Saturday, December 28, 2013

Eff You, Feedly

I love blogs. I just think they're such a neat form of expression. I read something recently that their influence, such as it is, is waning, and kids today want their tumblrs and podcasts and vlogs and frim franglers and zoob zooblers, but I'm pretty happy with the basic deal, words, and the occasional picture with the snarky caption.

I read quickly, and I read at work and I read a ton of blogs (I've got 254 in my feed), which is why I tend to prefer a format that's as simple as possible.

That's why Google Reader was so good for me. I think my buddy Tim was the first person I saw using it, I immediately saw the appeal. I could have just about everything I read online pulled to me to read at my leisure, instead of going up and down and to and fro on the internets, to see if my favorite sites had pushed out an update.

Reader was...just about invisible, which is the highest compliment I can pay to the application in its role. It pulled content to me, that's all it did, and I didn't even notice it doing it. It just worked. I never even thought about it.

Then Google announced in March 2013 that it was shuttering Reader in the Summer. I, like just about every other user, got a little sad, then googled some variation on "Alternatives to Google Reader"

There weren't many right at the time of the announcement, because Reader was absolutely the dominant player. In the run-up to the closure, I exported my data and settled on Feedly.

Feedly was an also ran. Remember Netscape Navigator? For one, brief shining moment, it was the big fish in the browser pond. Then Microsoft started bundling Internet Explorer and it lost market share to the point where it would have required a meteor strike on Redmond to get it back.

That's pretty much the position Feedly was in. When the first place product is the best and the most visible, it's hard to make a living in second place. They continued development throughout Reader's period of dominance, and then, when I can only assume what was the products of their contract with Satan came to fruition, they were there to receive the hordes of Reader refugees.

Feedly is, not to put too fine a point on it, kind of a piece of shit. It doesn't do anything better than Reader did, and it does a number of things worse. It lacked basic functionality when it launched, and only later did they add it in...for those willing to pay.

I hate how they put the search right there, and only sandbag users when they go to use it.

That, in itself, wouldn't be a dealbreaker. I'm willing to pay for a product...if it's good and I can always favorite a piece and return to it later. Except that Feedly, on my phone, crashes ALL THE TIME. I click to read something and, hey, I'm back at my homescreen. When I try to find the article, it's already been read, so it's a pain to manually sift through everything to find it again. (Also, it signs me out at irregular intervals)

So...the other day, I went looking for "Alternatives to Feedly". And I found InoReader. It's small enough that they don't even have a wikipedia entry.

I like it more than Feedly, but I like syphilis more than Feedly. I think I may like them more than Google Reader. Even bit as functional, every bit as reliable, and with the added ability to pull in content from blogs that require a click-through.

The Mary Sue doesn't usually require a clickthrough. It just happened to be the site I had open.

Inoreader really is very good. My main concern is that they give away so much at the free level that there's not a lot of incentive to upgrade to the paid tiers. It's a great product that deserves a lot more attention.


  1. I read this post on Feedly.

    It's worked fine on both phones I've used it on as well as my tablet, though I much prefer the desktop website to the mobile app. I can't say I'm particularly enamored with it, but it gets the job done for me. I've tried the occasional alternative (Digg Reader, Aol Reader; both pretty decent, surprisingly), but so far always end up coming back to Feedly because... Well, mainly because it's already set up and none of the others have offered anything that really gave me the incentive to bother switching. I've heard of InoReader, but I don't think I've actually tried it yet. I'll have to check it out.

    1. It's certainly possible that the problem lies with my phone rather than Feedly's mobile app.