I remember back when Google made the announcement about the shutdown of Google Reader. Like many people at the time I was angry and sad. I had used Google Reader for years to follow along and track updates to web sites. But unlike many people at the time I never abandoned the RSS format.

I never agreed with the idea that Twitter and Buzzfeed, etc. were a replacement for a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) news feed. It just didn’t make sense to follow a live stream of 140 character updates to hoping to catch what was going on with writers who’s content I enjoyed.

This decision by Google cemented my thoughts and decision to put control of my online content back into my hands. I took some time to try alternative services for hosting my RSS subscriptions. This was part of a larger effort to reduce the privacy implications of using social media services.

It’s been a few years since the last time I reviewed and cleaned-up my RSS subscriptions. Currently there are 910 feeds in Feedbin. I think that’s too many! I think I probably read and enjoy content at only a few of those. Many are news sites that update dozens of times a day. A deluge of content I can’t possibly read. I find myself the Mark All As Read button in Reeder whenever the number of unread items rises above 400. Some of the RSS feeds are dead. The author has abandoned the web site and hasn’t submitted new content in months and in some case, years. It’s time to an RSS feed culling.

The Sunday Reading List was something I wanted to be a regular feature. I wanted to list the articles (long reads) that I had discovered and completed reading during the week; articles that had an impact on me and that I felt may be beneficial for others to read.

On the various reactions of people who encounter names with which they are unfamiliar.

One is the nicknamers—people who come across a name like Rajendrani and announce, “We’ll just call you Amy.” The other is the worst kind, the people who start with the first syllable, then wave the rest of the name away like so much cigarette smoke, adding “Whatever your name is,” or just “whatever.” I don’t have a creative name for this group. Let’s just call them assholes.Jennifer Gonzalez

Tom’s process for triage and reading news of the iPad mirrored my own, but he goes on to explain what has changed recently and why.

To display my RSS feeds, I now exclusively use Silvio Rizzi’s magnificent app Reeder. Over the years, I have dabbled with quite of few RSS readers, but Reeder is the one that has ultimately stuck with me. In the past, Reeder has been my place of triage. I used the app primarily to browse my RSS feeds and do a first sorting. Articles that I wanted read, I used to save out to Pocket.theminimal

I don’t know Chris Gonzales or David Sparks but I since Chris copied David I’m going to copy them both.

The Engine — Feed Wrangler

I hadn’t picked an RSS service until after reading Chris and David’s article. Like Chris, Reeder is my favourite RSS reader. The iPhone version was updated earlier this week to support Feedly and Feed Wrangler.

I had already been using Reeder with Feedbin and then Fever. Feedbin initially had some performance issues but the developer migrated to higher performing servers. Fever is performing badly. I’m using it with Readkit and it often takes a few minutes before I see any content in the app.

So … Feedbin cost $20/year and Fever was a one time fee of $30. Feed Wrangler will be $19/year and Chris, David and Shawn like it. I plan on using Feed Wrangler for now.

iPad — Reeder

Reeder’s developer is working to add Feed Wrangler support. I plan on using Reeder as soon as the app is updated. A lot of people swear by Mr. Reader but I’m waiting.

iPhone – Reeder

I’m currently using Reeder for iPhone with Fever but I’ll switch to Feed Wrangler.

iMac – Reeder

Unfortunately, until Reeder is updated to support Feed Wrangler I’m stuck using ReadKit. It works. But … it doesn’t support Buffer or ADN for sharing. I’m a Mac user so unlike Chris, I will another option when Reeder is updated.

Web – feedwrangler.net

The feedwrangler.net front end isn’t very impressive. It’s ugly compared to Feedly and Feedbin. I don’t expect I’ll be using it much once Reeder for OS X is updated.

Conclusion.

I’ll be using (updated) Reeder for iOS and OS X with Feed Wrangler as my backend. If Feed Wrangler turns out not to meet my needs I can easily switch to Feedbin or Feedly or Fever or maybe even NewsBlur.

Can’t wait for Reeder.

Feed Me!

In just a few days Google Reader will shut down permanently. Google’s decision has left many geeks in a quandary. Smaller but well-known providers1 in the space are scrambling to “coral” as many people as possible. In trying to navigate the field I’ve had to decide not to decide.

Right now I”m using Feedly, a free service. The service has been mostly reliable and performs well. The iOS app ( I read mostly on my iPad ) is functional. The web front end is well designed and responsive. Some RSS software developers are claiming they will support it soon. While I could stick with Feedly, I’m concerned about relying on another free service. How exactly does Feedly make money?

