Sunday, August 17, 2008

Feedbooks Newspapers are Replacing My RSS Reader

I've been using Feedbooks RSS feed service for my Kindle for a few weeks now and I love it. Up to this point though I've been doing each feed individually though, which means I have to manually update each feed on my Kindle to get the latest and greatest content. I heard of the feed clustering service Feedbooks offered, called Newspapers, but I hadn't played with it before this weekend.

Now that I've spent some time creating my own newspaper I'm hooked. I took a few of my favorite technology-related feeds and put them into a single feed called Joe's Newspaper. If you look at the page the previous link leads you to you'll see Joe's Newspaper includes feeds from O'Reilly Radar, Hack a Day, CNET Top Tech News, Slashdot and Wired Top Stories. I used to have a separate Feedbooks feed for each of these 5 items which meant I had to remember to update all of them individually; by using Joe's Newspaper I just do one update and get them all.

Actually, I need to tweak this one a bit. Partial feeds really stink in this service. I don't like them in general but it's even worse if you're trying to use something like Feedbooks Newspapers in an offline environment (e.g., on a plane). There's nothing quite like seeing the first few words of the post and then being forced to click through to the source website for the rest of the article. So while O'Reilly's feed features the entire article, CNET and Wired's do not, so I'll be dumping both of them shortly. There are far too many great (and complete!) feeds out there to suffer with partial ones like this.

I'll probably change the name of this to Joe's Tech Newspaper and then create other ones such as Joe's Book Publishing Newspaper and Joe's Sports Newspaper. I'll group my favorite feeds together and just do one update for each. Maybe Feedbooks will take this to the next level and allow me to do a catalog of newspapers that only require one update click and automatically pull down all the newspapers in my list...that would be nice.

I've found that I'm falling further and further behind with all the RSS feeds I subscribe to. I'm hoping that maybe by selecting only my favorites for this Feedbooks/Kindle service I'll at least be able to keep up with the key ones. Either way, I know I'll get more out of RSS feeds because of this excellent Feedbooks service.

P.S. -- I see Feedbooks now has a USB-based update option where the content is pushed automatically once you're connected to your computer. I'll have to try this one next since my Kindle gets connected to my laptop almost every day (to test new Kindle file samples).


cheeseslope said...

I've been looking for complete-feed news ("Top Stories", "National News", "Entertainment", etc.) for my Feedbooks newspaper, but I can't find any. All of the big services (NYT, Yahoo! Google, AP) have partial feeds.

Any suggestions?

Joe Wikert said...

Hi Joe. I'm right there with you. I have plenty of partial feeds going into my RSS reader but I'm on the hunt for full feeds for this service. I've always wanted a good reason to drop those partial feeds and I think this is it!

Anonymous said...

For international news, try the BBC:

I only read full text feeds on my e-ink device, my favorite one is probably Techdirt (although I've never visited this website).