Feed Me, Seymour

Here is a boring story about RSS feeds I felt compelled to share.

For a while now, I have been using Bloglines to manage my RSS feeds. I’ve been using it because I potentially check up on my feeds from any of three computers—my laptop, my home desktop, and my office computer—and I want to make sure everything stays easily synchronized. It’s kind of a pain sometimes, though, so I’ve been thinking about switching.

I currently subscribe to 45 feeds, maybe a dozen or so of which I try to keep up with daily. This means that the other ones either update infrequently or pile up with old updates, which Bloglines caps at 200 unread items. Anything that gets posted after that I have to hunt down manually. If I go away for a few days and don’t have time to check feeds, sites like Kotaku quickly spiral out of control. Worse yet, marking posts that I want to save for later either involves checking them to “keep as unread” in Bloglines (which builds up and makes that feed load much more slowly in the future), or simply opening links to tabs in my browser and trying to get to them quickly (but those tend to build up too, eventually crashing my browser).

Well, NetNewsWire is finally free, and I hear it’s got a syncing service through News Gator so I could actually use it to keep track of my feeds from multiple computers. Swell, I figured. It was awhile before I felt like I had enough free time to sit down and migrate all my feeds from Bloglines, as I suspected it wouldn’t just be the five-minute export/import affair that each application claims. Unfortunately, I was correct.

Apparently you can’t just import your exported feeds list directly into NetNewsWire and expect any of them to work at all. You need to import this list into Newsgator Online, which is basically a Bloglines-style interface that takes longer to load and respond to clicking. Once you’ve done that, you need to go back into NNW and manually reorganize all of your feeds back into the folders they were once in, as the import recognizes you had folders, but apparently not which feeds were in which folders. Once you are done with all that, it is time to start dealing with duplicate feeds.

I found that every time I tried to run the program, it produced duplicates of certain feeds. Unscubscribing from either one unexpectedly removed both from my list of feeds, so I’m currently missing some feeds. (I’ll have to check Bloglines to remind me what they were.) I figured this must be a common problem someone else had fixed, so I googled around and found that people are complaining about it as of this week.

The kicker for me, from one person in that thread: “I’m fortunate to have a .Mac account…for folks without it, I hope NewsGator fixes this problem.” And I always gave Dan a hard time for paying for Apple-branded hosting like a sucker. (Hah.) I suppose I get the satisfaction of being right from when I assured him that this wasn’t going to be a ten-minute setup like he promised, but that victory is a little too bittersweet to actually be any consolation.