Monday, November 07, 2005

Some thoughts on aggregation

I have been a thinking about aggregation of late. In part because I have been working with Flickr and in part because I have been working with some people who are not overly tech savvy.

I am a big user of Bloglines. It is not necessarily that I find them any better than any other service, but they are web based and free. The web basis makes it easy for me to synch my reads between home & work. There are many feeds that I are techie enough that I may read them at work or at home.

Dave Winer has talked about the idea of a river of news. Instead of the email-ish UI where each feed shows if it has new items, all the new items are displayed in a way to show the stories directly. The Google Reader approximates this approach.

I find the Google reader pretty cool, and if they would use actual arrow keys for navigation it would be great. If you really want to rip through your unread entries in the order in which they were posted this is great.

However there are times I want to do both kinds of reading. At work I want to see my feeds and select individual feeds to read. At home I would prefer the river of news approach.

Feed Demon by Nick Bradbury can, or will be, able to handle both types of reading. I got Feed Demon 1.5 and it is an interesting piece of software. The problem is synching feeds between multiple computers. When version 1.6 comes out and it is integrated with NewsGator it will solve a big problem. I like that you can group your feeds, which would be nice so that I could group my techie feeds and, presumably, do the river of news with that group. It would even be better if the groups could at least note there is at least 1 new item to read. I may have some option setup wrong to get this though. Feed Demon is feature rich and if you are looking for a desktop reader and have some money to spend it is well worth it. Feed Demon works right now with NewsGator, but with 1.6 it will be one fee instead of 2.

The one thing I have not tried yet is off line reading in FeedDemon. This would be useful when I am on the road and need to snag my feeds where I am paying for connectivity by the hour.

Of course now that I have looked at it, NewsGator is free and offers some of the same features as BlogLines.

What else would I like to see? More scripting abilities to keep things open for future stuff. Many handle enclosures with no problem, some do not do auto downloads, some will not shot the enclosure to another program, etc.

No comments: