AlaaShaker's Weblog

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The Quest for RSS Readers

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RSS Feeds are a bless. Suddenly, I realized that I needed to subscribe in so many feeds that I needed a feed reader to show up notifications on my desktop once a feed is receive d ..

RSS FeedsI started with sidebars. They are great especially that my laptop has a 17″  wide-screen; you see, I’m not losing much space of my working area as you’ll do if you keep your sidebar docked! The best I’ve tried was Desktop Sidebar, also Google Desktop Sidebar was great, too. But eventually, I realized that I’m wasting that tiny space and resources to watch a clock, weather, to-do lists, performance meters and more, just to fill up the space next to the RSS Feed Reader gadget.

In search for notifications, the next thing was desktop applications like Feed Demon and KilpFolio. I wasn’t that comfortable using Feed Demon even though it’s a good one, and I liked KipFolio more honestly. Even though, KlipFolio doesn’t import/export your subscriptions as Feed Demon does, but the application is easy to use, light, its shape incredibly customizable and suits my windows skin. It provides nice notifications on the corner of your desktop whenever there is an update. But I started to realize, some items aren’t marked as read correctly, so I get many redundant feeds as unread every time I shutdown Windows. I still think you owe this one a shot!

At last, I decided to settle for Google Reader!Google Reader
It seems so far the best choice, except for the notifications thing – as long as I don’t have it open, I won’t know of any new feeds. But I guess I can live with that. There are few other merits: The subscriptions (categories) pane on the left, sharing feeds with friends and adding notes to them, as well as importing/exporting your subscriptions.

Enhancing your Google Reader experience:

  • Need a desktop notifier? Try Google Reader Notifier for Windows, a system-tray-based application that alerts you when you have unread items in Google Reader.
  • For Firefox fans: Try Google Reader Notifier Firefox Extension! It does the same thing but inside Firefox.
  • Also, for Firefox fans: Add Google Reader Sidebar.
  • Again, for FireFox fans: Upgrade to Better GReader.
  • Smart Subscribe Bookmark: Bookmark this link in your bookmarks toolbar, simply open any blog or website that has an RSS feed and click it, it will add that subscription automatically for you.
  • Don’t like web-based? Download GoogleAir; a free, open-source Adobe AIR application, that brings Google Reader to your desktop in a Mac OS theme. It lacks the key-board shortcuts, yet that should be included in their next version.
  • Shortcuts:
    • j/k = next/previous item
    • m = mark-as-read/unread
    • g + h = Go Home
    • g + a = Go to All Items
    • g + u = Brings up a list of all Subscriptions
    • ? = Brings up a screen with all shortcuts …
  • Embed Google Reader into GMail: Use GreaseMonkey in Firefox to embed Google Reader into GMail using some script.
  • Suggestion: In Google Reader, go to Settings > Preferences > Scroll Tracking : Uncheck “In expanded view, mark items as read when you scroll past them.” then all you need to do is to mark the item “as read” after you’re done with it (if you don’t do this, every post you accidentally scroll by is marked as read – you’ll miss much!)

Written by AlaaShaker

May 16, 2008 at 3:39 am

Posted in Technology

Tagged with , ,

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