Reading the News

Published 2006-12-20

I've been using Gregarius as my feed reader for many moons now. Prior to that, I used FeedOnFeeds. Both present the "river of news" style, whereby new posts are displayed in chronological order regardless of source. This is something to which I've grown accustomed. Many other aggregators I've looked at display new items only with other items from the same source; so to read all of the new items in all of the sites in my aggregator may require a fair number of mouse clicks. River of news is my preference, by far.

Unfortunately, my aggregators have repeatedly displayed the same previously read items as new items. I ditched FoF because I was tired of seeing the same things again and again. Now, Gregarius is exhibiting the same problems. It's gotten extremely bad this last couple of weeks, reporting that many posts across many sites are new, when I've already read those items several times that day! It's extremely tedious to see the say ten posts from someone's blog, which I know I've read at least five times, but Gregarius still thinks they're unread.

Frustrated, and not particularly happy about it, I tried Google Reader. It was trivially easy for me to import the OMPL of my Gregarius feeds. My initial reaction was unfavorable: the sidebar on the left wastes space; the styling of individual feed elements wastes space; the fonts are a little smaller than I'd prefer; etc etc. With my previous hosted solutions, I had the opportunity to style things to my own tastes, but with Google I only get what they give me.

Somewhat ironically, ColdForged started using Google Reader, too, and has nothing but praise for it.

After having used Google Reader for the better part of the day, today, I think I've decided that I can live with it. It hasn't shown me any duplicated content yet, which alone makes it worth the switch. The AJAX update feature is extremely handy, notifying me of new posts without me having to reload the page. As I scroll past items, Google automatically marks them as read, which is pretty handy. I'm also looking forward to trying out their mobile version on my Treo, something which has proven impractical with Gregarius.

I suppose if I were motivated enough I could construct a custom stylesheet in order to get the kind of styling I find most comfortable. That's a battle for another day, though.


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