October 16, 2007

Feed Readers: Which Makes The Most Sense?

Most bloggers use some sort of RSS feed reader to make their operations more efficient. For almost the entire four years I have been blogging, I have used Sharpreader, which has done a serviceable job in keeping me current with the day's news and blogger views. However, the free feedreader has caused some problems, and does not have all of the flexibility that I would like to see in this utility.

After Allahpundit at Hot Air asked for suggestions on the best reader to use, I decided to start looking around at some fresh choices. First I tried just using the embedded RSS functionality of Thunderbird, which I use for my e-mail, but I couldn't get that to work at all, and it seemed to slow its overall functionality somewhat. After that, I installed NewsFox as an extension to Firefox. This actually worked reasonably well, except for two issues. One, it wouldn't display the Author field, so on newspapers and group blogs, I had no idea who had written the articles. Second, it would only update one feed at a time, where Sharpreader would update several simultaneously. It made updates slow to a crawl over a file of over 100 feeds.

Later, I tried Omea, which looks wonderful but turned out to be a huge resource hog. Like all of the others I mentioned, Omea is free, and it handles an extraordinary amount of tasks. That's the problem; it wants to handle almost all of my Internet activities, and it slows up my fairly robust laptop in doing so. I really liked the interface but wound up too frustrated with it.

Lastly, I installed Feed Demon by NewsGator. It costs $30, but the 30-day trial version is free, and I've grown to like it. It addresses most of the shortcomings of the other systems without bogging down the computer, or throwing bugs like Sharpreader does -- but then again, it ain't free, either. It has plenty of features, including all sorts of organizational options, as well as offering an HTML access from NewsGator when one is at another computer, synchronized for all feeds if desired. I de-synched my feeds because it won't allow me to customize feed updates on synched feeds. It also has a nasty habit of re-marking feed items as unread when I repeatedly mark them as read, which happens on only a few of the feeds, for some odd reason.

I may purchase FeedDemon, but I'm curious to see what Captain's Quarters readers use and like in feed readers. Any hints, suggestions, or critiques?


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