Bloglines was acting weird a few weeks ago. It showed new posts on the left pane, but when you clicked on the feed it showed no new entries on the right pane. After a few days of this I got fed up and began looking for a replacement.
I wanted a free, online RSS reader because one, I’m cheap, and two, I don’t want to be tied to a particular machine to browse RSS feeds.
Here are the feed readers that fit the bill.
After importing my list of sites, I tried using each of them but I wasn’t impressed. Rojo was the closest to what I was looking for but the interface was much slower than Bloglines. NewsGator was the worst of the bunch, and Google Reader was decent, but it was still slower than Bloglines and didn’t give me any compelling reasons to change. They’ve just announced some more changes so I’ll definitely keep an eye on them but for now, I’m sticking with Bloglines. They fixed the problems I was having and they’ve also made improvements, like not updating the entire left pane when the counts change and decreasing the time between automatic updates to your unread counts.
I’ve been using Bloglines for a few years now, so I enjoyed seeing what else is out there. For me, Bloglines is still the best free, online feed reader around, and I’m once again a loyal fan.
I even switched back to Bloglines for my Blogroll (the old blogroll using links in WordPress were woefully out of date.) What you now see in the blogroll is what I’m currently reading, and I don’t have to do anything extra to keep it up-to-date.
I’ve been trying to replace Bloglines recently, too. Unfortunately, even though they are buggy and ugly, they are the best one out there – I think. I’m giving Gregarius a thorough test though, because I do like the look and it’s got some halfway decent features.
Thanks for the tip, I’ll check out Gregarius. I’m not too concerned with how a feed reeder looks as long as it’s fast and isn’t buggy, but I’m always curious to try new ones out too.
Might want to give Activorous (http://activoro.us) a try now that Bloglines is being shut down; it’s way better than Google Reader.
Thanks for the pointer, but being associated with Activorous you’re a tad biased. What objective measures are there to indicate it’s superior?
I just signed up for Activorous.
It looks to be an admirable and ambitious project. However,
– It’s not browser agnostic, as it requires GreaseMonkey.
– There is no list view of feeds with counts of unread items.
– There is no view showing only a listing of headlines.
– There is no view showing only a listing summaries.
– There is not hierarchy view to organize your feeds.
The feel of it reminds me of StumbleUpon. Activorous tries to be a mind reader, learning what you like and then force feeding you the entire articles.
Again, I think it’s an admirable project, and I’m going to try to stick with it. But, I’m don’t consider it a replacement for Bloglines, and I think many will feel the same way.
@TesserId Thanks for the thorough and objective review.
An import into Netvibes worked, creating a separate tab for each of my Bloglines folders. The “reader view” (towards the top of the page) is nice. Though, this is just a preliminary impression. Of course, in desperation, there’s no telling what madness I might go for.
@TesserId I’ve toyed with Netvibes for 2 years or more but it’s never stuck. I don’t know what it is, but I just don’t find myself returning to it.
Google Reader has been my preferred RSS reader for awhile, and it’s likely to remain that way.
I’ve also had a successful import with Fastladder, though it took quite some time for everything to show up in the interface.
Fastladder feels very close to Bloglines, though the list view was hard to find (under the “Others” dropdown).
I’m still poking around, but I haven’t yet found anything too awkward.
(Note that this blog came up first in a search on the Bloglines shutdown, which is why I’m posting all these comments here. I hope this is helpful.)
@TesserId Thanks for sharing your findings. This is good information for the soon-to-be homeless Bloglines users.
You should also check out Netvibes. It tries to do a whole lot of other things, but the “reader view” makes a decent Bloglines replacement (if you liked the Bloglines folder view, you may like the widget view, but I found it frustrating. I can’t say how it compares with Fastladder. Some other recommendations I’ve seen are Activorous and Fever. The former requires Firefox 3.6 and Greasemonkey – the latter requires your own server (and costs $30). However, after Bloglines shutdown the idea of running my own aggregator is a bit more appealing – even if Mint.com decides to drop Fever, I can keep running it on my own server until I am ready to switch to something else – this is not true of Activorous, Netvibes, or Fastladder.
@Alex That’s a good point. If it’s on your own server, you don’t have to worry about being forced to switch again. But there’s a lot more work involved in setting that up, and almost impossible for those who aren’t technically inclined.
Activorous looked good to me until I find out it doesn’t support IE at all. While FF is indeed better, at work I am stuck with IE, and I want this on my iGoogle page and to work at home AND on the job.
It would have been nice to disclose earlier that Activorous doesn’t support IE. Wasting my time, sir. But it seems to do every thing I wanted, except for the browser bigotry that is not helpful for those of us who are required to use IE. Sorry, I wont’t be able to use this, but I’ll remember it if I convert to FF full time.
Feedlooks is another alternative, highlighted on Digital Inspiration.
Bloglines isn’t going away after all. Details at The Ask.com Blog.