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 after a month

I've been using SharpReader for the last month of so, primarily because I really like the threading capability (no really).  Of course, in that time I have accumulated some thoughts about what could be better / different in the application.  This also hints at features I've seen in other aggregators that I'd love brought together.

One of the big things I'd like to see is some ability to make filters persistent, as I see in BlogBridge.  In SharpReader, I can filter for text / age / flags.  But with hundreds of feeds in my reader, this sometimes takes a while.  I'd love to have a "filters" folder in which my regular filters are collected, so I can focus on common topics easily.  Threading takes care of some of this, but only when the topic is based on a common URL.  When "e-Foo buys e-Bar" hits the feeds, I'd like to be able to set up a filter to collect all those posts and read (or ignore) them together.

Features I'd like

  • Create an option to right click in the article listing and get "unsubscribe from this blog."  One can already do this in the feed listing in the left panel, but it would be nice to do it here, particularly in the "river of news" mode.  When I am no longer interested in a feed, I don't want to hunt it down and kill it.  I just want it to go away.
  • Is there some way to integrate with the browser better to "open later" when I am offline?  I suppose I get more accustomed to the SharpReader filters.
  • I organize my feeds into folders (categories) for convenience, and I switch between reading the group and reading individual feeds.  It would be nice, when using the "next" button (space bar) if SharpReader would collapse a folder when finish reading a feed in that folder.
  • When I filter, collapse the left column to include only blogs that have matching entries.  For instance, when I am viewing only unread items, show me the feeds that are unread as well.
  • Provide a "reply to author" function (Ctrl-R would be great).  This would do the same thing as "send as email" (Ctrl-E), but also fill in the author info (when available in the feed).
  • I'd like to be able to subscribe to new feeds by drag-and-drop to the SharpReader icon on the toolbar or taskbar, instead of having to wait for the app to open. 

Not quite what I expected

  • SharpReader has ten different flags for various follow-up/interestingness marks, but I don't quite like the filtering mechanism.  Maybe I'm just not used to it.
  • Threading happens when the article I'm reading references other items within my feeds.  It also happens when several items refer to the same external website.  I'd love a feature that lets me tweak how many articles need to refer to an external link before it is included in the threading.  The default seems to be two.  If I set this to one, SharpReader would build a thread for any URL referenced in the article.  Does this make it too computationally expensive?
  • Expand the "send as email" function to include text from the article, not just the URL.  This would probably require sending mail in HTML mode, not flat text.
  • It doesn't "minimize to system tray" when I hit the minimize button.  But it does when I hit the "x" to close.  To exit completely, I need to File->Exit.
  • Hide the background feed-access task better.  I'll "see" SharpReader searching for new feeds from time to time, and it is somewhat distracting.  Not a huge issue.
  • It doesn't understand any odd markup with the "iframe" tag, such as Flickr enclosures or people use use iframes to include Amazon book images.  I just get the raw markup for some reason.  (Maybe this due to the feeds, but it happens in several feeds I read.)

Workshop via mind map

Three questions from Richard McDermott