I read a lot of blogs every day so for me, until recently, that meant going to each of websites and looking at the entire site to get the latest news. I knew that most blogs have RSS/XML/Atom feeds (including this blog) but didn’t think much about using them until I realized that I was spending too much time going to sites to check for updates and then not finding anything. So I began looking for the right tool to keep track of my reading.
First I tried to roll my own webpage with RSS Digest. It let me put the content in the format that I wanted, but it was a pain to set up each site in a webpage.
Next, I decided to try to use a dedicated program. First I tried FeedDemon which is usually in the number one spot on any list of RSS aggregators. It seems like it is a good reader if you want to monitor hundreds of feeds, which is a little more that I read. The setup was a little complex as well. It also is not a free solution which puts it right out of my budget.
So, I tried the first first free reader in the standard lists, FeedReader. It was much simpler to set up. However, I didn’t like using the built in browser and the popup messages were kind of annoying as well. I also didn’t like the fact that it was only a solution if I was booted into my Windows partition on my laptop. In public places (such as libraries) or using Portable Firefox off my USB thumb drive on other peoples’ computers I would not have access to the latest headlines.
Finally, I decided to use BlogLines, a web based aggregator. It fit my budget (free) and is accessible everywhere I can get to the web. There is also a Firefox plugin that lets you add new feeds by clicking on a button in the status bar and shows you when there are new posts to read. A great solution for the multi-platform, mobile blog reader.