App Reviews, iPhone, Technology

Feed Readers: Why I’m Switching

The Big Two when it comes to RSS/Atom feed readers are Bloglines and Google Reader. I started using Bloglines years ago to keep track of my friends’ Xanga entries. Nobody I know uses Xanga anymore, but I continued using Bloglines to manage my blog subscriptions. Now they have a public beta version, which is pretty cool. And I’ve been using their iPhone version to read blogs on my iPhone.

Bloglines was fine when all I wanted to do was be notified that someone had updated their blog (by way of the indicator in the system tray), but then I used to go directly to the blog to read the post, and perhaps even leave comments. But now there is so much more content available via RSS/Atom syndication, so it has become necessary to use the feed reader to read content as well. Furthermore, the mobile versions are optimized for reading on the iPhone, and you can’t say that about every individual blog out there.

However, I am making the switch to Bloglines’ chief competitor, Google Reader. My chief complaint with Bloglines (standard) is that when you view a feed, it automatically marks all available entries as read. They seem to be addressing this issue with the beta version, but this doesn’t help on the iPhone, which retrieves 5 entries at a time (and marks them as read).

Google Reader, however, uses Ajax technology to mark an entry as read based on whether the entry is visible in your browser! This is a much better method of keeping track of your blog subscriptions, because you’re guaranteed not to miss anything.

The only down side, I think, to Google Reader is the smaller font size. But if you hold the phone sideways (landscape mode), it’s a bit bigger.

Tips: If you’re using Google Reader on the iPhone, push the plus sign at the bottom of the screen and add it to your home screen (with a nifty little icon, too!). Also, in the footer next to the copyright, you can select “Mobile” or “Classic”. To use the best iPhone version, select “Mobile”. It makes use if Ajax’s asynchronous loading of data and has more features than the other version.

Oh, and on another note, the brand-new MySpace App on iPhone 2.0 rocks!!! The comments interface is great. And you can even upload photos straight from your phone (unfortunately, you can’t move them to a different folder, though). What I really don’t get, though, is why you need to fill out a stinkin’ captcha form if you’re using an iPhone! Still, the app is cleaner and more elegant than any other form of MySpace interface I’ve ever seen, and just might make MySpace something I’ll enjoy using again! (It doesn’t let you view or edit blogs, but who uses MySpace for blogging anyway?)

Sent from my iPhone

P.S. Here’s the news from Google in May about the new iPhone version of Reader.

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