Of RSS Readers and such

I find a lot of value professionally and personally in staying up with current happenings in the Information Technology field.  My interests are fairly wide-ranging, from programming languages and development methodologies to team dynamics and even hardware.  So the question would be how to best utilize the limited hours in a day to keep up?  Some methods can be like drinking from a firehose.  I’ve had coworkers who actually try to stay current by reading Slashdot and Reddit.  That wouldn’t be my choice.  Of course, there are topical sites that aggregate the news.  For Software Development topics, I used to find a lot of value in reading TheServerSide or InfoQ.  Somewhere along the line, RSS (and ATOM) was born and popularized, and I quickly latched on to BlogLines as my reader of choice.  Google Reader eventually eclipsed BlogLines in terms of capability and ease of use, and that’s about where I’ve settled to date.  It’s gotten better over time for sure.  However, there are still issues:

  1. It’s still difficult to curate a list of blogs to read from regularly.  Many of the blogs I subscribe to have been there for years, with few new ones added.
  2. I still tend towards information overload, subscribing to blogs that post way more than I can read.  I have a hard time prioritizing blogs appropriately so I can regularly read the important blogs, and only read the less critical ones when time allows.
  3. Google Reader is going away.  Fortunately, this problem has been solved in Feedly, a very worthy replacement.
  4. I don’t have any stats, but it seems that interesting people are blogging less.  That’s understandable since it’s a pretty big time commitment.  We’ll see how this goes.

As a sidenote, I have seen value in aggregators like the Wall Street Journal.  They seem to do a really good job of distilling the day’s news into a short list for times when I don’t have much time.  Also, even though some people knock it, I find TechCrunch a very rich source of information, and higher quality than many.



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