I’m a latecomer to the world of newsreaders, owing to my stubborn insistence that the old habit of obsessively clicking through my randomizing blogroll was enough for me; but lately I’ve realized how much time I’ve been wasting, clicking repeatedly on links to high-traffic weblogs, only to find that that they haven’t been updated since I last visited five minutes ago. I was dipping a virtual soup ladle into a rushing river of content, and now it was time to get a funnel. Or something.
I tried out three server-side newsreaders (not client-side, as I wanted something accessible from anywhere beyond my computer):
- Bloglines came well recommended, but the framed interface threw me off, as did all the links and tabs all over the place. I was also hoping for a single screen where I could read aggregated posts from all subscribed blogs in one place, but I saw no such function. (Update: Okay, Dan and Chris pointed me to the folder at the top of the blog list, which should show a full listing of all blogs. I guess the Bloglines devs thought it was perfectly obvious, but I sure didn’t see it. Where’s the “All Blogs” label?)
- Feedster appeared to have a much simpler, more direct UI, but all I ever saw when I logged in was “Unable to get the recently changed feeds for current user.” Nothing changed, no matter what I added.
- Finally, Kinja. I had originally dismissed Kinja offhand in my “I don’t need a newsreader” denial stage, but now it seems to be best suited to my aggregatory desires. The digest collects posts in reverse chronological order, giving them to me in a unified stream, and adding and removing weblogs is an easy one-click affair. My only major complaint is that something occasionally seems wrong with the timing logic: I frequently get “strafed” by weblog posts from the same source in quick succession, apparently displayed in the sequence that they were crawled rather than in actual chronological order. It’s a minor problem — except when someone in my digest posts two dozen weblog entries in the span of an hour or two.
I’m sure a lot of you out there have plenty of reasons to recommend one over the other, and I can see how Bloglines is useful to many, but I wanted a funnel, and not a filing cabinet, so Kinja it is for me. My digest.
(My apologies for all the mixed metaphors. Soup ladles, funnels, filing cabinets, and “strafing” all have very little to do with each other functionally, but hey, if the shoe fits…)