Sunday, April 10, 2005

A New Addiction: Bloglines

Just what I needed—another RSS service to suck me in. The same day I was looking for a new RSS reader (only because I wanted to be able to export OPML files), I remembered I'd been meaning to check out, which is a web-based RSS reader, among other things. I logged in to the skeletal Bloglines account I'd set up a while back and started futzing around with it. As it turns out, Bloglines is very cool.

Like most software-based RSS readers, it allows you to find and import RSS feed and then categorize them into various folders. However, keep in mind that since Bloglines is web-based, whatever you set up will be available from any machine with Internet access. Nice.

Bloglines has a fairly rudimentary directory of RSS feeds, including a search tool. They're not categorized, there's just an alphabetical list. This isn't really helpful, so you'll have to use the search, which usually finds a lot of good feeds. Type in a topic, like "gadgets" or "books" or whatever you're looking for and you'll be fine. Once you subscribe to a feed, you categorize it and set some basic options.

Bloglines also lets you create your own blog and use "clippings" from other feeds. For instance, you might read a news story of interest and then "clip" it and instantly create a new blog entry about it. This is also pretty cool.

I also got my wish of OPML exports, so now I can create my list of feeds in Bloglines and then export them to other RSS readers (specifically my PDA's RSS Reader, which I've been obsessing over lately).

Incidentally, all this is free. More on Bloglines as I uncover its many layers...

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