Yikes! My last post was August 3rd! My only excuse is that there is a certain product we have been working on around here that has been chewing up a “little bit“ of my time. I actually haven’t been finding the time to READ blogs, let alone write them. Anyway, now that things are winding down around here I’m starting to catch up on things I’ve been putting off.
I’m really impressed with the Bloglines news aggregator, it works very well for my blog reading style and I think I will write a series of entries to go over what I think are some of it’s strong points. If you haven’t checked it out I highly encourage you to take it for a spin. If you are already addicted to another news reader I think you will find Bloglines to be very complementary.
At the moment, I’m reading through 513 blog entries on the Scobleizer blog going all the way back to August 1st (where does that guy find the time!). Obviously, I’m not going to be able to read them all carefully or follow the links, but there are at least a few I want to look at more carefully. If you have used Bloglines for awhile, you will know that has not always given you the ability to mark only certain blog entries as “read“. It used to be that just selecting a particular feed would automatically mark all of the items in it as read and if you really didn’t want them to be marked as read you would have to use this “session“ option to go back in time. It was really awkward and if you accidentally selected a feed that you didn’t want to read or had too much content for you to read at one sitting. It just didn’t work very well.
Fortunately, while I was on hiatus from the Blogshpere, the folks at Bloglines came up with a solution to that problem which works very nicely I think. They have added a little “Keep New” checkbox to each blog entry. When you select it, that entry will show up the next time you return to read a particular feed along with what ever new content may have appeared.
Depending on what your blog reading habits are like you might hate this or love it. Unlike reading my email, there are far more blog entries on a given feed that I am NOT interested in reading than there ones I am interested in. So the whole concept of marking everything as “read” with a single click works better for me in this case. I’m about half way through those 513 entries I mentioned earlier and so far I’ve marked 12 items to keep as new. Tomorrow, or the next day, (or next year <g>) when I come back to the same feed those items will be in the list again for me to revisit. This of course is completely opposite of what I would want for my email. I couldn’t have all my messages getting marked as read just by selecting my Inbox folder! In that case, selecting the individual message to read make more sense.
I’ve used a couple of other aggregators that work the way Outlook and most other email readers work, where things get marked as read one by one as you select them and I found that just doesn’t work for me with blogs. I really like having all 513 blog entries show up at once and being able to very quickly scroll through them without any refreshing or reloading needing to occur. It’s even possible to have each entry collapsed by default for the those feeds where there is REALLY alot of content (like http://weblog.asp.net)
My “wish list” suggestion for the Bloglines folks would be to add some way to mark a group of entries (but not all) for “Keep New”. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to be easy to pull off given the limitations of the browser based UI.
I’m excited to see this product evolving and improving!