All I Know

Feedly, I Just Don’t Get You

So back when Google announced that they were going to terminate their RSS reader service (a decision I still don’t really understand), like everyone else I pawed around at replacement candidates [1]. I ended up going with Feedly, which at the time was the heir-apparent.

Well it’s been several months now, and while I am not a huge RSS feed consumer, I do check it out most every day, and sorry, but I just don’t get Feedly.

For one thing, it keeps importing my subscriptions and whatnot from Google, like every time I install a new browser, or dump the memory cache. I can understand asking for it once, but isn’t the point to replace Google and not extend it? What is the plan for when the Google Reader API goes away? Why can’t this just be written to my account settings?

Another thing is that when I check in each day, Feedly dutifully tells me, under the TODAY banner, that I do not have any unread articles. A greater lie has never been uttered. I can see today’s articles if I hit the refresh button. As a systems professional and an experienced user, I can’t understand why this approach is allowed to endure.

Finally, Feedly has retained my tags for the various articles, but does not give me the ability to manage the tags, or search by more than one tag.

You might say that you have not had that experience with Feedly, that I have it set up wrong, or have not availed myself of the proper training and documentation. I say: Maybe, but I installed it by pressing the requisite button (on a few different platforms now), and if the software is not intuitive then it has failed its audience.

So I guess I am in the non-market for a reader. I checked out a couple of articles via Google, forgetting at first that my principal criterion is that the solution be web-based. I frequent three or four computers routinely, some with odd-ball operating systems, so I am avoiding any software installation.

Most reviewers seem gushy about Feedly, but one article suggested Newsvibe as a simple solution [2]. Since I never use them, I thought the tagging capability would be a nice-to-have. Newsvibe doesn’t have it. Ditto for DIGG.

I checked out Newsblur after someone raved about it. It is purportedly free, but the choice you have right now is to either pony up $24, or wait in a queue for an unspecified duration.

I checked out The Old Reader, which seemed to be in good operational order despite some recent posts I read that said it was in the process of collapse. However, it doesn’t offer tagging and the interface is aesthetically offensive. At this point I was starting to run low on alternatives.

Just to be sure, I decided to look in on a solution that a number of reviewers had mentioned favorably: AOL. As a veteran of the early digital frontier skirmishes, I have spent the last 20 years running the other way upon the mention of those letters. But I checked it out. Apart from some really odd decisions about how your feeds can be ordered, it seems just fine. And it has tags (but not multi-tag searching).

Hopefully it will be completely uneventful to use. That’s what I want.

[1] I could have sworn I blogged about this, but I don’t find it anywhere. Maybe it was on my technical blog that got lost in The Accounting Spat of ’11.

[2] Here is one of the articles I looked at. There were others.

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