Tag Archives: RSS

Gone But Most Certainly Not Forgotten

I’ve never really gotten over the hurt. I’m stuck in that murky ground between steps three and four of the Five Stages of Loss and Grief. I’ve tried to move on but I’m starting to think nothing can ever take your place. Sure, some have tried to fill the huge void left after you were so cruelly put down but sadly, and despite potential, most have come up short. I miss you dearly Google Reader.

What?!?! I take my RSS subscription and news aggregation seriously. Doesn’t everybody?

When Google pulled the plug on its Reader service Feedly immediately stepped up its game by upgrading their servers and making the transition from the Big G simple and painless. The goal was for Feedly to position itself as the biggest and best news reader in all the land. They succeeded quite well and emerged as the defacto standard for RSS readers. It was a heady few months and I honestly felt I could finally find happiness. Then things got weird.

The decision makers at Feedly introduced a very expensive “pro” product that stripped functionality from the service and essentially made some aspects pay-for-play. Team Feedly followed that up with a very sudden transition from Google OAuth logins to Google+ only logins that prevented users without Google+ logons from using the service. They wisely reversed that decision but the pièce de résistance came next. Feedly began hijacking their users links.

Content that users were linking to and assumed would lead to the original source was now hosted on Feedly’s own servers. Uncool and heavy, to say the least. Not surprising they felt it was prudent to role this “feature” back as well. For me it was three strikes, take a seat for Feedly.

On this week’s 75th episode SPECTACULAR I run down my alternatives to Feedly now that they’ve so thoroughly nuked the fridge and successfully jumped the shark. The top contenders include work-in-progress efforts from AOL and Digg plus offerings from smaller companies like Inoreader and The Old Reader.

Take a listen and find out which RSS aggregator gets the nod from El Kaiser.

PTJ 75: The Scintillating 75th Episode

With the pain of losing Google Reader still fresh and Feedly a disappointment after repeated missteps, El Kaiser looks at RSS feed aggregators. J.D. breaks down the differences between Ultrabooks and notebooks and helps us make the right choice between the two laptop flavors. In the news, a campaign encouraging kids to try computer coding; several technology companies issue a joint statement calling for restrictions on US government spying; Microsoft helps users know when and where their accounts have been used; Google continues to add apps to its Chromecast TV streamer; and predicting weather patterns for Middle Earth.

Episode 54: Presenting “The Pop Tech Jam Players”

A very special episode of PTJ as we present the debut of our very own repertory theater troupe “The Pop Tech Jam Players”. Actor and poet Francis Mateo joins us for a scene from William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope. In the news Google Reader goes offline; Yahoo cleans house; Sprint pulls the plug on the Nextel Network; and Windows 8 gains traction.

Episode 54 News: Hardware Watch

Cue the funeral march —as promised, Google Reader has been taken offline earlier this week. A note on Google’s site says that you now have until July 15th to download a copy of your feed file for use with another service and after that, it will be permanently deleted.

Google is not the only one dropping old services. Yahoo announced that it too, was cleaning house, and is ditching a dozen products and projects so it can focus its attention elsewhere. Say goodbye to Yahoo’s FoxyTunes browser extension for media playback, Yahoo RSS Alerts, the once-popular-in-the-90s AltaVista search engine and a bunch of services most people have never heard of. The Nextel Network was powered off this week as well.

While Google Reader and Nextel have gone down, Windows 8 has gone up — to slightly more than 5% of the worldwide desktop operating-system market as of June 2013, according to Net Applications. As Windows 8 gains more users — possibly excited by Windows 8.1 coming out as a free downloadable upgrade this fall — the system is getting more apps from developers and the Windows Store just passed the 100,000 apps mark this week. Oh, and Microsoft’s Zune replacement service, Xbox Music, now works in many desktop Web browsers.

Twitter is experimenting with a new feature that links standard tweets to Web stories where those tweets were mentioned or embedded. (When asked, Twitter did not comment on the feature at the time, leading many to believe they were, you know, field-testing and stuff.)

SolarFarmApple plans to power a new data center in Reno, Nevada, with a solar panel farm that can provide 18 to 20 megawatts of power. In other Apple news, people who notice trademark filings report that Apple has registered the name “iWatch” in a number of countries, including Japan, Russia, Mexico and Taiwan.

