Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Will No One Rid Me of this Troublesome RSS?

I've been using the Safari browser's RSS functions to keep track of my news feeds. It's unconscionably simple:

  1. You drag your news feeds' URLs onto the "News" folder in the toolbar.
  2. To read, click on "News", then "Open in Tabs"
  3. Wham! A forest of tabs opens, one for each feed. Items are color-coded by recency and whether you've viewed them; the length of summary displayed is adjustable.
  4. Peruse each tab. If, like me, you have a mouse button wired to "Open Link in New Tab", you smack it on every header that looks worth pursuing.
  5. When you're done with all the feeds, you're left with a set of browser tabs, one for each story that looked interesting.

So far, I have found nothing else that approaches this level of sheer usability. I have looked at BlogLines for Web-based aggregation, SharpReader, Thunderbird...Safari beats 'em all, IMHO. But unfortunately, I work on plenty of Athlon boxes too, running Windows and Linux. So a Web-based aggregator would be perfect; next best would be a multiplatform browser whose bookmarks live on a Web service, like Flock. Unfortunately, so far Flock's RSS reader is nowhere near as nice, and in fact crashes frequently for me. (In fairness, it's alpha software.)

I'd sure love to hear about something better. I don't have time to write it, that's for sure.

Safari 2.0 displaying RSS newsfeeds.


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