Thank you for your kind words about my uncle. I had an interesting email from someone marveling that I could be so sad about “a bunch of uncles dying” as they had no idea who their uncles even were. I hope not knowing your uncles is not a common thing in this world, but I do understand for many their extended relations are not people they know very well.
My parents were both the oldest in their respective families and married relatively young (mom was 19, dad was 21). Their parents also, had married young, so I had a really wonderful childhood growing up with lots of aunts and uncles who were either children or teens themselves (my mom’s baby sister was only 4 when I was born!). We were very close and had big family parties for every holiday and birthday. Dan’s daughters feel more like sisters than cousins to me, and I’m just heart-broken for them and for us. Even though nobody probably expected Dan to live to be 100 due to his health problems, the loss is still hard, and the wish that things could be different is strong.
The obituary is so lovely, I love that photo of him, and I’m a mess all over again this morning. We’re working out travel arrangements for the funeral, it might just be me going – we shall see.
I suppose I’ll go ahead and post my meaningless attempt to find a replacement for Google Reader. I don’t think my ‘techie’ posts are ever too popular here, but just in case someone else is dealing with this, here you go.
When I visited my trusty Google Reader yesterday to scroll through the 50 or so blogs I’m subscribed to, a little notice popped up (not my screencap, I didn’t think to grab one):
Huh. Well. That’s disappointing news. I knew they had all but abandoned Feedburner, but here they were putting an actual, factual termination date on Google Reader, all firm, like.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with website feeds (RSS – real simple syndication) and feed readers, most blogs have a ‘feed’ which can be subscribed to via email or within a feed reader of some kind. This allows you to open one application and read all the new posts from the blogs you like without needing to visit every single one on the web. Google Reader was a very simple tool, but one of my favorite things about it was that I could scroll through all the new posts from multiple blogs at once. It was really lovely.
I went to Twitter to find the land all a buzz with the news. People are mad, and while I don’t waste a lot of energy being angry, like, ever, I admit to feeling a little annoyed. But I do understand. This is probably the the best article I’ve read about the whys of it all. Here’s the short and sweet version:
Google Reader was doomed to fail from the very beginning: the company never really believed in it and it took big effort on part of a small team to make it work. Chris Wetherell, original creator & part of the Reader team reflects on past & the future.
So, no amount of crying and ranting on social media will change Google’s mind. Good to know. Without too much time to find an alternative, I got right to downloading my feed information from Google.
There are likely a million tutorials on how to do this floating around the interwebs now, so I won’t go over it here in great detail. You just go into your Google settings and click the “Import / Export” tab. They have something called Google Takeout which must have been overwhelmed with requests last night as the news broke. I had to try several times to get it to work, and several more to be able to download my reader file. In the download folder there will be an .xml file, this is your OPML file you’ll need to import your feeds to a new reader.
Monica gave me a heads up for where to look for replacements, so I headed to Lifehacker. Right away I eliminated any feed readers I had to pay for. I tried feedly but missed the simplicity of Google Reader. Lifehacker links to Netvibes but all I could see was that it would cost $400/month. WHAT? Newsblur seemed promising, but kept crashing on me, and wouldn’t sync with Google Reader at all (plus you have to pay if you’re subscribed to over a certain amount).
I started scanning all of the comments and found Slick RSS. It’s a little fiddly, but I think it’ll do.
- I was able to import my Google Feeds pretty painlessly.
- It has a simpler look and feel that I like and am used to.
- It’s free!
- There’s a handy button in the browser that lets me know when I have new stuff to read. I used the Google Reader extension for this, so I’m happy about that.
The Not So Good
- It did not like most of the Typepad subscriptions. It wouldn’t display any content. So I had to delete those and resubscribe to the RSS 2.0 or 1.0 feed. Then everything was fine.
- Deleting feeds was a bit weird to sort out, but simple enough when you do. In the ‘manage’ area, you click the ‘x’ and it’ll highlight that row. Then you hit ‘save’ and it’ll delete the feeds you’ve selected, and update your front page.
- It can be a bit slow to load images. You’ll open a new feed and there are no pictures showing. A minute later, they’ll be there. This isn’t always a problem.
- It doesn’t mark the feeds read automatically as you scroll through like Google Reader did. You have to click “Mark as Read” manually.
- The old posts don’t disappear even after you mark them as read. They just hang out in there. Kinda weird.
- New feeds (or in my case, feeds I was re-subscribing to) show up at the bottom, but you can adjust the sort order (under the manage section) by number. It’s a little clunky, but it’s fine.
So, it’s not perfect, but maybe it’ll work for now. I have the extension for Chrome, if you’re on another browser, you can try it out here, or check your browser’s extension / add on store to find it.
Are you a long time Google Reader lover? I think I’ve been signed up since late 2005 or early 2006! What’s your new feed reader solution? If you have something better, I’m all ears. Though keep in mind, I basically want a Google Reader duplicate.
p.s. I think I shared this on Twitter a while back but I haven’t blogged about it. I LOVE this service: Full Text RSS Feed. Any of those annoying blogs (I used to be one, so I say that with love) who only publish truncated feeds, you can paste their feed into Full Text RSS Feeds and it will force it into a full feed! You can then paste the new Full Text RSS Feed into your Feed Reader and viola! Full posts! See?
I understand the many reasons for publishing truncated feeds, but I think the few willing to jump through a few hoops to read your full posts won’t hurt anything.