Subscribe with Bloglines For a long time now I've been a loyal AmphetaDesk user. I've written and even contributed a few hacks to the code and have integrated it into my blogging framework. But recently it's been bugging me. It doesn't yet grok Atom and I haven't had the time too add it. There are a few bugs that I simply haven't had time to track down--they're just on the wrong side of the annoying threshold to merit any real attention. And the single-threaded nature of it is problematic at times too.

I've been thinking about switching to something else. Since I still use Linux as my primary OS on my trusty ThinkPad (I'm contemplating switch to a PowerBook, but that's another drama), I looked at the options.

They all sucked hard in various ways. I won't go into how each of them sucked, because that's not my point. Eventually I convinced myself to consider a web-based service. That, in and of itself, is not a big deal. After all, AmphetaDesk is web based. The difference, however, is one of control. I controlled my own AD install.

After I got over that mental hump, I took another look at Bloglines and am quite impressed with the progress since I lasted toyed with it. Mark Fletcher and crew are doing an amazing job. Mark's no idiot. He knows a lot about building very large web-based systems and it shows.

As a publisher, I love the fact that Bloglines tells me how many subscribers it represents each time it pulls one of my feeds. That's such a nice touch. I still hope we can get something similar implemented for the My Yahoo! RSS module. Yahoo now does this too.

My tentative plan, barring someone depositing a brand new 15" PowerBook on my doorstep, is to switch to Bloglines over the weekend and use it as my primary aggregator for the next few weeks. I'm curious to see if it really is as usable as it feels in day to day usage.

I'll try to post notes of anything significant I discover along the way.

Posted by jzawodn at March 22, 2004 11:21 PM

Reader Comments
# Raj Shekhar said:

Two important points that I consider good for Bloglines are -

- Since it is web based, you can access it from anywhere with a net connection. This also eliminates the problem of synchronization between what you have read at work and what you will read at home.

- It has a "Saved items" folder

on March 22, 2004 11:56 PM
# rayg said:

keep an eye out for rocketinfo. it's another web-based reader with a nice interface, but's it still needs some improvement.

on March 23, 2004 02:29 AM
# Derek said:

I feel obligated to point out that bloglines doesn't carry my blogs because of the whole aggregation vs. syndication thing.

You should just get that powerbook and get yourself NNW and call it a day. :-)

on March 23, 2004 03:54 AM
# Manish Jethani said:

Join the gang! Bloglines rules. I moved my entire friends list to Bloglines. I love the search feature too!

on March 23, 2004 03:56 AM
# Jeremy C. Wright said:

Yeah, I moved to Bloglines last month and haven't looked back. I did, of course, grab the Notifier (which won't help you much being on Linux, but the team is open to apps being developed using the existing API's so feel free...).

Anyways, it's great. Very happy.

on March 23, 2004 04:52 AM
# Hashim said:

since I don't even own a computer I've been using bloglines since it came out. I love it but I don't have anything to compare it to.

on March 23, 2004 06:51 AM
# rr said:

Checked your access logs lately?

on March 23, 2004 07:19 AM
# Barry Schwartz said:

Go with the PowerBook ;) 15" is perfect. I just got a new one a few weeks ago. Replacing my old 1.5 year old PB (which ran fine, I just always need the newest).

on March 23, 2004 07:27 AM
# fawad said:

A very nice feature of bloglines is that it lets you export your blogroll into OPML. I've written a small XSLT to generate planet config file out of that OPML. This way, I have the option to read my blogs offline as well.

on March 23, 2004 08:03 AM
# Jason said:

Bloglines also has disposable email addresses (for mailing list feeds or sign-up spam) and keyword search feeds. I switched from a desktop based aggregator and I'd never go back. The automatic synchronization between work and home is invaluable. Bloglines is responsive and I couldn't ask for more from a free service.

I looked at Rocketinfo and the features didn't come close, though the interface was shinier.

on March 23, 2004 08:59 AM
# Todd Gruben said:

It is a great app, but doesn't appear to work in Konqueror :-(.

on March 23, 2004 09:06 AM
# joat said:

Don't forget the ability to view other's subscriptions (if they make 'em available). View mine at

on March 23, 2004 10:14 AM
# Derek said:


Ah, yes, so they have...

.... clickety clickety clickety click ....

They've got a spiffy surprise awaiting them the next time they refresh. :-)

on March 23, 2004 12:18 PM
# Sikko2go said:

I can only say nice things about Bloglines. Use it seven days a week now. At first I didn't want an online reader, because I'm still on dialup at home. And offline reading is just one thing you cannot do with it - but that's by design of course, I know. However the synchronisation between work / home etc realloy got me. More and more I found myself reading things I already did (I used to visit blogs directly and save them for offline reading a lot). And with BL that's past time now....

on March 23, 2004 01:09 PM
# Tim A said:

I was hesitant at first in moving to BlogLines for the reason that I couldn't read news while offline. But then I couldn't remember the last time I found myself without a net connection so I tossed what I was using and have never looked back.

Mark and gang have continually added features (and great features at that). There was a point in time that every few days there was a great new feature.

Also, Mark has been really responsive in fixing any problems. Within a few hours he had a bug I reported fixed.

on March 23, 2004 02:46 PM
# Joost Schuur said:

I'm a huge fan of Bloglines myself, and evangelize it to everyone I know. I only have one gripe at this point: you can't selectively mark certain items within a particular feed as read. Sure, I can save individual entries or just look at the last x days/hours worth of entries, but often times, I'd want to keep a few items in a particular feed unread, to come back to later and digest.

on March 23, 2004 05:24 PM
# Courtney said:

Oh fine, I'll join the gang....

on March 24, 2004 06:57 PM
# Suman K Manandhar said:

Best RSS/Atom reader I have used is this:

It's so easy to use and change, and it's the only reader I use now at home. Safari will have RSS detection built-in soon but still we will need something like PulpFiction to manage our feeds,

Search is very fast, and filter, flagging work excellently.


on July 15, 2004 06:29 AM
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