Shortly after Google made their announcement I went searching for alternatives. I followed the advice of Dave Winer and set up my own River server. When the first bill from Amazon2 came due I decided this wasn’t an option for me. I also found very little software that supported the service.

Soon after that, I found Fever. I follow over 200 feeds so I liked what Fever was offering.

Fever reads your feeds and picks out the most frequently talked about links from a customizable time period. Unlike traditional aggregators, it seems Fever works better the more feed I follow.

And the price was right. A one-time license fee of $30 and a few lines of code and I had Fever running on one of my domains. However, the service didn’t perform well. Syncing took awhile and the iOS version of Reeder was the only app that I found with Fever support.

So I continued using Google Reader with the Reeder app, hopeful that something would happen before July. There was some buzz around Feedbin so I registered for the service. It worked but performance was poor. It took minutes to download feed items with Feedbin as opposed to the seconds with Google Reader. Sometimes cost isn’t an indication of quality. Performance continued to suffer and the developer took the device offline — completely — for over 7 hours to upgrade his infrastructure. I dropped the service. Perhaps it was a rash decision but when I’m paying for a service you I expect you to perform better than FREE. And I expect a better communication plan that a tweet about a blog post. The support request system leaves much to be desired. Did Ben Ubois create his service just for software developers?

Some of the digital cognoscenti3 are voicing support for Feed Wrangler.

ReadKit for Mac just added Feed Wrangler support, so I’m trying that out now. Reeder for iPhone will get it shortly, and Mr Reader for iPad already supports it.Marco

I have yet to try Feed Wrangler. All of these services ( with the exception of Feedly ) are paid services costing about $24/year. I want to try Feed Wrangler if but I already paid for a full year of Feedbin service and I’m not sure when/if I’ll get a refund. I purchased ReadKit and I am testing that out with Fever. It’s a nice app but … it lacks most of the social sharing services that I’ve come to expect.

Reeder is my current favourite RSS app. The iPad and Mac version lack support for other feed services beyond Google Reader. However, Reeder’s developer has removed the iPad and Mac apps from the store and has made the iPhone app free until he can release an update.

The current version of Reeder for iPhone will be free, starting today. Version 3.2 (already submitted) will support the following services as alternatives to Google Reader:

  • Feedbin
  • Feedly
  • Feed Wrangler (No support for smart streams yet in Reeder)
  • Fever
  • Standalone/Local RSS without syncing

I’ve tested the iPhone version which supports Feedbin and Fever. It works well but I’m looking forward to having support for the other services. What I want is to use my choice of feed reader on iOS and OS X with support for all the current crop of RSS sync services. If I’m patient it would seem that Reeder will be that app.

In the meantime, I’ve made sure to export all my feeds and will be using Feedly web and iOS apps. The Verge has a good review of several alternative services and apps that I have yet to try.


  1. The amount of “spam” from Feedly and Flipboard is obnoxious but I have few other options that work on iOS and OS X. 
  2. Running River on a Windows server instance cost me over almost $11. I do not want to pay hundreds of dollars a year for sync services. 
  3. I was searching for a word that means “people in the know” and this seemed to fit. 

July 1 isn’t that far away, but there’s time to get it together. Next time, please pay a fair price for the services you depend on. Those have a better chance of surviving the bubbles. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Dave Winer](http://threads2.scripting.com/2013/march/goodbyeGoogleReader)

Sigh! I think Dave is right. Many geeks — including myself — are paying the price for our dependence ( addiction? ) to “FREE”. Google had decided that Reader is a service they no longer want to sink money into. Google is an advertising driven company and Reader had not ads. It made sense for them to shutter the service.

But now what? What do geeks like myself who have become dependent on the service to host our daily firehose of information? The main features of Reader I depended on are aggregation and sync. I needed a replacement that had at least two features. It would be nice if I could use it with one of my favorite RSS apps. I’m exploring several options, one of which is running my own news aggregation service using [River 2](http://river2.newsriver.org). I set River up on a Windows AMI but I’m hot feeling confident about it. I also think Fever° meets the need.

After setting up the software on my Linux host I exported my OPML from Reader and imported into Fever°. Fever° has an API for apps like Reeder to interact with it.

Reeder does a great job of integrating with Fever°, including the addition of the Hot List. Overall I find Fever° to be faster than using Google Reader in Reeder, but that’s also dependent on your web server.

[^1]: [Chris Gonzales](http://unretrofied.com/blog/2013/3/13/google-reader-is-shutting-down),[Benjamin Brooks](http://brooksreview.net/2012/06/reeder-3/),

Google Reader is gone. Now what? Screen Shot 2013 03 19 at 8.17.55 AM 960x610[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]