RSS versus Live

March 26, 2009

I have a love - hate relationship with RSS feeds. Being able to view updates from several hundred sites in one place rather than having to visit them all individually is certainly a benefit. But only consuming a site through NetNewsWire means you never see the site itself. There's something to be said for the manner in which people present their digital selves on the web.

Recently I closed NNW thinking that i'd like to view the actual sites every day, rather than only on occasion. With 95 sites in my "A-List" folder, visiting each site was rather taxing for my aging PowerBook. Well, taxing in the sense that while Safari can open all 95 pages in individual tabs more or less simultaneously, it takes a long time for the last tab to complete.

Instead I now trying a hybrid approach. I keep NNW open throughout the day, and I can dip into the large pool of content whenever I choose. But there are those sites whose visual presentation is exceptional, and I visit those in the browser, usually without having check NNW to see if there are any updates. Part of the fun of visiting sites via the browser is the anticipation while you wait for the page to load.

Type and "s" and let Safari auto-complete it to "shawnblanc.net" and hit the return key. For a second or so you get to wonder if Shawn posted something new today or not. If so, great, sit back and enjoy. If not, well, you still get to see his finely modified Hemingway theme. Or "p" for "paragiraffe.com.

RSS is perfect for drinking from the Web hose, but a browser is best for truly enjoying your favorite flavors, a sip at a time.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.