A Week with Bloglines

Bloglines I’ve now been using Bloglines almost exclusively for over a week, for my weblog checking and reading. For ages now I’ve been using this static bookmark page as my homepage and I’ve still been hitting the various sites directly to check for updates and read new posts. My original plan for the page (as the name suggests) was to pull feeds for the sites and have it be a single-stop, quick-glance page where I could see what’s new. Continual problems with feeds and scripts gave me more errors than I wanted, and sent me off on trouble-shooting goose chases. I eventually stripped the page down to a link page and quite enjoyed visiting each site on it’s own. The setup still wasn’t ideal, and I found myself missing occasional updates.

After a number of recommendations, I decided to give Bloglines a try. At first I was half-assed about it and would only occasionally check things through Bloglines. To give it a real effort, I converted my default homepages over to the Bloglines page, and decided to use it exclusively for a week. It’s been pretty nice. I like the simple left-pane interface, to browse through your sites, and read updates on the right. I never got used to viewing updates for a whole group at a time (multiple sites’ feeds listed all together), so I still viewed updates site by site. With everything in the same window, and the numbers of new updates listed next to each site link, I found it incredibly quick to browse and catch up on the latest happenings.

As I’ve written before, I think there’s something to be said for visiting the actual site, rather than viewing someone’s content through a third party window. I’ve been stubborn about it, and it was with some reluctance I finally tried Bloglines. During the week, I still found myself visiting some of the original sites just in case I missed something. It just didn’t feel right when I wasn’t reading it on the original site. Then there are some sites out there that don’t give you full access to feeds, so I still had to visit on my own. Or there are the sites that break out their link and post feeds separately, so I was checking two feeds in Bloglines for a single site.

I’m not sure whether I like the feed reader experience better than my old-fashioned habits, but after a week I did get used to things. It certainly is easier to add and organize sites in the Bloglines list, rather than a lousy hand-edited HTML file. I might continue this way for a while. Does anyone prefer a site other than Bloglines? The Safari RSS option was also mentioned, but I’m on a PC much of the day. Or maybe something like Sage for Firefox could do the trick. Firefox live bookmarks are neat, but don’t provide a good at-a-glance overview. What are your preferred methods for reading the web?

4 thoughts on “A Week with Bloglines

  1. Andrew Davis

    Sage is the way to go. You have your feed “bookmarks” in a leftside menu. Hit refresh and it checks to see if anyone has updated, and it bolds those and changes the icon next to it. Then click the name of the site you want to read, and it’ll list the headlines in another frame below. Select the headlines you want to read, or just click the title of the site in that frame, and it’ll load that webpage in your main window. (After install, just turn off the “render feeds in main window” option to get the website instead of a list of feeds.)

    Sage is basically glorfied bookmarks that notify you when it’s been updated. Seems like the perfect solution, instead of having a list of bookmarks that are posts (like the firefox reader default).

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  2. Jed

    Chris F. got me into bloglines when i was in japan. he also introduced me to firefox at the time, so the two together instantly caught my attention and i’ve been using them exclusively ever since. it’s a nice easy way to keep up on everyones blog.

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  3. lopolis Post author

    Sounds like Sage works just like Bloglines, but it’s tied to your browser rather than web-based (benefits and drawbacks). The only thing Bloglines doesn’t do is the option of loading the original web page in the main window.

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  4. Chris

    I also really like the keyboard shortcuts in Bloglines; I’ve gotten used to pressing s and j to just fly through many of my 300+ feeds. Haven’t used Sage myself, but if I can’t access the same list with the same state from many different machines, that kind of application is no good for me.

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