As you might know from previous posts; I use and adore FeedDemon. It is a top RSS and podcast aggregator. It works well and has some great features to make keeping track of my feeds a breeze. Plus I like the fact that it is all in one spot and I don’t have to go sailing all round the web to check if a page has been updated.
Having said that, I recently updated to the latest version which is 2.0. The most significant change in this version is not a feature as you might assume; rather it is the fact that FeedDemon was “acquired” by NewsGator. This meant that with the latest version your feeds are synchronized with NewsGator. NewsGator is an online RSS reader. So theoretically this can keep you synchronised in FeedDemon on multiple computers. Great idea if that’s your thing. It isn’t mine by the way. So I selected to only synchronise with NewsGator on start-up, that means that feeds that have been updated are only checked.
However, I thought this was all very well but had little bearing in the way that I used the program. Until last night. I went to use FeedDemon and I found that I got an error message to the effect that FeedDemon couldn’t connect to NewsGator and to check my login id and try again, which I did. Nope; same error message, and the result was that it said that it couldn’t access feeds but not to worry I could view my feeds online. So I try to log onto NewsGator on the web and I get this message:
NewsGator Online is currently down for maintenance. We expect to be back online shortly.
So I guess I can’t really read my feeds online!
Today on the NewsGator news archive I see this message:
As you may have noticed, NewsGator Online experienced an unexpected outage early Tuesday morning. The problem has been corrected, and as of approximately 10:30am MST, all systems are operational.
Many feeds have not been updated since late last night; they will refresh over the next couple of hours, and then everything will be back to normal.
Our apologies for any inconvenience this has caused.
I appreciate the explanation, it does not however address FeedDemon’s reliance on the service.
The only conclusions that I can make from these events are that with NewsGator taking over FeedDemon they have integrated NewsGator Online to the point that FeedDemon only reads or downloads feeds as long as the NewsGator server is online! That in turn makes FeedDemon that used to be a stand alone program not a stand alone since it’s takeover by NewsGator. It also means that it’s functionality is governed by another service. Before the NewsGator takeover FeedDemon was an excellent stand alone reader which worked regardless of other synchronisations or server service.
In my opinion if this is the case then it has severely crippled a once excellent RSS reader. While these “extra” features have added some seriously powerful tools, the fact that they affect the stand alone capability of FeedDemon is a serious problem that should be addressed. Or in some people’s opinion a very cleaver marketing tool. It enables the company to have complete control over it’s product, when and how it is used.
I do not mind the fact that the synchronisation has been added as a feature. But I do think that FeedDemon needs to be able to be used as an independent program, should the user want it. I will be interested to see what this may mean for the future of FeedDemon, and what others are saying about this issue. I must say that this is the first time that the NewsGator server has been down and up until this point the server has never failed.
Again, I see a program trying to be everything rather than specialise at being excellent in one function.