2013-04-23 22:16 - General
As mentioned, Google Reader is going away. I'm not as upset as I was at first. There are possible replacements out there. The question now is, which? Here's my opinion for likely candidates.
First, a quick overview of some of the things I consider important. Things that power important use cases to me, in Google Reader terms because that's what I'm used to.
- River of news. I want every feed's items to be mixed into one giant list, in some sensible order. I just keep tapping keys and getting new content. Ideally in something like Google Reader's "sort by magic" order, but that's probably going to die with Reader.
- Folders. Really, I want one folder. A small subset of my feeds are time sensitive. I need to read them first. I put them in a special folder, and read them when they're available.
- Strong keyboard shortcuts.
- A web site I can navigate to, from any machine.
- Very nice to have: a good Android client. Or a web view so good it works well from mobile. Feeds are a good way to fill a few idle minutes here and there.
I tried Feedly briefly a while ago. They're a quick disqualification; while they have the mobile clients, they have no "web site". Or, they do, but they block you from accessing it if you don't have their extension installed in your browser. And it's repugnant. I don't want crap overlaid on every page I ever visit. It's optional, but we're already down the wrong path. What's their business model? Ads, I think? Why won't they disappear soon?
The Old Reader
It might be a hot topic for some, but The Old Reader's first strike for me is federated login only. I don't want your service tied to another like that. They do some sort of crazy styled scroll bar, which is also invisible most of the time; I dislike those. They're not super fast. Keyboard shortcuts fair. Folders, which I got via OPML import, but I can't (immediately?) figure out how to move feeds in/out. Meh. Missing revenue source seems even worse than Feedly
Tiny Tiny RSS
One of the first open source tools I learned about was Tiny Tiny RSS. Rather than a hosted service, this is just a program which you host yourself. There is an android client; they want $2 for it but I think its sources are available, too.
I know there's Taptu (I want a feed reader, not a "magazine"). There's 1kpl.us which looks kinda nice, pleasingly minimal, but closed and disappear-y (where does the money come from, if any?). Rssminer has a nice simple design, but too few features I think. I'm coming pretty close to scraping the bottom of the barrel...
NewsBlur is real open source with a permissive license. It's second behind Feedly on ReplaceReader. It's apparently a labor of (mostly?) love by one guy. It didn't fare with the original announcement well, but he's caught up as far as I can tell. The interface is a little busy, but workable. It does river of news correctly, plus folders for when I need to escape that. Keyboard shortcuts aren't perfect, but close. And there's an android client (which is also open source). And a real revenue stream. Plus, some more unusual features; some seem useful.
I think I've made my decision. My early gut feeling seems to have been correct.