I have a lot of websites that I frequent all the time to stay on top of things that I think are important for one reason or another, and the list was getting big. Firefox kept asking me "Are you sure you want to open more than 15 tabs at once? This may slow down your computer," and that was for the "people", "software", and "other" bookmark folders. While thinking about how much I loathed RSS readers and how badly they tied you to one computer, and how the feed aggregator on Faster Mustache for a number of bike blogs is great but I don't know what I've read already, I was browsing around some internal Google documentation and stumbled across Google Reader. It's a Google thing so I could do the occasional personal catching up at work and still be "testing internal technologies" or something (It is a Google Labs experimental project after all. Things like oh, Google Maps got their start there.)
Needless to say, I'm impressed. The interface is as simple as it can be (and there is an even simpler interface designed to be used on the Wii!), and it's finally allowed me to get everything in one place where I can make sure not to miss things, all while wasting less time visiting sites that haven't been updated and waiting on tabs to load. Unlike other feed aggregators I've played with, it easily lets me "star" items so that I can go back to them easily later, shows inline images the way the author intended, and it makes pretty graphs of how often I read what how much. (If you're a regular here, you'll know how many points pretty graphs are worth when I'm evaluating something) I think I finally have everything loaded in there that I currently visit, and Google Reader sums it up nicely: "From your 44 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 336 items, starred 1 items, and shared 0 items." Everything from Slashdot, to my friend's blogs, to all kinds of bike related things, to the comments you leave on ckdake.com, all in one place!
To play with in the future, it supports tags which would require a little more input reading but would make finding things later a lot easier, and if a better feed reader comes along, Google Reader will export to a standard format that other readers can read in. If you have a lots of sites you check in on, I highly recommend giving Google Reader a try!
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