It turns out that even with the Reader redesign (one wonders why redesign something to be discontinued but I digress) as far as a simple, workable user interface Reader is pretty darned good. Having the ginormous Google server farm behind it probably doesn't hurt.
I actually use an RSS reader. It's not just a fun thing to play with. I have a few thousand (that's right, thousand) articles that I process every week. In some cases the processing is simply scan what's there and say "crap" and go on. In others it involves careful reading. And, of course, that's the way I get through a few hundred webcomics I follow. As in anything else, niggling details often scale up from inconsequential to insurmountable.
Reader had the following features that made it the best for me:
- Compeltely web based
- Simple interface
- Fast updates
- Reliable behavior (lack of unexpected behavior)
So, as soon as I found out Reader was going to die a horrible death I went out looking. Of the ones I found it seemed NetVibes was the best in that it had a Reader like interface-- coincidentally called "reader."
There's no way to sort the reader mode. I have a few hundred items I want to have in one place-- I process them in date order so the number doesn't matter unless I'm looking for a particular one. Of course, if I'm looking for a particular one it would be nice to have them sorted in alphabetical order-- like everything else on the planet. But noooooooooooo! I found no way to have it sort. Couldn't find it in the manual. In fact, when I looked on the web I found many people complaining of the same problem and the answer lost in silence.
And let's talk about stability and updating. I find that Netvibes is hours slower than Reader. Not to mention that it's failing. A lot. I't been down more than up this morning. Probably because of all of the Reader expatriates.
Okay. Deep breath. Netvibes is still better than anything else you looked at.
This move by Google is a harbinger of things to come. This is not a denial of a particular product. I think this is the beginning of the end of free services-- which, in fact, may be a good thing. I wouldn't mind paying for a Reader like service if I could afford it. (Note: monthly cost of Netvibes beyond the free service is $500/month. This includes social networking analytics which is useless to someone like me.) There are discussions across the net that blogger (what you're reading) might be the next to go. Frankly, I don't think anything is safe. Up to and including gmail.