Choicelessness

Dog Blog

Posted in culture, dog, technology by johnsnavely on October 13, 2008

She was on dogster, but now Mattie has her own blog. (Thanks to Jill, our lovely dogwalker.)

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13 Responses

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  1. son1 said, on October 14, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Mattie needs a Mycrocosm page for her “Evacuation Reports.” A Mattie-crocosm, if you will.

  2. johnsnavely said, on October 14, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Heh. Yeah, this life casting stuff gets sillier along the edges.

    btw, I’ve heard that Balmer is a twitter fiend.

    Also, hypothetically, if you were to rewrite Google Reader, what would you add or take away?

  3. son1 said, on October 14, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    That doesn’t sound like a hypothetical question.

    If I could take away one thing, it would be an amalgam of the small UI decisions they’ve made. For instance, the feed links on the left are drag-and-droppable — that’s awful. I’m always accidentally dragging feeds to categories they shouldn’t be in, and then I can’t find them for several weeks. I click while I read. Also, a lot of the buttons that they have at the bottom of each feed item are too small and close together “star this,” “share this,” etc. Blagh.

    Their delicious-style shared-items page is too bulky. It needs to be more dense.

    It’d be nice to have more multi-column display formats.

    I wish the “trends” page kept better (read: more interesting) stats.

    Some of the stuff I’d like to add to a reader is veering into the realm of the personal stats stuff we’ve talked about. I’d like some tagging, I’d like a better ranking system (stars are, let’s face it, just a single ‘bit’ of information), and I’d like a better way to see what I’ve already read.

    I mean, the way I use my reader now is that it’s basically a first-pass filter — it shows me all the posts that *might* be interesting to me. But then I scan through them, skip (Mark as Read) about 95% of them, and read (based on title) the remaining 5%. Of that small slice, only about 10% (i.e. 0.5% of the total) are actually worth remembering — get starred, remembered, re-read, and linked (in my mind) to other things I’ve read.

    It’d be nice to move some of that functionality into the reader itself. Or at least, the tools to make it possible. At the very least, give me an API that I can write against myself. (Is there a Google Reader API? I admit I don’t even know.)

  4. johnsnavely said, on October 15, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Hmm. You’ve nailed some of my basic complaints as well. Although, I don’t use the trends stuff. My big issues fall into three categories.

    1.) (Which you’ve mentioned) I need some simple filtering on the feeds I get. Full “pipes” functionality isn’t needed, but I should be able to some blocking or ranking.

    2.) Lack of social network tools. If delicious offered a similar reader that integrated with my delicious network and allowed me to post there… I probably would do so in a second. “Shared items” is a pretty weak storage place for things. Reading and collecting are almost the same activity for me so I need tools that work that way. Sharing and starring don’t cut it.

    3.) UI (which you also mentioned) There are a lot of simple things that haven’t been done. For example, when you go to manage your links, the default view is alphabetical order, there’s no sorting by folder, which is how I’ve organized my feeds to remember them.

    My general feeling is that Google has spent a couple years (reader has been out for a 5 years now?) figuring out how to mine my data without giving me much in return. I’d like to have something better.

  5. johnsnavely said, on October 15, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    As a side note, since we’re trashing Reader a bit, there’s a lot of other RSS feed readers out there. Why haven’t I used one of them? Outlook has one for example.

    The answer, I think, is not that Reader offers more features than feed Readers in other software. It’s that Reader offers less.

    Remember when we were talking to Bryan about how we spend an hour or so on Reader every morning? That’s a big shift from an email centered world. (Which is why a lot of RSS readers integrated with email programs will always be secondary to emailing). My twitter and facebook feeds pretty much take the place of email, except at work where everyone is “old school”.

    I’d love to go a week without email. Just twitter and reader and see how well I can work.

  6. Re-Reader « John Snavely’s Blog said, on October 15, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    […] 15Oct08 There’s an interesting dicussion going on in the comments, that I think should be elevated to a […]

  7. bryan said, on October 15, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    I have a question: do you use the “all” view or browser per feed? Perhaps this is a hold over from actually visiting each site, but I can’t get used to the all view.

    Features: trends is pretty useless for me, but I like the general concept. It would be more interesting if I could see how I stack up against someone else, like you guys. Do I have a lot of feeds? Am I obsessive?

    The biggest flop for me is blogger integration! It’s supposed to work, but for some reason it doesn’t operate on my account. I agree that some sort of delicious integration (or a delicious reader!) would be awesome… I love gReader but it feels a bit like a culdesac. I find myself spawning a hundred tabs similar to tim’s reading style.

    Now, someone should write a trends-style plugin that tracks your tab usage. *That* would interest me.

    I find myself making use of the “keep this unread” option but it’s difficult to use. I’d love the UI to be a bit more app-y and less website-y.

  8. son1 said, on October 15, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    You know, a few of us are actually programmers. In a Just World, we would be writing some of these tools ourselves

  9. son1 said, on October 15, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Also, bryan, I don’t understand what the “browser per feed” option is? I think I use the “All Items” view, if that’s what you’re asking. Or maybe you’re asking about the “Expanded View” vs “List View” tabs? (I use List View, since I’ve usually got about 3000+ feed items waiting for me when I wake up in the morning.)

  10. johnsnavely said, on October 16, 2008 at 12:00 am

    I use new items per feed. The “full” list is in the 1000’s

  11. johnsnavely said, on October 16, 2008 at 12:00 am

    also, I’ve popped this up to a post! 🙂 We’re not talking about Mattie anymore.

  12. bryan said, on October 16, 2008 at 10:29 am

    s/browser/browse/

    In other words, do you use the list of feeds in the bottom left quadrant of the screen to select a feed and read its new items, or do you plow through the list of all new items that is available. I’m with john, I have a couple feeds that I only read once a week or so and I skim them very quickly.

    Hrmm. What would a feed reader look like if it acknowledged from the start that some feeds are more important to us than others?

  13. RE: Re-Reader « John Snavely’s Blog said, on October 24, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    […] I had posted before about my frustrations and the many flaws of google Reader. (I was not alone.) And lo! My prayers were answered with just a short search to find other […]


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