Smartwatches (or the idea thereof) are popping up everywhere and sources at Best Buy say the megaelectronics stores will start selling the Pebble smartwatch in stores this weekend. Google is said to be considering its own Android-powered watch, as well as a game console with Android under the hood and a revamped version of the failed Nexus Q media streamer. As for Google’s other major hardware project, the company informed the Texas Congressman Joe Barton in a letter last month that it was not making any changes to its privacy policy just for Google Glass. (On his site, Congressman Barton said he was disappointed by Google’s responses and felt his questions about privacy were not adequately answered.)

Also on the topic of privacy: the Federal Trade Commission’s revisions to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act went into effect this week. The new rules address modern matters and close a loophole allowing third-party plug-ins to collect children’s information without parental consent.

In hardware news that does not involve wrist-wear or fancy spectacles, Hewlett-Packard is reportedly working on its own smartphone — Android this time instead of the late Palm/web OS system. And the chief technology officer of Mozilla said the company plans to make a Firefox OS-powered tablet computer ASAP.

Finally, if you need a cheap computer, consider the JW-11, which costs less than $80 and runs on an ARM processor. The system officially supports Android, but it can run Linux, too. And you know, you can get Google Reader replacements on Linux. Just sayin’.

Episode 53: All The Way Live!

This week J.D. and El Kaiser entertain pastry-slinging guests in the studio and in between bites of cannoli, Pedro explains the tech term “Internet of Things” while J.D. provides details on alternatives for Google Reader which is set to shut down July 1st. In the news, Sony debuts a new smartwatch; the Ouya open-source Android-based game console makes the scene; Microsoft reverses course on its Xbox One policies; and Apple looks into Wi-Fi issues with its new MacBook Air laptops.

Requiem for the Reader

Google Reader will go away on July 1, and with it, the ability of its users to quickly keep up with the world through their meticulously curated updates from various news services, blogs and websites. Many people have been expressing outrage since the announcement and many have scrambled to find a substitute before the virtual axe falls. There’s even the Replace Reader survey page that asks what people via Twitter are using as alternatives to Google Reader.

The Next Web and other sites have gathered up some contenders, but three current programs have emerged on the leaderboard, along with two new entries hoping to snap off a piece of the Google Reader audience. Here’s a quick look at those five options:

  • Feedly, which has stepped up its game since Google announced Reader was headed for the dustbin, can run in most popular Web browsers and also has app versions for Android and iOS. You can just log in with your Google account and all your old G-Reader feeds get imported automatically. Feedly has been getting hammered this week as the End is Nigh, so you may see their version of the Twitter Fail Whale — the Over Capacity Sad Cloud — but keep trying. Feedly also has a fairly detailed Help Guide for those who need it.

cloud

  • NewsBlur bills itself as a personal news reader and comes in both a free version that lets you track 64 sites or a premium version or $24 a year that gives you unlimited sites to add to your feed. You get real-time RSS (important in these days of breaking news), the power share and hide stories from your feed and the ability to view the stories on their original sites. The site has Web, Android and iOS versions.
  • Flipboard, the mobile app that lets you create your own dynamic digital magazines on your iPad or Android tablet from things you find around the Web is another Google Reader importer. You just need to create a free Flipboard account or log in with your Facebook credentials. Once you log into Flipboard, log in with your Google account to pull in your Reader feeds.

flippy

Two big names have recently entered the fray as AOL and Digg have each been working on their own Google-esque RSS reader to fill the void.

  • AOL Reader, which lets you sign in with an AOL, Google, Facebook or Twitter account, promises to be a highly customizable RSS system where you can import subscriptions from other readers, star and tag articles and tweak the page layout to your liking. AOL is also making the API available for anyone who wants to create AOL Reader mobile and desktop apps. AOL itself plans Android and iOS app versions and the ability to share with other AOL Reader users within the system.
  • Digg Reader, which was a whirlwind three-month race to release before Google Reader rode off into the sunset, had a short beta period to generally positive reviews. It imports existing G-Reader feeds and uses a layout that’s noticeably similar. The first version was made for the Web, an iPhone app is expected and a premium edition that costs money is also said to be in the works. It’ll probably be a work-in-progress for a while.

Don’t like any of the current options? Just wait — Facebook is working on a reader of its own, too, although it sounds a bit different from other straight-up RSS reader apps. Seriously, though, if you have a Reader feed that you don’t want to lose, visit the Google Takeout page now — or at least before July 1 — to export your info as an XML file. That way, you have it on hand to import whenever you find a new RSS reader that you like. And here’s hoping whatever new RSS Reader you find sticks around for awhile so you don’t have to lose your news all over again.