24 April 2006

Life without RSS Aggregators

As an experiment, I wanted to see what would happen if I stopped using RSS.

About 4900 feed-hits-later -- all jammed into the Newsgator. . .

In short, I was alot happier: Not using RSS.

First, I found it was alot easier to do research on new things. The problem with RSS is that it is stuck with what is known; and is not very good for finding "new things" that suddenly appear. Searching isn't just about "what's going to happen next," but it's also about coming new things, and then going forwards and backwards in time. I don't buy the argument-myth of "never use a search engine again."

Second, when I returned to the Newsgator Aggregator, I had so many RSS feeds jammed into the system, that it literally became unworkable. It took too much time to zero-things out so I could start over. After a while, it was easier to look things up manually, than sift through all the data/files. Because the feeds were piling up faster than I could zero-them out, I stopped using Newsgator all together, simply making the "jammed folder problem" worse.

Third, once I started to zero-out the folders, and "then do other things" while waiting for the folders to surface -- so that I could zero them out -- I found the integration with Google to be problematic. Multiple times the browser-aggregator-google search engine failed to integrate. I literally had to restart my computer/shut things down, just so I could use Google. Sometimes I wasn't able to type things into the search box; this problem went away when I shut down Newsgator. It would be interesting to read the IE trouble reports related to Newsgator/Google interface. I have no idea if Newsgator can contact their peers at Microsoft.

Let's give you some other numbers:

1. 3900 files
2. Each Newsgator Screen can hold 90items
3. Each time I click "I've read this", the entire process takes 8 minutes: 346 minutes total; or 5.7 hours

That's baloney!

A. Click to zero-out
B. Freeze up: Unable to access google/have to do direct entry on URLs
C. Clear out: Wait for things to unfreeze
D. Start over

If I was "in charge" of RSS, I'd do this:

1. Make sure there was a way to quickly zero-out all my feed-folders so that I could start fresh. Right now, I have to go through each page/folder individually. That takes too much time. It would be nice if there was a single-button/step.

2. Also, I would like to see a "standby mode" where I could still have my folders/RSS feeds still collecting things, but have that in the archive mode. This means throwing things into a file, but not actively showing them. Some of my active feeds I may want to still keep, but not want to keep zeroing them out -- as I skip over things.

To be clear, I don't have a problem with Newsgator aggregator or the RSS feeds.

Let's talk about some solutions: How to zero-out the feeds. Exporting your feed URLs as an OPML, then deleting all your feeds, then reading the OPML file doesn't work. Rather, it makes your problem worse: All the newly-added files from the saved OMPL file will simply recalibrate back to their full amount.

Yes, that's what I have: Now 4900 files to go through, making the clogged problem worse.

On top of that, when I deleted all my feeds from Newsgator -- with the hopes of starting over -- I didn't realize that the clippings are attacked. Even though Id didn't click "clippings", when I deleted those URL-feeds, all the clippings disappeared.

"What would be nice"

A. If I delete all my feeds, I'd like the option to "not delete" my clippings.

B. If I add a list of OPML, I'd like the option to start fresh and have nothing showing up in the file, and start with zero feeds.

C> It would be nice to have a way to export all my clipped files as an additional file, something that is understandably linked with content, not simply a URL like a feed; and have a means to use this in other locations, or re-import it back to Newsgator.

After all of the above, here are the Results

1. The only way to "zero things out" quickly is to manually go through each feed and click on it; but this is difficult because of the bandwidth. We're looking at a day's worth of work.

2. If you delete files you're going to lose you're clippings.

3. In order to get what I want -- faster speed, and no deletions of the feed-content -- I have to zero everything out by deleting it, then adding each feedback. In other words, I'm in a worse position and completely undermining the objective of feeds: Saving time. Rather, it's faster to simply look up the information using a search engine, and bypassing the entire feed-archiving-assembling system.

Until this bandwidth issue is resolved, I'm not likely to subscribe to new feeds. My research is far too dynamic and unpredictable. Overall, I do not recommend using RSS or aggregators for novel searches, or unusual requests for data; also it's not practical to use RSS when you're trying to combine different types of information into a new outcome or product. It's far easier to simply look up each individual element, then combine it.

Yes, I do see the benefit of RSS from a perspective of a corporation and a radar-mode; but the issue is whether I want to monitor something that is "out there" -- which I do not -- or whether I want to find something so that I can make something new.

In the end, for my purposes I am less inclined to use RSS. Rather, I see that RSS is better for a search tool like Newsweek or Technorati when they want to integrate open stream of data -- like news -- with another -- like comments into a quickly integrated system.

For my purposes, I have no interest in "monitoring" things like this; rather, my searches are a one-time request; if I don't find it now, then it doesn't exist so I create it. I'm not in the business of creating searches for "stuff that I've already created."

