This website covers 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.

Bloglines to NewsGator

I've decided to switch from Bloglines to NewsGator for my RSS aggregation, though Bloglines is still serving up my blogroll.

NewsGator offers a 14-day free trial, and I have been meaning to give it a whirl, since I use Outlook as my primary communication and personal information management tool. A conversation with Brian Kennemer got me rolling. I've been fairly happy with Bloglines, so the benefit is going to have to create a big leap for me.

The switch from Bloglines is bigger than I was expecting. The biggest difference is that in all configurations, I only see one item at a time in NewsGator. (I can scan subjects on many entries at a time.) With Bloglines, I get to see all posts from a given feed in one window (yes, this means scrolling). And I can also see all posts from all feeds within a folder. In NewsGator, I can see all the headlines, and I can get previews a la Outlook, but I can't read through several entries without having to mouse, or click, or something more than scrolling. Different interface.

However, this is also one of the biggest benefits of NewsGator as well, and it is what has convinced me to make the jump, particularly now that I have a mobile computer. NewsGator downloads all the feeds to my local machine, so I can grab-and-go and read at my leisure, whether that is in an unconnected hotel room, or just sitting on the couch downstairs.

The only issue is how I remind myself about posts I want to blog, or posts that refer to other websites. I use the follow-up flags, and the follow-up suggestions end up in another Search Folder. Orange for "consider blogging" and blue for "read more." The other color flags will be handy in the future.

While NewsGator is not free, the one-time cost is reasonable. However, I cannot currently justify the cost for NewsGator Online Services (NGOS). This is something that Bloglines offers for free.

First-Day extended thoughts:

Importing the OPML file from Bloglines ignored my folder structure. Rather annoying.

Outlook only sorts alphabetically, so if I want some feeds near each other, I need to rename them. Bloglines let me move things around as much as I wanted.

It looks like NewsGator will let me read any number of feeds in one folder, though the default is one folder per feed. This might replicate the feature that Bloglines has of clicking on the folder name and giving me all the feeds below that folder.

It's strange switching from Outlook to the web browser, when I am used to simply opening a new browser window to see full posts or see referred websites. This is not particularly bad, just different.

Adding new feeds is simple with the NewsGator IE plugin. Unfortunately, this doesn't ask where I want to add the feed, which is a feature of Bloglines. This appears to be on the request list in the discussion forum.

I am learning a lot about the Outlook 2003 Search Folders that give me a better view of how all this might work together. With my subscriptions grouped into folders, I can then use a Search Folder to read everything within a given sub-folder, rather than selecting specific feeds for a Search. Very handy.

NewsGator doesn't seem to be able to read all the feeds that Bloglines could read. Some aggregated feeds aren't there, and neither are some feeds that went through MyRSS.

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