Bloglines

I’ve started to become consumed by RSS feeds. What are RSS feeds? Basically, they are sources of content from the web, stripped down to the bare essential information and formatted in a (mostly) standardized way. Software is available to read and organize the feeds.I started reading three or four feeds several months ago, mostly news sites that I noticed were publishing RSS feeds. Then a number of personal friends started publishing weblogs (“blogs” for short) along with RSS feeds. In order to monitor when new entries on their blogs were posted, I began the search for a decent RSS feed reader.I played around with AmphetaDesk on the PC, NetNewsWire on Mac OS X, the RSS Reader (now Sage) for Mozilla, Feedster on the web. Each one had their pros and cons. AmphetaDesk was out of date when I discovered it and couldn’t read many of the feeds based on newer standards. I could only use NetNewsWire on my Macs at home. Not only that, but I had to synchronize the list of RSS feeds I liked to read between the desktop computer and the laptop. The RSS Reader was a nicely intuitive plug-in that I used on the PC, but again I had to manually keep my RSS subscriptions in sync between all of the computers I used. I decided that I needed to find a web-based solution so that the list of RSS feeds was available from any computer I accessed. I started to use Feedster only because it was used for the RSS feed search integrated into the RSS Reader plug-in. The features were fairly lacking, however, so I continued to search.Then I found Bloglines a few months ago and I haven’t looked back. It’s much more intuitive than Feedster and has many more features. Best of all, it’s free as well as ad-free. Not only does it allow you to read and manage RSS subscriptions, you can save entries from the RSS feeds into what amounts to a scrapbook (for private use or you can even publish the clippings as your own blog) and you can turn e-mail subscriptions into RSS subscriptions by using custom-made bloglines e-mail addresses (though I have to admit I haven’t figured out how to do this yet).My only regret is that I’ve subscribed to so many feeds that I spend too much of my already scarce free time skimming over them and it’s hard to keep up with all of the them. There are a few that I make sure I read frequently, while there are others that I should probably unsubscribe from because I haven’t read them in several weeks. My current subscription list, called a blogroll, is available here if you are curious.

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