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NewsGator just released NewsGator Desktop and it radically changed the way I read my RSS feeds – again. NewsGator Desktop came out of requirements from one of the NewsGator Enterprise Server customers who needed a rich desktop notifier as part of their implementation. Voila – generalize an enterprise based feature to an app that spans all the NewsGator consumer and enterprise products. Iterate quickly, add some stuff like Keyboard Shortcuts (duh), and you’ve got something pretty amazing.
I subscribe to 734 feeds. Until a few weeks ago (when I started using NewsGator Desktop), I fired up FeedDemon once a day, spent 30 minutes going through all my unread items, forwarding and clipping as appropriate, and then not looking at my feeds again until the next morning. This was efficient, allowed me to get a feel for everything that was going on and spend time with the things that I had clipped (either to think about, blog about, or do something with.)
Of these 734 feeds, there are 50 of them that I want to see whenever someone posts. These are the bloggers and news sources that I find most relevant and interesting to me. Historically, this didn’t work with my approach so I punted and just read everything at one time.
With NewsGator Desktop, I set up a “location” that only has these 50 or so bloggers in it (“location” is one of the incredible hidden features of NewsGator – it makes me crazy that we haven’t done a better job of surfacing it since it is so powerful.) I now have a notifier that pops up every 15 minutes (that’s about the right periodicity for me) that shows any posts in the past 15 minutes from this list of 50. I scan through them quickly (there’s that nice Keyboard Shortcuts thing again), open up any that I want to read in more depth, and mark all as read. They get automagically synced with NewsGator Online so I don’t see the read ones again.
I solved three problems with this – I get to see the high interest blogs throughout the day as they get written with a similar interaction I have with email, once I’ve read them they go away so I don’t have to look at them again (cutting down on the overall time I spend in the morning with them), and when someone writes something interesting that has real time relevance, I can react to it.
I’ve been doing this on all my computers for three weeks. The novelty has worn off and it’s now part of my use pattern.