By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

RSS woes

RSS can be a great time-saver, but the glitches make it less than a complete solution. Here are a few examples:

  • My Mac-based newsreader, NewsFire, does not recognize the feed coming from Boston Magazine’s newish Boston Daily Blog. My first assumption was that the BoMag geeks were doing something wrong. But no. Because Google Reader tapped into the feed just fine.
  • So I started playing with Google Reader. Great interface, good organizational scheme, and I’ve been signing over more and more of my life to Google anyway (mail, calendar). But I quickly discovered that Google Reader is fantastically slow in updating — even items from days ago don’t appear, regardless of whether I bang away at the “refresh” button. It reminded me of another Web-based newsreader, Bloglines, which I abandoned for that very reason.
  • Too many blogs I like to check in on still aren’t using RSS, such as the Weekly Dig‘s, although I’m told that should change in the near future.

I’d be interested in hearing your RSS tales of woe — as well as any possible solutions.

More: I’ve been playing around instead of making the calls I should make, and I’ve found that fiddling makes a difference. For instance, the RSS feed for Media Nation seems to work better than the Atom feed. But the opposite is true at a couple of Phoenix blogs, Talking Politics and Don’t Quote Me, where switching from RSS to Atom brought me right up to speed. Obviously some standardization is needed.

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  1. Irv Arons

    Dan, I use My Yahoo as my RSS reader and find it “gets it”. Each time I refresh it, new items appear.Since I’m a sports bug, I’ve got both the Globe and Herald Red Sox and Patriots’ blogs on the reader, along with about 50 news sources (and my Netflix Que!).Try it, you might like it.Irv Arons

  2. Bryan Person,

    Dan, I’ve become a huge fan and big user of Google Reader over the past few months, and I find it updates quite quickly. Are you specifically comparing timeliness of particular posts against Bloglines and other RSS readers?Let me know if you have any questions. You can drop me a line at bperson-AT-gmail-com.

  3. Brigid

    I use Net News Wire as my reader, and I have never had a problem. It works exactly as it’s supposed to. We did have to pay for it, but it wasn’t terribly expensive, IIRC.

  4. jim caralis has is the best rss reader I have used.

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Irv: I guess I’m just not a fan of Yahoo’s interface. It also seems to me that server-based newsreaders (Google, Bloglines) are slower to update than client-based programs (NewsFire, NetNewsWire). I suspect the same is true of Yahoo. But thank you.Bryan: I’ve sent you a question privately, as you suggested.Brigid: I used NetNewsWire Lite for a while, because it’s free. The interface is more elegant than NewsFire’s, but it lacks certain features, such as information as to who wrote a particular post (essential when reading a group blog, such as Blue Mass. Group), when it was posted, and the ability to click on the blog name and go directly to the site. Does the paid version correct those problems?Jim: I just flew over to Pageflakes and took about a 30-second look. Very interesting. I’ll have to set aside some time and try it.

  6. Dan Kennedy

    Well, well, well. I’m experimenting with a trial version of the full NetNewsWire, and it does seem very nice. I’m holding out for Google Reader, though, if there’s any way of having it update more quickly.

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