June 19, 2005

Why Bloglines is the best RSS aggregator for people on the move

Everyone has their favorite RSS reader. There is HUGE polarity on what tool is the best. Many base it on what other A-list bloggers use. Others base it on the core tool they use for reading email or browsing the web.

But I have a favorite reader which has nothing to do with the technology I use, but HOW I USE the technology. Does that make sense? Let me explain.

I am a man on the move. In my regular day-to-day operations I move between 3 primary internet enabled devices:

  1. My primary dual head development desktop system
  2. My Acer TravelMate C111TCi-G TabletPC
  3. My Audiovox SMT5600 Smartphone

I use one tool to manage all my feeds across all my devices. And that tool is Bloglines. Now let me explain WHY Bloglines works so well for me. I never have to sync myself to know what feeds I have, and have not read. I have about 250 distinctive feeds in Bloglines (well tuned over the last year... I used to read over 400 until I found some good link blogs that manage cross posts well), on average giving me about 500 to 1000 entries to review each day. I have grouped them in a way that lets me look at important stuff (friends blogs, competitor information etc) on a regular basis, and catch up on the rest when I have time. And what makes this work so well is I can literally keep up to date ANYWHERE that I am. What could easily take me 6 to 8 hours a day to read and manage typically takes me less than an hour or two.

Bloglines works well across all my devices, being smart enough to know when I am "mobile", even giving me a simple interface when I am on my phone. The Audiovox SMT5600 uses Pocket IE which renders Bloglines layout and text amazingly well and allows me to review feeds while I wait in between meetings, or pretty much any other extra time that I have available, maximizing my productivity. When I am at a wireless hotspot, my TabletPC easily picks it up and shows me the feeds I haven't read yet. That's right. I can be reading a feed on the phone, and the TabletPC is automatically updated and aware of what I haven't read yet. Then when I am at my desk, FireFox just carries on and continues where I left off while on the road. Wondering if I am keeping up with your latest podcast feeds? No worries, Bloglines has enclosures built in nice and neat, allowing me to easily keep up as I need to.

Then there are the times where I try to free myself from the shackles of this sort of technology and end up over at a friends. If I am bored I can always sneak into their computer room and continue catching up as I need to.

Now you know how I can stay so informed. I have streamlined my feeds to give me the information I truely care about, and use Bloglines to organize, manage and present the information in a useful manner that keeps up with me. I need not worry about software tool updates across my devices, nor do I have to manage OPML feeds as I subscribe, unsubscribe or tune my feeds. It just works. Across any device out there. And THAT'S an effective use of technology to maximize productivity.

Now, before I end this I must point out that Bloglines is not PERFECT for mobile reading. I really wish Bloglines had a way to collapse the individual feeds when in "mobile" mode, so you could read complete categories without having to scroll through all the subfeeds. In the full mode Bloglines this exists in the "My Feeds" pane. Hopefully someday that will exist in mobile mode.

But that is a small complaint in comparision of how useful Bloglines is. Many thanks to Mark Fletcher for making my life easier. Now take some time yourself and subscribe to Bloglines. It's absolutely free. Tell them Dana sent ya!

Posted by SilverStr at June 19, 2005 01:15 AM | TrackBack

I finally came to the conclusion last week that Bloglines just didn't work on the SMT 5600, now I see this post...
When I visit Bloglines on my mobile, I can see the feed titles (and the number of new posts) and can select each one, but can not click any of them. Only the "Mark All As Read" link works. None of the feed titles do anything at all when I click them.

Posted by: sirshannon at June 19, 2005 08:32 AM

ok, apparently I have to use a different URL, using http://bloglines.com/mobile works for me... feel free to delete these 2 posts.

Posted by: sirshannon at June 19, 2005 08:35 AM

Thanks. I tried out Bloglines today, and you're right. It's a great tool for staying up to date. I had been using DesktopSidebar for my RSS feeds, but Bloglines is so much better I think I may soon be relying on it exclusively.

Posted by: Bryan at June 19, 2005 04:04 PM

I've been staying away from online aggregators precisely because I'm on the move; I spend a lot of time in airplanes, so I like to catch up on my reading then. Can Bloglines be used offline? Guess I'll head over to the site and find out.

Posted by: Fred Pullen at June 20, 2005 03:29 PM

Can Bloglines be used offline? No. But you CAN export your OPML and then use an offline reader as required. Although with the airlines now offering Internet wireless, you can read your Bloglines while flying :)

Posted by: SilverStr at June 21, 2005 10:32 AM

I've tried all the RSS readers but unless you only ever, ever use one computer nobody can even touch Bloglines.

Posted by: Ratso at June 21, 2005 08:16 PM