This website covers topics on knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Sharpreader revisted

I'm looking at SharpReader again.  Luke Hutteman released a new version (0.9.6.0) this summer, and I am using it again this week.  He fixed a number of bugs and updated other items.  From my perspective, I am happy that it can now manage slightly broken web feeds, which was why I left in the first place.  It also has an enhanced capability for threading articles across all the blogs I read.  The biggest downside is its inability to deal with iframe tags.

Some things I note or have questions about.  I'll probably have more for a list later.

  • (~) I like threading, but it isn't always obvious why a thread is built.  I think threading has to do with URL's that are a) blog posts in my existing feeds, or b) shared with posts elsewhere in my feeds. 
  • (+) It treats unread items in an expanded thread as "next" for the purposes of seeing the next unread. 
  • (+/-) The arrow keys open a threaded item one level.  I'd love a keyboard shortcut that opens the entire thread.
  • (-) It only sends the URL when I use email for forward an item to someone.  I'd like it to copy the text (or selected text) into the email message.
  • (-) It works in a one item at a time mode, rather than everything in a newspaper mode.  The window is set up in a standard fashion with the narrow left column containing a feeds list and a wider right column containing the article list at the top and article content in the bottom.  All re-sizable.  I wouldn't mind an option that shows all articles, but I can see the design mode of SharpReader probably doesn't allow for this.
  • (+) The ease of hitting the space bar for next unread makes this almost a non-issue.
  • (-) Space-barring through unread items inevitably leaves the upper window in a position where I don't know what's coming up next when there happens to be a lot of unread items.
  • (+) You can open links in the same window that views the feeds.  (-) There is no tabbing feature of these opened windows.  (-) This window doesn't scroll-by-space-bar when viewing a website.  Correction, it sometimes allows scrolling and sometimes not.  Probably something to do with the design of the specific websites.
  • (Q) Is there some way to open browser windows "below" the current window?  In other words, I want to keep reading my feeds, but open links to check later.  This helps me with my desire to "mono-task."
  • (+/-) I can read all currently-unread items at once, or I can dive in category-by category.  I'd love to group several categories at once.  In other words, I would love to NOT include my search feeds.
  • (-) When I get to the end of unread articles in a category (folder of feeds) and hit space, I would expect to jump to the next category with unread items.  Instead, SharpReader jumps into the next feed with unread items.
  • (+) It's easy to add new feeds or revise existing feeds.  (-) Moving feeds among categories or position is a little slow when you have ~300 feeds.
  • (+) Feeds with errors are highlighted in red and the error message was useful enough to help me discover that several feeds had moved.  (The errors notices go away when you ask for "unread only.)
  • (-) It doesn't understand enclosures - or iframe markup.  I see the XML mark-up for an iframe pointing to audioblog, and for a blog that uses iframes for Amazon links.  Is this another WordPress issue?
  • (+) SharpReader takes fairly standard plugins for common blog engines.  And WYSIWYG editors can be plugged in as well, so I have a direct feed to BlogJet with this plugin.
  • (-) A minor thing, but when I read an item within a thread, it is not marked read where it appears elsewhere.  SharpReader does know that it has been read, and skips the item when jumping to the next unread.

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