The blogging world has been different since March 14, when Google announced that they were going to retire Google Reader on July 1st. In that post, Google claims that usage has declined since the service was released in 2005. The general idea, apparently, is that people are using social media, Twitter and Facebook in particular, to track blogs instead, making RSS readers the equivalent of a last-generation console, thus the death of Google Reader.
As a blogger who relies heavily on RSS feeds to organize her information output, I was a bit blindsided by the announcement. My response? Ignore it until the last week of June. I jumped ship yesterday, but today’s the last day. With that in mind, I thought I’d share the system I’m now working with and highlight some other alternatives now that Google Reader is dead.
I never used Google Reader directly; rather, I used it as a way to sync between NetNewsWire, my desktop RSS reader, and Byline, my iOS RSS reader, using Pocket to tag anything I needed to check back at my desk. (NetNewsWire used to have an iPhone app, but it vanished from the US App Store before I set up shop.) I set up that a little before I traveled to Ireland in 2011, because the idea of facing two weeks’ worth of backlog on NetNewsWire was more than I could bear. Being able to sync between my computer and my phone allows me to manage information in bite-sized portions. It’s absolutely crucial to not only the life processes of this blog, but also the way I interact with the online world.
Thus, my greatest concern in finding an alternative was finding something that could sync. Since I was happy with NetNewsWire and Byline, I decided to wait until both responded to the impending death of Google Reader. NetNewsWire 4 entered open beta this week; the completed NetNewsWire 4 of the (hopefully) near future will not only boast syncing, it’ll also cost twenty bucks. Meanwhile, Byline updated on Thursday to sync with Feedly instead of Google Reader.
While I hemmed and hawed doing research yesterday morning, I ultimately decided to go with Feedly. The service is welcoming former Google Reader users with open arms: there’s literally a button on the website that gets you set-up with a single click. This does mean that you need to give Feedly access to your Google account. You don’t get a separate Feedly account, it’s all through Google. That’s not a problem for me, but since you can only delete your Feedly “account” by e-mailing staff, I think it’s best to know beforehand.
While Feedly is a web app instead of a desktop app, my feeds do need to be in the cloud to some capacity for syncing to occur. Still, I did turn Feedly into a desktop “app” (it’s really a dedicated browser) using the incredibly useful Fluid. This app is Mac-only; Mozilla’s now defunct Prism served the same purpose for the Windows, and I am told that you can create something similar with Google Chrome. While you do need to go to Preferences > Advanced and select “Allow browsing to any URL” to log in while using the Fluid instance, turning that off right after allows you to open links to articles directly in your browser of choice. If I upgraded Fluid, I’m sure there’s a userscript out there that could get the little unread articles badge on my dock.
While Byline now supports Feedly, I thought I might as well go for the prettier Feedly iOS app (even if I did pay for Byline). I’m still trying to find my sweet spot in terms of swiping, but it works, and that’s the important part.
I do recommend switching to Feedly, because it’s painless, well-designed, and comes with its own dedicated iOS and Android mobile apps. And it’s free. I don’t do anything more robust than reading my RSS feeds, so I don’t have terribly specific needs when it comes to my RSS reader. Other free web options include Digg Reader, AOL Reader, Newsvibe, and the Old Reader. This Techspot article covers some paid options. But don’t take too long to jump ship—your deadline is midnight, my little blogging Cinderellas.
I got my ticket for Denver this week. I still can’t believe that I’m actually going to go to the Denver Publishing Institute, in both good and bad ways. In the next week and a half, I will read and review up a storm, so programming will be uninterrupted here on the blog. We’ll see how that goes!
This week’s links:
- Yarisal and Kublitz’s Anger Release Machine is a fascinating piece of modern art.
- Metamorphosis is a short film based on the myth of Actaeon starring Anna Friel and Ed Speleers. I love the detail of Artemis eating Actaeon after turning him into a stag.
- This fanmade poster for Casino Royale reminds me of this poster for Licence to Kill. Since Timothy Dalton’s Bond essentially fathered Daniel Craig’s, I love that.
- An Ancient Egyptian statue in the Manchester Museum slowly rotates over the course of a day, and nobody knows why. Spooky.
- Johnny Depp’s comments about playing Tonto in The Lone Ranger convince me even further how horrible it’s going to be, race-wise. Ugh.
- To combat this, I give you Bass Reeves, one of the first African-American Deputy US Marshals in the West. He is supposedly an inspiration for the Lone Ranger, but that might be wishful thinking.
- The Learned Fangirls, Vivian Obarki and Keidra Chaney, discuss race, desire, and fanfiction.
- A discussion about Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” (BOO!) directed me to Jill Sobule’s “I Kissed a Girl“, a sweet ditty from the mid-nineties about kissing a girl for real. The music video is cute, too, with the ladies imagining themselves as princess and knight, then mermaid and scuba diver. Lesbian mermaids! My one weakness!
- Rose at Autostraddle tackles queerbaiting on television.
- A band of teenage ne’er-do-wells push over the largest LEGO helicopter ever assembled, shattering it into thousands and thousands of bricks. This is why we can’t have nice things.
- Here’s a recipe for dry shampoo.
- “Dance Apocalyptic” is the second single from Janelle Monáe’s The Electric Lady, due out in September. She can do no wrong.
- Phaedra Starling’s “Schrödinger’s Rapist” is an amazing and necessary read, especially for menfolk.
- This time lapse of Brick Artist Nathan Sawaya at work (on a statue of Conan O’Brien’s superhero alter ego, the Flaming C) is just mind-boggling.
- At zenhabits, Leo Babauta discusses failure and how to move on from it.
- While catching up on the Nerdist, I listened to this episode featuring Tony Hale. Late in the episode, he talks engagement, disengagement, emotional expectations (“I should be happier about this”), and having to wake up a hundred times a day to the present around you. I feel that.
- At Tor.com, Leah Schnelbach discusses what she’s learned from watching Mystery Science Theater 3000. It’s all good stuff.
- Megan Patterson at Worn examines the differences between the costumes in A Game of Thrones (the book) and Game of Thrones (the television series).
- Joseph at Racialicious comes to the same conclusion as many Doctor Who fans: a black, female, or black and female Doctor would be fantastic, but not in the hands of Stephen Moffat.
If you used Google Reader, what’s your fix?