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Posts Tagged ‘Feeds’

Lifehacker, the productivity blog on steroids, pointed out a couple of days ago that (feed reader extraordinaire) Bloglines has opened up its new beta version for your eyes only. Here’s the announcement from the pony’s mouth:

Bloglines Beta is now ready for review by you, the Bloglines Community.
– New Features – A Start Page, 3 reading views and drag-and-drop feed management
– More Features to come in the near future.
– Next Feature: Keep as New.

Here’s a screenshot (click thumbnail for full screenshot) for those with visual proclivities.

Bloglines beta

I’ve been using the beta on and off over the last two days. The new look has the Ajax-y (web 2.0) feel to it, is clean and appears uncluttered. I like that they’ve made good use of the space on the whole page. I also like the new start page feature, which I think is pretty nifty. Keep in mind though that this is a beta, so there’ll be hiccups here and there, nothing that has kept me running back to the old version though.

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Reducing RSS subscription clutter

If you’re an RSS nut (i.e. you like to read your blogs in RSS readers) or if you’re into visiting blogs, you can’t help notice that most people offer RSS feeds to their blogs.

You would’ve also noticed that some sites have about a gazillion buttons allowing you to subscribe to their blog using your favourite RSS reader. One or two buttons, I can live with, but some blogs go button-crazy and create that enemy of all websites–clutter.

Enter Seth Godin, who does it differently. (I’ve not seen this used elsewhere but that may just mean that I’m an RSS nut.) Godin has two buttons under his RSS Feeds section and they both take you to a site called Add This. (See the screenshot below.)

Add This Widget

I think it’s worth the extra mouse-click to reduce clutter, speed up website loading times, especially on pages which already have loads of images or on computers with slow Internet connections. So, if you’re one of those people who uses multiple images, consider using the Add This Widget. It’s elegant, it’s simple, and it reduces clutter.

And, it could be a way to achieve website Shangri-la.

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Firefox 2.0 RC3

I’ve been using the beta version of Firefox (RC2 and RC3) version 2.0 because of Gina’s (of Lifehacker fame) posts. I’ve found that I’m enjoying Firefox 2.0 so far.

The close button on every tab is a nice improvement and the speed of loading pages seems faster. The subscribing to RSS feeds is also much simpler–you get options that let you decide which service you want to use to subscribe to the feeds.

There’s also a History menu that I didn’t notice before and you can recover tabs that you may close by mistake–this happens to me a lot.

Firefox crashed only once in the few days that I’ve been using the beta version and that too was because I had too many applications opened up on my computer and not enough memory. Firefox 2.0 also lets you recover from crashed sessions, so that’s another improvement.

The one thing that hasn’t changed is the download manager, which I presume will get better as the versions go on. But, there are always extensions to help you do more–that’s the killer advantage that Firefox has.

I like what I’ve seen so far and once the extensions are updated for the new version, the browsing experience should be even better.

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Bloglines, with a few changes

If you use Bloglines , you may have noticed that the left-pane updates are not so “jerky” (Web 1.0-ish?) anymore and the updates feels smoother (Web 2.0-ish?). It’s almost not noticeable, which suits me fine.

Here’s the news from the unicorn’s mouth:

The Wizard Behind the Curtains

You might have noticed a few fancy little changes we’ve made to your feed tree on the left pane today. You’ll like them even more when you learn what’s behind the scenes!

* We no longer update the entire left pane when the unread or “kept as new” counts change. Now the counts update in place with a fading yellow indicator. The result is a faster, more pleasant way to cruise through your feeds, especially for those quick on the hotkeys.
* We’ve decreased the time between automatic updates to your unread counts so you don’t have to press the “r” hotkey quite so often.

We hope you enjoy the changes. As always, if you have any feedback, feel free to let us know either via our contact form or by putting up a blog post containing the phrase “bloglines freedbacking”.

Oh, and the problems I’d noticed with Bloglines earlier, they’ve kinda disappeared. Woo hoo.

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Rojo, with more mojo

I visited Rojo today and was surprised by the new look. For starters, the user interface has been de-cluttered [1].

Earlier, there was too much information on the Rojo page, after you logged in. Now, there’s a lot of white space, the fonts are bigger, and it’s easier on the eyes. Let me understate this–it’s a huge improvement.

It also seems like they’ve simplified the features and that the interface responds faster [2]. There’s a count for unread items in individual blogs, something that I can’t say I noticed before. Maybe it was there and lost in the clutter–I don’t know.

I like the changes that Rojo has made. Will I make the switch from Bloglines to Rojo? Not yet, but I’ll be visiting the Rojo site more often and if I continue to like the experience, I’ll move.

I wonder if the Rojo designers read this article from Signal vs. Noise.

PS: I did notice a couple of annoyances but I’ll let them go… for now.

[1] — I don’t know if there’s such a word, but maybe they’ll add it to the next version of the Oxford English Dictionary and I’ll be famous.

[2] — I say seems like because I don’t have the old Rojo as a reference, so I’m doing this from memory.

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You’re on the phone with Bob and you tell him, I’ll email that report to you in ten minutes. Let’s say that you get another phone call a minute later and you forget about the promise you made to Bob. Bob calls up half an hour later, kinda pissed, wondering why you didn’t send him the email.

Why didn’t you do it? Because you didn’t put a reminder down in a trusted place, somewhere other than your mind. So, more often than not, you forget the promise you made and that will cause you embarrassment, extra work, or make you feel like a doofus.

If you’re savvy, you’ll put a reminder right away into a trusted system–your diary, PDA, mobile phone, whatever. Then, you won’t forget and your mind won’t have to be occupied with wondering about what you forgot. Instead, you’ll be on top of things.

This method is so simple and yet so effective, you have to try it to believe it. So, I’ll stop the hype and let you get stuff done.

PS: Why didn’t I write about this earlier? I didn’t put it anywhere but my head and in there, sometimes things take a while to show up.

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