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from my feed reader

Just mini-reviews of sites that I read. Who knows, you might like them too…

Written By: Gary on July 10, 2013 No Comment

So Google retired Google Reader on July 1st, I still can’t believe this. They announced it until March but it took me until the last minute to switch, because I really didn’t want to. I did export my data from Google Takeout which you can still do until July 15th, so go get your data! But I’m really glad that I tried Feedly in advance because they didn’t even need my exported data, they just sucked it out of Google Reader and I was ready to go.

feedlylogo.jpgFeedly works an awful lot like Google Reader, it stores my items in categories/folders and they make it really easy to navigate from folder to folder. What is REALLY nice about the folders/categories is you can configure the look and it remembers it for just that folder/category. So if that folder has photo blogs or cartoons, I can configure it to show me the whole thing. If it’s just a news folder, I can show all the headlines. Regardless of how you configure it, it remember it the night time you’re in that category.

Here’s the three reading modes:

Feedly Title Text View
Feedly Title Text View.
You would see more text if you window was wider, but I wanted to show the date.

magazine-view.jpg
Feedly Magazine View.
You’d see much more text if your window is wider.

Feedly Cards View
Feedly Cards View.
You’d get three columns of these in full screen and it appears a little larger, I had to shrink it 20% to make it fit my column width.

They actually have a full feed mode (which I wasn’t going to put above), which is how I used it in Google Reader, but I like these other modes much better!

Plus, it’s super fast. I think it’s great. I don’t like that it always starts in the “All” folder, I’d rather it start in my first folder with unread items. The only other suggestion is that if I’m in a folder with a hundred items and I’ve only read halfway down, I’d like a way to mark everything from there and up as read.

It integrates with multiple apps (and they have their own Feedly Reader). Reeder is my favorite iPhone RSS reader (which is temporarily free, so go get Reeder). They haven’t updated the iPad Reeder yet, but the iPhone app is just as good and works great in 2x more.

So I give it two thumbs up. Regardless of what you want to use, you only have five days to get your data out of Google Reader so go do it!

Written By: Gary on March 13, 2013 One Comment

Seriously, Google is retiring Google Reader? I feel like they’re trying to get into every corner of the internet and they’re giving this up? I thought they had the market on this, maybe I wrong and there is something better. But many many feed readers (clients) support this program and they’re giving it up…

Am I expressing my disbelief enough? I’m not even sure what I’d chose as an alternative. I think bloglines is still around (wasn’t it supposed to go away?) but do they support third party APIs? I need to do it on the desktop via the web (and/or a client) and I need to also be able to do it on my iPhone and iPad while keeping all the feeds synced so that I’m not rereading them.

retire-reader.png

I gotta tell you, personally, I think this is going to affect me more than if I heard that gmail would be shut down. I can get and set up and support other e-mail accounts, there are standards there, I don’t think there are standards for syncing feeds and unread feed data, is there? It’s not the only service Google is shutting down.

That said: I’m clearly looking for suggestions for a feed reader that I can use on the web and have client software (apps) on my iDevices that will keep them all in sync. To be clear, I need the feeds themselves to sync but then items I read need to be marked as read on all devices. And I’ve got to figure it out before July 1, 2013!

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Written By: Gary on May 9, 2012 No Comment

I love learning. I also like talking (sharing) about things that (I hope) other people are interested in. Today xkcd talks about how many people each day learn something that everybody knows.

Ten Thousand

At their site, if you hover your mouse over the comic you always get an extra thought/punchline/jab. Today’s extra was “Saying 'what kind of an idiot doesn't know about the Yellowstone supervolcano' is so much more boring than telling someone about the Yellowstone supervolcano for the first time.”

xkcd is an excellent comic that talks about life, love, tech, math, science and more. Sometimes it’s just a few frames, sometimes it’s dozens. Sometimes it’s really tall and you have to scroll and once in a while it’s got a little bit of color in it. Sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it’s serious.

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Written By: Gary on March 15, 2012 No Comment

I don’t like sitting at the computer all the time, so why do I do it? Because that’s where all the information is at! With KindleFeeder.com I get my information sent wirelessly to my Kindle (I have the Kindle Keyboard 3G) automatically twice a day and I can read it anywhere! It’s in a magazine format that makes it really easy to navigate around. It looks pretty good on the iPhone and iPad Kindle readers too, not exactly the same format but still very easy to navigate.

