RSS – The Devil IS in the details

I’ve been on a bit of a marathon reading session as in a hotel in London and can’t sleep (it’s 04:04AM) and have some time til breakfast to jot down a few thoughts on RSS since it has been bugging me lately.

In essence I have too many subscriptions to realistically be able to read them all unless I spent several hours every day doing it and there are some days (weekends) when none get read so they pile up.

I tried a similar technique to the Inbox Zero stuff I use for mail so I have Daily, VoIP Stuff, People, Mac Stuff and a few I haven’t filed yet, however that just breaks it down and doesn’t really help, apart from forcing me to try and keep Daily down to 0 as much as possible which I pretty much can do, idle is still sitting at 3426 unread so I guess it’s working out as planned (which is this contains stuff I’ll read when idle)

Getting NetNewsWire has helped as it really is a good client, not massively more so than the excellent Onfolio I was using before in pre Mac days but that ran like a dog (most likely because it was on a rubbish laptop with an even more rubbish build) but in terms of usability both are great, NNW has the advantage it runs on MAC OS X of course and it has good tools for posting too (as long as you pay for that too)

I recently installed the NewsGator Desktop Sync client as it allows me to sync my feeds from MAC OS X into my XP under Parallels environment and more specifically the RSS platform there, so I can read them in IE7 or Outlook 2007 beta TR2 – why? because I’m not 100% happy with NNW so I figured I’d give it a go, I’ve tried most and nothing does it for me so far, and only because of the offline support, I was hoping they’d be full feed items in Outlook but I still get the ‘click here to download the article and any enclosures’ so no better sadly, however I just realised I hadn’t fully checked out Outlook options and there is one that says download full article as html, need to get online to be able to check that now! however it seems to be a per feed item which is a real pain as I have a lot to get through if I want them all, where’s the change all button?)

That’s the ONE thing that does bug the hell out of me though is that I read a LOT of RSS offline, like now, and I WANT all the pictures to be available, when I am connected it’s on a big fat pipe so I don’t care, I have plenty of space so I don’t care, it’s really frustrating to have lots of posts saying “in this photo you can see……” and only getting a ? mark to gawk at… (yes I have played with the download options, I can get enclosures to download no problem but I don’t really want them, I just want pictures!!)

The other thing that bugs me is feeds that just have excerpts rather than full text, as you can guess reading offline means they are useless unless I want to click to load in Firefox and wait til I get to a connection and refresh a whole bunch of pages/tabs (After a good session catching up I’ll have a bunch of unloaded pages in Firefox so I tend to Bookmark All Tabs into a new group and reload Firefox)

So I’m deleting any feed that isn’t full text as I can do without offloading reading to a later time AND somewhere else, means I’ll miss some stories I’m sure but not the end of the world after all

I’m also narrowing the number of varieties of blogs I read, I can actually let other people aggregate for me and there are several that do, I also need to start using keyword alerts and search better I think because pan-handling RSS feeds for the occasional nugget is getting tiresome and a pain in the …..

And there are probably a ton of tips and better readers etc but I haven’t had the time to find them, too busy reading RSS :-p oh and breakfast has started…

Maybe another post later on what I’d like to see fixed !


3 comments so far

  1. Ronnie Gilbertson on

    “…where’s the change all button?”

    NewsGator Inbox | Options | Subscription Settings | “Retrieve and display web page”

    If you have further questions shoot me an email

    NewsGator Support

  2. […] Ironically I was reading this on a plane today and it made me smile as on planes and trains I have my most productive times too, still want to be able to do more offline but this post by Alec made me think that at what point do you cross over the distraction rift and end up being less productive again !? […]

  3. theo on

    I have gone through a similar experience – can’t find anything that caches images in rss feeds for offline viewing. Let us know if you find a solution!

    I still haven’t found anything to date but am always on the look out, I had a reply from a tech support department to say I should load each page in my browser and then read offline, how crap is that !

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