Choosing an RSS reader or aggregator

The reason this post is here is because I got distracted from SPOETNIK’s instruction for week 3 on how to sign up to NewsGator. I blame this on the temptation that the SPOETNIK authors put in my path:

Maar het staat je vrij om een andere te kiezen, er zijn er veel: o.a. Netvibes, Bloglines, IGoogle (zie lijst met feedreaders)

or for those that don’t read Dutch

But, everyone is free to choose another, there are many of them: Netvibes, Bloglines, IGoogle (see list of feedreaders)

If I’m offered a big list of choices I’m tempted to check them all out. I clicked on a lot of the feed readers listed to find out more. I’m a novice on this subject so orientation takes a while. After reading a lot about these news pulling services I began to develop an idea of the different types with their various functionality. I found this article about aggregators on Wikipedia that summarizes the main differences without going into too much technical detail. This article helped me to narrow down my choice. Now I know that I would like a tool that is web based and allows me to do some customising.

I went to the sites of a number of services to find out how to sign up, check conditions of use, privacy etc. I was spending hours reading and clicking. At the same time I was keeping a look out for blogs I’d like to syndicate. Finally I defaulted to a tried and trusted search pattern – I checked out the pages of ALIA (Australian Library and Information Association). On the ‘Events & Activities’ page I found references to events concerning web 2.0 and library 2.0. Here I nosed around to see which RSS feeds, blogs and news readers were being used hoping to pick up tips. This inspired me to start searching with Google again within .au domain for ‘RSS’ ‘aggregators’ for comparisons. I struck gold!

Start-page smackdown: Netvibes, Pageflakes, iGoogle and Live.com

This article published on the website of CNet.com.au on the 4th of March 2008 compares 4 popular web based aggregator start pages. Various features are compared, allowing you make an informed choice.

PS: I’m still hovering between NetVibes or PageFlakes!

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Choosing an RSS Feed

The exercise for week 3 of the SPOETNIK program was to put an RSS feed on this blog so that all you readers can pull my recent posts to your RSS Readers.
I took a lot of time to make a choice for a feed service. It’s hard to make a choice if you don’t know what features to look for. Neo Sapiens, the template I’ve chosen for my WordPress blog, already has a ‘syndicate’ function for ‘entries’ and ‘comments’. I figured that experienced blog readers could use that, so I’ve left it as it is.
My Firefox browser allows me to bookmark blogs or put them into the bookmarks toolbar, so other readers using Firefox could use that function too. Then I had a think about how other readers could access my posts, what if they used other browsers or other RSS version codes? I also wanted to know which posts interested you, my readers, the most. It would be good to see some stats!. So I started searching for more information on RSS feeds. Eventually I chose FeedBurner. Want to know why?

  • It’s used by lots of people and companies
  • It’s so popular that it’s been taken over by Google
  • It’s web based.
  • It’s compatible with most RSS readers
  • It’s really easy to sign up
  • It’s free