I subscribe to more than seventy blogs. Most are very quiet and some are probably dead. Only a half dozen or so actually publish much of anything on a regular basis. When I’m at home, leisurely sipping coffee, keeping up with them is simple and not a problem. When I’m traveling, it is simply not possible,
On a road trip where I’m maintaining a journal, my computer time is used for writing and editing photos not reading. I try to keep up with email and I do occasionally read a blog post but mostly they just pile up. When I got home from the recent Lincoln Highway trip, the unread pile contained nearly 800 items. I’ve been nibbling away at it and shortly before 7:00 on Thursday morning, I cleared the pile. I did it with my phone and captured the moment with the screen shot at right.
Using the phone helped and I suppose I should thank Google for that. I used to use a product called Google Reader for reading blogs. I actually used it for all RSS feeds but most of those come from blogs. A few months back, Google announced that they were dropping Reader on July 1, 2013. There was much alarm and a fair amount of anger but there were alternatives so things eventually settled down. Google giveth and Google taketh away.
I was alarmed and angry with everyone else but it didn’t last long. I tried a couple of the suggested alternatives and quickly settled on a product called Feedly. It was different and, of course, I didn’t like it being different but that didn’t last too long either. I accepted some things and Feedly, finding hordes of Google Reader refugees beating a path to their door, made some adjustments. I got all of my feeds switched over and even succeeded — eventually — in adding a few. Within a couple weeks of Google’s announcement, I was a happy Feedly user. Die, Google Reader, die. I care not a bit.
Then I made a wonderful discovery. I had Google Reader on my phone but almost never used it. There were problems. Sure, some of those problems may have been with the user but it never seemed to synchronize things quite right. An article read on the phone might show up as unread on the PC or vice versa and I swear that articles disappeared on their own now and then. That sort of thing did not happen without the phone app in the picture so I essentially quit using it.
Not surprisingly, after I’d installed Feedly on my PC, I was invited to put it on my phone and I did. I even used it a few time. Nothing bad happened. I used it some more and still nothing bad happened. Articles read on one platform showed up as read on the other and articles not read on either stayed unread on both. I was an even happier Feedly user and tried to convince myself that it was OK that Google Reader was allowed to live several more weeks.
I eat out frequently and I usually have a book or magazine next to my meal. With a back log of several hundred posts, I started reading my phone instead of a printed page. It took me thirty days to catch up after a thirty-five day trip. That means I was reading, or pretending to read, about twice as many articles per day as usual. I still read many at home on my PC but I probably read just as many on the phone. If I really did read half of the articles on the phone, then the phone was entirely responsible for the doubling and Google’s dropping of Google Reader is entirely responsible for me finding an application that allowed me to reliably read RSS feeds on my phone. Thanks Google. What’s next?