-- This is the end of the content --
As an experiment, I wanted to see what would happen if I stopped using RSS.

About 4900 feed-hits-later -- all jammed into the Newsgator. . .

In short, I was alot happier: Not using RSS.

First, I found it was alot easier to do research on new things. The problem with RSS is that it is stuck with what is known; and is not very good for finding "new things" that suddenly appear. Searching isn't just about "what's going to happen next," but it's also about coming new things, and then going forwards and backwards in time. I don't buy the argument-myth of "never use a search engine again."

Second, when I returned to the Newsgator Aggregator, I had so many RSS feeds jammed into the system, that it literally became unworkable. It took too much time to zero-things out so I could start over. After a while, it was easier to look things up manually, than sift through all the data/files. Because the feeds were piling up faster than I could zero-them out, I stopped using Newsgator all together, simply making the "jammed folder problem" worse.

Third, once I started to zero-out the folders, and "then do other things" while waiting for the folders to surface -- so that I could zero them out -- I found the integration with Google to be problematic. Multiple times the browser-aggregator-google search engine failed to integrate. I literally had to restart my computer/shut things down, just so I could use Google. Sometimes I wasn't able to type things into the search box; this problem went away when I shut down Newsgator. It would be interesting to read the IE trouble reports related to Newsgator/Google interface. I have no idea if Newsgator can contact their peers at Microsoft.

Let's give you some other numbers:

1. 3900 files
2. Each Newsgator Screen can hold 90items
3. Each time I click "I've read this", the entire process takes 8 minutes: 346 minutes total; or 5.7 hours

That's baloney!

A. Click to zero-out
B. Freeze up: Unable to access google/have to do direct entry on URLs
C. Clear out: Wait for things to unfreeze
D. Start over

If I was "in charge" of RSS, I'd do this:

1. Make sure there was a way to quickly zero-out all my feed-folders so that I could start fresh. Right now, I have to go through each page/folder individually. That takes too much time. It would be nice if there was a single-button/step.

2. Also, I would like to see a "standby mode" where I could still have my folders/RSS feeds still collecting things, but have that in the archive mode. This means throwing things into a file, but not actively showing them. Some of my active feeds I may want to still keep, but not want to keep zeroing them out -- as I skip over things.

To be clear, I don't have a problem with Newsgator aggregator or the RSS feeds.

Let's talk about some solutions: How to zero-out the feeds. Exporting your feed URLs as an OPML, then deleting all your feeds, then reading the OPML file doesn't work. Rather, it makes your problem worse: All the newly-added files from the saved OMPL file will simply recalibrate back to their full amount.

Yes, that's what I have: Now 4900 files to go through, making the clogged problem worse.

On top of that, when I deleted all my feeds from Newsgator -- with the hopes of starting over -- I didn't realize that the clippings are attacked. Even though Id didn't click "clippings", when I deleted those URL-feeds, all the clippings disappeared.

"What would be nice"

A. If I delete all my feeds, I'd like the option to "not delete" my clippings.

B. If I add a list of OPML, I'd like the option to start fresh and have nothing showing up in the file, and start with zero feeds.

C> It would be nice to have a way to export all my clipped files as an additional file, something that is understandably linked with content, not simply a URL like a feed; and have a means to use this in other locations, or re-import it back to Newsgator.

After all of the above, here are the Results

1. The only way to "zero things out" quickly is to manually go through each feed and click on it; but this is difficult because of the bandwidth. We're looking at a day's worth of work.

2. If you delete files you're going to lose you're clippings.

3. In order to get what I want -- faster speed, and no deletions of the feed-content -- I have to zero everything out by deleting it, then adding each feedback. In other words, I'm in a worse position and completely undermining the objective of feeds: Saving time. Rather, it's faster to simply look up the information using a search engine, and bypassing the entire feed-archiving-assembling system.

Until this bandwidth issue is resolved, I'm not likely to subscribe to new feeds. My research is far too dynamic and unpredictable. Overall, I do not recommend using RSS or aggregators for novel searches, or unusual requests for data; also it's not practical to use RSS when you're trying to combine different types of information into a new outcome or product. It's far easier to simply look up each individual element, then combine it.

Yes, I do see the benefit of RSS from a perspective of a corporation and a radar-mode; but the issue is whether I want to monitor something that is "out there" -- which I do not -- or whether I want to find something so that I can make something new.

In the end, for my purposes I am less inclined to use RSS. Rather, I see that RSS is better for a search tool like Newsweek or Technorati when they want to integrate open stream of data -- like news -- with another -- like comments into a quickly integrated system.

For my purposes, I have no interest in "monitoring" things like this; rather, my searches are a one-time request; if I don't find it now, then it doesn't exist so I create it. I'm not in the business of creating searches for "stuff that I've already created."

-- This is the end of the content --
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