No way out increases RSS productivity

feeddemon_icon When I switched from Opera M2 to Newsgator I had expected better performance on desktop and ease of use away from it.

What I hadn’t expected is cutting amount of time to go through feeds by half.

Content selection

When I moved my feeds instead of plain OPML export/import I did it case by case. Aside for cleanup effect I also decided to leave software updates and similar in Opera. Selection of feeds in FeedDemon became easier to read and simpler to distinguish important updates from minor.

I had not yet tried to separate into folders by topic but this seems next logical move.

Interface details

Both Opera and FeedDemon has three same interface zones:

  1. List of feeds.
  2. List of items in selected feed.
  3. Item content.

newsgator_feeddemon_interface
However some small details of FeedDemon shined in long run:

  • allows to hide feeds without updates;
  • shows multiply items in item zone;
  • has hotkey to move to next feed (Ctrl+J).

Doesn’t seem like much? But it really adds up – saving time on looking for updated feeds and going through items.

Reducing choices

Most important feature I discovered in FeedDemon is option to mark feed as read when you leave it. At first I thought it just saves press of a button. Then I understood that it forces to take action.

In Opera I often took my time jumping between feeds, saving items for later. Sometimes entries were stuck for days. I have no such luxury in FeedDemon – when I open feed I cannot leave without marking it as read and poofing from my view.

I removed option to procrastinate and forced myself to make a choice:

  • read channel;
  • discard as unimportant;
  • open specific item in browser.

Getting rid of “deal with it later” way out became excellent productivity decision.

Overall

I had used RSS feeds for a long time in Opera and had never thought that my experience is limited. I was content with good enough and how many hours it cost me over time? A lot.

Had you ever thought about the way software helps (or hinders) you to consume information online?

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4 Comments

  • I’ve definitely given a lot of thought to it, and every so often I go through a phase where I try and figure out how best to slim down the time I spend reading feeds or browsing through wikipedia.

    I’ve personally tried Newsgator and a few other Desktop RSS options but I could never get in to them. I much prefer google reader to them all, considering the bulk of my work and play happens in a browser. I suppose on that note it would depend on how you use your computer.

    One piece of software that I really do love however, is Read It Later, a Firefox extension. Basically you rightclick a link, select read it later and then keep going about your business (a time saver, especially when a quick google search takes you to wikipedia). Then, whenever you find yourself with some free time you can just click on the Read It Later button and it pops up a new tab with the oldest website in your RIL list. On viewing the website, it is automatically marked as read and clicking the button again moves to the next item.

    As a bonus, it even offers handy keyboard shortcuts.

    I must apologize however, I seem to be turning each comment of mine into a mini-plug for some random app that I use :P I’ll try and keep that to a minimum.

  • @Angelo

    Newsgator combines desktop and browser. There are rumours that next release will get sync with Google Reader. Personally I don’t like Google Reader much.

    I heard a lot about Read It Later but my main browser is Opera. I just use “to browse” bookmark folder.

    And I am perfectly fine with your comments. I like comments (this blog was naturally like desert in early months) and I like apps. :)

  • I tend to you use Netvibes.com for my feeds, I also pull in weather forecasts othe tools like ebay and facebook. I’ve never liked firefox’s own feeds and I’m not sure i’d like a seperate out of browser program. Have used netvibes.com for ages now and it always works perfectly.

    I should see if there is a “hide feeds without updates” type option and possibly look at a desktop app.

  • @Jonny

    Hadn’t used Netvibes myself but I keep hearing it has performance issues from time to time. True or overhyped? :)

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