So I’ve got 38 FULL feeds that I removed from my Google Reader: kindlefeeder.gifNYT, BBC, Economist categories I like (science, tech, most e-mailed), a few other (long post) blogs, some finance (Get Rich Slowly and The Simple Dollar), and a few learning Spanish sites (that I’ve never read before). Then I added a dozen feeds that were popular at KindleFeeder. I took those feeds were on my Google Reader and I put them in a KindleFeeder category, so I’ll know that I don’t really need to look in there for those articles (unless looking for something particular) and eventually I deleted them. These are my longest, most interesting blog sites (that aren’t very colorful) that I can read on the go, very comfortably, even in the sun.

Bottom line: I think KindleFeeder.com is well worth the $20 a year! Convenience and time is everything. So try it out!

You can generate some sample issues (10 feeds with up to 512 MB of images) without paying anything to try it out (but you need to try it for a few days in a row, it’s a little overwhelming the first time you run it on a few sites since you get everything).

Kindle Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6Warning! The downside is that it doesn’t work easily on the newer (late 2011) B&W Kindles unless you transfer the files via USB (super inconvenient, IMHO). You can read the articles fine, but it’s not in the easy to use navigation.

Geeky stuff you really don’t need to know: I was worried about the number of images (4 MB max per delivery), but the first time you add a feed it adds all the past articles, once you’re past that (issue) I think it’ll be okay; some feeds only update a few times a week, but they’ve still got a history. Two feeds each had a history of 20 items were both each over 3.5 megabytes, so they looked bad the first time, with twice daily deliveries it’s rare I miss an image; I put the few sites that I don’t care about images last, so if any turn up missing, it’s those.

It has a clips feature that will let me easily mark something on the web (via the Kindle) to save it and thenI can delete that “issue” from my Kindle, so that’s good (but I don’t know if I can “un-clip” them later). From the Kindle (if you’re a paying subscriber) you can even request the delivery of another issue at any time (and if you have a 3G model, you can pull it down free over the 3G network).

Written By: Gary on July 29, 2011 No Comment

I started reading FreakAngels a few months ago, I thought Neil Gaiman mentioned it somewhere (but at this point I can’t find the reference), and if Neil mentions it, I’ve at least got to take a look at it. It’s a good series, it’s from the UK and feels like it. Lots of pages with just artwork, no people and no dialog, and it’s not just that the artwork is great (it is great!) but the pictures tell a story to. It makes me want more, so I’m always left wanting. Freakangels, Vol. 1 Warren Ellis

The whole series, all five volumes (so far) is on line, they release about six pages a week on Friday (about every 3 or 4 weeks it seems like they skip a week) and you can read the whole series from the beginning on-line. I found it a when I was home sick for a few days in a row and read most of it. Just make sure you read Freak Angels from the beginning, if you just go to the main site http://www.freakangels.com/ you start with this weeks’s story.

It’s the story of a bunch of kids, born at the same time on the same day and they’re “connected” but it’s more of a (present day?) post-apocalyptical society where they are trying to make things better; they have abilities / powers to help, but that’s not the only ways they help (they’ve takes a group of regular people to take care of and defend). It’s more complicated than that, but I don’t want to give anything away (there are a few flashbacks and I don’t want to speak out of order).

Sidebar: Reading this series made me think the UK series Misfits, they’re very different story-lines, but the buildings and the accents made me go back and watch both seasons of that series again (they only do six episodes a season).

Freakangels Volume 1 Hardcover Warren Ellis, Paul DuffieldBut I’ve liked the series and sometimes Friday mornings it’s the first thing that I do, see this week’s episode, I’m pretty bummed when it turns out to be a skip week.

They’re winding the last story down, I’m not sure if there is only a week left or only a week left in this volume (I’m going to guess former). I have so many books, I wish there was a universal way of buying these digitally that would always be forward compatible. I think I’ll buy one of the shirts (I just never wear t-shits very often, but it’s the same ones some of the characters wear) or just see if there is a donate button.

I did order a graphic novel that one of the artists colorists did called “Fish and Chocolate” by Kate Brown, I’m enjoying that story so far; I’m savoring it slowly since it was pretty pricey shipped from the UK and was self-published.

So it’s an interesting story, but it’s post-disaster, it’s not a happy-go-lucky story, but there is a nice moment or two. The characters are interesting, but sometimes I got them confused with each other. Otherwise, it’s one of the better graphic novels I’ve read in a long time.

