The Death of Google Reader

So, the net exploded yesterday with the news that Google Reader is shutting down. They say that usage has declined, but if other rss reader sites are being brought down by Google Reader refugees, how is “declining use” a justification for shutting down Google Reader? And then there’s this neat little bit of unintended consequences.

Here are my findings so far on my search for replacing Google Reader. My needs are simple: I want to be able to add rss feeds to my list as I find interesting ‘blogs and news sites; I want to organize my feeds as I see fit, and read them sequentially without having to fight the interface; I need to be able to read on my tablet and sync to the web.

Flipboard:
– image heavy “magazineish” layout
– cutesy glossy “flip” page conceit
+ reader feeds imported nicely
– have to drill down too far to get to rss feed folders
– scrolling long articles makes the text go wonky
– sometimes cuts off the end of articles
– don’t see any way to put a particular feed set (folder from reader) onto the main pages

Verdict: Yuck.

Currents:
– same image heavy magazine layout
– battery HOG
+ reader subscriptions are accessible
– – – – – but not in folders so I can’t find ANYTHING MY GOD WHY DO I HAVE SO MANY SUBSCRIPTIONS

Verdict: Yuck.

Taptu:
– ugh. Same weird image square layout; you can turn off the images but then you’ve got text cards that look just as stupid.
+/- Adding reader feeds isn’t hard, but there’s some extra steps that are a bit annoying.
– sometimes it’s difficult to tell what feed you’re looking at on the main page

Verdict: Yuck.

Feedly:
– all these apps are bleeding together, they look so alike
+ imported reader easily
– on the website you can change the views to titles only, NOT on the app.

Verdict: Meh.

NewsBlur:
+/- I have no idea; it’s getting pounded so hard I can’t do anything.
-/+ Pay service; I got in *right* before he yanked free trial accounts. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to test with a few feeds, but not until he quits getting hammered. I’m willing to pay for an app if it actually works for me.

Verdict: Undetermined.

NetVibes:
+ intuitive web interface
+ imported reader effortlessly
+ able to rearrange and view reader folders easily
+ you can use it as a launch page with widgets (switch between reader & widget views)
– (*1000) No android app (ETA: Netvibes does have a mobile site, which is ok, I guess, though I’d much rather have an actual app.

Verdict: I like it, and may use it – but I read my feeds 98.3% of the time on my tablet.

Conclusion: Life is full of woe and sadness. Unless NewsBlur really wows me, or one of the ones I’ve missed turns out better, then NetVibes it is. Yay?

ETA 3/16 11:47pm: Well, NewsBlur did it. I’m satisfied. Android app does what I need, and the web interface is perfect with options I didn’t even know I was missing.


Don't try this at home

I finished The Gathering Storm this weekend. It was absolutely fantastic. I was drawn completely in, down to gasping and whimpering as events unfolded. It was a major rush, and I can’t wait for the last two (for reals, yo) books to come out. Pure bliss.

Major kudos to Brandon Sanderson – he pulled it off beautifully.

In other news, I tried to electrocute myself last Wednesday. Took out half a wall and 3 computers in the lab at school – talk about embarrassing.

So, I was going to work on my project write up, using Pages, which means using my powerbook. The battery on the aging laptop doesn’t seem to hold a charge for more than an hour and a half, if that long, which means I needed to plug it in. There was an empty outlet, no problem. However, the desks and computers were wired such that the locking cable (twisted metal) to one of the computers was lying across the outlet. I pushed it aside, definitely out of the way, but there must have been more pressure on it than I figured and it popped back in the way as I was about to plug the cable in.

Pow.

Holeeecrap but that was some spark! There were a couple sparks that I just watched fall all the way to the floor before they went out.

Embarrassing.

Luckily, once the campus electrician dude found and threw the breaker, all was well. Outlet still worked, as did the computers. My power supply, however, is probably toast. I’m sure the cable is, at least, I’m not going to try it, but I’m not sure about the actual power supply. Maybe the Apple store has a way to test them, I don’t know. Still, at least my powerbook wasn’t plugged in yet, and, thankfully, neither was I. Eeesh.

Electricity is not necessarily your friend. :D

Next time, I’m just gonna suck it up and use notepad.

Eeep.

(click through for a more impressive size)


Opinions solicited: Netbooks

Ping ernunnos and gizka (and anyone else with an opinion):

So my PPC Powerbook is about to be maybe orphaned by Apple and I’m thinking that a netbook would really be all I need for school. I like having the computer with me, but dang it really adds a lot of weight to my backpack.

I think I remember you guys talking about getting netbooks at one point – how do you like them, and do you have any recommendations or warnings?


Wait, what?

Originally published at Jen’s Corner. You can comment here or there.

I do not understand the weirdness of my network connection. We’ve got two networks; the main one uses a linksys wireless router, hands out ip addresses, and is connected to the cable modem. It uses WPA encryption. The other uses a motorola wireless router, uses WEP encryption (gots to let the DS go online, you know!) and is connected to the linksys. This works perfectly! Computers plugged directly into either router have all the ‘net they want. Both DS handhelds connect fine, although I can’t be very far away from the router. This is odd, but I live with it for now. Both wireless laptops connect fine to either network from most areas in the house. No problem at all.

If I disable my wireless connection on my powerbook and connect directly to either router I can’t connect to the iTunes store OR Apple software update. All I get is a message saying there’s a network problem, and to run Network Diagnostics. I do that, and diagnostics says “Hey, your network connection is just fine! Have a great day!!” Connected wirelessly, I can get to the iTunes store and update the computer with no problems.

I’m baffled. I’m assuming that the router is blocking some sort of traffic between us and Apple, but I can’t imagine what, or why it would work when I’m connected to the same bloody network using wireless. I don’t know if Rob has the same problem on his powerbook.

Bizarre.