My favorite quote: One of the worst things with Powerpoint is the bulletpoint…
Wow, I’m sensing another TechMeme Storm rising (and a certain analyst would call it a circle j***, but that’s another matter). Robert Scoble says he was wrong when he said In 2006 he wouldn’t use any news aggregator or feeds that aren’t full text.
I think the Scobleizer is wrong now that he says he was wrong.
His key argument is that his reading habits changed, he relies a lot more on Twitter, which is short form, uses the iPhone which is not that convenient for lengthy text, and Google Reader has become bloated and slow.
All true. But let the user / reader chose: even sadly slow and bloated Google Reader offers the choice of reading full text or scanning just the headlines. It’s a simple switch, there is no need to cut off the source. I don’t read all my feeds A to Z, like Robert, I do a lot of quick scanning. But I find it extremely frustrating to have to click through to a site, sometimes wait looong (we’re all guilty of having too many widgets and plugins that slow down page load) only to find out it wasn’t worth the wait. So I tend to skip partial feeds, and guess what happens to less read items? They get dropped from Google Reader…
From the content author’s point of view, I understand the need to bring traffic to ad-supported sites, and that’s about the only exception when providing partial feed makes sense (but even than, please remember to send enough to entice me to click through). But for many others, perhaps for the majority of blogs I follow: it’s a distributed world. If you want your views to matter, you need to be heard / read via whatever distribution channel you can reach, and that means providing full feed.
3 weeks ago I switched another group aggregation blog that I am editing, the Enterprise Irregulars to WordPress and along with that finally was able to offer full feed. Our feed subscriber base doubled and on-site page views tripled. Yes, pageviews tripled despite the fact that we are “giving away” content. Translation: we’ve became more visible, accessible, and it works.
Check your FeedBurner stats, but don’t worry too much: no, there was no mass exodus, you did not lose more than half your subscribers overnight.
There’s a simple explanation: FeedBurner is missing Google FeedFetcher stats- that’s the number of users who read your blog in Google Reader. Last time I reported the same, Google Reader represented about 40% of my readership- apparently now it’s about 60%.
But for now, all I wish is a little more reliabilty. Formerly rock-solid Gmail has been ill a lot lately. The “Oops…the system encountered a problem (#500) – Retrying in 1:30” error message has became a daily occurance… in fact several times a day.
A minute and half is not that much – except that it’s not only waiting for the requested operation, it freezes up Gmail entirely. So if you’re impatient, you’ll inevitable click the “Retry now” button. After all, that’s whay it’s there, isn’t it?
Wrong! You’ve just found Gmail’s penalty button! Every time you click it, the wait counter increases by a minute.
Still want to work, rather than go for coffee? The only solution is to completely close the browser tab – sometimes the entire browser – then log back into Gmail again.
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Yes, it’s great to be able to download my feed items and read it on the plane without Internet connection (since I am not flying Virgin). I even “starred” some entries I want to respond to.But why can’t I mark items “read”? It’s an “online only” action – that does not make sense. When I go back online, Google Reader will perform synchronization anyway; why could it not remember “read” status and sync it?
The above rant is half a year old. I typed it up and decided not to post it. Now I am finding myself offline for a few days again, and can’t believe Google still hasn’t fixed this shortcoming.
Why is it a big deal? If you have hundreds of items in your Reader, I seriously doubt you will use Expanded View and scroll through everything. I found the only way to stay productive with Reader is to use List View, scan titles (OK, a combination of titles and author), and when all done, click “Mark all as read”. I don’t want to reprocess the same items again and again.
The error message says I can do this once I am connected again. But it’s too late, by then my Reader list will be a mix of already seen and new items. In other words, I am scr***d.
What really baffles me though is that I haven’t found any references to this problem online. Am I the only one finding this a major productivity killer?
Update (3/14): Now that ReadBurner, a cool tool to determine the most shared items in Google Reader became the news du jur, let me just point out that you can’t mark an item ‘shared’ while offline, either. Not as frustrating as losing “read”status, just an annoyance. Google, please fix Reader!
Update (12/21/08): Google Reader Seems Buggy as Heck
It’s funny how your feed reader can juxtapose random, unrelated items, yet making them look like a thread:
Jeff Nolan discusses how BMW is experimenting with the IP protocol to network automotive controllers.
The engineers found that IP could well suit the real-time requirements even of safety-critical applications.
In many ways modern cars are beginning to resemble PCs with standard I/O and integrated networking.
(Mumbling to myself: that’s what I said when I made the lifetime mistake of buying a first-model-year Volvo S80 T6 in 1999 … not a car, but a computer network on wheels. Consequently, nobody knew how to fix it)
But, no, I am not talking about the BMW Crash just below Jeff’s post… it’s just a Big, Fat Billboard, publicly crashing on Times Square. Feed Readers have their funny ways