I have toyed periodically with various ways of monitoring RSS feeds and bringing them to my desktop. Nothing I’ve used has felt quite “right”, and like PDAs I’ve ultimately ended up relegating several “almost but not quite” solutions to the junk bin. I’m feeling tempted to try again.
For folks who don’t know, what RSS does (major simplification time here) is provide a way of “watching” changes to a website site without actually having to go there with a web browser and read it. With an RSS feed reader does is allow you to bring several RSS feeds that you are interested in together in a way that suits your preferences. This means you can keep an eye on several (perhaps dozens) of websites, being alerted of changes to them, see summaries of what has changed…all without actually having to spend the time of navigating there with your browser several times a day/week/what have you.
I’ve used built in tools in FireFox and IE7 to perform this aggregation task, but they don’t really do much in terms of organizing and alerting me. I’ve tried a couple of other dedicated feed reader tools the names of which I’ve forgotten. The only one I’ve used that almost made it’s way into a daily use tool was FeedDemon. I even paid for a license for the thing. I believe what pushed it off my desktop was that I ended up subscribed to too many RSS feeds that were too active. I was getting 200-600 updates a day, and it started taking a substantial amount of time (2+ hours a day) to scan through the headings and read the things that interested me. It was fun, but too time consuming…a victim of its own success, I guess.
Now my friend Chris has a blog that has an RSS feed. He updates irregularly like I do, but I don’t want to miss what he has to say if I can avoid it. Maybe I could still use FeedDemon and only subscribe to a few less-commonly-updated RSS feeds? Or maybe there is a feed reader that does a better job of filtering or organizing things, so that I don’t end up feeling the need to read *everything*?
Or maybe I could teach myself to be happy with marking the 600 updates that appear from my subscribed lists as “read” and not feeling like I could be missing something terribly important by doing so? Nah…I am just enough of a borderline compulsive that I doubt that is possible 🙂