Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Faughnan-Lagace Herald: RSS Feeds and Bloglines changes the line-up

Faughnan-Lagace Herald: Local and International News

I've maintained a family news page for over five years. It's the main newspaper for my wife and I. The BBC has remained at the top left for years, even when their Afghanistan/Iraq coverage made me grit my teeth. [1]. The New York Times has kept pride of place, while a few others have come and gone -- sometimes to return again. Turnover has been low -- maybe an item every few months.

Until now.

Bloglines is a web RSS client. It's not as fast or as elegant as NetNewsWire (OS X), but it's accessible from any machine anywhere. It keeps data on feeds I subscribe to (blogs I read, etc) on the net where it belongs; and it updates my site-specific history in the same place. It's a near-perfect solution [3] -- even though I fear its exploding popularity is degrading performance. (Time for Google to acquire them and make the founders happy?)

Blogines, using RSS feeds, is changing the way I use the net. There are about 82 subscriptions in my subscription list, covering hundreds of articles a day. I scan a read a subset of them, and I do it quickly. It's taken my data acquisition/monitoring capabilities up a notch. I'm finding almost everything I read on the net now has an RSS feed -- even though they don't advertise it. [2]

Many of the sites I would read intermittently have moved off our news page, the Faughnan-Lagace Herald, onto my (publicly accessible) bloglines page. Sites I always read thoroughly (BBC, NY Times, Washington Post, Salon, Slate, Slashdot, Macintouch, etc) are staying on the FL Page, but other sites that I'd often visit but then exit are moving to blogines. A few more magazine-like sites (BYTE, now much improved, Shutterbug, etc) are moving in.

I'm picking up the rhythm of this. I can get my data-fix more efficiently, and explore other heftier forms of learning. The Blogines implementation of an RSS client is providing Tivo-like control over my news/info monitoring process. The FL-Herald remains very useful to me, but it's nature is changing. It's not going away, but the lighther weight stuff has moved to Bloglines.
[1] I thought Bush did a poor job waging war in Afghanistan and a much worse job waging war in Iraq, but even so some of the BBC coverage was pretty hard to take.

[2] Go to Bloglines, enter the site URL in the subscription box. Most of the time an RSS feed displays.

[3] Why don't they allow me to define an automatic alpha sort?!

[4] What else is new? SmugMug lets me email images to them and offers a quick way to embed them in blogs. I think I might use that feature!

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