Bloglines

June 05, 2004

After using desktop aggregators for years, I've recently moved my subscriptions over to the web-based Bloglines and have no intention of going back to NetNewsWire. I'm always reluctant to use server-side anything; I think this general aversion stems from the fact that I usually don't feel that I'm in control of web applications (i.e., there are never enough customization and configuration options and everything is centralized on a computer that isn't mine). That said, I only thought to give Bloglines a chance after seeing some other prominent netheads rave about it. After using it for the past two weeks I have to say that it gets just about everything right; my problems with it are both mild and easily curable. The next few paragraphs outline some of the changes I'd like to see, but even if none of these come to fruition, Bloglines is my aggregator of choice until something better comes along.

The first thing I'd like to see is the number of unread headlines as part of the title of the page (e.g., instead of "Bloglines | My Blogs," I'd like "Bloglines | 187 unread"). That way, a quick glance to the Bloglines tab in my browser would reveal how far "behind" I was (come to think of it, maybe that's not a good idea).

I wouldn't mind an easier way of sorting the subscriptions. As it stands now, it's easier to export the subs list, import it into a desktop client (e.g., NetNewsWire), sort the subs as I see fit, export them, and then re-import them into Bloglines.

I think a name change would be nice as well. Bloglines implies that it is only for weblogs and not syndication in general. Furthermore, even it were somehow confined to weblogs, I think the name is stupid — what the hell does "bloglines" mean? Perhaps it is a play on "headlines?" Whatever, I don't like it. *shrug*

Finally, the feature I'd like to see most is for Bloglines to include in my list only the subscriptions that have unread headlines — if there aren't any unread headlines there is no reason to encumber my list (which requires quite a bit of scrolling as is) with those empty sites.

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