Written By: Gary on November 5, 2010 No Comment

So I guess I shouldn’t complain about life too much. Things could certainly be worse.

indexed-card2732-380x228.jpg

Although, that’s not really true, one of the things I learned from volunteering at the shelter (and/or the crisis hotline) is that if you’ve got problems, it doesn’t matter if someone else has it worse, they’re still your problems (and you’ve got to work them out). Although, sometimes, diagrams like the above sometimes help to put them into perspective…Indexed Jessica Hagy

Jessica Nagy does these great diagrams on index cards on a great site called “Indexed” and she’s got a book or two (or three) out with similar types of content.

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Written By: Gary on May 12, 2009 One Comment

I got way overwhelmed with my RSS feeds, I’ve got gobs of them (almost 300). Many of those feeds don’t get updated more that once a month (if ever) so they really don’t impact the list, but a dozen or so update 2-4 times a day. Plus, I recently added everyone coming to WordCamp Chicago (list of attendees) another 100 or so feeds; I’ll prune that down later.

I’ve been over a 1000+ unread items for ages and even when it gets back to 700-800 it just jumps back up! Lately , no matter what I do, I can’t even get it under 1000, so I cleared out all my posts. And started over…

THey really need a way to click a button to ‘mark all posts older than __ days as read’ and that would help with when it gets full.

Hopefully I’ll do better catching up in the future.

I’ve got the feeds syncing with my iPod Touch (but if I’m not of WiFi there are no images, which makes some feeds useless) so maybe that will help. I use Doppler (you can try Doppler Lite for free).

I’m really looking for an off-line Google Reader the includes the images for off-line viewing, any tips? Other than storage space, once you’ve written the reader the image caching doesn’t seem too hard, but it still eludes me….

Written By: Gary on November 25, 2008 No Comment

So one of the many sites I read is the Costa Rica Blogger. It’s humorous, has great tips and interesting reads. In particular, today I read a post titled Legal Ages in Costa Rica which lets you know the legal age is for drinking alcohol, buying cigarettes, etc. And related to that he talks about the issue of him trying to get his son into see the latest Batman movie.

In general it’s a blog about Costa Rica covering all sorts of useful information and humorous anecdotes. For example recently they’ve talked about pricing for a dental cleaning, trips to the national park, cost of living and more…

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Written By: Gary on October 30, 2008 One Comment

Thisisindexed-Card1882-380X228I usually enjoy Indexed, a site where Jessica creates simple Venn diagrams or graphs that are humorous and/or have double meanings.

Today’s was funny so I thought it was a good time to add them to my From My Feed Reader list (while slightly sticking to my list my political sites first theme).

She’s also released a book called Indexed with new “cards” and best of material in it.

Written By: Gary on October 29, 2008 No Comment

One of the oldest blogs and most political blogs I read is Dean’s World. Their tag line is “Defending the liberal tradition in history, science, and philosophy.” Lots of authors for posts so lots of different viewpoints are shown. They cover topics ranging from politics (mostly) to humor to Battlestar Galactica (and have an open comment post once a weekend where you can talk about anything).

I’m not very political so many times I don’t know what they’re talking about but that doesn’t stop me from coming back. But if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth checking out.

When I say “oldest blog” I mean they are one of the blogs I’ve been reading for the longest time. I’m not sure how I first found them – from a national story or something more local (Dean is in South-East Michigan). Check out some of the many times I’ve mentioned Dean’s World in my blog.

Unfortunately, you do have to register to comment, but they do make it pretty painless and it does count out a lot of the junk.

Written By: Gary on October 24, 2008 One Comment

So I keep meaning to share what blogs I’ve been reading (187 different ones are in my feed reader as of today), this will be my first of my new category called From My Feed Reader.

I’m starting with Feministing because I’ve been enjoying their election political commentary and since it’s election time I thought I should start with them (instead of saving them for later). While it’s a lot more political than I am, I enjoy listening to many of their opinions (it’s a multi-person authored blog).
feministing

Young women are rarely given the opportunity to speak on their own behalf on issues that affect their lives and futures. Feministing provides a platform for us to comment, analyze, influence and connect.
- from the Feministing Mission Statement

In addition to their main blog. they have:

  • A FaceBook group that you can be a fan of,
  • A variety of YouTube videos,
  • and a MySpace group page.If you already read it or it turns out you like it, leave a comment to try and encourage some others to try it (notice that I didn’t ask for comments if you don’t like it).

    And since it’s the season, I’ll probably choose my few other more political blogs to post over the next week; but only one other comes to mind (remember, I’m not that politically active).

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