Wednesday, May 3

Begin again

One of the great cataclysms of my life occurred in July 2013. Some genius at Big Broogle headquarters decided life was too good and pulled the plug on the best feed-reader ever developed - Google Reader.
One minute's silence while we shed a collective tear, heave a sigh of resignation, gather ourselves and find the strength to carry on.
Reader was everything a Rich Site Summary (RSS) collator should be; simple to use, easy on the eyes and dependable as a Swiss watch. An added benefit back when we were all perpetually signed into Google (which I now know was a bad, bad idea) was Reader's 1-click accessibility. Those truly were the glory days of feed-reading. Blogging was extremely popular, people wrote if not daily then at least bimonthly and the world's best RSS tool would faithfully keep us updated.

Of course, Chaucer certainly knew his onions when he coined the phrase "All good things must come to an end". And so, Reader did, mourned bitterly by loyal users but ruthlessly sacrificed to introduce the world to its repugnant heir, the new Eye of Sauron+.

Like most people, I moved to Feedly. It was... well, never mind what it was, that is, satisfactory at best. Critically, it just wasn't Reader and that fact basically doomed Feedly for me. I tolerated it more than I liked it. I always signed in filled with resentment, shaking my fist & railing against the unkind fates who... anyway you get the picture. I kept my Feedly subscription but used it only occasionally. That is, until yesterday, when the universe dusted off the hammer, selected a suitable nail and began knocking it into the coffin. Because that was when Feedly primly informed me that my ad blockers had to be disabled if I wanted to keep reading.

Many years ago, I developed a healthy horror of online ads, social media buttons and trackers which is why Ad Block Plus, Ad Guard and Disconnect are the first add-ons I install on any browser. Now, I understand Feedly's predicament. There's no such thing as a free lunch. A lot of time and effort have gone into offering this service to thankless bastards like me. The only way to keep the wolves from the door is advertising. But.

Which is when I wondered if there was a desktop feed-reader for Linux. It intrigued me because most tools designed for a Linux distro tend to be pretty spare. A little bit of searching led me to RSSOwl. Installing and setting it up was a piece of cake. And, if first impressions count for anything, I like it. It reminds me strongly of Reader. I don't need to sign into anything to use it. There are some handy tips & tweaks I will slowly try, though the basic version is good enough. So, it's time to read.

As an aside, migrating feed-readers always leaves me a bit sad because I discover just how many of the people I follow gave up the writing ghost a long time ago. Some links have been kept for nostalgia's sake while others have been discarded. Such it goes.

Song for the moment: As long as you follow - Fleetwood Mac

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