About That Google Reader Replacement

Several months ago I wrote a post about finding a replacement for Google Reader, which is being decommissioned.   Readers seemed very interested in the topic, and I received a number of emails and tweets asking me what I ended up choosing.

My criteria was that I needed something that would be usable on my Kindle Fire, that would sync with the desktop when I used it on the Kindle Fire, and that would be suitable for handling hundreds of items daily.    Feedly is interesting, but I found their mobile offering to be lacking.    I gave Netvibes a shot, but couldn’t get it to function how I needed it to.  Mrs. Dynamite was pleased with Netvibes and ended up using it as her Reader replacement.  I settled on The Old Reader, which looks most like Google Reader, and functions pretty similarly.   The differentiation between “read” and “unread” posts in terms of highlighting isn’t quite as clear as in Google Reader, and The Old Reader doesn’t update quite as quickly as Google Reader did, but it hasn’t really bothered me.    As they note in their own knowledge base:

“We check the average interval between posts in a given feed and fetch that feed twice as often – so, if your feed delivers an article every 8 hours, we will be trying to refresh it every 4. One day is the maximum refresh interval we allow, so feeds that publish new articles every month still get fetched every single day.

Obviously, feeds that support pubsubhubbub get updates almost instantly, and all feeds that deliver time-critical content should really be using pubsubhubbub.

Current refresh schedule seems to work fine for the majority of users, but we will be happy to increase refresh rates in the future if we have any extra server capacity (which is not the case at the moment, unfortunately).”

I’m somewhat confused by this in practice, because, for example, Josh Brown publishes posts much more frequently than I do, yet my own posts show up in The Old Reader very quickly, while his often take hours to show up in my feed.   I would have thought that we both have the same infrastructure, as part of the Stocktwits blog network.   The other interesting/annoying feature is that if you’re looking at “all items,” new posts that come in don’t necessarily come to the top – by which I mean: it’s possible that a post was published 8 hours ago, but that The Old Reader just found it now – if you sort your posts by “most recent,” this 8-hours-ago post will be in the list in the order that it was published (ie, not near the top) – not in the order that it showed up in your reader.    This isn’t a huge issue, as I’m normally looking at “unread” posts only, but it can create minor problems if you accidentally mark items as read and want to try to review what you missed.

Anyway, I was having some minor internet panic attacks about quitting Google Reader, but so far my transition to The Old Reader has gone smoothly.   You can export your list of feeds from Google Reader, and import them into The Old Reader.  The site doesn’t work perfectly on the Kindle Fire, but reloading the page fixes errors, and it’s usable.   I hope that The Old Reader will continue to improve their capacity, and that they won’t be crushed by hundreds of thousands of new accounts in the next few weeks from late-adopting Google Reader jumpers.

The Old Reader

-KD

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