Tonight FeedDemon was tested with an unable to connect to server error. I was impressed with the performance, there were a few bugs but nothing major. This may or may not have been a NewsGator Server problem.
I fired up FeedDemon and got the "cannot connect to server message". I got the option to un-synchronize the feeds and to manually page each feed for updates. I selected that and I was presented with a message that informed me that the feeds would be updated directly from the feed URL's and that it would be slower. So I selected OK.
To say that the feeds would update slower is an understatement, it is really slow and I have a 1500/256 connection (that is pretty quick here in Australia), so bear in mind that with functionality comes a slowdown. That said it was not something that bothered me too much. One error that occurred was that when the feeds updated it imported "old" updates. I got posts from January 2006 and they were out or order by date and some were marked read and others not read even though I knew I had marked them as read previously. I did however get the new feeds at the top, which is what you want.
While this was going on Sebastian had asked me to listen to a podcast he had done the day before, so I went to the folder, I did have to manually update the folder with the "update feed" command; but when I did I got the new podcast listed. I clicked the "paper-clip" and FeedStation opened and started to download. It noted that it could not connect to "my podcasts" but it did not seem to bother the download. The podcast downloaded and synchronised to my sync folder on my local machine with no problems.
One thing that is not made as clear as it could be is how to re-synchronise your folders. Basically; you get an icon in the bottom left corner of FeedDemon that has a disconnected symbol on it – or something like that. You can click this icon and get options, one is to test the connection and another one to say you are not synchronised with a tick – selected next to it. I just presumed that to resynchronise you "deselect the box". I was right, but it is not indicated that you have; or are trying to synchronise again. The indication that you are trying to connect and have been successful is the fact that the synchronising with NewsGator splash comes up. I think this needs to be improved.
A new feature is the "test" connection option, again an option within the click icon at the bottom left. So every once and a while I tested the connection and I eventually got a "good" result back and I went through the resynchronise process described above. No problems. FeedDemon synchronised and updated the feeds and did not have a problem with the fact that I had read some new posts and download an enclosure. FeedDemon even marked those as read – so it performed better then expected there.
As far as the reason for the outage, I am not sure if the NewsGator server was down or that I could not connect to it because of the connection between my machine and the server. If it was the server, it was not down for long, which makes me think it was a connection problem. Well done Nick, this is what I expect from you guys, thanks.
POPURLS dot com: What a Great SiteMay 5, 2006 — The Rooster
I was cruising the RSS today and although I had heard of POPURLS in passing I had not visited it until today. I was pleasantly surprised.
This site is a sort of a aggregator for sites that are updated frequently or have RSS feeds associated with them, or some other kind of community contribution on a regular basis. POPURLS summarizes this data into a “all-in-a-view” style. I don’t think that it is everything that comes out of these sites but it is a nice summary. The site has a very nice single page design and you can swap the default white on black to black on white. You can also make the text larger for those of you who are blind. The other cool option is that you can expand the headings to include more feeds or data. Lastly you can hover over a title of an article you get a summary of the article, click on it and a new tab opens with the full text from the site, cool.
POPURLS covers a huge range of sites: digg.com, del.icio.us, furl.net, flickr, reddit.com, tailrank.com, fark.com, youtube.com, news.google.com, news.yahoo.com, newsvine.com, video.google.com, shoutwire.com, slashdot.org, wired.com, odeo.com, nowpuplic.com, metafilter.com.
You will notice that not all the “feeds” are text based. There are video feeds as well and that’s something that average newsreaders don’t do. I think that is a nice addition, so is the fact that there are Flickr photo’s as well. I am not sure what the relationship between POPURLS and the contributing sites is but it makes you wonder how others might get on the list. Just something to think about.
That aside I think this is a great idea and one that finally puts RSS feeds into the hands of “regular” users. While it does not unleash the true power of RSS and aggregation it is a taste and might spark some interest for some people, it also connects you with the information that may enable you to better utilize RSS fully. In addition to these points, even if you were a super geek; it is just a fun site and a great way to have a quick catch up with what is going on in cyberspace and beyond, a cool distraction from whatever it is you are meant to be doing. Have a look you will end up staying a while.