Google Reader vs. SharpReader

Time to switch feed readers.

In Internet time, I’d been using SharpReader as my feed reader (or RSS/Atom aggregator) forever (since 03/28/04). I liked the simple interface, that subscriptions could be grouped into folders, and that it was a standalone application.

But SharpReader development appears to have ground to a halt. With increasing frequency, odd things would happen. Like every single post from one blog would suddenly reappear as “new” in SharpReader. At first, I suspected a problem with the feed, but then I began to suspect that SharpReader was the problem.

Fortunately, Google Reader has two of the three features of SharpReader: a simple interface and the ability to group subscriptions into folders. True, Google Reader is not a separate application, but I always have my web browser open. Plus now I have one less application to manage.

An obvious and glaring flaw with Google Reader is that folders seemingly cannot be renamed. I imaging this will be fixed in future releases, and I’m willing to live with this minor flaw.

For example, I like to add numbers to my folders to force the order (which default to alphabetical order) how I want it. In SharpReader, I had folders named:

1. technology
2. law
3. baseball
4. rock-n-roll
5. etc.

In Google Reader, these got renamed to:

1.-technology
2.-law
3.-baseball
4.-rock-n-roll
5.-etc.

All of the spaces were replaced with dashes. To fix this, I exported my Google Reader subscriptions as an OPML file and manually edited that file, then reimported it. But such a hack shouldn’t be necessary.

Oh yes, for good measure, I created a FeedBurner feed for my Google Reader shared items. Yet another way for publishers to distribute their content: have your readers share it.

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