for your e-mail. Let you pick the 20 or 30 must-reads and just not collect the information from the other 100 or so. 😉

    But I have done the Mark All Read a few times and find it kind of freeing. It’s fun to not know everything and be surprised sometimes. After all, if it is a big deal, bloggers will be talking about it for months anyways.

  • Greg Smith

    FeederReader allows you to read in date order, newest first. I can spend as much time as I want reading the 200 feeds on my Pocket PC. How would you want to specify “must-read”? I’d love to explore this further at http://www.FeederReader.com sidebar “Forums”.

  • Dave Winer

    Rex, the whole point of designing software is to make it work for the user, not to make the user work to make the software right.

    My message was to software designers. I hear so many users getting to this place in aggregators, and they shouldn’t have to.

  • mike

    Getting to what place? So far behind that one has to “mark all as read”? Well, it happens to me occasionally, and it is “freeing” as someone said, to simply be all caught up. Nothing, in this case, to do w/tools, and everything to do with the fact there aren’t always enough hours in the day. Though of course I do agree w/your user-centric point of view and believe that NNW is an excellent example of giving the users what they need.

  • Steve Kirks

    I use Radio (natch) to read my 150-odd feeds and the “river of news” style is very effective. It’s frightening at first to wonder what I missed but experience has shown that I don’t miss anything. The big items (as Dave has said before) are oft repeated which ensures that repeated entries will show up in the aggregator.

    Rex uses an outstanding piece of software, but like most of the powerful apps, the nut can be hard to crack. Smart Lists (http://ranchero.com/netnewswire/helpBook/smartLists.html) can rescue you from worry, though. Make some smart lists with keywords that you don’t want to miss and when “aggregator overload” hits, read the smart lists and trash the rest.

    Steve

  • mike

    Ahh, “river of news”. I wasn’t sure what that was, but found a good overview: http://www.reallysimplesyndication.com/riverOfNews

    I use NetNewsWire in a modified RoN mode, I suppose. I’ve created a few buckets of similar topics/sites, but then read those buckets in the RoN style.

    What that means is I sometimes read my top 2 or 3 “buckets”, and then mark “all as read” for the others when I get too far behind.

  • Ken

    So, out of curiousity, what do readers feel IS a good newsreader? I see the comment “Rex uses an outstanding piece of software”, but what is it? Dave, if you’re still around — what are examples of good aggregators?

  • l.m.orchard

    Actually, I prefer an email-esque reader like NewNewsWire over the river-of-news style, just because I like to group and prioritize feeds into folders. I start at the top of the list and start reading down. After awhile, when I run out of time, I mark all as read. Some days I make it to the bottom, other days, I barely make it past my alerts and popular-link feeds.

    Though, what I really want is to mark all read older than X days old – automatically. That would give me a bit of the river-of-news zen.

  • l.m.orchard

    (er, make that NetNewsWire, although NewNewsWire might be appropriately descriptive.)

  • l.m.orchard

    Oh, and did I mention I’m up to 720 feeds subscribed? At that level– or any level, really– you have to drop the expectation of yourself that there’s a such thing as “getting behind” in reading feeds. Prioritize, and be happy that you’ve read more than you ever did before and saturated your personal information bandwidth as best you could. (Assuming that that’s your goal 🙂 )